Is Leaky Gut Syndrome the Answer to “Why Am I Tired All the Time?”

Getting the correct lab test is a key to verifying whether or not you have leaky gut syndrome. Doing so should uncover the underlying cause of several of your stubborn health problems.

leaky gut syndrome

Feeling fatigued? A test for leaky gut syndrome may be the answer.

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Getting the correct lab test is a key to verifying whether or not you have leaky gut syndrome. Doing so could uncover for you the surprising underlying cause for several of your stubborn health problems. In our post “5 Top Reasons You Might Have Leaky Gut Syndrome”, you learn that leaky gut could be the answer to your question “Why am I tired all the time?” 

As crazy as it may sound, the research on leaky gut syndrome has been rapidly growing over the past few years. It’s now known that excessive intestinal permeability—a defective barrier between your intestines and the rest of your body—may cause fatigue, depression symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, or an autoimmune disorder. 

Here, we discuss how to find out whether you have leaky gut syndrome—and, if so, what you can do about it. Lab tests to diagnose leaky gut syndrome, along with proven natural treatments for healing and returning your gut barrier function to normal are most definitely available. Naturopathic and iIntegrative physicians have been successfully treating leaky gut for years, and now, more than ever before, there is research available confirming the effectiveness of a number of tests and natural therapies for leaky gut.

The Connection Between Fatigue and Leaky Gut Syndrome

If you’re frequently asking “Why am I tired all the time?” it is critical for you to understand the leaky-gut/fatigue connection.

Your small intestine not only has to digest and absorb; it also has to perform the opposite function: Keep toxic compounds and large molecules from passing through it. If the intestinal barrier is compromised (because of an infection, for example, or not enough “good” bacteria, or ingestion of allergic foods or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories [NSAIDs]), large or toxic compounds can leak through the walls right into your bloodstream. This can lead to immune system dysfunction, overwhelm your liver’s detoxification systems, deplete nutrients, and increase toxic reactions and food allergies. 

Any of these factors can cause fatigue, depression symptoms, and more.

How to Test for Leaky Gut Syndrome

The Intestinal Permeability Assessment offered by Genova Diagnostics or Doctor’s Data is a test that analyzes whether or not this barrier function is working normally. A molecule can get through the intestinal lining either by going directly through a cell or between cells through what are known as the “tight junctions.”

Small molecules can easily penetrate cells and flow through them. Larger molecules  normally are excluded by cells. The Intestinal Permeability Test directly measures the ability of two types of sugar molecules that your body cannot metabolize—mannitol and lactulose—to permeate the intestinal barrier. Mannitol is small and is normally easily absorbed right through cells. Lactulose is larger and is normally only slightly absorbed.

Leaky Gut Test

The test involves drinking premeasured amounts of lactulose and mannitol and then measuring the amount of lactulose and mannitol recovered in a urine sample. Elevated levels of lactulose and mannitol, or just lactulose, in the urine are indicative of general increased permeability and leaky gut. The Intestinal Permeability Assessment costs around $150.

A newer test for leaky gut is a blood test offered by Cyrex Labs. The Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen is the only lab test available that offers testing for immune antibodies against the proteins made by the gut to bind the intestinal lining cells together. If these antibodies are found in your blood, your gut barrier is compromised. The Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen costs about $200.

Both of these tests are best ordered and interpreted by an integrative physician familiar with testing for leaky gut syndrome. However, if you cannot find a healthcare provider in your area, you can order the Intestinal Permeability Assessment yourself through various online direct access laboratory testing websites, including DirectLabs.

On to Healing

If you do discover leaky gut syndrome is the reason you’ve been wondering “Why am I tired all the time?” or have been suffering from depression symptoms, you’ll feel better knowing that it can almost always be completely healed within a few months time using only natural therapies.

The next step: healing. For advice, please read this post’s follow-up by clicking here: “Tired All the Time? Try Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome for Fatigue Relief.”

Originally published in 2015, this post is regularly updated.

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Kathleen Jade, ND

Dr. Kathleen Jade is a naturopathic physician and served for many years as the Medical Director and Editor-In-Chief of Natural Health Advisory Institute. She has been licensed as a primary … Read More

View all posts by Kathleen Jade, ND

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