9 signs you have a leaky gut and what to do about it

You may have heard the term ‘leaky gut’ — it’s a condition that has been getting more attention in the medical world recently. But Naturopaths have long known that the gut is the key to unlocking your best health.

What is leaky gut?

Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is an inflammation of the gut wall which can let toxins, bacteria and undigested food particles into the bloodstream. These foreign substances entering your blood can trigger your immune system to respond in a number of different ways with far-reaching consequences.

It may not seem too dangerous, but leaky gut actually contributes to a huge range of conditions.

When you have leaky gut, damaged cells in your intestines don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion. This can result in your body not absorbing essential nutrients, leading to hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system.

9 signs you might have leaky gut syndrome

  1. Bloating after meals

  2. Altered bowel habits — like diarrhoea, constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  3. Poor immunity

  4. Food allergies

  5. Skin conditions like eczema, acne or rosacea

  6. Fatigue

  7. Headaches, brain fog or poor concentration

  8. Anxiety or depression

  9. Autoimmune conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s

What causes leaky gut? 

When your gut is out of balance, dysbiotic or ‘bad’ gut bugs become more prevalent. When the bad gut bugs die, parts of their cell walls known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) fragments are released and absorbed into the bloodstream. These LPS fragments are one of the most potent stimulators of the inflammatory response and cause much of the tissue damage that comes from having a leaky gut.

There are many other contributing factors that may cause leaky gut, including:

  • Antibiotics — can destroy the good bacteria in the gut, leading to an imbalance.

  • Excess sugar — a diet high in sugar, particularly fructose, harms the intestinal wall.

  • Preservatives and chemicals in processed foods.

  • Food intolerances — eating foods that you have an intolerance to, like gluten and dairy, can contribute to leaky gut. Your body treats them as foreign invaders that must be fought, producing antibodies which trigger an immune response.

  • Anti-inflammatories — the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can increase intestinal permeability and contribute to leaky gut.

  • Chronic stress — often a factor in gastrointestinal disorders, including leaky gut.

  • Excessive alcohol — too much drinking can increase intestinal permeability.

How to tell if you have a leaky gut

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to tell if you have leaky gut — there are specific tests that can indicate inflammation of the gut wall and potentially a leaky gut. Research suggests that most people with inflammatory bowel conditions such as IBS, celiac disease, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may also have a degree of leaky gut.

If you think you may have a leaky gut, it’s also a good idea to get tested for food intolerances. This is a quick and easy way to determine what foods you may be eating that could be contributing to a leaky gut.

3 tips for healing your leaky gut naturally

Diet is the cornerstone to healing and repairing the gut. To heal your gut naturally, I recommend:

  1. Following a low-inflammatory diet — remove gluten, dairy, additives, preservatives and processed sugar for three months. Having a food intolerance test can help you quickly determine what foods are best for you to avoid.

  2. Avoid coffee and alcohol — while it may be difficult, coffee’s acidity can negatively impact the lining of your stomach and intestines, while alcohol can increase inflammation within the gut.

  3. Increase your intake of prebiotics and probiotics — prebiotics provide the healthy fibres to encourage the growth of your protective and healing gut bugs. Probiotics work by improving the environment for your good gut bugs to flourish as well as helping to reduce the levels of bad gut bugs. Adding fermented foods such as kombucha and water kefir, and taking a quality probiotic prescribed for you is essential to healing a leaky gut.

If you believe you have may have leaky gut, your Naturopath can help get your symptoms under control, get you on to your ideal diet and help you to heal your gut naturally!


Are you feeling frustrated and drained by your health?

Click here to discover how to boost your gut health naturally, which can in turn help you to lose weight, regain energy, support your immunity and even help to ward off cancer.

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    Disclaimer – This website is designed to inform clients about ways to possibly improve their health. The opinions of the Mullen Natural Health Centre are our opinion only. Please consult your own healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.