The gut is the gateway to health; as Hippocrates once said: "all disease begins in the gut." Leaky gut occurs when the intestines malfunction, which can lead to autoimmune disorders. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is a result of damage to the lining of the small intestine. As a result, undigested food particles, toxic waste, and bacteria leak through and into the bloodstream. This causes a lack of enzymes required for proper digestion, which prompts autoimmune responses that weaken the immune system.
Diet is a common cause of leaky gut. Inflammatory foods such as gluten, soy, and dairy can prompt the production of antibodies, which trigger an immune response that causes a range of symptoms from migraines to diarrhea. Toxicity is another cause of leaky gut. Humans regularly come into contact with antibiotics, pesticides, contaminated tap water, and medications that the body may see as toxins. Dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, can also lead to leaky gut. This imbalance can begin at birth, due to the mother's gut bacteria during pregnancy, though too many prescription antibiotics can also adversely affect the gut biome.
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