The Not-So-Leaky Gut

Oct 15, 2017 by

You can have me read this article to you instead of reading it yourself…

 

 

Or you can read it the old-fashioned way below…

 


While most of my website provides the information needed for each of us to understand what is happening in our bodies, this article is going to be a little bit different.

In this article, we’re going to talk about something called leaky gut syndrome, or leaky bowel.  Except this time, we’re talking about the complete lack of information supporting this topic.

What Exactly is “Leaky Gut Syndrome”?

If you have only heard the term tossed around online and in discussion groups, we should quickly review what leaky gut is supposed to be.  And pay close attention, because the reason this has become such a popular topic is because it does such a great job of twisting reality into make-believe.

If you’ve brushed up on how the GI tract works, then you know that the intestine is responsible for absorbing most of the nutrients from the foods that we eat.  In order to do this, the intestine is made up of segments called “tight junctions”.  These tight junctions help to discriminate between the tiny particles that are absorbed into the body and the rest of the stuff moving through your GI tract that is not absorbed.

When someone speaks of leaky gut syndrome, they are claiming that these tight junctions have become loose.  If these tight junctions were to loosen enough, then it would allow larger particles to make their way into the body and blood stream, exposing the body to toxins that could wreak havoc on a person’s health.

But It’s Not Real?

The good news is that leaky gut syndrome has never been identified in a human being.  We have no evidence that would make us think that leaky gut could ever happen.  And I, for one, think that is great news.

Not being concerned about whether or not the junctions in our intestines are breaking down is one less thing to worry about.  And besides that, if those junctions were to actually break down in the way that they are claimed to, any human with a true leaky gut would be dead very quickly.  Our bodies cannot handle the random absorption of the foods that we eat directly into our blood stream.  This would go far beyond wreaking havoc and move quickly into a lethal situation.

Not Even a Little?

I do want to quickly talk about something called intestinal permeability.  There are rare situations when the intestines can become ‘more permeable’ to substances that are found in the GI tract.  These include cases of severe Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease (a known issue with these conditions), complications from certain types of chemotherapy, and as a result of large overdoses of items like alcohol and aspirin.

But it is important to make a distinction here – increased permeability of the intestine is NOT leaky gut.  Only tiny, tiny particles make it through to the body, and these are not the unprocessed toxins and bacteria that are often spoken of when referring to leaky gut.

This is why it is important to pay close attention to the point where reality is twisted into something else.  The intestines tightly control what passes through them, and at no point are the intestines allowing large particles, toxins, or bacteria to pass into the body and cause health issues.  Even those rare situations in which severe diseases or large drug overdoses directly attack the GI tract, there is no concern for a “leaky gut”.

What Does This Mean?

I see many people with GI conditions, from gastroparesis to IBS, become scared of concepts like the leaky gut syndrome.  It frustrates me each time I see another website or another article claim that leaky gut is a real concern.  And I am downright angered when I see someone attempting to make money off of the concept, selling ‘remedies’ and ‘cures’ for a problem that doesn’t exist.

If you have ever been plagued by fears that you may have leaky gut and it may be worsening your health, you can breathe a sigh of relief.  This is one less worry for you to have on your plate.  Instead, spend your time learning about your basic biology and what is causing the symptoms that you are experiencing.  Spend your time on the conditions and treatments that are studied, tested, and proven.

That alone will lower your stress level, and we all know that can make your GI tract just a little bit happier.

 

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