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How Healing the Leaky Gut Could Heal Your Life

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How Healing the Leaky Gut Could Heal Your Life

What do your intestines have to do with mojo? EVERYTHING!  Sure, you can be vital, even if you’re ill. But if you have leaky gut syndrome, it might manifest in ways you would never expect, such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, food allergies, gas and bloating, or the inability to find relief from other diseases, even when adequately treated.

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Good question. I’m a doctor and I never heard about it at Duke or Northwestern, where I trained.  While conventional medicine doesn’t recognize the existence of “leaky gut” syndrome, many naturopathic and integrative medicine doctors believe that a “leaky gut” can impair the natural healing process of the body and impede both traditional and alternative treatments.

In theory, leaky gut syndrome results from damage to the intestinal lining that leads to a state of intestinal hyperpermeability, allowing undigested proteins, fats, waste, bacteria, and other toxins to “leak” through the gut membrane, which should only allow healthy nutrients through. These particles can then wind up in the blood stream and lymphatic system, where the immune system tries to come to the rescue to eliminate these unwanted intruders, triggering an auto-immune response. While a natural immune response is usually a good thing, too much can lead to a state of inflammation, which wreaks havoc in ways you may never relate to gastrointestinal function. A normal intestinal lining brilliantly lets good stuff through, while screening bad stuff out, allowing it to be excreted as waste. But when this membrane is impaired, beware!

What kinds of symptoms might result from leaky gut?

Common early symptoms include gas, bloating, and fatigue, which should not be considered normal. These harbingers of other stuff brewing may be your only clue that your intestines need to be healed. If time goes by, you may wind up with chronic fatigue, skin rashes like eczema, psoriasis, or even chronic vulvar itching, food allergies, gluten intolerance, memory problems, mood disorders, body aches and joint pains, and other vague, seemingly unrelated conditions.

Why has my doctor never heard of this?

Nobody ever taught me about leaky gut syndrome in medical school, and unless you’re out there researching and self-educating yourself about complementary and alternative medicine treatments, you would never hear about it. Why is that? We Western docs are research fanatics, and the truth of the matter is that most of the expensive research that fuels modern medicine is sponsored by drug companies hoping to prove that their product works. Once they’ve proved it in randomized controlled trials, it becomes mainstream. Because there is no “drug” to treat leaky gut syndrome and nobody has paid to perform big studies, we just don’t have a lot of data out there in the mainstream medical literature, so it falls largely into the realm of what traditional docs call “anecdotal medicine” (and dismiss).

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Read more: Alternative Therapies, Diet & Nutrition, General Health, Health, Natural Remedies, , , , , , , , , , ,

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities - HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

54 comments

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5:22AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Don't forget the interdependence of our body and mind

5:23PM PDT on May 13, 2014

You can treat Helibactor pilori better with MMS than with antibiotics, but nothing is going to help if you continue to consume sugars and allow your body to remain acidified. Seeking health, instead of treating symptoms, is why I now stick with a naturopath.

3:25PM PDT on May 13, 2014

Very intriguing article. I can understand however doctors not catching this if it is not part of the medical training. GI issues are very, very tricky sometimes.

I have a friend who is a GI specialist and I am going to talk to him about this and see what he says ... He's very up-to-date on his specialty and I would wager he already knows about this and how to treat it. I still would like to hear his take on it nevertheless.

4:12AM PDT on May 13, 2014

thanks

4:06AM PDT on May 13, 2014

mastic gum - thanks

12:54AM PDT on May 13, 2014

Informative.

8:40AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

My 13 year old daughter has a bad case of leaky gut along with SIBO. We are in our third day of treatment of the bad bacteria using Mastic Gum. Does anyone have an opinion of what Die Off Symptoms we should be seeing?

7:06PM PDT on May 26, 2012

I know someone who had this, she didn't go to a homeopath or naturopath, ended up with this skin condition which she picked at all the time and ripped the skin off her hands. Her doctor was treating the symptoms without getting to the root cause. Eventually she had a nervous breakdown. Sometimes doctors don't listen. Not you, Lissa, I know you're the kind of doctor who always listens. Thanks :)

5:05AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

I'm going to do some research! Thanks for this.

8:39AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

Try using MASTIC GUM capsules. They are excellent for destroying the Helibactor pillori germ in the stomach.

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