What is leaky gut? What is going on (or wrong)

What is leaky gut? What is going on (or wrong)

What is leaky gut? What is going on (or wrong)… Good question. It’s a term that I am sure you have come across when researching your digestive system (yes I’m sure your all researching in your free time). This post is about our digestion and answering the question – what is leaky gut?

Leaky gut is getting a lot of attention online and throughout the healthcare world but it’s not as widely accepted as it should be. Leaky gut is also known as increased intestinal permeability and is becoming a new hot topic for research and healing. Our digestive health has always been the centre of our wellbeing so it is exciting that this area is now being discussed in more depth and people’s awareness is spreading to incredible benefits of having a consistently healthy gut.

What is Leaky Gut?

Inside our digestive system, we have an extensive intestinal lining spanning more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. Normally, the gut is composed of tightly packed cells without any gaps forming uniform layers. They are further protected by a mucosal layer. These layers control what gets absorbed from the gut through to the bloodstream.  When unhealthy the digestive lining forms holes or gaps which allow partially digested food molecules, toxins and bacteria through to the tissue and bloodstream beyond. This may trigger inflammation and cause changes to our gut bacteria which disrupts the normal function of the gut, immune system and stress response. 

There is more and more research becoming available on the links between leaky gut (or increased intestinal permeability)  with several disorders of like irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, liver diseases, skin issues (like eczema or acne), diabetes, allergy, and many other inflammatory diseases. 

What is going on (or wrong)? What are the signs and symptoms of leaky gut?

 The signs and symptoms vary from one person to another. The most common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Headache and migraine
  • Easy fatigue-ability
  • Decreased alertness and dizziness
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Skin issues like rashes, or acne
  • Generalized inflammation
  • Decreased immunity
  • Food allergies and intolerances

What causes Leaky Gut?

We all have leaky gut to some extent – as the gut is not complete impenetrable (and isn’t supposed to be).

Our modern society plays a big role in the degree with which we are affected by our leaky gut. So does our modern lives = a leaky gut? To some extent yes as it can be the main driver of gut inflammation. Inflammation is a big player in digestive health, however other causes include:

  • High intake of sugar 
  • Frequent use of NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Poor nutrition
  • Inflammation 
  • Oxidative stress
  • Regular alcohol intake
  • Stress
  • Overall poor gut health (due to any previous surgery or illness)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer



For additional resources, click here:

Systemic inflammation increases intestinal permeability 

Medical News: Leaky gut