Do you have a “leaky gut”?

Leaky gut is not currently an official medical diagnosis (studies are being conducted but not fast and conclusive enough) and thus, it is not yet taught in medical schools.  This creates some controversy and debate among health professionals and confusion for the general public.  “We don’t know a lot but we know that it exists,” says Linda A. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist, and director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center. Symptoms attributed to leaky gut include bloating, gas, cramping, and other bowel complaints, food sensitivities and other auto-immune reactions, skin conditions, thyroid and adrenal problems, mood and focus issues, and joint aches and pains. Isn’t that quite a broad array of symptoms?  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was serious when he said, “all disease begins in the gut.” Leaky gut refers to a condition where the lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes more permeable, that is to say, more spacious between the cells such that undigested macromolecules can slip through and into the bloodstream.   The result is immune stress, as the body tries to deal with these miss-placed and undigested molecules.  Examples of the most common of these wayward molecules are foods such as grain gluten particles and milk casein. It is thought that this hyperpermeability happens when we:  do not produce the enzymes necessary to break down the molecules; eat too much too fast, especially when under stress; and/or, consume foods that are not intended for our bodies to handle.  When food particles do not get digested they irritate and inflame the intestinal lining.  The damage to the tissue is like stretching or fraying a nylon or...