Alcohol and Leaky Gut Syndrome

The Toxic Effect of Alcohol

An excessive intake of alcohol can have a devastating impact on the individual’s physical and mental health. The most well known problem caused by alcohol is liver cirrhosis, but it can also damage every other organ in the body. It seems that the more researchers investigate the effects this substance has on the body the more reasons there are to be cautious. Anyone who drinks more than the recommended intake for alcohol is really taking a risk with their health. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that has recently received a great deal of attention in the media. Those who abuse alcohol may develop this syndrome.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Explained

Leaky gut syndrome is also referred to as intestinal permeability. It involves damage or alterations to the lining of the bowel. The fact that the bowel is more permeable means that toxins, undigested food, and microbes can leak through the gut wall. These substances can cause a great deal of problems in the body when they escape from the intestine. It is this that leads to the symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome.

Controversy over Leaky Gut Syndrome

There is some controversy over the existence of leaky gut syndrome. The problem is that there is no one test that can be used by doctors to determine if people have this condition. Practitioners of alternative medicine have also made claims for leaky gut syndrome that have yet to be backed up by scientific research. The idea that leaky gut syndrome is a contributing cause to autism is hotly debated. Most physicians now seem to accept that there is a syndrome that involves intestinal permeability, but there is continued debate over the extent to which it can affect people.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome

One of the problems with diagnosing leaky gut syndrome is that it is associated with many possible symptoms. Most people who are dealing with the condition may have no idea that they have it. Such individuals may occasionally get symptoms but they ignore these or attribute them to something else. The most common symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome including:

* Chronic abdominal pain
* Episodes of diarrhea
* Excessively passes wind (flatulence)
* Problems sleeping at night
* Feelings of being bloated
* Heartburn
* Pain in a number of muscle joints
* Chronic depression
* Chronic fatigue
* Skin problems
* Feeling hungry much of the time
* Muscle cramps
* Low tolerance for exercise
* Malnutrition
* Episodes of shortness of breath
* Fevers for no obvious reason
* Hemorrhoids or anal irritation
* Liver dysfunction
* Allergic reactions to food
* Frequent bladder infections
* Memory problems or mental fogginess
* Swollen lymph glands
* Feelings of having an infection even though the medical professionals are unable to find an infection.

Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome

The cause of leaky gut syndrome is an increased permeability in the gut wall caused by:

* Alcohol abuse
* Allergies
* Reactions to pharmaceutical drugs
* Excessive stress
* Parasitic infections
* Eating an unbalanced diet
* Celiac disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.
* Hypochlorhydria is a condition that leads to low production of stomach acid.
* Dysbiosis involves microbial imbalances in the body.
* Candidiasis (thrush) is a fungal infection.

Alcohol and Leaky Gut Syndrome

Alcohol is viewed as one of the main causes of leaky gut syndrome. It is already accepted that alcohol can have a toxic effect on almost every organ in the body. It is now suggested that alcohol causes intestinal permeability. This is believed to occur because alcohol suppresses the production of prostaglandins. These hormonal substances are needed because they are able to moderate inflammation. If prostaglandins are in low supply then it allows inflammation to cause more damage inside the gut. Another mechanism by which alcohol exacerbates leaky gut syndrome is that it prevents some important nutrients from being transported from the intestine into the blood.

Treatment of Leaky Gut Syndrome

There are a number of things that the individual can do to treat leaky gut syndrome including:

* Giving up alcohol for a month to see if this causes the symptoms to disappear. If the condition improves then abstinence from alcohol might be worth considering.
* The individual can have their stool tested to check for the presence of any parasites. If this test proves positive then it should be possible to eradicate the parasite using medications.
* Certain drugs like Aspirin may cause the condition. If this drug has been prescribed by a physician it is important not to stop taking it without first seeking medical advice.
* One of the most common treatments for leaky gut syndrome is probiotics. These substances encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
* It is believed that substances such as glutamine can repair damage inside the intestine.
* Changes to diet can also help improve the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. This might include reducing sugar intake, avoiding caffeine, and eating more whole foods rather than processed foods.
* Learning to deal better with stress can be of great benefit. Relaxation techniques are good for this.
* Avoid fizzy drinks

How to Avoid Leaky Gut Syndrome

In order to avoid leaky gut syndrome completely people can:

* Only drink sensible amounts of alcohol
* Eat a balanced diet and avoid junk food
* Be cautious when taking medications – especially those medications that have not been prescribed.
* Taking probiotics supplements may help to prevent the condition

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