Do you constantly feel fatigued? Tired no matter how much sleep you get? You’ve tried everything and yet…you still feel tired all the time?
Fatigue and leaky gut? Could this be what’s happening?
With more and more research into leaky gut and its impact on health, damage to the gut lining has been found to be linked to inflammation and fatigue.
In this blog, I’ll go into more depth about what is leaky gut, the fatigue and leaky gut connection, and how they might be the reason for your symptoms.
What is leaky gut?
Most people have heard of the term leaky gut. It’s also referred to as intestinal permeability. Your intestinal lining covers a large surface area. The gut lining is made up of epithelial cells which are just 1 cell layer thick. In this intestinal lining, there are specialized areas which are called tight junctions. Normally these junctions are closed, and only open as required by the body, operating as a barrier to the bloodstream. When these cells or the gut wall is damaged, it allows particles that normally wouldn’t pass into the bloodstream to pass through. These can be particles of bacteria, undigested foods, waste, or other toxins. These particles trigger the body to produce an inflammatory or immune response.
Signs of leaky gut
These inflammatory or immune responses can show up in different ways for different people. Which is often why it goes undiagnosed for so long as it mimics other conditions.
Some of the symptoms that show up are:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Changes to bowel movements, including diarrhoea or constipation
- Bloating & gas
- Unexplained weight loss or trouble losing weight
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s)
- Mood symptoms including depression, anxiety, or brain fog
- Lowered Immunity. Including frequent colds, flu, chest and ear infections
- Allergies, food intolerances, food sensitivities, or asthma
- Skin issues, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes, or hives
- Fatigue and headaches
- Joint pain, inflammation, or arthritis
- Thyroid disorders
We know that a healthy gut is the foundation of optimal health. If gut health isn’t optimal and leaky gut is present then it can upset the whole balance of hormones, and signals to the brain, and create a number of signs and symptoms as listed above.
If there is damage to the tight junctions in your gut, they will often stay stuck open, instead of closing as they should and your intestines allow substances to enter your blood. Now, these particles are things that you really don’t want to enter your blood supply. This includes things like toxins, undigested or partially digested food, viruses, parasites, or yeasts.
If your gut is functioning optimally then these things don’t pass through. The body wants to keep these things in the gut because the gut is our body’s first line of defense. Our gut lining is a bit like our skin, it’s our protection against the outside world. If your gut is compromised, then so is your immune system!
Leaky gut is a cyclic problem. If your gut is leaky then in response to the toxins etc entering your bloodstream the body creates an immune or inflammatory response. In turn, this increased inflammation causes more leaky gut, which worsens symptoms and the cycle continues.
Fatigue and leaky gut connection:
One of the main things that leaky gut causes are inflammation in the body. Inflammation ends up being one of the main drivers of fatigue. Including adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue.
How is leaky gut and histamine intolerance connected?
As we know, histamine is broken down by the enzyme DAO. Those with histamine intolerance have insufficient production of this enzyme which leads to a build-up of histamine. Hence the appearance of histamine symptoms.
DAO is produced in the kidneys, thymus, and the intestinal lining of the digestive tract. So, if you have a leaky gut, or are affected by gut imbalances, such as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), or LIBO (Large Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), then these types of gut dysbiosis inflame the gut wall and therefore damage the cells that produce DAO. So you now don’t produce enough DAO enzyme to break down histamine in food. This is one of the reasons why the holistic approach to managing histamine intolerance addresses gut health. Otherwise, only eating low histamine and not addressing leaky gut or gut wall integrity means that you are only addressing one part of the puzzle.
What about the mast cells & histamine?
As we know, mast cells are a major component of the immune system and over 70% of the immune system lives in the gut. How does leaky gut affect mast cells? In a number of ways:
- Leaky gut produces inflammation. Inflammation increases mast cell activation (and production of histamine).
- Increased inflammation spurs on increased histamine release from the mast cell.
- Affects the production of the DAO enzyme. More histamine circulates and therefore more histamine symptoms.
- Mast cells get activated by particles that enter the bloodstream due to leaky gut. These particles of food or bacteria trigger the mast cell to release histamine.
- A dysbiosis of the gut bacteria such as SIBO or LIBO can also include bacteria that produce histamine. So an overgrowth of these particular strains means that there may also be an increase in histamine symptoms – find out more here.
To read more about mast cells and histamine intolerance, click here.
How to heal a leaky gut and help histamine intolerance
I see and hear many people googling, what supplements do I take to heal leaky gut? Healing leaky gut and managing histamine intolerance is much more than just taking a quick-fix supplement and eating low histamine. It’s so much more than that. It’s more about education and lifestyle changes so that you can feel informed and empowered to make better choices for your health going forwards.
This is the reason why I use a holistic approach in my programs.
For example, recent studies have shown that eating gluten affects the tight junctions of the gut. This means that regardless of whether you are celiac or not, gluten affects everyone’s gut wall. Therefore creating inflammation, which is one of the drivers to fatigue. It also affects the gut wall which for those with histamine intolerance also has a cascade effect as mentioned in the points above.
Healing your leaky gut can have a positive impact on energy. As well as improve your histamine intolerance! The following nutritional and lifestyle aspects all come into play:
- Eating a low-histamine diet
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet – increasing vegetables and reducing alcohol, processed and fast foods
- Addressing gut dysbiosis (H-pylori, candida, SIBO or LIBO)
- Eating for optimal gut health
- Ensuring intake of the nutrients necessary for energy production in the body
- Managing stress and your nervous system – to allow optimal gut healing
If you are experiencing fatigue and have tried everything and nothing has worked. Then gut dysbiosis and leaky gut may be the missing piece of the puzzle that you are looking for.
I help clients resolve their fatigue alongside other histamine intolerance symptoms in the Happy Without Histamine Method. This comprehensive program covers gut health, the nervous system, and how to manage histamine intolerance with a holistic approach. The program includes my 5-step method to resolve histamine intolerance and mast cell activation as well as energy and fatigue.
Struggling to get answers about your histamine intolerance symptoms?
Watch my free Masterclass – The 5 Steps to Healing from Histamine Intolerance.
You will learn my 5-Step plan, the exact same method I used to recover from histamine intolerance. These 5 steps everyone with histamine intolerance must know to resolve all those confusing symptoms and get back to eating foods you love without fear!