For years I’ve heard of a thing called ‘leaky gut’. The first time I heard it, I imagined a dripping pipe. Little did I know, in a way, I was correct but also so far off from the truth. In this post, I explore the connection between Autoimmune Diseases and Leaky Gut.

What is a Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall. It can be caused by medications. Antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can start or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to intestinal permeability.

Other causes / factors contributing to leaky gut:

  • alcohol
  • gluten and GMO wheat
  • GMO corn
  • intestinal parasites
  • stress
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • toxins and chemicals in foods
  • glyphosate (Roundup, an agricultural herbicide, which many farm crops are exposed to)
  • and more

What’s it got to do with Autoimmune Diseases?

“The typical medical approach to autoimmune conditions is to suppress the immune system with anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressives, corticosteroids, chemotherapy and other medications to try and slow down the damage. But this is a bandaid approach in that it covers up the symptoms and lessens them, but doesn’t do anything for the root cause or any real treatment. Suppressing the immune system is never a good idea as it can lead to a greater risk of other infections.” – Ross Walter

What can you do about it?

1. Get professional help > There is no better guide around Leaky Gut than a Naturopath who can review a holistic strategy of how your individual and unique circumstances might exacerbate or affect a leaky gut.

2. Diet The quickest thing I’ve read one can do is review your diet and what foods or drinks might cause the most irritation or sensitivity eg I don’t eat so much bread as I noticed, I always broke out in my skin the next day after eating it. A naturopath can help you do this by way of an elimination plan. I don’t like to use the word ‘diet’, it shouldn’t be a diet per se but a conscious lifestyle decision. Learn your inflammatory triggers. Becoming aware and more conscious of your food and drink choices is highly enlightening and helps to avoid some symptoms that might be caused by your leaky gut.

3. Probiotics > Add probiotics into your medicine regime with the help and guidance of a professional. Probiotics can interfere with your current medicines so don’t just go out and decide when and how much to take. When you’ve found someone to help you such as GP or a naturopath, my chemist recommends to go for at least 50 billion organisms per tablet and go for strains that include the LGG strain (and note that it’s heat-sensitive).

There are certainly heaps of ways to heal a leaky gut, for some further reading, check out these books:

Leaky Gut Syndrome 

Heal Your Leaky Gut: The Hidden Cause of Many Chronic Diseases

Leaky Gut: A step-by-step solution on how to reverse the leaky gut syndrome, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, restore your gut microbiome and regain energy