What is a “Leaky” Gut? (And why does it matter?)

“Leaky gut,” also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition where food particles, bacteria, and toxins “leak” through the intestinal wall. This happens when the tight junctions of the gut lining become loose and substances pass through it, causing issues for the entire body – including the immune system. This can lead to problems like food sensitivities, autoimmunity, chronic fatigue, skin changes, diarrhea/constipation, mental health disruptions, neurological symptoms, and more.

Causes of leaky gut can vary, but often include: unhealthy/inflammatory diets, exposure to toxins, overuse of antibiotics, infections, viruses, and stress – all which can disrupt the gut microbiome, which is tied to almost all of today’s diseases/illnesses. When a digestive system is not leaky, it works to protect our bodies from harmful substances because the intestinal walls function as a barrier to what enters the bloodstream. When it’s leaky, the opposite occurs.

At Newbridge, our functional medicine providers ALWAYS address gut health, including identifying if leaky gut is at play. Learn more about our systems approach to health, and services like functional medicine consultations and functional nutrition which help patients address the root cause of illness, including gut health.