What exactly is leaky gut?
Our gut holds more than 4,000 square feet of intestinal lining called mucosa. Healthy intestinal mucosa create a barrier between the intestines and our bloodstream; when damaged, the intestinal wall can develop cracks or holes, permitting the release of bacteria, toxins, and food particles.
This, in essence, is leaky gut. Wouldn’t it would be just groovy if things were that simple? Alas, it is not. Many doctors and scientists do not recognize the expression “leaky gut,” much less identify it as a medical condition.
But it is very real. Here’s what Marcelos Campos, MD, contributor to Harvard Medical School, has to say: “(Leaky gut) may trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora (normal bacteria) that could lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond.”
Dr. Campos’ observations speak to common sense. After all, the intestinal wall is not impenetrable; and when bacteria and toxins “leak” into the bloodstream, the results can’t be altogether favorable.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF LEAKY GUT?
While it is difficult to explain precisely the mechanisms of leaky gut that cause fatigue, it is clear – from both medical observation and personal anecdotes – that intestinal troubles trigger fatigue. The most likely explanation is the GI tract’s ties to the nervous and immune systems.
Generally, the body does not react favorably to perceived threats – and leaky gut releases plenty. The different bacterium, compounds, and other elements not recognized by the immune system forces the body into overdrive, which invariably leads to fatigue.
The symptoms of leaky gut are comparable to those of Crohn’s and Celiac disease. Diarrhea that lasts over an extended period, typically one month, may be indicative of leaky gut.
Put simply, when the digestive system is thrown through a loop, a bad case of diarrhea is soon to follow. Nausea may also surface from time to time.
3. BRAIN FOG
Brain fog is the umbrella term used to describe “memory problems, a lack of clarity, and an inability to focus.” The sufferer experiences a sensation of mental clouding, or “foggy” feeling.
As we’ve discussed, the gastrointestinal system and nervous system are inextricably connected. The functions (or misfunctions) of one will typically affect the other. When it comes to leaky gut’s effects on the brain, the likely explanation is a disruption to the vast network of neurons that connect them to one another.