What is Leaky Gut?

December 7, 2023

What is Leaky Gut?
1 minute 15 seconds reading time

“Leaky gut,” or intestinal permeability, is a condition that occurs when the lining of the small intestine becomes compromised. 

The small intestine is lined with a thin layer of cells that create tight junctions, which act like gatekeepers to allow the absorption of nutrients while blocking the entry of potentially harmful molecules. Picture these tight junctions as gates; when they malfunction, they can open too wide, allowing unwanted visitors, such as toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles, to pass through. These unwanted visitors can now access the bloodstream and impact our overall health.

Factors contributing to leaky gut include a diet high in processed foods, chronic stress, excessive alcohol consumption, pathogen exposure, and certain medications. The consequences can extend beyond the digestive system, impacting your wellness. 

The influx of undesirable substances into the bloodstream can trigger an immune response and inflammation, potentially contributing to various health issues. Research suggests that increased intestinal permeability may be associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), autoimmune disorders, and even mental health conditions.

Understanding intestinal permeability gives us insight into our digestive system’s delicate balance. Maintaining a healthy gut involves adopting lifestyle and dietary habits that support the integrity of the intestinal lining. 

A balanced diet rich in fiber, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory foods while supporting a healthy stress response is essential in promoting optimal intestinal permeability. By nurturing our gut with wholesome foods and lifestyle choices, we empower our body’s defense mechanisms and support our immune system. Even with just a few simple adjustments to diet and lifestyle, you can truly make a lasting impact on your overall well-being.

Posted by Keira Kroin MS, CNSc
Keira is a functional nutritionist and herbal medicine practitioner. Her approach revolves around assessing an individual holistically to determine potential root causes of disease. Keira emphasizes the integration between physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. 

Photo by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash