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eaky gut syndrome is a condition
you have probably heard of but may
not fully understand. As the name
implies, it is a problem with the
intestines but the consequences can be felt
in nearly every organ or tissue in the body.
If you have at least two of the conditions
listed below, there is a good chanc e you ha ve
a leaky gut:
• H ay fever or sinusitis
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Autoimmune disease
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Depression or anxiety
• Joint or muscle pain
• Skin rashes such as eczema, dermatitis or
• A n under a ctive or over active thyroid
What is leaky gut syndrome?
It’s not a very appealing na me but leaky
gut just means the intestina l lining is more
permeable than it should be. The lining of
your intestines is only one cell thick. The
gut lining enables you to absorb nutrients
from the food you’ve e aten and digested,
and it keeps bacteria, wastes and undigested
food out of your bloodstrea m and in your
intestines where they belong. If you have a
leaky gut, not only do the wastes and toxins
gain entry into your bloodstrea m; you also
have a reduc ed ability to absorb vitamins,
mineral s and other nutrients from your food.
How can having a leaky gut
harm your immune system?
Substance s that get absorbed from your
intestines head straight to the liver via the
hepatic portal vein. That mean s if you have
a leaky gut, you will flood your liver with
toxins a ll day every day. It is no wonder
leaky gut syndrome can lead to some pretty
serious health problems eventually. The
detoxification c apabilities of your liver
quickly become over whelmed and toxins
will spill out into your bloodstream. This
places an additiona l stra in on your immune
system and will leave it less capable of
fighting off infections. It will also make your
immune system hyper stimulated and more
likely to develop allergic re action s. If the
problem continues, the risk of de veloping an
autoimmune disease rises significantly.
How would you know if you have
a leaky gut?
There is a test that doctors and naturopaths
can perform called a urinary indicans test or a
test where you drink a solution containing the
c arbohydrates called lact ulose and mannitol.
Your gut is not suppo sed to be able to absorb
lactulose, but if it is leaky, lactulose does get
absorbed and ends up in your urine.
However, I have found that these tests
are usually unnecessary because leaky gut
is such a common health problem and there
are very clear signs and symptoms that can
confirm leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut
s yndrome is a forerunner to autoimmune
disease, so a nyone with a diagnosed
autoimmune disease ha s surely got some
degree of leaky gut syndrome.
What causes leaky gut
Looking at this list, it’s a wonder that leaky
gut isn’t more common. You would expect
a lmost everyone living in Western society to
have the condition.
The following factors raise your risk of
having a leaky gut:
• Sugar consumption
• A ntibiotics
• The oral contraceptive pill
• Food poisoning and
• Alcohol con sumption
• Food allergy and intolerance
• A spirin and other non-steroidal
a nti-inflammatory drug
• C andida overgrowth in the intestines
Natural ways to strengthen your
Your intestinal lining has incredibly
important functions – to ke ep the toxins out
of your body and allow the nutrients in. The
following strategies all help to improve the
integrity of your gut lining:
• Eat plenty of vegetables, which are an
e xcel lent sourc e of soluble fibre. Fibre
helps to prevent stagnation of bowel
c ontents and it feeds good bacteria in
your intestines. Fibre acts like a prebiotic,
meaning it provides a food s ource for good
bugs in your intestines.
• Try to con sume fermented foods regularly,
such a s sauerkraut, other fermented
vegetables, kefir and yoghurt. If you can’t
tolerate cow’s milk, make the kefir and
yoghurt out of sheep, goat
or coconut milk.
• Take a digestive enzyme
supplement with mea ls if
you experienc e indigestion,
bloating, burping or gas.
They a re indicators that
you aren’t digesting your
food properly. If that is the
case, bad bugs, yeast and
Ca ndida will thrive on your
undigested food and you’ l l
end up with high levels of
in your bowel.
• You may need a herbal
product to kill intestina l
bad bug s. The herbs
black walnut, pau’d arco,
c love s, orega no, thyme
and wormwood are all
ef fective anti-para sitics . It
is importa nt to get rid of
gut parasites because they
can cause a great deal of
inflammation to the lining
of the intestines.
• Glutamine is the number one
remedy for strengthening the
gut lining because the cells that
line your intestines use glut amine
as a fuel source. Glutamine is very
beneficial when taken long term but
it is also an excellent first aid remedy for
diarrhoea, ga stroenteritis, food poisoning
or any condition that results in an upset
• Find out if you have any food allergies
a nd get rid of the offending food/s from
your diet. You c annot make re al progress
in improving your health if you continue
to eat foods your body considers toxic.
Common culprits include gluten, whe at,
dairy products, soy, corn, eggs a nd nuts.
It is best to see a healthcare practitioner
to help you figure out your unique food
• Try to keep your intake of sugar and
alcohol low. If you turn to those
substance s when stressed or exhausted,
try taking a good dose of magnesium
regularly. Magnesium is required
by the enzymes in your body that
generate energ y. It al so helps to
relax your nervous system at night
while you’re a sleep, or trying to get
to sleep. I recommend a tea spoon of
magnesium powder with dinner.
Margaret Jasinska has co-authored seven
books with Dr Sandra Cabot. See www.
sandracabot.com for information.
Leaky Gut and
Naturopath Margaret Jasinska explains how a leaky gut
can harm our immune system.
‘Looking at this list, it’s a
wonder that leaky gut isn’t
more common. You would
expect almost everyone living
in Western society to have
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