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How do I know if I've got a leaky gut in the absence of major symptoms?

by (367)
Updated November 23, 2014 at 3:37 AM
Created June 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I'm a relative newbie and have looked through the archives at lots of questions on leaky gut but still can't quite get my head round how to know if you've got one. Do you always have major symptoms? And considering my past, I've been bulimic as a teen (apparently Jack Kruse considers this a likely sign of leaky gut or perhaps it could cause one?) had rosacea but that's mostly gone since going 90% paleo, odd courses of antibiotics, though not for ten years, and not breastfed for more than a few weeks, all making optimum gut flora unlikely I suppose.

So, any diagnostic criteria? Might I have had a leaky gut but going mostly paleo has fixed it? What's your experience? Thanks.

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367 · June 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Thank you, I will enjoy all the delicious real food and not worry! I think you are right, the rosacea was a sign of leaky gut, it is pretty much gone and I hope my gut is mostly healed though I think I will always need to be careful.

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535 · June 21, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Again, with no advice intended, gluten seems inextricably linked to gut hyperpermeability (at least in some people). There is an obvious need for quite a bit more investigation in this area.

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418 · June 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Yes! :) I feel so much better w/o it - far less bloat even tho technically I had no issues with it. A test removal was do great I never went back.

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367 · June 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM

That's very helpful, Paul, thanks. Do you consider removing gluten to be helpful even in putative cases of leaky gut or even to prevent future gut hyperpermeability?

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5 Answers

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535 · June 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM

The only real way of ascertaining gut hyperpermeability or not is via testing - lactolose/mannitol test, PEG, etc. A good overview is here:

http://gut.bmj.com/content/35/1_Suppl/S18.full.pdf (full-text)

There may be other 'peripheral' markers indicating permeability issues as per things like elevated IgG antibody levels to intestinal bacteria species - see this paper on Sutterella and developmental disorders as a sort of template - full-text - : http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/1/e00261-11.full.pdf (see page 8).

As to whether gut permeability issues can be 'fixed', without any medical advice intended or given, look to coeliac (celiac) disease as a potential model of what gluten seems to be able to do and the influence of a gluten-free diet (at least in coeliac disease).

Indeed in my area of interest, there seems also to be some potential effects from the removal of gluten on measures of intestinal permeability albeit with more research required:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683204

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · June 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Yes! :) I feel so much better w/o it - far less bloat even tho technically I had no issues with it. A test removal was do great I never went back.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91
367 · June 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM

That's very helpful, Paul, thanks. Do you consider removing gluten to be helpful even in putative cases of leaky gut or even to prevent future gut hyperpermeability?

9225c8e3ea353a2c604cacd62506047d
535 · June 21, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Again, with no advice intended, gluten seems inextricably linked to gut hyperpermeability (at least in some people). There is an obvious need for quite a bit more investigation in this area.

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1439 · June 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I had absolutely no clue that I had a leaky gut. Actually, I had clues, but I did not connect the dots. If I ate curry or hot salsa, I would become very irritable, horny, and it would cause insomnia. I just thought that my spirit was not well connected to my body and the hot food made me hotter. Little did I know that the hot molecules were not being broken down and were entering directly into my blood stream. No wonder I would become so enraged after a hot meal.

Homemade kefir did not solve the problem. I think that homemade kefir is the cat's meow and it is currently one of my staples, but it did not solve the problem. Since becoming paleo for the past about 3 months, the problem is solved. Recently I had very large amounts of curry and chocolate ice cream 3 days in a row, with exactly zero irritability. Eating like this is not very paleo or even healthy in the traditional sense, but it was a great test of my new found strength/health.

This experience has (1) made me a paleo fanatic, even worse than I used to be, (2) made me realize that there are a lot of problems that can be below the radar of self and doctor diagnoses, and (3) it is always better to shoot at a health goal than be harassed into living/eating right by painful symptoms.

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2904 · June 26, 2012 at 1:11 PM

If you've been on antibiotics and not breastfed, you've got gut permeability.

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353 · June 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Rosacea was your symptom for leaky gut. As you healed the leaky gut by paleo diet rosacea is gone too. That is how it worked with me.

Enjoy paleo food and stop warrying, that might get your gut more leaky too.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91
367 · June 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Thank you, I will enjoy all the delicious real food and not worry! I think you are right, the rosacea was a sign of leaky gut, it is pretty much gone and I hope my gut is mostly healed though I think I will always need to be careful.

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