Feeling Tired, Brain Fogged and Moody? 10 Signs You May Have A Leaky Gut
You may have heard about Leaky Gut recently because, increasingly, it is being recognized as one of the primary causes of the increasing number of chronic diseases. For example, inflammatory diseases, like, allergies, asthma, Alzheimers, autism, and autoimmune diseases like Hashimotos’s thyroiditis, Chrohn’s disease, Graves disease, IBS, MS, and lupus are growing at epidemic proportions; and, increasingly, science is proving that a leaky gut is at the core of the growing crisis of chronic illnesses.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut is when the tight junctures of the gut wall become loose, and allow undigested food particles, toxins, viruses and bacteria to “leak” through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Then immune cells identify these abnormal particles as the “enemy” and begin to create antibodies to fight these invaders.
Signs and Symptoms of Leaky Gut
To assess if you may have an inflammatory or autoimmune disorder, or possibly in the beginning stages, look out for the following signs and symptoms. All of these symptoms can mean that you have a leaky gut, especially if you have more than one from this list:
- Digestive Problems such as gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation
- Brain Fog (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
- Weight Gain
- Mood Irregularities (Swings) such as depression, anxiety, or ADD/ADHD
- Chronic Infections such as Herpes or Epstein Barr Virus
- Diagnosis of Autoimmune Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, or Osteopenia
- Hormonal Imbalances (weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, gas, bloat, belly fat)
- Skin problems (acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis)
Why Healing Leaky Gut is Important
When toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles leak into your bloodstream, your immune cells don’t recognize them and then “mark” these foreign substances as intruders and begin to attack them, causing chronic inflammation throughout the body. In essence, Leaky Gut causes the body to be under constant attack from its own immune system, causing damage to the cells. The immune system, which is designed to protect the body from occasional threats to its health, now has to deal with constant threats and becomes less able to do its real job of protecting you from the more serious threats of bacteria, microbes, and toxins.
The constant attack from the immune cells leads to cell damage, autoimmunity (when your own body attacks itself), inflammation, and disease.
What Causes Leaky Gut
Leaky Gut can be caused by several factors from stress to food allergies to things in our environment. It’s not as easy as saying you ate gluten therefore you have leaky gut. It’s different for everyone based on several factors. .
What are the Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease?
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms to look for if you suspect you or someone close to you may have an autoimmune disorder, but the most common symptoms are listed below. If you have been experiencing any of these warning signs, or, particularly a combination of several of them, you may have an autoimmune or an autoimmune related disease.
- Feeling more tired than usual or fatigued
- Problems with focusing or concentration
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Joint pain and/or swelling
- Muscle pain/weakness/twitching/tremor
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, pain, gas, bloating, blood or mucous in stool
- Dry eyes, mouth or skin
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Hair loss, rashes or hives
- White patches on skin or inside mouth
- Headaches or dizziness/vertigo
- Sensitivity to cold or heat
- Periodic fevers
- Vision changes*
*Amy Meyers, The Autoimmune Solution (New York: HarperCollins, 2015), Susan Blum, The Immune System Recovery Plan (New York: Schribner, 2013) and Amy Myers, “10 Signs You Have An Autoimmune Disease + How To Reverse It,” mindbodygreen, April 18, 2013