Asking Experts About Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, but evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines. The theory is that leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances.
As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.
Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen such disorders as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
My colleague, pediatrician Sandy Newmark, M.D., who deals with leaky gut syndrome in children, tells me that it isn’t clear how many people have this disorder or exactly what problems can be attributed to it. Dr. Newmark says that it has been established that a significant percentage of children with autism have increased intestinal permeability, but it isn’t known whether this is a cause or an effect of food sensitivities and an underlying metabolic problem.
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Leaky gut syndrome is still considered a medical mystery, characterized by symptoms of bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and aches and pains. While it’s generally not recognized as a direct diagnosis but rather a general diagnosis that requires further studies, the number of people presenting these common symptoms have been on the rise. Many experts have begun to discuss the importance of digestive health. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
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