<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?ev=6048136207047&amp;cd[value]=0.01&amp;cd[currency]=USD&amp;noscript=1"> A leaky gut: the beginning of a lot of misery
September 22, 2017
in Blogs
5 min. reading time

A leaky gut: beginning of a lot of misery

Headache, hay fever, constipation, bloating, allergy or fatigue. How many people do you know who were prescribed a stool test at the doctor's office with these symptoms? Not many. Yet that wouldn't be a bad idea at all, says Dr. Ir. Julia Schantl, orthomolecular colon therapist and expert on intestinal problems. "There is more and more research showing that poorly functioning gut is at the root of numerous health problems," Julia says. And so in this article, we take a dive into the gut.

"The gut," Julia explains, "should be thought of as a tube that guides the outside world through our body. The intestine determines what may and may not be taken into the body. The intestine consists of an intestinal wall, on top of that a layer of mucus and finally a layer of good bacteria. The intestinal wall is thin, in some places only one layer of cells. Between the cells there are channels, 'tight-junctions', which act as a kind of sliding doors that only let the right substances through."

Leaky gut

If the intestine is working properly, only digested nutrients will enter. If he does not function properly, then the tight junction channels are too large and undigested nutrients, "bad" bacteria and other harmful substances inside. We then speak of a 'leaky gut'.

Immune system on overtime

When harmful substances enter your body, it starts to defend itself tooth and nail. "All guns are pulled out," Julia explains. "Your entire immune system goes into full battle mode. That takes an awful lot of energy, so fatigue is one of the symptoms associated with a leaky gut."

What other symptoms are added varies from person to person. "Where your system is most weak or vulnerable, things go wrong. That could be an allergic reaction, headaches, joint pain, bloating or problems with stool." And: a leaky gut not only allows harmful substances to pass through, it also absorbs healthy nutrients less well. This further affects your health.

Chronic problems

If the leaky gut persists for a long time, the problems can become really big. Because the immune system is constantly in fight mode, it can also start attacking its own body. Then autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes or rheumatism develop.

Problems can also arise in the brain. There the neurotransmitters can be disturbed by harmful substances, which affects your mood and brain functions. And that is what happens with diseases like ADHD, autism, dyslexia and psychosis.

At the doctor's officeOnderzoek_dokter_voor_Lekkende_darm_

In naturopathy the leaky gut is seen as the underlying cause of many diseases. In mainstream medicine however, Leaky Gut Syndrome is not yet widely recognised as a condition. "Science has not long figured out how bowel function relates to health issues and further research is ongoing. It takes about fifteen years on average for an insight from science to become commonplace within mainstream medicine," Julia says. "So it will take another ten years or so. But a large number of diseases really start with the intestines.

Causes of a leaky gut

Much research is still taking place into the exact causes of leaky gut, but there are a few factors that are known to at least contribute to the condition.

"Stress is one of the causes," Julia explains. "The body is then in fight-or-flight mode and wants energy quickly. Possibly the body then just opens the sliding doors as wide as possible for a while to get energy quickly."

In other cases, the leak occurs because the intestinal wall is damaged. "That can come from the wrong diet. Gluten, for example," Julia says. "Or use of ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs." Zinc deficiency is also associated with leaky gut.


Another culprit is Candida. This is a yeast that occurs naturally in the body. Normally, this yeast is controlled by "good" bacteria in the gut. Antibiotic use, medications, too many (processed) carbohydrates and sugar can kill these "good" bacteria. This can lead to Candida overgrowth and thus a Candida infection, resulting in a leaky gut. "And make no mistake," warns Julia, "antibiotics don't just get us by prescription. It's also in meat, milk and other animal foods."

Fecal analysis

So eating healthier, drinking less and avoiding antibiotics where possible can help prevent your gut from leaking. But how do you know if it isn't already? "For me, allergies, skin problems and hay fever are already signals to start looking at the gut," Julia says. "Fatigue after a meal is also a sign." Via arelatively simple stool test, indications of a leaky gut can be found.


Once a leaky gut is identified, targeted action can be taken. In her practice, Julia begins by calming the immune system. "I look at what foods the patient reacts most violently to. Then we eliminate that from the diet. That's basically the 'mopping up.' Then it's still a matter of plugging the leak." Fortunately, the body always strives to regain balance. Julia supports it in this with nutritional advice and prescribing pre- and probiotics. "The mucus layer and intestinal flora can then recover so that the intestines can once again perform their role as gatekeepers properly."

Dive into your gut yourself

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About the author
Ellen is the founder of Blood Values Test. She gained her experience with health examinations for companies, schools and government institutions at HumanCapitalCare arbo- en gezondheidsdienst. In 2009 she became director of Diagnostics Netherlands, a collaboration between all major general practitioners laboratories in the Netherlands. At the U- Diagnostics laboratory in Utrecht, she was responsible for blood testing at GP surgeries. Until she founded Blood Values Test for individuals in 2013.


at 20 Sep 2019

And so health is again only for the better-off. Why advertise when the common man can't hike up these prices anyway.

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