Leaky gut is a popular topic. The connection between gut health and overall health and well-being is well documented. Leaky gut even sounds horrific, but what exactly is leaky gut? The clinical term for leaky gut is intestinal permeability. Put simply, intestinal permeability refers to the movement of undesirable substances from inside the gastrointestinal tract through cells lining the gut wall, into the rest of the body. Symptoms of leaky gut range from bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone, and joint pain, and neurological disturbances. Gut function is directly linked to inflammation and overall immune system functioning.
Inside the gut, gastrointestinal a primary defense mechanism is gastrointestinal mucosa, which allows the body to absorb nutrients while preventing unwanted substances from entering the body. Proper gut maintenance is critical to overall health and well-being. Conditions thought to be linked to leaky gut include gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and functional dyspepsia. Digestion-related conditions, (comma goes before such as) such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and food allergies are commonly linked to a leaky gut, as well as non-digestive conditions, such as schizophrenia, diabetes, and sepsis. It is unclear whether leaky gut is the cause or the consequence of associated conditions, but it is clear that leaky gut prevention and treatment are critical to overall health.
To prevent leaky gut, reduce stress, high-fat diets, excessive alcohol intake, and processed food consumption. Nutrients like glutamine, vitamin D, and vitamin A have been shown to support gut barrier maintenance, integrity, and function. Foods high in polyphenols, such as fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds can improve anti-inflammatory functioning and support healthy gut maintenance. Microbial diversity is another key to healthy guts. Probiotics and prebiotics are thought to support microbial diversity further contributing to gut maintenance and leaky gut prevention.