Let’s Fix That Leaky Gut!

I hope you had a great weekend.  I wanted to shift gears a bit and talk about digestive health today.  Your intestinal health is so important for your overall health for a variety of reasons:
1) This is where we digest and break down the foods we eat.
2) Our digestive tract is one of our immune system’s first points of contact with the external environment.
3) Whether you are replete or deficient in any nutrients is directly related to how well you absorb.
4) Our gut harbours many beneficial bacteria.
I could go on and on about the importance of gut health; long story short, the state of our gut health has an influence on many other systems (neurological, hormonal, cardiovascular, skin, etc.).  This is exactly what is meant by the quote:

“All disease begins in the gut”

There is much to consider when assessing gastrointestinal health, and one could argue that the intestinal lining is of the utmost importance.  The intestinal lining is pivotal to our ability to digest our foods, absorb nutrients, mount immune responses, and maintain a healthy microflora.

Amazingly, our intestinal barrier is extremely thin (it’s only one cell layer in thickness).  It’s important for intestinal cells to tightly adhere to one another so that they can regulate what can pass through and what will be denied access.  When this barrier is compromised, it can lead to “intestinal hyperpermeability” or “leaky gut syndrome”.  Leaky gut syndrome refers to an intestinal lining that has holes or cracks that allow foods, toxins, and harmful microbes to easily pass through.  This can then trigger inflammation and changes to our healthy microflora.

Leaky gut syndrome can be caused by:
1) Dysbiosis (‘bad bacteria’)
2) Stress
3) H. Pylori
4) Chronic Inflammation
5) Toxins
6) Food Sensitivities
7) Poor Diet (high sugar foods and alcohol)
8) Gluten
9) Medications (especially antibiotics)

The following are a list of symptoms that may be experienced with leaky gut syndrome:
1) Gas & Bloating
2) Diarrhea or Constipation
3) Heartburn or Reflux
4) Brain Fog
5) Joint Pain
6) Fatigue
7) Anemia
8) Anxiety or Depression
9) Acne, Rosacea, or Eczema
10) Headaches

Leaky gut syndrome has also garnered attention as a possible contributing factor in autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, skin conditions, neurological conditions, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, poor immunity, and more.

Since the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome can have other causes, it’s important we conduct testing to confirm intestinal hyper-permeability.  At our Naturopathic clinic, we commonly use a urine or blood test to measure intestinal permeability and absorption for patients.  These tests are easy to perform and  they help us narrow down the cause of our patients’ symptoms.

If we find a positive test result for leaky gut syndrome, our first goal is to detect and tackle any of the possible causes.  Our leaky gut treatment plan will often incorporate dietary changes, elimination of food sensitivities, and natural treatment options (herbal, homeopathic, nutrients, etc.) to restore intestinal functioning and heal the lining.

If you are experiencing any digestive symptoms and you would like to have a digestive and leaky gut assessment, please contact our naturopathic clinic for an appointment.

Yours In Health,

Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor

16655 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135