Leaky Gut Syndrome

“Leaky gut syndrome” is a hypothetical gastrointestinal disorder that results in bacteria, toxins, undigested proteins and fats, and waste being “leaked” from the intestines into your bloodstream. While a certain degree of increased intestinal permeability is recognized by the scientific community as a symptom for some conditions, leaky gut syndrome as a diagnosis is completely hypothetical, unsupported by research, and unrecognized by the medical field. Here is why you should be skeptical of the concept of this condition.

Lack of Research

Proponents of leaky gut syndrome claim that the presence of bacteria and toxins in your bloodstream leads to a wide array of symptoms and conditions, including diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, bloating, gas, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, moodiness, autism, sleeplessness, eczema, and psoriasis. However, none of these claims can be substantiated with research, meaning that they are all purely speculation. There are no scientific studies that validate any of the claims about this condition at all.

Pseudoscientific Treatments

The theory of leaky gut syndrome is states that it is the result of damage to the intestinal lining caused by toxins, poor diet, parasites, infection, or medications. Many of the solutions offered by promoters of this condition are based on fad diets that claim most normal foods are to blame for conditions such as leaky gut occurring. Therefore, many of the recommended “treatments” for this condition are completely unnecessary and unverifiable.

One example is avoiding foods with high sugar content (including fresh fruits) because of the claim that excess sugar leads to an overgrowth of certain strains of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract, which is responsible for the damage to the intestinal wall that causes leaky gut syndrome. Another example is to avoid all dairy products and anything that contains gluten because they claim that sensitivities to gluten and lactose also contribute to the damage of the intestinal lining.

However, following these types of treatment plans is more likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies than it is to reduce your symptoms. Fruit does not cause yeast to attack your intestines, and gluten and lactose only cause intestinal problems for a very small percentage of the population who have verified gluten and lactose allergies. Unless you have a food allergy or intolerance, you should never trust a practitioner who tells you to remove multiple food groups from your diet, especially when it is healthy foods such as fruit and grains.

It is also worrisome when people who support this unverified condition try to sell specialized products to “treat” leaky gut syndrome. These treatments are often unproven and the condition they are claiming to treat has absolutely no medical basis. Since these supplements have not been researched or supported by the medical community, they will usually do little to reduce your symptoms, cost a lot of money, and might even be dangerous.

Promoted by Naturopaths

Most of the people who are supporting this condition are not properly educated medical professionals. Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs a wide array of “natural” treatments including homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture. Since most naturopathic “doctors” believe that diseases and conditions can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, they are more likely to subscribe to the diagnosis of conditions such as “leaky gut syndrome” that have no medical basis, yet offer an easy, simplified explanation for a wide array of serious diseases and conditions.

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