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Häufige Symptome und die Schwierigkeit der Diagnose

von NFI Redaktion

Leaky Gut Syndrome is said to lead to symptoms such as bloating, cramps, food intolerances, and pain. But it’s somewhat of a medical mystery.

„From a doctor’s perspective, it’s a very gray area,“ says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. „Doctors don’t know enough about the gut, which is our largest immune organ.“

„Leaky Gut Syndrome“ is not a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, „Leaky Gut means you have a diagnosis that still needs to be made,“ says Kirby. „You’re hoping your doctor is a reasonably good Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it’s very difficult to make a diagnosis.“

„We don’t know much, but we do know it exists,“ says Dr. Linda A. Lee, gastroenterologist and Director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center. „Since there is no evidence, we do not know what it means or what therapies can directly combat it.“

A possible cause of Leaky Gut is increased intestinal permeability.

This can happen when the tight junctions in the intestines, which control what passes through the small intestinal lining, are not functioning properly, allowing substances to enter the bloodstream.

People with celiac disease and Crohn’s disease suffer from this. „In some cases, molecules can be transferred, as in the case of Crohn’s disease, but we do not know all the causes,“ says Lee. Whether hyperpermeability is more of a contributing factor or a result is unclear.

However, it’s not clear why or how this would happen in someone without these conditions.

Little is known about other causes of leaky gut not related to specific medications, radiotherapy, or food allergies.

The symptoms of a leaky gut are not unique and are shared by other problems. And tests often cannot reveal a clear cause of the problem. This can lead to people being undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

According to Kirby, it is important to find a doctor who takes the time to listen to you and takes your concerns seriously.

„You may have a leaky gut and we may be able to treat the cause,“ says Kirby. „If something is wrong with you, it is the duty of the medical community to listen to you.“

Unfortunately, not all doctors make the effort to address the problem at its root, which is why patients are often sent to alternative practitioners, says Lee.

„The reason they turned to alternative medicine is often due to what they were told and how they were treated by other doctors,“ says Lee. „We need to listen.“

In her clinic, Lee combines conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies. But in the case of leaky gut, she says, the evidence – about the causes and treatment – has yet to be fully explored. This is something that patients must understand.

„We are still in the early stages of understanding what to do,“ says Lee. „People making claims about what to do are doing so without evidence.“

For example, many websites that provide information about leaky gut recommend taking L-glutamine supplements to strengthen the small intestinal lining. Lee says that given the role of glutamine in gut function, this makes sense in theory, but there is no research to support such claims.

„There is no evidence that you will feel better if I give you a stack of glutamine pills,“ says Lee.

Treating the underlying condition such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease can often alleviate symptoms associated with the condition. But without a secure diagnosis, a doctor’s hands are often tied due to lack of evidence.

Nutrition likely plays a big role in a leaky gut, according to Lee and Kirby. So if you have symptoms of a leaky gut, you should see a gastroenterologist who is also trained in nutrition.

Chronic stress could also be a factor, says Lee. „You need to manage your stress, whether it’s through medication or meditation. That’s what you need to focus on.“

Lee says that lifestyle changes, such as those that reduce stress and improve nutrition, may be among the best approaches to treating leaky gut, especially if no underlying condition is identified. „Chronic health problems are often due to lifestyle, and we don’t have pills for that,“ she says. „We’re talking about the way we live and the way we eat.“

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