Diet & NutritionGut HealthHealth Conditions

6 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut—and How to Treat It

Have you ever played Dr Google to search for why you’re feeling anxious, depressed, ultra-tired, constantly achy, always getting sick, can’t think straight and to top it off constantly running to the toilet with diarrhea? Well, if any of those conditions sound like YOU, then you might want to consider the possibility of Leaky Gut Syndrome. 

What is Leaky Gut?

While the term ‘leaky gut’ may conjure up some odd imagery, it’s literally as it suggests where your gut ‘leaks’ allergens, toxins and bad bacteria through the normally ‘tight junctures’ of the intestine wall into your bloodstream. 

In a healthy gut, your intestines have the ability to absorb nutrients from foods you eat in a process known as intestinal permeability. When this intestinal permeability is increased by damage to the lining of your intestine, causing leaky gut, your body reacts with an immunological stress response and inflammation

What causes leaky gut? 

There is still lots of conjecture in the medical and scientific community about the exact cause of leaky gut. However, most signs point towards diet and stress as the main contributors.

There are a variety of studies looking at what contributes to leaky gut syndrome. Some include eating excess sugar from processed foods, excess alcohol intake and poor gut microbiota. All of which are known to harm the protective mucosa or layers of the gut wall. Deficiencies in vitamin A, D and zinc and long-term use of some medications (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) have also been linked to increased intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut. 

Ultimately, chronic stress and inflammation throughout the body often contribute to and exacerbate leaky gut, among other gastrointestinal disorders.  

6+ Signs you may have a leaky gut

While Leaky Gut Syndrome is gaining recognition as a legitimate medical condition, there is still a lot of debate whether increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut, is a symptom or a cause of particular diseases. However, there are some signs that you may have leaky gut. Can you relate to any of these?

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain or bloating
  • Bloating, diarrhea and constipation are all signs that there is something wrong with your digestive system and are classic symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is extensive literature documenting leaky gut in people with IBS and the association of leaky gut with pain in IBS. Additionally, a longitudinal study in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease suggested leaky gut occurred prior to a relapse of Crohn’s disease, suggesting its role in inflammation of the gut. 

  • Poor immune system
  • If you’re constantly getting sick or finding it hard to fight off any little infection, it may be a sign that your immune system is suffering. Research suggests that an increased susceptibility to infections can be due to decreased L-Glutamine in your bloodstream, which impairs the functioning of your immune cells. A sign of leaky gut is deficiency in L-Glutamine. The good news is, you can increase your intake of L-Glutamine with Happy Mammoth’s Ultra Absorb L-Glutamine

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Depression and anxiety are complex mental health illnesses with many underlying biological, chemical, and environmental causes. However, research suggests that the microbiota-gut-brain axis and inflammation plays a major role in mental health symptoms. Leaky gut is known to cause inflammation and may contribute to a disturbance in the microbiota-gut-brain messaging with bacteria crossing the intestinal wall. This is an exciting area of ongoing research!  

  • Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  • If you’ve noticed a flare up in your skin issues, it may have more to do with your gut than you think. The fact that leaky gut causes inflammation is thought to be a contributing factor to exacerbating inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and rosacea, though more evidence is needed to make direct links. 

  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • The old saying, ‘I can feel it in my bones’, has new meaning when it comes to leaky gut! While rheumatoid arthritis has many factors involved, researchers have used animal models to link dysbiosis (loss of beneficial bacteria and bacterial biodiversity possibly due to leaky gut) to rheumatoid arthritis. They even suggest that improving the mucosal layer of the gut (one of the areas affected by leaky gut) may be a potential therapy.

    Leaky gut syndrome also has strong associations with other autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s, Lupus, and Type 1 diabetes. 

  • Other signs reported to be associated with leaky gut: 
    • Headaches 
    • Brain fog
    • Memory loss
    • Excessive fatigue 

    A step towards fixing leaky gut

    Reducing stress and getting better quality sleep seem to be a cure-all for many conditions. For leaky gut syndrome they are particularly useful strategies. Studies suggest that improved melatonin levels (the sleep hormone) and probiotics improve stress-induced gastrointestinal issues, like leaky gut. 

    Given smoking leads to inflammation and alcohol puts stress on your digestive system, ditching the cigarettes and limiting alcohol intake are good for your general health as well as your leaky gut.

    Protect and heal your leaky gut with L-Glutamine 

    L-Glutamine works in two ways to benefit gut health. It improves the gut lining and decreases inflammation. 

    A significant body of evidence indicates that L-Glutamine acts to preserve the gut barrier function and prevents ‘leaking’ of toxins and bad bacteria in leaky gut. Furthermore, researchers affirm that glutamine is considered the most important nutrient for healing leaky gut syndrome because it is preferred fuel for the specialised cells of the gut. 

    Given that your gut has little capacity to make L-Glutamine, it relies heavily on supply by other tissues and from your diet. This is where taking a rapidly absorbed, specially formulated (not to mention great tasting) supplement like Happy Mammoth’s Ultra Absorb L-Glutamine is so important for leaky gut. 

    Happy Mammoth’s Ultra Absorb L-Glutamine promotes rapid cell regeneration to start restoring the gut lining (within 30 days or less) and preventing further damage from leaky gut. By taking steps to repair your leaky gut you may start to see improvements in IBS symptoms, immunity, and your mood! 

    Getting the right amount of L-glutamine for leaky gut 

    Before you rush out and buy any old L-Glutamine supplement for your leaky gut it’s important to understand the impact of taking the RIGHT dose of L-Glutamine. 

    Most capsule-style supplements are designed for people with healthy guts who may be taking it to improve growth and repair after endurance or weight workouts. The regular recommendation on those packs is 1-2 grams per day. But this may not be anywhere near sufficient for the treatment of leaky gut syndrome. 

    Happy Mammoth recommends mixing 5-grams (approximately one scoop) of Ultra Absorb L-Glutamine once daily with 200-300ml of water or as directed by your healthcare professional. 

    Apart from getting the dosage for your body correct, there are also common misconceptions about taking L-Glutamine that may be hindering your improvement. Some other helpful hints for maximizing the benefit of your L-Glutamine include: 

    • Take it 30-45 min before or after food (not with food)
    • Take it with room temperature or cool water (not with hot beverages)
    • Make sure you’re getting enough…food alone won’t provide the amounts needed for healing leaky gut
    • Take powder form for better absorption and fewer added materials

    Bottom Line

    As you can see leaky gut can be at the centre of a lot of different conditions, from IBS to autoimmune diseases! Managing your gut health and improving leaky gut starts with reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, and taking natural supplements. So, if you’re ready to stop playing Dr Google and start taking some action, take our Free Comprehensive Health Assessment to get a full recommendation on the best products for you.

    Shop now