What is “Leaky Gut Syndrome?”

A leaky gut refers to the increased permeability of the gut lining. The digestive tract has been damaged and is allowing undigested foods and other non-beneficial invaders to infiltrate into the blood stream putting strain on the immune system.

This is not a medically recognised condition but the research that supports the theory of leaky gut syndrome and the related conditions is compelling and can offer an alternative treatment option for many sufferers of chronic illnesses that include: irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances and allergies, eczema, asthma, autoimmune conditions and mood disorders.


What causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

It all comes down to the health of the gut flora. Our digestive system is a long hollow tube that is open to the outside world, to protect us from various microbes that can cause disease our digestive tract is lined by a thick layer of beneficial bacteria. This provides a natural barrier to anything that can damage the surface of the gut lining. This includes undigested foods, toxins and parasites. If the layer of beneficial bacteria becomes depleted the gut wall can become vulnerable and over time can be damaged. This can lead to issues with the breakdown and effective absorption of nutrients and many other problems associated with inflammation and immune impairment.

How would I know if I had ‘leaky gut syndrome?’

There are many health conditions that have been linked to this digestive issue. If you experience any of the following health conditions a leaky gut could be at the root of the problem:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and altered bowel motions
  • Food intolerances, especially to dairy and gluten
  • Hay fever/allergies
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Eczema
  • Unexplained fatigue or lack of concentration
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Autoimmune disease


What can be done to improve a “leaky gut?”

There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, most importantly the health and balance of the gut flora and lining and the causative factors that can potentially effect the optimal functioning of these vital elements of digestive health.

The gut needs to be a source of nourishment to the body, not a source of toxicity. To improve the health of the gut lining there are certain therapeutic diets that can be followed along with supplemental support prescribed by your Naturopath.

Emma Tippett, Naturopath, is a fully qualified GAPS practitioner, the GAPS diet and protocol has helped many people suffering with chronic illness related to leaky gut syndrome improve their quality of life.