Have you heard of leaky gut syndrome and wondered how do you know if you have leaky gut?

It is difficult to know if you definitely have leaky gut without functional medicine testing.

Most people will experience leaky gut syndrome intermittently, especially with excess alcohol consumption, taking certain medications and elevated stress levels.

The problem occurs when leaky gut syndrome continues for prolonged periods due to underlying conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Leaky gut syndrome has been linked with a number of health conditions such as autoimmune diseases like psoriasis.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky Gut Syndrome also known as intestinal hyper permeability occurs when there is a breakdown in the lining of the gut wall.

This allows the passage of undesirable molecules to pass into the blood stream, creating a toxic load on the liver and can trigger abnormal immune reactions.

In a healthy digestive system, the mucosal lining of the gut wall is highly protective, safe guarding your body from potentially harmful substances.

That means it stops environmental toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria from exiting the digestive tract into the blood stream.

When this lining is functioning well it’s also highly absorptive, allowing adequate uptake and absorption of nutrients from the food passing through your digestive system.

This is what fuels your body for energy, maintains a healthy immune system and your overall health and wellbeing.

If you have leaky gut syndrome for long periods of time, it can impact how well you absorb nutrients, increasing your risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as iron and zinc.

How do you know you have Leaky Gut?

There are certain health conditions that have been associated with leaky gut syndrome. Having any of the following health concerns could indicate that you may have leaky gut.

Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Allergies, Asthma and Eczema
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autoimmune diseases: IBD, Psoriasis, SLE, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are a number of underlying causes that can contribute to leaky gut syndrome, these include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Excessive consumption of sugary and processed foods
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Medications such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Gastrointestinal parasites
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Severe emotional stress

How Can I Test for Leaky Gut?

The best way to determine if you have leaky gut, is to do a simple urine test.

This simple urine test can assess whether intestinal hyper permeability is present and how severe it is.

The test involves consuming a powdered solution consisting of both lactulose and mannitol. After consumption, your urine is collected over the course of 6 hours. It is then tested on whether any lactulose or maltose is present in the urine.

The test works on the principle that small molecules (mannitol) are readily absorbed through the absorptive surface of your digestive system, where large molecules are not (lactulose).

If lactulose is elevated in your urine it can indicate there is leaky gut syndrome that is allowing larger molecules to cross where they shouldn’t be.

At the same time this test also tests how well you are absorbing through the intestinal lining.

As mannitol is a small molecule it should be very easily absorbed and be reflected in your test, however if there are low levels of mannitol it indicates poor absorption through the intestinal lining.

This can therefore effect your absorption of both macronutrients and minerals.

How do you heal leaky gut?

Healing leaky gut requires a multi pronged approach including the following.

1. Remove the root cause of leaky gut by addressing health concerns such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, food triggers such as wheat and dairy, and addressing elevated stress.

2. Repair the intestinal wall with specific nutrients and herbs alongside a tailored gut healing nutrition plan.

3. Rebuild your beneficial bacteria by encouraging their growth with specific prebiotic foods and supplements. Certain probiotic strains can also aid the healing of leaky gut syndrome such as lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG.

With the correct guidance prolonged leaky gut syndrome can be repaired and healed for long term health.

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