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Do you have Leaky Gut Syndrome

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Article by Lyn Craven

Lyn Craven Profile | Email | Website
Lyn Craven Lyn Craven - ND. DMH. DRM. DBT. DPT. Reg. Trainer Cert IV
Specialising in all Female Health & Reproductive Disorders, Digestive/Bowel problems, Chronic Backache, RSI, carpel tunnel,
Stress management, Natural healthy vision and support for Glaucoma
Corporate Health Consultant - Naturopath
Advanced Bowen Therapist, Reiki/Energy Practitioner
Meditation Facilitator & Freelance writer.
Bondi - Sydney
Australia 2000
0403 231 804


Not many people have heard of leaky gut syndrome, in fact many could well be experiencing this disorder due to a myriad of symptoms and perhaps unaware that it is present, whilst they suffer from bloating, reflux, bowel problems and allergies, just to name a few.


What happens when you develop leaky gut syndrome:


The intestinal lining becomes hyper-permeable – which means, there are spaces developing between the cells in the gut wall, and this can allow bacteria, toxins and food to leak through.  Food should be contained within the gut lining to be fully metabolized and allow the body to utilize minerals, vitamins and proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Approximately 70% of the immune system is located around the digestive system so in a healthy person the small intestine allows the breakdown products of digestion into the bloodstream.  Nutrients and digested proteins, fats and starches are then ready to enter into the bloodstream whilst large molecules, microbes and toxins are kept out.  In a strong healthy immune system leakage of toxic substances is prevented.  However, if the immunity is weak then toxins leak into the liver, which in turn will put additional burdens on the liver.  This would require us to treat the liver with relevant herbs.

Nerve endings are in the stomach lining so when people experience ongoing stressful situations in their life this can be counterproductive in the efficient function of the digestive system and contribute to leaky gut syndrome.  Stress is a huge contributor to all gastrointestinal malfunctions, this is why we are seeing more digestive bowel disorders manifesting due to high pressure and stressful lifestyles that many people are subjected to.

In the intestinal tract, we have what are called Villi.  They are very tiny finger like projections off the lining of the intestinal tract and they have little hair like cell membrane extensions called microvilli.  They serve to assist in absorption of nutrients.  Tiny carrier molecules carry various nutrients such as amino acids, glucose and electrolytes across the cell membrane.  Leaky gut syndrome causes the intestinal lining to become irritated and inflamed so then the microvilli become damaged or altered.  The damaged microvilli cannot then produce the necessary enzymes and secretions that are essential for a healthy digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

All your mucous membranes have a mucus layer to protect it; otherwise, the membranes would become constantly irritated and sore.  When leaky gut syndrome is present, the digestive tract (which has a mucus layer protecting it from toxins and other “foreign” substances), develops a much weaker mucus layer and in severe cases the mucus layer may not be present due to inflammation.  This then allows bacteria (which normally is in the intestine), to start spreading to other parts of the body due to the intestinal permeability. 


Smaller “between” cells called desmosomes adhere adjacent cells together to form a strong, sturdy structure, which prevents large molecules from passing through.  If inflammation is present it will weaken the structure of the desmosomes and larger molecules can escape through.  This will then trigger the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the molecules, as they are perceived as antigens.  Antigens are a protein utilised by the immune system to locate and attack foreign objects.  The result is toxic oxidants produced which cause allergic reactions and more inflammation throughout the entire body!  Therefore, you can see how the problem can worsen if not detected over time.  The longer you dismiss the situation the more likely you are to encounter more complex and possibly more chronic/serious health issues arising.


If leaky gut syndrome is not treated in the earlier stages, the liver can become extremely overloaded and then expel more toxins back into the bloodstream.  This in turn instigates many of the symptoms and health disorders previously mentioned.


The blood stream propels toxins into tissues such as the connective tissue and muscles where it is then stored.  The body in its cleverness stores the toxins in the tissues and muscles to prevent organ damage, but then the toxins cause problems where they are stored!  A no win situation.


Leaky gut syndrome is not recognized nor tested by conventional lab testing or medical doctors.  However, a number of relevant symptoms and accurate testing using live blood analysis can ascertain the state and function of your gut lining.  Some doctors do not even recognize its existence.  This is really a concern since many people may be experiencing this disorder at varying degrees and left unresolved will create far more complex chronic health disorders.


What disorders/symptoms can result from leaky gut syndrome?


Leaky gut syndrome is a very common problem and it must be addressed for a person to experience optimum health and vitality.  If the digestive system does not work efficiently your energy levels will be low.  You will become “malnourished” due to inefficient absorption of nutrients, allergies can and will manifest, bloating, bowel problems, thrush over growth, gastric reflux, abdominal pain, heartburn, gluten intolerance, muscle cramps and pains, anxiety and even insomnia are all symptoms that can be the result of a leaky gut.


Many of these disorders are treated conventionally but the source of the problem is often over looked i.e. the intestinal permeability lacking integrity.  Nutritional advice is rarely offered.


Some health disorders that are linked to leaky gut syndrome are: Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Skin disorders such as Eczema, Dermatitis, Ulcerative Colitis to mention a few.


Case Study 1:

One example of a woman diagnosed with celiac disease approximately two years ago.  She was advised by her doctor to return in a few months for further testing and to contact the Celiac Association to get advice on the correct foods to eat.  She was quite diligent in doing in adhering to the correct foods.  No medication or remedies of any type were prescribed.  Follow up tests showed a very slow improvement, but once she became aware of how leaky gut syndrome could well have contributed to this disorder she began taking relevant remedies to assist in restoring integrity to the gut lining.  Her intestinal villi began to improve quite impressively and her professor of gastroenterology remarked on this, yet did not appear to recognize leaky gut syndrome.


Stress can also be a huge contributing factor to leaky gut syndrome manifesting and this was certainly the situation with this woman.


Case Study 2:

Lady diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I treated her with Bowen therapy on a regular basis whilst establishing a dietary regime for healthy eating.  Avoiding all gluten (even though she had not been diagnosed as gluten intolerant), all acidic foods (lemons exception – they are alkaline once digested), and administered appropriate herbs and supplements.  She had been diagnosed with IBS (bowels were changeable – sometimes constipated or others diahorrea).  Once the appropriate herbs were prescribed to heal the intestinal lining and large colon, along with correct live bacteria’s she began improving.  There are many types of live bacteria’s/probiotics which are specifically formulated for different gastrointestinal symptoms/disorders.  She experienced less muscular pain, more flexibility and less fatigue.  Anti parasite, herbs were administered later into the program due to her long-standing bowel problems, which can provide a breeding ground for parasites and worms to take up residence. Over time she improved on scale of 1-10 from (she said 2 on meeting me) to 8 or 9.  Live blood analysis indicated leaky gut had resolved approximately 4 months into her regime.  Remedies are assessed over the course of treatments and some may cease once improvement occurs, others are continued at different dosage for ongoing maintenance.  This is usually the case when chronic or autoimmune disorders are present.


What to do?


For optimum health and well-being, you must have an efficient digestive system that can absorb all nutrients from your diet.  If the digestion is impaired in any way, such as with leaky gut syndrome then no matter the quality of your food or supplements you will not absorb your nutrients efficiently.  Many natural therapists look upon the Stomach as the “Seat of Disease“.  All efforts to eliminate and manage stress in your life need to be addressed, introducing a variety of options into a daily regime such as stress management, meditation, yoga and Tai chi. Lifestyle changes are often required in many cases.


Leaky gut syndrome is quite easy to resolve.  The key thing here is consistency and perseverance with your remedies.  Since each person is unique so requires individual attention, I recommend that you see a Naturopath who is experienced in treating this problem and that can prescribe the correct remedies to help resolve this disorder. Specific herbal and homeopathic remedies, along with appropriate live bacteria are taken over a period of time.  The person is monitored and remedies will be changed in accordance to progress.  There is not a quick fix solution here.  The treatment will focus on treating the whole person, not just the stomach.


There are many live bacteria’s on the market and it can be confusing, so it is really best to leave the selection to a professional who knows the correct live bacteria to administer and so ensure you obtain efficient results, since some are specifically catered to restoring integrity to the gut mucosa.  Change of diet will also be required in all cases, has some of the foods you may have eaten over time are more than likely to have contributed to leaky gut syndrome manifesting, along with any stressful situations, alcohol, or other substances that the body finds toxic.  Continuing to consume any of the offending foods or beverages that trigger reactions, will only compound the existing symptoms and slow the healing process of the gut lining considerably.


People often ask me “how long will I need to take my remedies”?  This question is not easy to answer due to the length of time you may have had this disorder and the capacity for your body to heal.  However, I must say I have seen many people resolve and enjoy perfect healthy digestive function, gaining more energy and a positive outlook on life, providing they are consistent and comply with doses and remedies prescribed.


Remember, if your body is toxic you cannot expect to experience optimum energy, loose weight and maintain a positive outlook.  A sluggish digestion and bowel can contribute to depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, mood swings, chronic fatigue and complete lack of motivation and joy in life.  Some people suffering from depression may not have had their digestive health assessed.


I aim to keep things simplistic for people, when treating them, which also enables them to feel less anxious and pressured by any remedies they are presently taking over a given period of time so they obtain optimum health. No two people are treated the same, everyone is unique even if presenting with the same health issues.


If you feel that, you have any of the above symptoms you may wish to investigate to ensure that, no further health disorders manifest over time.  Remember, prevention is paramount to optimum health, vitality and emotional well-being!  Medical doctors are not trained in nutrition, enzyme therapy or herbal and homoeopathic remedies.  It is the use of these safe and non-toxic, non-addictive, non-irritant remedies that help you achieve improved gastrointestinal health and more efficient metabolism.  Remember, there is no quick fix for chronic health issues and no magic pill to take your problem away and allow you to continue eating the offending foods.  This is not how your body works.

Do not dis-regard any symptoms that manifest in the digestive/bowel system – seek professional naturopathic advice and aim at resolving it before things get worse.  Remember, a naturopath is a fully qualified nutritionist, medical herbalist, homoeopath and often iridologist.  They are better placed to guide you with diet/food therapy, prescribe relevant supplements of all types, herbal and homoeopathic remedies – all highly effective in helping you resolve a wide variety of health disorders without side effects.  The latter would only occur if you were self-prescribing and taking pharmaceutical drugs and not experienced at administering correct dosage.


I offer both face to face and phone/skype consultations if you are too far away from Sydney to meet with me.  Please contact me to arrange a time. 


Lyn Craven has over 19 years experience as a Natural Medicine Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki Therapist, Meditation Teacher, a Corporate Health Consultant/Presenter. She has a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on 0403 231 804 or



15 Jul 2013

Article/Information supplied by Lyn Craven

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.