Testing For Leaky Gut Syndrome: What are my options?

11th February 2023

Do you think you may have “leaky gut syndrome?” If so, you may be experiencing digestive issues, chronic inflammation, and a wide range of other symptoms that could be attributed to this disorder. In this blog post, we will explore the different testing options available to help diagnose and assess leaky gut syndrome, so you can begin to identify treatment options and improve your gut health.

But first…

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Our stomachs all have an intestinal lining covering more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. When this works correctly, it creates a secure barrier that takes charge of what gets absorbed into our bloodstream. In the case of an unhealthy gut lining, holes or large cracks may allow toxins, bugs, undigested foods and other waste products to seep into the tissues underneath. This is also known as Intestinal permeability.

This then triggers inflammation and changes inside the gut flora, which is the normal bacteria and causes problems within the digestive system.  

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome can include digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, constipation, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and joint pain. The exact cause of the leaky gut syndrome is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, poor diet or a disruption of the normal mucosal barrier. 

Although the ‘leaky gut syndrome’ is a theory and a way of describing unexplainable conditions, there is no concrete evidence for this. Currently, it is not recognised as a medical diagnosis within the NHS, however many people have found relief from further tests to understand their gut health.

Testing For Leaky Gut Syndrome

There are a few different ways to check for leaky gut syndrome. At eternalbeing we offer two tests for detecting leaky gut; the Zonulin Intestinal Permeability test and the α1-Antitrypsin test.

Zonulin Intestinal Permeability test

The Zonulin Intestinal Permeability Test is a simple way to assess the health of your intestines. It is a blood test that measures the amount of zonulin in your body, which is a protein that regulates gut permeability. The test determines if the intestines are overly permeable, which can lead to various health issues, including allergies, autoimmune diseases, and digestive problems. 

High zonulin levels can indicate the leaky gut syndrome and other gut-related disorders. The test is quick and easy to perform and can help provide valuable information about your overall health. If the results indicate that your body has an unhealthy level of zonulin, we may recommend lifestyle changes or further testing to determine the cause. With the right treatment plan, it can heal leaky gut syndrome and restore balance to the gut and body.

α1-Antitrypsin test

The α1-Antitrypsin (AAT) test is a blood test used to diagnose the underlying cause of certain lung and liver diseases. The test measures the levels of a protein called α1-antitrypsin in the blood. Normally, this protein helps protect the lungs and liver from damage. However, some people may be genetically predisposed to having lower levels of AAT, which can lead to serious health problems.

α1-Antitrypsin indicates an increase in intestinal permeability and a marker of an increase in intestinal inflammatory activity. It is also possible that this can be an indication of Crohn’s disease as well. 

By understanding how intestinal permeability, ‘leaky gut syndrome’ works and how it can be managed, people can take control of their health and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions.

No matter which test you choose, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner to interpret the results and develop a treatment plan. A leaky gut syndrome is a complex condition that can be difficult to treat, but with a professional’s help, you can improve your gut health and quality of life.

When should you consider testing for leaky gut syndrome?

The presence of certain symptoms and conditions can be a clue that you should get
your leaky gut tested. Some of these include

  • Food allergies (coeliac disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease,
  • IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)

Some conditions are outside of the digestive system that are worth noting such as

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • PCOS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Development into diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis

Interestingly, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has identified a unique strain of bacteria that is associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in patients predisposed to the autoimmune disease in the early stages. The research helped to establish that they can identify people who are at a higher risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis many years before diagnosis. This scientific breakthrough will help to put preventative measures in place to reduce the chance of rheumatoid arthritis developing.

If you have any questions about testing for leaky gut syndrome and how it can help with your health concerns, speak to our specialist team today, and we’ll be happy to help.