10 Most Common Causes Of A Leaky Gut That Many Doctors Don’t Consider
Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition that affects the integrity of the intestinal barrier and there can be many causes of a leaky gut. This condition can lead to a host of health issues including chronic inflammation, skin conditions, heart problems, obesity, mental health problems as well as autoimmune disorders(1),(1b). In this article, we will discuss the 1o most common causes of leaky gut and how they can impact your health.
Modern medicine continues to ignore the growing leaky gut epidemic while chronic disease skyrockets…Many doctors haven’t even heard of it because this isn’t something they learned back in medical school. Researchers discovered it by accident in the 1980’s but despite proven medical tests for it and links to almost every known chronic disease, it’s not talked about at the prominent clinics or leading universities. If you or a loved one are struggling with chronic illness, like so many of my patients, you will want to learn more about these top 10 causes of a leaky gut.
1. Poor Diet and Food Sensitivities
One of the primary causes of leaky gut is a poor diet that is high in processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. These food choices can lead to inflammation and nutrient deficiency that can damage to the gut lining. Additionally, food sensitivities or intolerances to certain ingredients, including gluten and dairy, can trigger an immune response and further compromise the gut barrier. (2)
2. Chronic Stress and Impaired Digestion
Chronic stress releases hormones that disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, is another cause behind leaky gut. Stress can also impair digestive function, inhibiting the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. This can weaken the intestinal lining and negatively impact gut health.
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3. Imbalance of Gut Microbiota
The gut is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role in maintaining gut health and intestinal barrier function.(3). An imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as gut dysbiosis, can be another cause behind a leaky gut. (4) Medications such as antibiotic use, proton pump inhibitors, steroids poor dietary choices, and stress can disrupt the balance of bacteria, leading to inflammation and damage to the gut lining.
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4. Environmental Toxins
Exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and pollutants, can cause leaky gut.(5),(6) These toxins can promote inflammation, disrupt the gut microbiota, and damage the intestinal barrier. Limiting exposure to toxins, both in the environment and through lifestyle choices, is crucial for maintaining gut health and preventing a leaky gut.
5. Medications and Antibiotics
Certain medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and steroids, can negatively impact gut health and are often overlooked when it comes to a leaky gut. Unfortunately, some of the medications you are taking right now may be causing you to have a leaky gut. These medications can disrupt the gut microbiota, alter digestive function, and increase intestinal permeability. Additionally, overuse or misuse of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria, allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate and contribute to gut issues.
6.Mold and Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins created by mold are often overlooked when it comes to a leaky gut(7). Recent research has shown that mycotoxins, mold biotoxins damage the intestinal barrier and cause leaky gut. Mold biotoxins do this through the modulation of intestinal epithelial integrity and epithelial cell renewal and repair.(8) Mycotoxins include trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, ochratoxins are just a few of the mycotoxins that can cause a leaky gut. (9) Upon ingestion of contaminated food or feed (usually Corn, dried fruit and other grains), the GI tract is particularly affected by mycotoxin. Generally, intestinal barrier in the GI tract functions as a filter against harmful mycotoxins. However, some mycotoxins have been found to exert their detrimental effects in the GI tract. For example, mycotoxins can alter the normal intestinal functions such as barrier function, tight junctions and nutrient absorption.
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