What you need to know about leaky gut syndrome and psoriasis
At first, it might seem like leaky gut syndrome and psoriasis are different medical conditions. Maybe, or maybe not. But since they say that good health begins in the gut, could there be a link of some sort?
Overview of psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes quick turnover of skin cells. The cells of the skin fail to shed. Rather, they accumulate unceasingly on the surface of the skin. This results in the formation of thick patches of dry, scaly skin.
It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious. Symptoms of this disorder include:
- Dry, cracked skin
- Thickened nails
- Red skin parches covered in silver scales
- Pitted nails
- Stiff joints
- Swollen joints
Overview of leaky gut syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is also known as intestinal permeability. Most doctors do not recognize it as a medical diagnosis. A leaky gut diagnosis is most often given by integrative and alternative health practitioners.
According to proponents of integrative and alternative health, leaky gut syndrome occurs due to damage to the lining of the intestines. The damaged intestinal lining fails to prevent leakage of waste products into the bloodstream. These can include undigested food, toxins, and bacteria.
This may be triggered by the following conditions:
Other causes, according to natural health experts include:
- Bacterial imbalance
- Toxin overload
- Chronic stress
- Poor diet
Proponents of the leaky gut syndrome believe that the gut leak triggers an autoimmune response. This may result in a collection of systemic health disorders, such as:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Food allergies
- Skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis
Is there any connection between leaky gut and psoriasis?
There isn’t much scientific evidence to prove any association between leaky gut syndrome and psoriasis, much more any health condition. But this does not deny the existence of the syndrome or a link.
You see, when proteins leak from the gastrointestinal tract, your body sees them as foreign substances. The body then launches an attach by triggering an inflammatory, autoimmune response. This response occurs in the form of psoriasis. Psoriasis is therefore an autoimmune condition that causes an inflammatory response by the skin. This suggests the possibility that both conditions might be related.
Diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome
An intestinal permeability assessment may be carried out by a gastroenterologist. This assessment helps in the diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome. An intestinal permeability assessment measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules to permeate the mucosa of the intestine.
The test involves drinking premeasured amounts of mannitol. Mannitol is a natural sugar alcohol and lactulose, a synthetic sugar. Intestinal permeability is determined by how much of these compounds are secreted in the urine over a 6-hour period.
A leaky gut syndrome can be diagnosed by other tests such as:
- Food allergy tests
- Stool tests
- Measurement of zonulin. Zonulin is a protein that regulates the size of the junction between your gut and your bloodstream.
- Mineral and vitamin deficiencies tests
An article in the natural medicine journal suggests that the first step is to treat the cause of a leaky gut. For instance, dietary changes aimed at reducing gut inflammation due to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease may improve function of the intestinal barrier.
Studies shows that the following treatments may facilitate healing of a leaky gut:
- Antioxidant supplements, like Ginkgo biloba, quercetin, vitamin C and E.
- Plant enzymes
- Zinc supplements with nutrients that enhance the health of your intestinal mucosa, such as phosphatidylcholine, L-glutamine, and gamma-linolenic acid.
- Dietary fiber
There are claims that healing foods may help mend a leaky gut. Examples of healing foods include:
- Raw dairy products
- Bone broth
- Sprouted seeds
- Coconut products
- Fermented vegetables
Consulting your healthcare provider
Although there isn’t much evidence supporting leaky gut syndrome, there is little doubt that it exists. Proponents of leaky gut syndrome swear that it is only a matter of time before evidence surfaces on its existence.
If you are affected by psoriasis and think that leaky gut is involved, then consult your healthcare provider about possible treatments. You may also consult a natural health practitioner, an alternative health practitioner, or a nutritionist.
Ifiokobong Ene is a Medical Physiologist, and a freelance medical writer. Ifiok brings his years of medical research experience to help consistently create high-quality, and engaging articles and products that uphold the highest medical standards. He is dedicated to making health and wellness information available, actionable, and understandable so that readers can make the best decisions about their health.