What is Leaky Gut?

Updated: Jun 30

Also known as an increased intestinal permeability

We have an extensive intestinal lining in our bellies that covers more than 4000 square feet of surface area. When this barrier is working correctly, it can control what is absorbed into the bloodstream (nutrients) and what is rejected (pathogen, viruses, toxins)

Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability (IP), is a condition that creates gaps in this lining which then allows food particles, bacteria, and waste products to cross the barrier directly into the bloodstream. This might be what is responsible for any food allergies or intolerances you might be experiencing.

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

Most symptoms linked to leaky gut are personal and depend on the individual.

  • Bloating

  • Gases

  • Flatulence, wind

  • Diarrhoea or constipation

  • Abdominal pain

  • Insomnia

  • Stress, Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Lightheadedness

  • Brain fog

  • Migraines and headaches

  • Skin issues: Acne, psoriasis or eczema

What are the causes of leaky gut?

There are many root causes of why your gut may be leaking.

● Chronic stress

● Long-term use of antibiotics

● Bacterial Infections

● Vitamin D deficiency

● Sleep deprivation

● An imbalance of gut bacteria

● Chronic alcohol consumption (alcoholism)

Illnesses, diseases that are connected to leaky gut :

  • Low mood

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Celiac, Crohn's disease

  • Eczema, psoriasis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Chronic liver disease

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Food allergies and sensitivities

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

Top tips to prevent a leaky gut:

Reduce stress: it has been shown that stress impacts intestinal permeability by increasing the gaps between cells. Look at different ways to reduce the stress in the body, which could help improve sleep and prevent leaky gut.

Use Probiotics: especially lactobacillus, which has been shown to decrease bacterial overgrowth if present and restore the intestinal barrier. Also, probiotic intervention may help reduce stress and act as an antidepressant.

Limit alcohol and antibiotics: Both can be harmful to the barrier of the gut, so it would be recommended to limit them as much as possible

Vitamin D has been found to protect the intestines, so make sure you have a good level of vitamin D all the year

Glutamine and curcumin:

Both of these nutrients are very helpful with healing a damaged gut lining and can reduce inflammation and stress in the gut.

Food richer in glutamine :

  • Chicken

  • Fish

  • Cabbage

  • Spinach

  • Dairy

  • Tofu

  • Lentils

  • Beans

Elimination diet: this is a method where all allergen foods are removed from the diet, which could also irritate the gut.

Intermittent fasting: is a method where you can eat only during an eating window cycle which gives more time for the body to heal and detox. In addition, it could reduce caloric intake, which has been shown to help heal the leaky gut and give the body the time to rest.

Case study

Lisa, 45s old - Digestive issues, low m and irritable bowel syndrome

When I met Lisa, she told me that she felt sad and had a low mood constantly. She was unable to go out due to her irritable bowel syndrome. Her eczema was itching so much and was covering her body. In summer, she didn't dare go to the beach or expose herself as she was so ashamed.

She saw her GP many times, but she was only getting steroid cream and was recommended to see a psychologist. She felt that something was not working correctly in her body. Her digestion was awful, any type of food gave her so much pain, and she started to develop fear around eating which made her lose a lot of weight and energy.

Lisa’s symptoms when she contacted me:

  • Low mood

  • Low energy

  • Weight loss

  • Digestive issues (bloating, constipation and diarrhoea)

  • Eczema

  • Lack of motivation

  • Fear around food

Lisa's goals were to:

  • Feel more energized

  • Being happy again

  • Have a social life

  • No digestive issues

  • Be healthier

  • Have a clearer skin

She wanted to have a normal life again and be able to see her friends without being ashamed of her digestive issues or her skin. She wanted to have enough energy to keep up all day and be in a good mood and smile again.

She was ready to change all her old habits to adopt new ones. She wanted to do a GI map test (see here for functional tests) to see what was causing her so much pain inside her gut.

Lisa took the 3 month package, as she needed more time and support to implement her new habits (balanced diet and lifestyle).

My approach

  1. We defined what was missing in Lisa's diet and we found a balanced diet that was personalised and suitable for her.

  2. We applied the right diet for her to address the nutrient deficiency and fibre intake.

  3. We did a gentle detox and support her liver and gallbladder.

  4. We followed the 4'r protocol (Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, Repair)

  5. We implemented some lifestyle changes to support her stress and her past trauma.

At the end of the protocol, Lisa said:

  • She felt happier

  • Her skin was getting better, and it felt good

  • She was able to go to the loo without any difficulty

  • She wasn't scared of food anymore

  • She was able to socialize again and go out to enjoy new food

  • No more abdominal pain, or embarrassing bloating

Need personalised help? or Are you ready to feel happier again like Lisa?

If you are struggling with any leaky gut, Book your free call, and we can chat about what might be going on. As a gut specialist, I will help you find the root cause of your dysbiosis and help to re-establish a healthy gut.

Disclaimer: As a multilingual practitioner, you may occasionally notice grammatical errors in my written work. If you have any questions relating to my content, please get in touch.