Thinking of getting a leaky gut syndrome test?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome, otherwise known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition where the tight junctions of the small intestine become hyperpermeable.
A healthy small intestine lining is only slightly permeable to allow nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. But with increased intestinal permeability, the damaged cells of the intestinal wall can lead to a scenario where unwanted substances such as toxins enter the bloodstream, as well as larger molecules like undigested food particles.
Once this scenario occurs, it can compromise your gut health and lead to immune system issues and even autoimmune disease in some circumstances.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
The main symptoms of leaky gut include:
- abdominal pain
- food sensitivities
- joint pain
- mood swings
- skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema
- autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease
- inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- food allergies; and
- nutritional deficiencies.
What are the causes of leaky gut?
The primary causes of leaky gut are:
- chronic stress
- toxins such as alcohol
- certain foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar
- pathogens; and
- pharmaceutical drugs.
Is there a test for leaky gut syndrome?
Yes, there is a leaky gut syndrome test. It is called an Intestinal Permeability Urine Test and is performed over six hours using an ingested lactulose substrate. It can help to identify leaky gut syndrome and malabsorption and is considered the gold standard for identifying and diagnosing leaky gut.
When intestinal permeability is present, larger substances like the large lactulose molecule can permeate the mucosa of the intestines and are subsequently found in your urine.
Stool tests can also reveal valuable information about the state of the health of the intestines by looking at markers such as zonulin. Zonulin is a protein in the gut which regulates the tight junctions. High zonulin levels can indicate a leaky gut.
A stool test will also look at the gut for pathogens such as parasites, yeasts and opportunistic bacteria. These can also contribute to intestinal hyperpermeability.
Is leaky gut treatable?
Leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability is one of the most common conditions treated by alternative medicine practitioners. Once the cause of the leaky gut has been identified, a naturopath will utilise their clinical experience to treat the gut and your symptoms using dietary modifications, herbal liquids, nutritional supplements and lifestyle advice.
How can I fix leaky gut?
The good news is, you can heal a leaky gut and return the gut to an optimal state of health with a good diet and the use of nutritional supplements. It is often advised for patients with leaky gut syndrome to eliminate foods that irritate the lining of the gut including:
Eliminating these foods from your diet for the duration of the treatment will facilitate the healing of the intestinal lining.
Managing your level of stress is also recommended to facilitate the healing of leaky gut syndrome and improve your immune system.
What supplements can I take for leaky gut syndrome?
Your naturopath will likely use gut tissue healing nutrients such as Vitamin A, zinc, and l-glutamine as well as treat any underlying condition contributing to your intestinal permeability.
Ultimately, leaky gut syndrome is a condition that can be healed with diligence and the right naturopathic support.