Have you tried everything to lose those extra pounds, and nothing seems to work? Plus, you seem to be bloated, tired, and crampy. Intestinal permeability, commonly known as ‘leaky gut,’ could be the culprit.
What is a leaky gut?
Our intestine has an extensive lining covering an area of about 4,000 square feet. This lining consists of tiny finger-like projections called ‘villi’ that regulate what is absorbed into the blood plasma. It is a delicate balance; the intestine wall must allow water and nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream while blocking chemicals and bacteria. This balance is preserved when villi health and the intestinal barrier function normally.
In some people, however, the villi get damaged, and the intestinal lining malfunctions for several reasons. This causes toxins, bacteria, proteins, and other substances from the intestine to leak into the bloodstream. This is called a leaky gut. Your immune system may see these leaked substances as harmful and trigger an immune response, causing inflammation. Long-term inflammation can cause further medical conditions like IBD, IBS, autoimmune disorders, acne, etc.
Anatomy and Function of the Intestinal Lining
The gut is one of the most vital systems in our body, playing a pivotal role in the digestion of foods, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste. Let’s dive deep into the intricate structure and function of the intestinal lining:
- Villi and Their Role: The gut is a complex organ with villi essential in nutrient absorption. These finger-like projections determine what nutrients enter the bloodstream and which toxins, chemicals, or waste products are expelled, emphasizing the importance of a healthy gut barrier function.
- Balancing Absorption and Defense: This delicate balance ensures that essential food nutrients are taken into the body while defending against harmful bacteria, toxins, and chemicals. Any disruption in this barrier can lead to gut-related issues and imbalances.
What Goes Wrong: The Onset of Leaky Gut
Here are the causes, role of diet, and dysbiosis for leaky gut:
- Causes of Intestinal Permeability: Factors like an unhealthy diet, rich in sugar and gluten, genetics, and high-stress levels impact the intestine’s lining. This can increase permeability, where harmful substances leak into the bloodstream.
- The Role of Diet, Genetics, and Stress: Diet plays a pivotal role in gut health. Consuming high sugar, dairy, and processed foods can contribute to dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut bacteria community. Genetic factors and high stress levels also exacerbate the risk of developing a leaky gut.
- Dysbiosis: The Gut Imbalance: A healthy gut has various bacteria that aid digestion and metabolism. Gut dysbiosis occurs when an imbalance leads to diseases and digestion issues.
What causes a leaky gut?
Much research is happening on leaky gut, and the exact causes or aftereffects are still being understood. However, studies have shown that diet, genetics, and stress are major contributors to leaky gut. The standard American diet of high-sugar and low-fiber foods contributes to gut dysbiosis – an imbalance of the gut microbiome. Similarly, stress has been linked to imbalanced gut flora. This imbalance can affect villi health and consequently lead to high intestinal permeability.
Common symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular stools (constipation or diarrhea)
- Dry skin
- Itchy Skin
- Fatigue — especially after eating
- Brain fog
- Headaches (including migraines)
Leaky Gut and Weight Gain
Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of a leaky gut. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which comes from the outer cell wall of bacteria, is prevented from leaking into the blood plasma in a healthy intestinal lining. In a leaky gut, LPS escapes into the blood plasma. A high level of LPS derived from gut microbiota, or endotoxemia, triggers metabolic responses associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Other gut metabolites stimulate the adaptive immune system, which responds in various ways, producing ailments such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. An allergy results when B cells secrete IgE antibodies that target a part of a protein specific to the food it originated from; antibodies targeting the casein in milk cause a milk allergy, for example. A similar immune response occurs when B cells secrete IgA, IgD, IgM, or IgG antibodies.
This immune response is technically considered a food intolerance (and not an allergy). Still, it can cause both allergy-like symptoms and symptoms you might not normally attribute to an allergy, such as pain, fatigue, and eczema. Some of the antibodies produced may also be autoantibodies, leading to the development of autoimmune disease. The release of cytokines is also stimulated, which stimulates further recruitment of cells from both the innate and the adaptive immune systems.
How can you solve leaky gut-related weight issues?
To solve intestinal permeability-related weight gain, it is essential to repair the intestinal lining and achieve optimum villi health.
Review your diet and eliminate unhealthy foods like saturated fats, red meat, processed foods, and alcohol. Keep away from any food that is diagnosed to cause allergy or intolerance for you. Include fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fiber is essential for the good bacteria in your gut to flourish.
A regular exercise regimen has been proven to improve overall digestive health. Exercise improves the transport of oxygen to all parts of your body, including the gut. This helps promote the growth of diverse gut flora, especially the good ones that help heal damaged linings and villi health.
Reducing stress will bring down hormones like cortisol that attack your intestinal barrier. Get adequate sleep and try relaxation techniques like meditation.
Probiotic and prebiotic supplementation
Outside of diet, probiotics supplementation has been found to help treat obesity in leaky gut syndrome. Two strains have been shown to reduce endotoxemia –Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia muciniphila.
BIOM Precision Probiotics
With our patented Biomsify® process, human gut-adapted superior Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Bacillus are co-fermented with unique prebiotics to seed and nourish good gut flora. The probiotic-prebiotic complex produces vital secondary metabolites (e.g., short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, urolithin, polyamines, growth factors, secondary bile acids) that support and nurture villi health, mucin production and reinforce intestinal barrier function to prevent “leaky gut.”
Happy Gut for a Healthy Life!
|Understanding Leaky Gut||– Intestinal lining of 4000 square feet|
– Villi regulates nutrient absorption.
– Damage to villi leads to the leak of unwanted substances
|Causes of Leaky Gut||– Diet (high sugar, low fiber)|
– Genetic predisposition
– Stress and lifestyle factors
|Gastrointestinal Symptoms||– Abdominal pain|
– Gas, bloating
– Irregular stools
|Skin Symptoms||– Acne, dry skin|
– Eczema, rashes
|Neurological Symptoms||– Brain fog, anxiety|
– Depression, insomnia
|Link to Weight Gain||– Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) causes endotoxemia.|
– Associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes
|Solutions for Leaky Gut||– Dietary changes|
– Regular exercise
– Stress management
– Probiotic and prebiotic supplementation
Frequently Asked Questions
How can a person lose weight with a leaky gut?
To lose weight with a leaky gut, one must focus on a nutrient-rich diet and a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. Certain gut-friendly foods like fermented items and high-fiber options can also aid in improving gut health, thereby assisting in weight loss.
Can probiotics or gut health supplements assist in reducing weight gain associated with a leaky gut?
Absolutely. Probiotics and gut health supplements can help reduce weight gain associated with a leaky gut. They can restore the balance of gut bacteria and improve digestion and nutrient absorption, thus potentially curbing unhealthy cravings and supporting weight management.
Can a leaky gut cause weight gain or obesity?
A leaky gut can contribute to weight gain or obesity. Imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to poor nutrient absorption, increased inflammation, and altered metabolism, fostering weight gain and complicating weight management efforts.