To understand leaky gut and how this impedes your health, you first need to fully comprehend the role of the gut, what happens inside it and the implications this has on overall health.
Your immune system and your gut are linked in every respect. Roughly eighty percent of your immune tissue is occupied within your digestive system.
The digestive system is a complex network of various functions, when one of these functions becomes imbalanced it can create a knock on effect within other areas of the body, causing extreme health issues.
The digestive system comprises of cells, proteins, tissues and organs which work together in a intricate way to defend the body against any harmful pathogens including bad bacteria, viruses, infectious diseases, parasites and toxins. In fact the gut mucosa connects with the greatest inhabitants of immune cells in the body. These are also known as gastrointestinal immune cells, which come from the lymphoid section of the immune system. Their aim is to produce lymphocyte cells which attack harmful pathogens that invade the body. These lymphatic cells also group themselves together, these collections are known as Peyers Patches.

Peyers Patches appear as oval or round lymphoid follicles and work together to protect the mucous membranes of the small intestines from infection. They do this by releasing certain white blood cells known as T-cells and B-cells to defend the inside of the digestive tract from infection, as well as the damage that they cause to the intestinal walls.

The gut is the first point of impact for any pathogens to enter the system, this includes bad bacteria, viruses and parasites, therefore your gut needs to be in a very healthy state to avert these pathogens which will inevitably cause illnesses.
Alongside these particular immune cells, the human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species, this is known as our gut flora. These various strains of bacteria reside within our intestines and are critical for optimal health. This gut flora is our army of defenders for our immune system, working tirelessly with the immune cells to increase the security of the intestinal walls to prevent any pathogens or infections taking up residence in the gut.
 Various illnesses can occur when these protective functions of the gut are compromised. Intestinal permeability (leaky gut) causes the immune system to go into overdrive, mounting an unnecessary response against things like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods which may have passed through these permeable holes in the gut lining. One of the first symptoms of leaky gut is food intolerances. The link between diet, gut bacteria and the immune system has been scientifically established in recent years . Scientific evidence now shows that the types of food that you eat will directly determine the levels of certain bacteria in your gut. 

By changing your diet you will change the kind of bacteria that you have, which will either aid the strengthening of your immune system, or diminish its defensive powers. It has been determined from the current research, that a healthy immune system is the result of a good diet that supports healthy gut function, one that significantly includes whole, unprocessed foods, including fermented foods that helps to repopulate the gut with good bacteria.
The gut has a natural permeable lining which possesses very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients.  Maintaining natural intestinal permeability is one of the primary functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. Some people are susceptible to gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, oats and rye), gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Zonulin is normally present in the intestines to control the passage of fluids, macromolecules, and leukocytes. Gluten is just one example of an item that can modulate zonulin, once gluten is removed from the body serum levels of zonulin decrease.
 Other circumstances such as infections, toxins and stress can also cause these compact connections to separate.
Once these compact connection have separated, you have a leaky gut.
When your gut is leaky, any toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, as well as much more can escape through the gut, entering your bloodstream and traveling throughout your body causing various adversities to your health. Your immune system characterises these foreign invaders as pathogens and attacks them.
The main causes of leaky gut are as follows:-
Processed foods
Excessive alcohol
Various medications including but not limited to antibiotics, Ibuprofen, steroids, antacids (prescribed or over the counter.)
Environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides, BPA's
Stress and age can also contribute
Some of the symptoms of leaky gut are:-
Various digestive issues, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea or IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) food allergies or intolerances (including celiac disease)
Allergies, such as eczema and asthma
Hormonal imbalances such a PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) 
Autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, lupus, chronic fatigue, colitis, crohn's disease, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes or fibromyalgia
Depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADD (attention deficient disorder) or ADHD (attention deficient hyperactivity disorder)
Acne or Rosacea
Candida overgrowth
Inflammatory bowel disease
Migraine headaches
How to heal the gut
By removing any inflammatory & processed foods from your diet.
By implementing a good parasite protocol.
Adding digestive enzymes in at mealtimes
By replenishing beneficial bacteria from consumption of fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.
Seeking a qualified practitioner who can advise on nutritional supplements

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