What is Leaky Gut Anyway?

Let’s take a look at what Leaky Gut, also known as Intestinal Permeability, is and isn’t. According to Wikipedia “Leaky Gut Syndrome is a hypothetical, medically unrecognized condition.” Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has been doing research on this subject for the past 30 years.  He states that, “We now believe that under certain circumstances, fissures open up in the intestinal barrier that may allow things to get through. For a long time, we couldn’t explain how the large molecules that cause allergies or autoimmune diseases got from your gut into your body,” he says. “There’s still a lot of debate over this, but it appears gaps may sometimes form between the cells that may allow larger molecules through.”

So the latest theory on leaky gut, which is well established in the alternative medicine community goes something like this: When a child with a certain genetic disposition ingests a food (such as gluten) or chemical (such as red dye or MSG) they will experience inflammation in the digestive tract. The pores in the lining of the small intestines typically allow for absorption of tiny nutrients. These pores become enlarged due to inflammation and now allow large food particles, toxins and bacteria to travel into the blood stream. Our immune system has no idea how to react to these foreign particles and immediately attacks in order to overtake the offending particles. This puts our immune system in a constant heightened state and can cause a wide variety of health issues including inflammation, allergies and food sensitivities.

Leaky gut leads to poor vitamin and mineral absorption which creates nutrient deficiencies and imbalances in amino acids and neuro transmitters. These can be key drivers of brain disorders which include depression, anxiety, ADHD and Autism. Studies show that a majority of Autistic children have leaky gut or intestinal permeability and it is clear from parent interviews that eliminating gluten and dairy from an Autistic child’s diet creates significant improvement of symptoms. According to Dr. Tom O’Bryan an expert in gluten intolerance, the majority of ADHD children suffer from various food sensitivities, most notably gluten and casein (dairy products).

Some symptoms of leaky gut include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and stomach aches as well as skin rashes, eczema and rosacea. The majority of ADHD children suffer from one or more of these symptoms. This is their body telling them that something they are eating does not agree with them. Get rid of these symptoms of the gut and you will lay the ground work for a child with fewer ADHD symptoms.

For more information on this subject, check out my book titled “Healing Our ADHD Children” or join my Facebook Group called ADHD Healing.