Leaky Gut Syndrome


For many of us, working a 9 - 5 job, sitting at the office desk day after day, replying to hundreds of emails and meeting tight deadlines can take a toll on our health - both physically and mentally.

After one too many stressful days and sleepless nights, exhaustion and brain fog can become noticeably worse. Whilst some of us simply turn to good old coffee to overcome fatigue, it's not always enough to compensate for the accumulated stress and lack of energy. Besides, after time, your body will start to build up its own tolerance against caffeine and gradually become unresponsive to these wakening potions.

To feel energised in the long run, it's time to figure out what's going on within your body.

The gut can do more than you imagine

Have you ever thought that your stomach is playing around with your brain and causing you to feel tired and stressed? Well, your gut system does more than digestion. It is actively involved in coordinating your body and mind via constant signalling with your brain through the central nervous system.

To recharge your brain, you first have to treat your gut well. Your gut contains over 100 million nerve cells, more than that in your spinal cord or peripheral nervous system. Called the "enteric nervous system", it's also often referred to as the body's "second brain".

A piece of your biology wired to your brain in intricate ways, your gut-brain and your head-brain communicate frequently to each other, and when those messages are interfered with in any way, your health begins to suffer. In the same way, parts of our emotions are also influenced by the nerves in our gut.

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS)

Part of our digestive system's job is to breakdown the food that we eat into nutrients and absorb this along with water that we use for energy, growth, and repair.

The absorption of such nutrients and water in your intestines do so through small gaps in an intestinal lining that allows it to pass into your bloodstream. Thus, these walls have an essential role in protecting the body from harmful bacteria and toxins by acting as barriers to control what passes through its walls into your blood and eventually to your organs.

The ease of substances passing through your intestinal walls is known as intestinal permeability. Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen and cause what we call increased permeability.

This allows larger and potentially harmful substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles, to pass through these walls into your bloodstream. When this happens, it can cause inflammation and trigger reactions from the immune system.

Leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to "leak" through the intestinal wall.

Why is this important?

Today's modern living today bring about its fair share of high-stress levels, inadequate sleep, a diet of highly-processed and high-sugar foods, all of which are frequently combatted through the use of pharmaceutical pills and other harmful substances. These can all damage our gut microbiome.

The presence of harmful bacteria increases gut permeability and can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome. Substances can easily pass through the gut wall into the blood, circulating and ultimately reaching the brain. When substances like pro-inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-α generated from the gut reach the brain, they will increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.

This permeability can leave the brain exposed to a broader range of molecules and substances regardless of their positive and negative impacts. In the long run, exposure of harmful components to the brain will deregulate its normal function and affect emotions, sleeping quality and in extreme cases lead to increased risk of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Keep a watchful eye on your dietary habits

A healthy gut helps you to determine what nutrients should be absorbed, and what toxins, allergens and microbes should be kept out. Stomach disturbances such as bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhoea as well as chronic fatigue or heartburn are usually signs of an unhealthy gut.

When your gut is overrun by pathogenic (harmful) bacteria, it will create microbial imbalances. These pathogenic bacteria rely heavily on carbohydrate and artificial sugar to survive and thrive, which means consuming desserts and sugary drinks will encourage the growth of these harmful bacteria.

To regain your strength, you might want to consider a strict diet with low carbs and sugar. A diet high in processed sugars (in particular high-fructose corn syrup) can decrease the good bacteria in your gut, cause increased sugar cravings, which damages your gut even further.

Moreover, high amounts of refined sugars have been directly linked to increased inflammation in the body. Subsequently - this inflammation could be a precursor to a number of diseases, some more serious than others.

The secret to restoring gut and brain health

Studies found that patients with chronic inflammation or intestinal bowel disease responded positively to probiotics intake by restoring leaky gut walls and suppressing pro-inflammatory proteins. Researchers also identified that people with depression were twice as likely to see the improvements from probiotics compared to the control group.

Currently, evidence indicates that probiotics are the new secret weapon to restore gut health and improve brain function. Perhaps it’s time to let your coffee cups rest and start taking probiotics to supplement your diet.

Naturally occurring probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in certain foods and provide numerous health benefits. Some of these include yoghurts and (unpasteurised) fermented food like kimchi, kombucha tea and others.

Other things you can do on a daily basis to ensure optimal gut health:

  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Get enough sleep
  • Test for food intolerances and avoid these foods in your daily life
  • Include plenty of fibre in your diet, which should comprise mainly of whole, unprocessed foods.

Miskawaan Health Group (MHG) offers food intolerance testing at our clinics, as well as all-natural probiotic supplements - speak to our doctors if these are a good match for your body.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment for food intolerance testing, gut check-up with one of our doctors, or for any of our comprehensive diagnostics or treatments, please fill in the following form or contact us directly at [email protected] (Hong Kong clinic) or [email protected] (Bangkok clinic).