Studies estimate that 60 to 70 million Americans currently suffer with a GI disease that impacts the day to day life of the sufferer.  One of the most common GI issues is leaky gut. Leaky gut is a digestive disorder in which small openings form in the tight junctions of the intestinal tract, causing many unpleasant symptoms throughout the body.

What Is the Main Cause of Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut occurs when the mucosal layer of the intestines dysfunction and allow partially digested food particles, toxins, and dangerous microbes to leave the GI tract and enter the bloodstream. When this occurs, the immune system activates, leading to chronic inflammation, which is a root cause of many types of diseases and other health problems. Here are some of the things that causes leaky gut.
Bacteria – Your GI tract has a delicate balance of beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria. An imbalance occurs when there are more harmful bacteria than beneficial bacteria. The bad bacteria in the GI tract causes inflammation. Additionally, these harmful bacteria damages the lining of the intestines, resulting in leaky gut.
Chronic Stress – When you experience stress, your body reacts by increasing the production of cortisol. This excess cortisol production prevents the body from creating other essential hormones. Additionally, excess cortisol in the body increases systemic inflammation.
Diet – Eating a poor diet that contains many inflammatory foods and allergens increases the risk of developing leaky gut syndrome. Eating processed foods, alcohol, unsprouted grains, excess sugar, dairy products, and refined oils leads to leaky gut.
ToxinsToxins inhabit every part of our world. Exposure occurs in many of the foods you eat, in the water you drink, and even in the air you breathe. Each day, men and women across America experience exposure to a variety of chemicals.

The most common substances linked to leaky gut include NSAIDs, antibiotics, and pollution. Additionally, tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that help sanitize drinking water. Unfortunately, these chemicals along with fluoride increase the likelihood of developing leaky gut.

What Are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky Gut causes a number of unpleasant symptoms. Here is a list of some of the most common issues you may experience include:
Autism – Autism is a developmental disorder that causes a host of signs and symptoms due to differences in the sufferer’s brain. Autism causes the sufferer to encounter issues during social interactions. Autistic people often perform repetitive behaviors. Individuals with autism have a different way of learning. Damage or inflammation of the GI tract causes the nerve signals that affect mental performance to misfire.
Autoimmune Diseases – Individuals suffering from leaky gut often have one or more autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common diseases associated with leaky gut include systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Food Sensitivities – Because undigested food particles can leave the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream, it cause the immune system to react and produce antibodies. These antibodies increases your risk of developing food sensitivities, particularly to dairy products and gluten.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease – When damage occurs to the lining of the intestines, the immune system activates, causing inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system’s first line of defense; however, in the GI tract, inflammation leads to a number of inflammatory bowel diseases, including irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Mood Disorders – Leaky gut often triggers a release of cytokines, which causes inflammation in the body and brain. These cytokines lead to a mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
Nutritional Deficiencies – Nutritional deficiencies are typically a result of leaky gut syndrome. Some of the common nutrient deficiencies include magnesium and vitamin B12. In addition to this, sufferers often have lower digestive enzymes, which leads to further gastrointestinal woes. This is why most functional medicine doctors recommend probiotics and multivitamin supplementation after diagnosing leaky gut syndrome.
Skin Conditions – Every system in the body works together to maintain health. When one of these systems does not function properly, it affects the entire body. It surprises many people when they learn that when something is going on inside the body, it causes several different skin problems. Leaky gut causes skin issues like psoriasis, eczema, and acne. If you are experiencing skin problems, the root cause may be your gut
Thyroid Issues – Leaky gut can cause several autoimmune disorders. One of which is Hashimoto’s disease. This thyroid disorder causes a host of symptoms, including weight gain, reduced metabolism, hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels), depression, and fatigue.

What Does Leaky Gut Smell Like?

Did you know that poor gut health causes body odor? When your digestive system is not functioning properly, it increases bacteria in the gut and as a result you may notice a plethora of bad smells.

Leaky gut allows these bacteria to enter the bloodstream. When this occurs, the bacteria exit the body through the skin when you sweat. Sweat does not have an odor; however, bacterial growth on the skin produces volatile organic compounds, which cause odors.

To help reduce body odor, wear breathable fabrics, take a shower daily, especially after any excessive sweating. Finally, use an antiperspirant/deodorant regularly to help fight body odor.

If you follow these suggestions and are still experiencing unpleasant smells, it may be a sign of a health issue. If good hygiene does not help, contact your functional doctor. Your doctor will guide you toward healthier skin and healthier digestion.

How Do You Heal a Leaky Gut?

The damage to the lining of your intestines did not occur overnight, which means you should not expect your leaky gut to heal overnight. However, with the guidance of a functional doctor you can heal your leaky gut.

Step One – Remove

The first step is to remove any foods that you are sensitive to as well as pro-inflammatory foods like processed foods, refined foods, dairy products, etc. During this stage, your functional doctor may want to order a few tests including food sensitivity testing and a stool culture to determine the root cause of your leaky gut.

Step Two – Replace

Once you remove all the offending foods, it is time to replace any of the digestive secretions that you may be lacking. Oftentimes, digestive enzymes as well as hydrochloric acid and bile salts help to ease the digestive tract and promote healing.

Leaky gut often occurs following a period of chronic stress. Additionally, bad bacteria in the GI tract and a poor diet causes GI distress. A multi-strain probiotic helps replace the beneficial bacteria and heal the gut.

Step Three – Repair

Repairing the damage done to the lining of the intestines takes time. So, it is imperative that you stay the course. There may be times when you want to give up; however, you will soon begin experiencing clearer skin and an improvement of your symptoms.

Step Four – Rebalance

The last step involves rebalancing your life to prevent a recurrence of leaky gut. This means you should eat a diet that focuses on whole foods like fresh vegetables and fruits. Eating probiotic rich foods (sauerkraut, yogurt, etc.) helps increase naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Get 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of exercise each week to promote health. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to improve your digestive health. Finally, utilize stress relief techniques to reduce stress and decrease inflammation in the digestive tract.

Leaky Gut Skin Problems

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. When something happens inside the body, the skin often produces symptoms on the outside. Rather than treating your skin problems (rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.) as simply a skin problem, you must get to the root of the issue.
Can gut issues cause skin problems? The answer is yes! When your gut becomes overrun with bad bacteria, systemic inflammation occurs in the body and on the skin.

Much like the lining in the intestinal tract, the skin is permeable. Any type of imbalance in your body leads to an imbalance on your skin. When this occurs, you experience rashes or breakouts.

Additionally, the foods that you eat contribute to your skin health. If you eat proinflammatory foods like high sugar foods or highly processed foods, you will experience acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.

We Want to Help Testing for Gut Dysbiosis

Leaky gut typically creates an autoimmune response that causes inflammation in the digestive system as well as your skin. Atopic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, and eczema are some of the common skin conditions you experience with leaky gut.

If you are experiencing skin problems, our functional medicine doctor will guide you toward your path of healing. If you want healthy, unblemished skin, we get to the root of the problem and offer easy to understand and follow guidance that will heal your gut and leave you with radiantly healthy skin.