Leaky Gut Syndrome affects millions of people worldwide. While some people show antibodies in their blood indicating an immune system response to the presence of various foods, others merely show signs and symptoms of sensitivity and intolerance. Both of these conditions, and many more, are indicators of leaky gut syndrome.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut syndrome is an un-fancy name given to increased or excessive intestinal permeability. Essentially, the walls of our digestive tracts are compromised – more porous than is healthy and normal, and as a result, particles of food, toxins, bacteria and viruses all “leak” into the bloodstream.
The body’s immune system in turn begins to fight off these foreign particles in the blood. This creates inflammation throughout the body, leading to a wide variety of symptoms and subsequent conditions.
Many people will experience leaky gut with multiple food sensitivities. The immune response becomes an allergic reaction to many foods as fat and protein enter the bloodstream through the porous intestinal walls.
In addition to this leakage, the porous and compromised lining of our intestines is unable to absorb the nutrients we are eating. This layers nutritional deficiency under inflammation, further complicating the body’s attempt to find wellness.
What causes leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability?
Excessive consumption of highly processed foods, genetically modified foods, and over-consumption of antibiotics all contribute to the degeneration of our digestive lining. Chronic stress is a huge factor in adults, but likely not often considered in the case of very young children. Consumption of preservatives and chemicals may contribute to a diminished intestinal lining, which indeed can be passed down to our children in our DNA. Also what we consume during pregnancy plays a part in the physical integrity of our next generations.
Gut dysbiosis – an in-optimal intestinal environment caused by an imbalance in good vs. harmful bacteria, can develop in utero as well, and is a major factor in leaky gut syndrome. As we eat food from de-natured soils which no longer contain the micro-organisms they once did, we often develop unhealthy bacteria. Antibiotics, NSAIDS, and other medications can further render our bodies unable to fend off harmful bacteria. This in time will erode our intestinal integrity and allow us to pass this condition on to our children.
The 10 Most Common Signs Your Kid Has Leaky Gut Are:
1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation – The digestive tract is often the first indicator that the body is challenged. Because leaky gut syndrome is a condition of the digestive tract lining, digestive discomfort is a telltale sign.
2. Asthma – Often the lungs are the second indicator that things are amiss in the body. Asthma often accompanies other signs of leaky gut, including seasonal allergies, chronic colds and flus, sinus congestion, and compromised immunity.
3. Chronic sinus congestion or infections – Often the body will attempt to discharge excess mucus build up. This build-up is from the undigested foods entering the bloodstream and creating an immune response. The body produces extra mucus as a part of this response. Couple that with other sludge your darling sweetie’s little body has been accumulating in the face of a dietary intolerance, and you’ve got a good case for chronic sinusitis and a frequent runny nose.
4. Seasonal or food allergies – When undigested food enter the bloodstream, the body produces an allergic response. This may show up as food allergies or environmental sensitivities.
5. Fatigue, mental fogginess or weakened immune system – Unprocessed foods that enter the bloodstream fill your body with toxins and create a sticky residue in the digestive tract. When this occurs, it blocks the body’s mental and physical energy. Your kid’s body also expends extra energy trying to fend off what it senses as a foreign invader.
6. Anxiety, moodiness, or hyperactivity – Many kids show signs of leaky gut syndrome in their subtle or not-so-subtle behaviors. If your child has really big mood swings (what’s really big? – it’s up to you as a parent to decide; if you sense that the highs and lows are sudden, disproportionate to what has occurred on-goingly, or if your child seems anxious or depressed, it may be worth taking a deeper look into his or her overall health. Difficulty concentrating and a frequent inability to follow any programs or tasks may also be signs of increased intestinal permeability.
7. Eczema or skin rashes – Skin rashes are common and the source of them is often undiscernable. If your child breaks out in a rash within a few hours of eating, or has ongoing or intermittent eczema, it may be a signal that his or her body is challenged with a leaky gut. If the skin is red, peeling, or itchy, it often indicates eczema which is an indicator of food intolerance.
8. Frequent colds or flus – When the small intestine and colon become compromised and no longer create a functional barrier, the body has a less than optimal flora environment. Couple this with a depleted adrenal response and you’ve definitely got a vulnerable kiddo’s immune system. In the case of leaky gut, increased intestinal permeability allows for bacteria and viruses to enter to bloodstream freely.
9. Joint pain and headaches – While there may be many causes of an ongoing joint pain or headaches, inflammation throughout the body from leaky gut syndrome is common. Essentially the body is heating up in response to the irritants entering the bloodstream, and as a way to attempt to fight off the offending invader.
10. Auto-immune disease – When the bloodstream becomes filled with toxins that have invaded through the small intestine lining, the liver, lymphatic system, immune response, and endocrine systems are all affected negatively. This, along with a chronic ongoing immune response, can lead to the development and worsening of auto-immune diseases.
If one or more of these sound familiar, you may be dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Believe it or not, leaky gut IS reversible. Through proper supplementation with probiotics, and through healthy dietary choices, we can re-build our intestinal walls and reverse food allergies. If you are interested in finding out more, check out this book on the subject.
Remember, contrary to popular belief, leaky gut, dietary allergies & food intolerances are reversible! With proper knowledge and care, we can help our kids to heal from their food sensitivities and to grow into a full diet again. If you’re ready to learn more, check out my friend Ann Marie’s (of the popular blog CHEESESLAVE) Reversing Food Allergies – ebook and online class – both devoted to helping you reverse your family’s food allergies.
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