The gut is the gateway to health. If your gut is healthy, chances are that you're in good health. However, there's a condition called leaky gut that can lead to a host of health problems.

What is a leaky gut?

The gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients. Regulating intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. In sensitive people, things such as infections, toxins, stress, sugar, medications and gluten can also cause these tight junctions to break apart. Common medications that contribute to leaky gut are motrin, advil, steroids, antibiotics, and antacids. Common infections that contribute to leaky gut are candida overgrowth, parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Once these tight junctions get broken apart, you have a leaky gut. When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these "foreign invaders" as pathogens and attacks them.

Common symptoms of a leaky gut:

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome.

2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.

3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.

4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.

5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.

6. Mood issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.

7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.

8. Food intolerances.

How do you heal a leaky gut?

1. Remove.

The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the gastrointestinal tract, such as inflammatory foods and intestinal infections.

2. Replace.

Add back the essentials for proper digestion and absorption, such as digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids.

3. Re-inoculate.

It's critical to restore beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria.

4. Repair.

Nutrients such as glutamine help the gut repair itself.