Larry Langdon
/ Categories: Lyme Disease

Leaky gut syndrome and Lyme disease

Gastrointestinal symptoms are uncommon in acute Lyme illness, but nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and stomach discomfort might occur. Constipation, gas/bloating, and stomach discomfort are more likely in those with chronic or late-stage Lyme disease. Lyme bacteria can infect the gastrointestinal tract directly, resulting in inflammation and digestive problems. As a result, gut difficulties can lead to immunological dysregulation, making you more susceptible to infections. Digestive troubles can be a result of Lyme disease or increasing susceptibility to chronic infections, hence addressing the underlying concerns is critical to restoring health more quickly and efficiently.

Small intestine hyperpermeability, often known as leaky gut syndrome can occur in Lyme disease. This condition  occurs when the gaps between the cells lining the small intestine grow expanded. This permits bacteria and food particles to enter the bloodstream, causing the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines in response. The outer layer of bacteria that enters the bloodstream contains fat and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a carbohydrate that triggers the immune system's response. Increased intestinal permeability can be caused by food allergies, drunkenness, stress, infections (including SIBO), toxicants, some drugs, and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). Food proteins move through the inflamed small intestine into the bloodstream, causing an antibody reaction, which leads to an increase in food allergies.

Leaky gut syndrome causes systemic inflammation, which causes fatigue, headaches, joint pain, ADHD, brain fog, and autoimmune diseases. Because inflammation causes many of the symptoms of Lyme disease, appropriately treating leaky gut syndrome (if present) is critical to lowering the systemic inflammatory burden.

 

What happens in leaky gut syndrome (LGS)?

The intestines' lining acts as a barrier, allowing only adequately digested fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to pass through and into the bloodstream. It allows chemicals to flow through in a variety of ways.

Intestinal cells diffuse chloride, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and free fatty acids. Amino acids, fatty acids, glucose, minerals, and vitamins all pass through cells by a different method known as active transport.

Substances can also flow through a third channel. In most cases, the crevices between the cells that lining the intestines are shut. Desmosomes are the name for these tight connections. When the intestinal lining is inflamed, the connections loosen, allowing bigger molecules from the intestines to flow into the bloodstream. Because these undesired compounds aren't ordinarily found in blood, the immune system perceives them as foreign. This causes an antibody response. 2

Larger items, such as disease-causing bacteria, undigested food particles, and poisons, flow directly through the injured cells as the gut lining gets more damaged. The immune system is triggered once more, and antibodies and cytokines are secreted. White blood cells are alerted by cytokines to combat the particles. This battle generates oxidants, which cause irritation and inflammation all across the body.

Leaky gut syndrome  is a gastrointestinal condition that affects the intestine lining. However, because identification of the illness is extremely difficult, there is some debate regarding whether or not leaky gut genuinely exists as it is defined (if not impossible). Tight connections in the gut walls may not be operating properly when a person is suspected of having this disease, resulting in microscopic holes that allow bacteria and other poisons to flow into the bloodstream. In persons with disorders like Crohn's disease, increased intestinal permeability is common. However, intestinal permeability is a symptom, not a cause; it does not cause anything more than intestine wall inflammation, and it is not the same as leaky gut syndrome.

From your gums to your bottom, the gastrointestinal tract is a network of interconnected organs! The oesophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines are the organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract. Simply said, digestive enzymes break down nutrients in food and drink in the stomach and small intestine. The body then uses these smaller molecules for energy, growth, and repair.

When it comes to safeguarding the body from harmful germs and chemicals, the intestines are critical. The gut walls' narrow pores allow water and nutrients to enter into the bloodstream while keeping dangerous particles inside. These gaps widen in leaky gut syndrome, resulting in hyperpermeability, which allows food particles, germs, and toxins to enter the circulation directly.

Microbes that promote digestion, protect the intestinal wall, and maintain appropriate immunological function reside in the intestines. According to research, LGS may be caused by microbiota imbalances that drive the body's immunological response, resulting in gut inflammation and increased intestinal permeability.

Despite the fact that many doctors and healthcare professionals do not identify leaky gut syndrome as a diagnosable disorder, current scientific research suggests that it may have a role in a variety of medical conditions.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of leaking gut syndrome?

As previously stated, leaky gut, also known as "increased permeability," is not well recognised by the medical establishment, making identifying symptoms difficult. Many of the symptoms overlap with those of other illnesses, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose the condition. The following symptoms may be caused by or contributed to by a leaky gut:

  • Constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • bloating that persists
  • Deficiencies in nutrition
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Concentration problems
  • Acne
  • rashes
  • eczema
  • Joint discomfort
  • Inflammation is widespread.

 

These symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses, prompting doctors to assume that leaky gut may play a role in their development. While it is unclear if LGS is a cause or a symptom, it has been associated to a variety of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, diabetes, and food allergies. Increased intestinal permeability may potentially contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease, according to a peer-reviewed study. Before any definite conclusions can be formed, more peer-reviewed investigations must be conducted.

In addition, scientists have studied the gut-brain axis, which is the link between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. Leaky gut has been linked to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, according to several studies.

 

What else could be associated with leaky gut syndrome?

The following could be possible causes of leaky gut syndrome?

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine Environmental
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medications like NSAIDS
  • Autoimmune illness
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Hives
  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammatory joint disease
  • Intestinal bacterial infections
  • Insufficient pancreas
  • Giardia (an intestinal parasitic infection)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Hepatic/ liver dysfunction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

 

How is leaky gut syndrome Diagnosed?

While, as previously said, diagnosis is extremely difficult (if not impossible), some clinicians will utilise one specific test to determine intestinal permeability. The mannitol and lactulose test is the gold standard for detecting leaky gut syndrome. Both are water-soluble compounds that the human body is incapable of using. People with good digestive linings can easily absorb mannitol. Lactulose is a bigger molecule that is absorbed just minimally.

A person does the test by drinking a solution that contains both mannitol and lactulose. Urine is collected for six hours, and the amount found in urine indicates how much of each substance was absorbed by the body. Mannitol levels are high and lactulose levels are low in a healthy test. A leaky gut condition is indicated by high levels of both substances. If both molecules have low levels, it means that all nutrients are being absorbed poorly.

It's vital to remember that this test is merely an indicator of small intestinal permeability and cannot be used to clearly identify leaky gut. Most doctors avoid this test because they don't think it's particularly accurate. Furthermore, because increased intestinal permeability is a symptom of many different disorders, it should not be used to diagnose leaky gut syndrome because it may prevent a patient from seeking treatment for a more serious condition. A gastroenterologist, who specialises in digestive health and the GI tract, is recommended for consultation.

 

How can Leaky gut syndrome be managed?

It takes three to six months on average to mend and heal the gut. The goal is to restore intestinal function with the help of a supportive diet and supplements. To heal, one must first eliminate the possible culprits, such as yeast and parasites, before seeding the intestines with a healthy probiotic and feeding the healthy gut flora with a plant-based diet.It's crucial to remember that research on leaky gut syndrome is limited. It's also worth noting that self-treating a  and ignoring or postponing professional medical attention might have catastrophic effects. Consult your doctor if you're experiencing any symptoms or have any worries about your health.

The following diet changes can help heal the gut:

  • To enhance good gut bacteria, eat more probiotics.
  • Prebiotic fiber-rich meals, such as veggies and whole grains
  • Consuming less meat, dairy, and egg products
  • Avoiding artificial sweeteners, additional sugar and processed food
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