According to Dr. Vikki Petersen, certified clinical nutritionist, chiropractor, and certified functional medicine practitioner, you may have a leaky gut if you experience digestive issues, skin conditions, bone, and joint pain, a mood disorder, or an auto-immune disease.
When the above-mentioned occurs, we tend to think of outside factors that could be impacting our bodies, like cold weather. However, this isn’t always the case, and sometimes what is causing the problem comes from within.
“A leaky gut is a condition where your small intestine is not efficiently acting as a barrier to toxins, infectious or inflammatory organisms, and partially digested food,” says Dr. Petersen. “A single layer of cells makes up the lining of your small intestine. That lining, when healthy, brilliantly ‘decides’ who and what may pass through it into your bloodstream and who or what should be contained due to its tendency to create ill health. When the integrity of that lining is compromised, ill health will result.”
What are some common signs of having a leaky gut? Here are five signs to look out for, according to Dr. Vikki Petersen
Sign #1: Auto-Immune Disease
- Autoimmune disease is where your immune system mistakes a part of your body as something foreign that should be attacked. Considering 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, it has been well established that a leaky gut is a common initiator of autoimmune disease due to the influx of substances (chemicals, toxins, infectious organisms) that are putting undue stress upon your immune system.
Sign #2: Digestive Issues
- As mentioned above, a healthy small intestine ensures that food is properly digested and absorbed while simultaneously preventing any migration of substances that should not enter your bloodstream. A leaky gut cannot perform the above functions and can cause various digestive complaints, including bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, acid reflux, and more.
Sign #3: Skin Conditions
- Skin health reflects gut health. It has long been established that skin conditions frequently cause poor gut health, especially leaky gut. In my clinic, we have excellent success treating eczema, psoriasis, rashes, and acne through, predominantly, regaining optimal gut function and healing a leaky gut.
Sign #4: Bone and Joint Pain
- Often body aches are due to systemic inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the immune system is overwhelmed by some of the “substances” we’ve been discussing. And recall, 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. A leaky gut contributes to systemic inflammation.
Sign #5: Mood Disorder
- It seems like a “stretch”, but in fact, hormonal balance and cognitive health are very tied to gut health. It truly would not be any exaggeration to state that good health is impossible with an unhealthy digestive system (leaky gut). Hormonal balance is tied to the health of the good bacteria in your gut, your ability to absorb healthy nutrients from a nutritious diet and controlling inflammation.