Leaky gut syndrome: a real illness or not?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's called "leaky gut syndrome" and patients say it can wreak havoc on everyday life, but some doctors say there's no such thing.

Personal trainer Jeff Dillion is pumped up now, but a while back, severe stomach pain interfered with his workouts.

Dillion told ABC30, "Uncomfortable stomach pains, lovely diarrhea, but as time went on it got worse and worse and worse to afternoons basically bent over in pain."

Dillion did reps of tests, but doctors couldn't tell him what was wrong.

"Test after test that were you know, negative this, negative that, negative this, which is good, but it still doesn't tell me anything," Dillion told ABC30.

Then Integrative Medicine Nutritionist, Sheila Dean, DSc, RDN, LDN, CCN, CDE, told him he had leaky gut syndrome. She says this happens when the tight gap junctions of the intestines loosen and food wiggles through.

"When that happens, foods that you normally eat suddenly start acting as antigens, foreign materials that your immune system doesn't really understand what to do with," Dean told ABC30.

She advised Dillion to take digestive enzymes. They're part of her "4 Rs" to treat leaky gut: Remove certain foods. Replace with digestive enzymes. Re-inoculate using a high dose of probiotics and Repair with glutamine. But, not every doctor is diagnosing and treating leaky gut syndrome.

"Leaky gut syndrome is a presumptive diagnosis or a diagnosis that's not formally recognized by the medical community at this time," Physician Robert DiMasi, Jr., DO, told ABC30.

DiMasi has a warning: most insurance companies won't cover leaky gut syndrome and there's just not enough research to back up the diagnosis and treatment. But for Dillion he managed to find a way to whip his gut into shape.

Dean says leaky gut affects anyone of any age. It isn't a diagnosis taught in most traditional medical schools, but integrative medicine recognizes this syndrome.

For more information, contact:

Sheila Dean, DSc, RDN, LD, CCN, CDE
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist & Author
Palm Harbor Center for Health & Healing
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