Leaky gut is a condition affecting the lining of the intestines, creating a dysfunctional environment for proper digestion. It is also called “increased intestinal permeability”, because with leaky gut, the intestines lose some of their ability to filter nutrients and other substances. When this happens, particles of incompletely digested foods, bacteria, other waste by-products may leak through the intestines into the bloodstream. It is usually caused by some form of damage to the intestinal lining.
Our intestines are lined with cells, which are sealed together by something called “tight junctions”. In healthy intestines, these junctions work like gatekeepers, which essentially allow or prohibit particles to move through the gut and into the circulatory system.
With leaky gut syndrome, particles can slip through the cells and tight junctions and literally leak into bloodstream or lymphatic system, and move freely throughout the body.When the body recognizes these foreign substances and detects something is wrong, the immune system kicks in, and tries to fight what it perceives to be danger in the intestines. This causes inflammation and inhibits functioning. In this situation, a woman’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is decreased, and her immune system can become compromised. Impaired immune functioning here is extremely important, as our guts contain tissue known as gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) which helps protect us from antigens causing food allergies as well as microbes carrying disease.
When the body is continually trying to repair itself from the effects of leaky gut, it can be caught in a never-ending cycle, especially when the source of the problem is not diagnosed. For example, if unrecognized food allergies are creating leaky gut, and the same foods are consumed over and over, a self- perpetuating, inflammatory cycle will be triggered, and the intestinal lining cannot heal.
Leaky gut syndrome can cause may symptoms which may lead to further issues if left untreated. Because the gut is one of the main sources of health, a properly balanced diet can go a long way when helping to improve and maintain the proper function of the digestive system. Once diagnosed with the disorder however, several lifestyle changes can help relieve the condition and restore health. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.