6 Causes of Leaky Gut and 10 Things That Can Help - Healthy Living Association

6 Causes of Leaky Gut and 10 Things That Can Help

What Is Leaky Gut?

It’s important for you to know from the beginning that leaky gut is not a formally recognized diagnosis by the conventional medical community. On the other hand, most natural medicine practitioners readily accept the condition exists and can be the foundation for a number of chronic and serious illnesses.

There are no numbers available regarding the number of people who may suffer from this condition. However, considering the possible causes of leaky gut the number may be very high.

In the small intestine the lining of the gut consists of a single layer of epithelial cells that are tightly packed to prevent materials from passing from the gut into the blood stream. When leaky gut develops, the normally tight junctions between these cells becomes looser, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens to pass through.

This allows those substances access to the blood stream and the rest of the body. Typically, when this happens, the immune system is triggered to treat all of these substances as foreign invaders in the body. The immune system then begins attacking them.

Two major negative things can happen then.

  • Inflammation sets in because of these substances and travels throughout the body.
  • The immune system can get overwhelmed by the amount of things crossing the epithelial barrier and begins attacking normal cells of the body as well

These two events are said to be the beginnings of chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and possibly even Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

This is leaky gut.

Causes of Leaky Gut

There are several potential causes of leaky gut, many of them related to lifestyle choices.

  1. Diet. Poor dietary choices may be a significant cause of leaky gut. The so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) contains large amounts of highly processed foods that have high levels of additives and preservatives that have been said to be harmful to your health. These additives have been shown to be inflammatory in nature. High levels of sugar in the diet has also been linked to development of leaky gut.
  2. Genetics. Some people are believed to have a genetic predisposition to developing leaky gut. This genetic factor may stay ‘dormant’ for years until the right trigger enters their lives and ‘turns on’ the gene.
  3. Chronic Stress. In our society stress is a given. And not just a single stressor at a time, but constant stressors of different kinds that affect people continually. Stress of this kind has very detrimental effects on all parts of the body, including the gut. Changes in the immune system can result from this kind of stress, leading to any of several chronic illness conditions.
  4. Environmental Toxins. On a yearly basis, it is estimated people are exposed to up to 80,000 different toxins. These toxins are in the atmosphere, in the food you eat, in the clothes you wear, and in many typical household products. Add this to the medications that can have toxic effects when taken in higher than normal doses, and you have a tremendous number of potential toxins that affect your body.
  5. Imbalance of Bacteria. Internally, you have many trillions of bacteria living in your intestine. Normally, these bacteria work in balance to keep your gut functioning optimally, allowing food you eat to be digested properly and the nutrients in them absorbed well. Sometimes, these bacteria get imbalanced, the levels of bad bacteria growing and spreading while levels of good bacteria decrease. When this happens, the result is called dysbiosis.
  6. Sensitivities to Foods and Environment. An estimated 24% of people in the U.S. are reported to have some kind of hypersensitivity to foods or elements in the environment. They may not be full-fledged allergies but rather hypersensitivities that occur quickly on exposure.

Treating Leaky Gut With Probiotics and Collagen

Although it may seem those with leaky gut are doomed to suffer from its symptoms while waiting for lifestyle changes to make a difference, there are beneficial effects that come from taking probiotics and/or collagen.


Probiotics affect the bacterial balance in the gut. This balance is important in maintaining your health.

  1. Lower Unhealthy Bacteria. Probiotics reduce the number of unhealthy bacteria in your gut. This can re-balance the number of microbes in your gut. Estimates are a balance of 85% good or neutral bacteria to bad is optimal in the gut.
  2. Increase Enzymes. Probiotics stimulate the growth of enzymes. These particular enzymes are necessary in destroying the bad bacteria in your gut. Doing this restores the pH levels in your gut and assists in healing a leaky gut.
  3. Slow Down Yeast Overgrowth. When there is a dysbiosis in your gut, an imbalance in the bacteria types, one thing that can happen is an overgrowth of yeast in the small intestine. This can lead to increased fatigue, inability to concentrate, infections in the genital or urinary tracts, and digestive problems, among others.
  4. Improved Communication Between Gut and Brain. Yes, your brain and gut talk to each other. In this way the health of one affects the health of the other. Probiotics make this communication easier.
  5. Reduces Inflammation. Since inflammation has been said to be a major cause of most illness conditions, a reduction through the use of probiotics is a real benefit.


Collagen is a protein that makes up the majority of the connective tissue in your body. Type I collagen is the most prevalent type in the body, including in the digestive tract.

  1. Hydrates the Digestive Tract. Your digestive tract needs water in order to work most efficiently. Collagen and sugar form a matrix that helps water go through the GI tract better to increase the breakdown of proteins and carbohydrates, leading to better absorption of nutrients.
  2. Repairs the Intestines. Type I and Type III collagen make up the materials for nearly all connective tissue in the intestines. It is believed by clinicians that adding collagen to the diet will help heal issues in the intestines.
  3. Helps Balance Stomach Acid. An imbalance in your stomach acid has been linked to several chronic illnesses. Bad bacterial overgrowth, hypothyroidism, some autoimmune disorders, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are some of those conditions. Imbalanced stomach acid also contributes to digestive problems. Adding collagen to your diet has been shown to increase the amino acid glycine which then improves stomach acid balance.
  4. Helps Heal Leaky Gut. Collagen makes up the microscopic folds between the epithelial cells lining your intestinal wall. When you add collagen to your diet, it ‘fills in’ the gaps between these cells that cause leaky gut. In this way, collagen adds to the healing of a leaky gut.
  5. Helps With Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Ulcers. Studies have shown people who suffer from IBS have lower levels of collagen in their blood than those who do not have the condition. Another study showed collagen to fight the inflammation in the body and in IBS by turning off pro-inflammatory cells that are found in immune cells. A recent study in Brazil showed the effectiveness of collagen supplements in protecting the stomach against lesions brought on by ethanol.


Leaky gut is a serious condition in the small intestine brought on by a number of factors. Chronic stress being one of the most prevalent, along with dietary choices.

These factors cause gaps between the epithelial cells that line the small intestine and prevent material in the intestine from getting into the blood stream. When the gaps occur, problems arise.

Leaky gut seems to be on the rise not only in the U.S. but around the world.

It leads to a large number of serious chronic illnesses. Fortunately, there is help. Both probiotics and collagen appear to have healing properties that affect the gut.

In choosing the best probiotic for you, several things are important to keep in mind. One of these is to be sure the probiotic you take has at least 15 billion colony forming units (cfu). This gives you a sufficient number of the bacteria in order for you to get the most benefits.

It is also important for the probiotic you choose to have multiple bacterial strains. Some strains improve immune function and others enhance hormone balance. Still others promote other healthy factors. You should be sure you’re getting the strain that gives you the health benefit you need.

Bone broth may be the source of the best types of collagen. It contains proline and glycine, two of the essential building blocks used to heal your intestinal lining.

You also may want to look into taking a soil-based probiotic pill. These probiotics are designed to be like those that grow in harsh climates. This is beneficial because many probiotics on the market today are destroyed by the stomach acid before ever getting to the small intestine. This makes them useless. The soil-based probiotics survive the harsh environment of the stomach and live to do their beneficial work in the small intestine.


A Powerful Supplement You Need To Heal a Leaky Gut https://www.guthealthproject.com/the-powerful-supplement-you-need-to-heal-a-leaky-gut/

Leaky Gut & Collagen Treatment  https://lugonutrition.com/uncategorized/leaky-gut-collagen-treatment/

Top 10 Leaky Gut Supplements  https://draxe.com/leaky-gut-supplements/

Role of Probiotics in health improvement, infection control and disease treatment and management  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016413000819

Top 21 Science-Backed Leaky Gut Supplements (Ranked 1 to 21)  https://happymammoth.co/leaky-gut-supplements/#collagen

The 5 Best Supplements for Leaky Gut  https://blog.paleohacks.com/leaky-gut-supplements/# 5 Ways Collagen Can Help Soothe the Gut  https://organixx.com/collagen-gut-health/

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