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Do you have a leaky gut?

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Chronic inflammation caused by a "leaky gut" may result in psychiatric symptoms like anxiety and depression. A leaky gut occurs when your intestinal lining becomes porous, allowing undigested foods and bacteria into the bloodstream. If left untreated, this condition can lead to chronic brain inflammation, which in turn can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.


LEAKY GUT SYNDROME


Consider the cause-and-effect diagram above. If you have a leaky gut, this means that there are gaps within your mucosal membrane cells that allow a free flow of larger particles like food protein, bacteria and chemical toxins to enter your circulatory system and trigger an immune reaction. Leaky gut activates the body's IgG (immunoglobulin or antibodies) immune response. IgG are special proteins that are produced by our plasma cells. Once produced, the proteins are let loose to spread throughout the body to search and kill bacteria, viruses and other germs. The release of these immunoglobulins throughout the body triggers a systemic inflammation that leads to a depletion of serotonin via the kynurenine pathway.


KYNURENINE PATHWAY


The kynurenine pathway is a metabolic pathway leading to the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). Metabolites involved in the kynurenine pathway include tryptophan, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, xanthurenic acid, quinolinic acid, and 3-hydroxykynurenine.


Inflammation activates the kynurenine pathway, leading to the formation of nicotinamide via increased production of 3-hydroxykynurenine and quinolinic acid, major neurotoxic metabolites.


Kynurenine and its further breakdown products carry out diverse biological functions, including dilating blood vessels during inflammation and regulating the immune response. Some cancers increase kynurenine production, which increases tumour growth.



TRYPTOPHAN - KYNURENINE PATHWAY (KP)


Metabolism of tryptophan results in the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin and, via the kynurenine pathway (KP), to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyses the first step in the KP.


In layman terms, the body uses tryptophan to help make melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and serotonin is thought to help regulate appetite, sleep, mood, and pain. The liver can also use tryptophan to produce niacin (vitamin B3), which is needed for energy metabolism and DNA production.


CAN LEAKY GUT RESULT IN PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS AND AUTISM?


The simple answer is YES. Some studies are now suggesting that leaky gut signs can be used as a biomarker for depression and suicidal behaviour. There has also been an increase in evidence linking gut microbiota to gastrointestinal and extra-gastrointestinal diseases. Dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut have also been linked to as a causal factor to several types of mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression, which are prevalent in our society today.


If nerves in the gut become inflamed or damaged due to leaky gut, then the transfer of nerve signals that influence mental performance could also be negatively impacted. Studies have linked leaky gut conditions to a worsening of ADHD and autism symptoms. Many recent studies have discovered differences in the composition of the gut microbiomes in people with and without autism. Recent finding of the microbiota–gut–brain axis indicates the bidirectional connection between our gut and brain, demonstrating that gut microbiota can influence many neurological disorders, including autism. Coincidentally, other recent studies have found that majority of those people who are on the autistic spectrum suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.


HOW TO TELL IF MY GUTS ARE LEAKING?


Our immune system usually tries to communicate to us that our gut are leaking through this list of ailments:

  • Asthma

  • Autism

  • ADHD/ADD

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Eczema and psoriasis

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Systemic inflammatory response syndrome

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Allergies

Sometimes, it communicate through symptoms such as:

  • Chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Weak immune system

  • Headaches, brain fog, memory loss

  • Excessive fatigue

  • Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea

  • Cravings for sugar or carb

  • Arthritis or joint pain

  • Sleep issues

  • Chronic tiredness

  • Mood swings

If you have any of these ailments or symptoms talk to our specialist who may be able to help you manage and heal the leaky gut issue.


LEAKY GUT AND GLUTEN LINK


Leaky gut syndrome is epidemic in westernized countries. This could be due to the increase of gluten in the food chain and the rampant overuse of antibiotics. We need to take leaky gut syndrome seriously because it is the main cause of many of the diseases that we suffer from today.


LEAKY GUT AND ZONULIN

In 2000, Alesso Fasano, MD, at the University of Maryland made a ground-breaking discovery. Fasano isolated the substance that directly controls the tight junctions in the gut wall and causes the gates to open, causing a leaky gut. It’s a protein called “zonulin”, and guess what triggers the release of zonulin?

If you guessed gluten, then give yourself a gold star. Gluten and bacteria exposure are the only things that can trigger the release of zonulin. The discovery that zonulin has the ability to open the gut wall is good news because it means that we now know how to heal the leaky gut.


HOW TO MANAGE AND CURE A LEAKY GUT?


This process applies to both children and adults.


Step one. Detox your body of heavy metals. This entire process takes 3 months and it is a must for adults with autoimmune, cancer and other neurological conditions.

Step two. During the 3 months detox period, consume a low-inflammatory diet. This means no gluten, dairy, additives, preservatives and processed sugar. Consume more fermented food and take a high dose of prebiotics and probiotics.


Step three restores all the vitamins and mineral deficiencies. At 360 Wellness Hub, we do a bioresonance scan to determine the deficiencies and then personalised the supplements to address the deficiencies. Our scans also detect list the client's allergies.

Step four. Leaky gut syndrome is a debilitating and confident sapping disease. To rebuild the client's confidence and reduce the impact of trauma, counselling and hypnotherapy are recommended.



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About the Author

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Dr. Lennie Soo

Founder and Clinical Director of 360 Wellness Hub.

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