Leaky gut or the idea that the gut is overly porous and things that should be contained within the digestive tract are leaking out into the body causing disease. This is a common idea in the pantheon of Facebook groups, naturopathic doctors, functional medicine, chiropractors, and other less traditional medical arenas. But is it legit?
My question is – is leaky gut a legit thing or is it just an idea without proof? Let’s see what we can find.
Leaky gut, as I understand it, is where the intestinal lining is overly porous allowing food and bacteria to leak out of the gut causing inflammation throughout the body. Some claim that leaky gut is the root cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, migraines, and celiac disease. For example, if you have leaky gut and eat gluten – celiac can be triggered. Pretty dangerous stuff and many alternative practitioners have the solution to leaky gut. These solutions range from a variety of supplements to some sort of very restrictive fad diet in order to repair the damage.
Ugh, I’ve got to tell you – I’ve been looking at this leaky gut information for the last two hours. I’ve got 20+ tabs in Google chrome all saying the same thing. In every scientific article I’ve found the bottom line is – leaky gut is not proven.
I did find this article that talks about using probiotics and prebiotics as a cure for autoimmune diseases caused by leaky gut. But that was 2017 and nothing since, so maybe this is still something under investigation.
This article talks about how intestinal permeability is eliminated in 80% of celiac patients one year after initiating a gluten free diet.
This article talks about increased permeability in mice leading to IBS-D, but this isn’t in humans.
I’ve got a friend who’s daughter almost died of septic shock. There was intestinal bacteria in her blood that shouldn’t have been there. They don’t know how the the intestinal bacteria got there, but it certainly caused a lot of ruckus. But normal people walking around thinking they have leaky gut do not have sepsis.
So, why in her did unusual gut bacteria appear in her blood leading her near death, but many of the rest of us talk about leaky gut and don’t end up with sepsis? This is where I really got stumped and have decided I’m not sure I really understand this topic yet.
This is a HUGE topic and not the end of my research on leaky gut. But I have to accomplish other tasks and this has taken me down too many rabbit holes for the last three days. Let me keep researching and investigating this topic.
Wikipedia leaky gut link.