What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is as unpleasant a problem as its name suggests. Leaky Gut Syndrome, or intestinal hyperpermeability, describes a condition in which the intestines actually leak toxins, undigested food, harmful organisms, and waste into the blood stream. This happens when tight junctions, which are the barrier that prevents undigested or harmful material from crossing into the blood stream, become weakened. In simpler terms — imagine if you had a garden hose made of cotton instead of rubber; it’s something like that. Unfortunately, leaky gut syndrome is a problem that’s affected many and has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, asthma, autism and Type I diabetes. [1]

Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome

The main cause of leaky gut syndrome is tight junction breakdown, and research is continuing to examine why that happens. As with many Irritable Bowel Diseases, the focus remains food intolerances, allergic reactions, genetic disposition toward the problem, and gut flora imbalances. These situations lead to redness, swelling, and damage to the lining of the intestines. These are prime factors that encourage leaky gut to occur.

Leaky gut syndrome does have one unique cause — alcohol. [2] [3] Alcohol is especially responsible because it wears down the lining that protects the intestinal wall, exposing the intestinal wall to damage from undigested material and toxins in the gut.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome

Since leaky gut allows toxins and other intestinal material into the bloodstream, the symptoms and conditions that develop vary greatly. Some of these may be allergies, or cardiovascular and metabolic disturbances. [4]

Two conditions receiving much attention for their association with leaky gut syndrome are chronic fatigue syndrome and depression. While each of these conditions are unique, researchers have identified the similar mechanism that can lead to their development. In response to gram-negative (unfriendly) bacteria entering the blood stream, the body releases antibodies. In patients suffering from both chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, these antibodies have been found in higher levels. [5] [6] [7]

Is There Anything That Can Be Done?

Many people have found that nutritional management to be one of the most effective means of managing the problem of a ‘leaky gut’. Adding compounds such as glutamine and curcumin to the diet may also promote a more healthy intestinal environment by reducing redness and oxidative stress that contribute to tight junction breakdown. [4]

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or crohn’s disease, keeping a food journal may be helpful in identifying foods causing intestinal discomfort. If you notice it to be happening frequently, especially when alcohol is involved, it may be best to pass on the pint or glass of wine. Additionally, some people have found that adding a probiotic supplement such as Latero-Flora™ or regularly cleansing their colon can help.

Has leaky gut syndrome been a problem in your life? How have you managed it? Please leave a comment below and share your experience.


  1. Liu Z, Li N, Neu J. Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases. Acta Paediatr. 2005 Apr;94(4):386-93.
  2. Cubero FJ, Nieto N. Kupffer cells and alcoholic liver disease. Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2006 Jun;98(6):460-72.
  3. Tang Y, Banan A, Forsyth CB, Fields JZ, Lau CK, Zhang LJ, Keshavarzian A. Effect of alcohol on miR-212 expression in intestinal epithelial cells and its potential role in alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Feb;32(2):355-64. Epub 2007 Dec 21.
  4. Rapin JR, Wiernsperger N. Possible links between intestinal permeability and food processing: A potential therapeutic niche for glutamine. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010 Jun;65(6):635-43. doi: 10.1590/S1807-59322010000600012.
  5. Maes M, Kubera M, Leunis JC, Berk M. Increased IgA and IgM responses against gut commensals in chronic depression: further evidence for increased bacterial translocation or leaky gut. J Affect Disord. 2012 Dec 1;141(1):55-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.02.023. Epub 2012 Mar 11.
  6. Maes M, Kubera M, Obuchowiczwa E, Goehler L, Brzeszcz J. Depression’s multiple comorbidities explained by (neuro)inflammatory and oxidative & nitrosative stress pathways. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(1):7-24.
  7. Maes M, Leunis JC. Normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2008 Dec;29(6):902-10.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Matt

    I’m still having problems with it, can’t heal it at all. I react to probiotics too. The weirdest part is i don’t have candida, confirmed through a stool analysis and other tests 🙁

  • Edward Group

    Thank you for your comment! I have found that when applying oxygen to the colon that it helps with healing, this may also be the case for Leaky Gut, I would suggest the use of Oxy-Powder. It may also be wise to consult with a reputable Naturopath in your area to help you track your progress.
    -Dr. Group

  • acjitsu

    I’ve had major IBS. A few things you need to do:

    1- Get your bowel cleansed using an enema.

    2- Repopulate and heal your intestinal tract using combination of Probiotics(Innate is a good brand), L-Glutamine, and Xymogen Igg DF 2000. 1

    3- Get on a “Paleo/Primal” type of diet. Grass fed meats, organic chicken, fish(wild not farmed) and vegetables at all major meals.

    4-Completely eliminate wheat, oats, sugars, sugar substitutes, alcohol, bread, pasta, corn, HFCS, cheese, milk from your diet.

    Give this time, at least 3- 6 months and you WILL
    feel better !!!

    Good luck !!

  • acjitsu

    ALWAYS stay on the probiotics, Glutamine and Xymogen Igg DF 2000.

  • Walid

    Dr Group,

    What would be the cure for ciprofloxacin toxicity?


  • Page

    I have fatigue when I eat certain food and it lasts for days. I was told I have Leaky gut and food sensitivities due to it. I was given fish supplements, probiotics, etc. Im very sensatives to suppliments. Is there a cure all “magic pill” for leaky gut?

  • Some people find that probiotics help but no, there is no magic pill to make it all go away!

  • Page

    Is there anything else I should be taking?

  • Coconut has good fatty acids that digest a little easier than other fats, that can help. A good source of fiber, like chia seed or flax seed, can help support the probiotics in your gut.

  • nathalie

    Hello, can you please answer my question:
    Can i take cayenne pepper when i have a leaky gut ?

  • Haven’t seen anything to suggest you can’t. Does it give you problems?

  • Paula Seargant

    I used to suffer from leaky for about 10 years so I have tried every treatment & supplement there is. Unfortunately nothing had any positive effect at all on me but thankfully I was actually able to completely cure my leaky gut after my cousin referred. I only had to do 2 things:

    1. Use the herbal remedy ‘DigestAssist’; Pelargonium reniforme ensures a natural approach to trouble-free digestion.

    2. Follow every step in the free video & guide seen at
    curehealthproblem*com/leakygut (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here) This tackle leaky gut in a natural way. This is very important.

    3. Ginger and garlic are natural ingredients. They are nature’s gifts with the power to cure leaky gut syndrome so include them in your lifestyle as much as possible.

    Try those two steps and hopefully you will get as much luck with getting rid of leaky gut as i did. Just remember leaky gut does not have to be a permanent problem, diets & medications may slightly ease symptoms occasionally but you really need to tackle the root cause. Good luck <3

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  • Kristine Bautista Garcia

    hello, my daughter has been diagnosed with leaky gut but I’m not 100% behind this diagnosis. Her only symptom is chronic nausea and vomiting. Could nausea be a symptom leaky gut

  • Carmen

    Can a leaky gut ever be repaired?

  • GHC Support

    Hi, Carmen. Thank you for contacting us. Although
    Oxy-Powder may help flush out the over-growth of yeast or harmful organisms attributed to Leaky Gut Syndrome, daily probiotic (as mentioned) and enzyme use along with Omega-3 Fatty Acids may also be beneficial. Below, you may view more information:


    In all cases it is suggested to contact your doctor or naturopath for additional guidance; you may find a naturopath near you at the following link: http://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=1.

    Have a happy and healthy day!

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