Have you tried everything to lose those extra pounds, and nothing seems to work? Plus, you seem to be bloated, fatigued and crampy? Intestinal permeability or what is commonly known as ‘leaky gut’ could be the culprit.
What is leaky gut?
Our intestine has an extensive lining covering an area of about 4000 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. When villi health and the intestinal barrier is functioning normally, this balance is preserved.
In some people, however, the villi get damaged and intestinal lining malfunctions due to 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. A long term inflammation can cause further medical conditions like IBD, IBS, autoimmune disorders, acne etc.
What causes leaky gut?
There is a lot of research happening on leaky gut, and the exact causes or aftereffects are still being understood. But studies have shown that diet, genetics, and stress are major contributors towards leaky gut. The standard American diet of high sugar and low fiber foods is a contributing factor for gut dysbiosis – imbalance of the gut microbiome or gut dysbiosis. 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 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 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 a variety of ways, producing ailments such as allergies and autoimmune disease. An allergy results when B cells secrete IgE antibodies that target a part of a protein that is specific to the food it originated from: antibodies targeting the casein in milk causes a milk allergy, for example. A similar immune response occurs when B cells secrete IgA, IgD, IgM, or IgG antibodies. This type of immune response is technically considered a food intolerance (and not an allergy) but can cause both allergylike 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 causes 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 in promoting the growth of diverse gut flora, especially the good ones that help in healing damaged linings and villi health.
Reducing stress will bring down stress hormones like cortisol, that attack your intestinal barrier. Get adequate sleep and try relaxation techniques like meditation.
Probiotic and prebiotics supplementation
Outside of diet, probiotics supplementation have been found to help treat obesity in leaky gut syndrome. Two strains particularly have been shown to reduce endotoxemia –Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia muciniphila.
BIOM Precision Probiotics
With our patented Biomsify® process, human gut-adapted superior Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus is 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 reinforces intestinal barrier function to prevent “leaky gut”.