In a nutshell leaky gut is defined as IMPAIRED INTESTINAL BARRIER PERMEABILITY, or intestinal hyper-permeability. What does this mean? It means that the lining of the gut, which is tasked with letting in what you are designed to let in and block what you are designed to block, isn't working well in the BLOCKING portion of it's job. And due to inflammation, prior and resulting, the first part of the job, the letting in part, also doesn't work right.
Remember: the gut lining is meant to protect you from all the bad stuff that passes through with three layers.
Epethelial: where immune and neurological functions happen
In another nutshell, this dysfunction in permeability of the gut lining goes like this:
Too much protein ZONULIN released
the tight junctions of the gut lining are loosened (tight junctions are protein structures that seal up cells)
This allows antigens to pass into the mucosal lining (another "failsafe" barrier in the design)
The liver has to work harder, and the immune system kicks into overdrive (think auto immune issues and inflammation)
When the gut is leaky, the immune system has less energy for other disturbances due to the gut's constant needs. This can lead to infections and illness, while also affecting mood and hormone balance, among with many other things. Nutrient Absorption is negatively impacted as a resulting of the intestinal microvilli being damaged by leaky gut. So kind of link celiac but not as concrete.
Leaky gut really isn't easily diagnosed yet due to its commonality of the symptoms. However, I would say and a lot of other more educated people would agree that most people have some degree of leaky gut.
In fact ... babies are born with a gut thats not fully developed and a bit leaky, thus why the breast milk is designed the way it is. And a big reason why babies get colic and gerd.
IN OTHER WORDS
Undigested particles (antigens) sneak through the gut lining into the bloodstream
The Immune system creates antibodies for the antigens.
The immune system produces an inflammatory response in anticipation of more antigens.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, run away train
Bloating, diarrhea and GI issues
Skin rashes / eczema
Lectins from grains (part of the anti gluten/grain movement)
Nightshades (google it)
Processed foods: Additives, emulsifiers (food stabilizers) Like in almond milk!!
Candida secreting toxin that causes epithelial cells to shrink
NSAIDs . (ib)
Environmental toxins, such as antibacterials
REPAIRING LEAKY GUT
Test if you want them: ELISA, Lactulose/mannitol, IgE
4 R's of Functional Medicine
Supplementing with herbal antimicrobials
Rotation diets: limit specific food exposure to 24 hour cycles, then avoid the next 3-4 days
L-glutamine. Athletes should be taking this any way for recovery
Think about prebiotics as well
REPAIR MUCOSAL LINING
Steps 1,2 and 3
Gut-supporting nutrients and foods
Bone broth, collagen, L-glutamine
Honey (replacing sugar)
Fermented and cultured foods
Healthy fats (coconut oil)
Supplements for Leaky Gut
Slippery elm bark
5 Tips to Fix
Take out dairy and grains
Add D3 and magnesium
Eat LESS processed foods, including "healthy" packaged foods