Do you suffer from irregular periods and bloating?
Do you have weight problems accompanied by food sensitivity?
Are you having difficulty getting pregnant?
It is possible you have PCOS secondary to a leaky gut.
Read on to understand how leaky gut is associated with PCOS. We’ve also gathered tips on how to keep your gut healthy.
What is PCOS?
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most common causes of infertility. In the US, it affects 6%-12% of women in reproductive age. And many of them are not aware that this can be because of a leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition in which the intestinal walls are weakened, causing substances and microorganisms to escape from the intestinal tract and leak into the bloodstream.
Some health practitioners, particularly natural and holistic health enthusiasts, believe that a leaky gut is the major cause of various health problems.
Mainstream medical experts refer to this condition as simple “intestinal permeability”, and not a real health condition. However, there is evidence that supports the leaky gut theory.
How Does Leaky Gut Occur?
The intestine is lined by a single layer of cells that separates the interiors of the intestinal tract from the rest of your body. There are small gaps between these cells, and these gaps are filled by protein complexes called “tight junctions”.
The tight junction allows water and smaller ions to flow into the bloodstream; but the gaps are too small for macromolecules and microorganisms.
What is the Cause of Leaky Gut?
The exact cause of leaky gut is still unclear, but proponents believe that a protein called “zonulin” plays a role. Zonulin is a protein that regulates the permeability of tight junctions of the digestive system.
Zonulin Makes the Gut Leaky
When this protein is activated, leaky gut can happen. Studies reveal that gluten and intestinal bacteria can trigger zonulin production. However, a number of research studies have pointed out that gluten only intensifies intestinal permeability in individuals with existing irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease.
Research has deduced that leaky gut syndrome is activated by multiple factors. These factors include:
● Nutrient deficiency
● Excessive sugar consumption
● Excessive alcohol consumption
● Intake of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
● Overgrowth of yeast
Leaky Gut and PCOS: How They Are Linked
PCOS refers to a set of symptoms brought on by elevated androgen levels. This is a terribly complicated condition with a mysterious cause. A cure is not available yet, but there are medications and lifestyle changes that can alleviate the symptoms. One effective management strategy is keeping your gut healthy, because leaky gut can contribute to PCOS.
In order to establish a solid link between leaky gut syndrome and PCOS, it is important to highlight the following:
● Serum zonulin is elevated in women with PCOS, and is connected with menstrual disorders and insulin resistance. It implies that changes in gut permeability can contribute to PCOS pathophysiology. These are supported by these studies:
● In women with PCOS, the levels of biomarkers for inflammation and oxidative stress stimulate excessive androgen production, as shown in this study.
● A study published in 2012 found that women with PCOS have altered levels of certain inflammatory markers. This suggests that PCOS is a state of chronic, yet low grade inflammation.
● A hormonal imbalance affects the production and release of eggs from the ovaries.
How they are all connected…
When gut health is weakened due to stress, inflammation, dietary choices, nutrient deficiency, and drug use, zonulin levels may increase. Now, remember that zonulin is the mediator of gut permeability. Therefore, increased zonulin levels are equivalent to increased gut permeability.
What happens when the gut becomes more permeable?
When the gut becomes highly permeable, the microorganisms within your intestinal tract will leak into the bloodstream. This will trigger an inflammatory response and oxidative stress.
As mentioned earlier, these two conditions can stimulate excessive androgen production, which is characteristic of PCOS. Excessive androgen production creates a hormonal imbalance that can affect the production and release of eggs from the ovaries. If no egg is produced or released, a woman cannot get pregnant.
What’s more shocking is…
Leaky Gut Syndrome Can Be Caused by Toxic Black Molds
Yes, those mostly hidden molds that thrive in water-damaged cellulose-rich materials such as floors, boards, walls, and ceilings can cause leaky gut syndrome.
Remember that gut health is a factor to intestinal permeability. Your gut health may be compromised due to exposure to mold toxins.
An Explanation from a Toxic Mold Doctor
According to Dr. Sponaugle, a toxic mold doctor, there is a strong link between mold and PCOS. Mold toxins can downgrade biological processes such as tissue repair, DNA synthesis, nutrient absorption, and immune function in the intestines. These can cause stress in the gut, which triggers the release of zonulin. This sets off the pathophysiology of PCOS.
When these mold toxins travel to the brain, they can alter the brain’s electrical activity, which affects cytokine activity. Cytokines are proteins that have an immune function. So, if cytokine activity is not well-regulated, the body won’t be able to fight off inflammation, triggering PCOS.
How to Keep Your Gut Healthy
Gut health is vital for biochemical balance. Follow these tips on how to keep the gut strong through the years:
Eat Organic Foods
Organic foods are produced without the use of synthetic chemicals, which may cause inflammation. Sudden dietary changes are likely to result in failure, so it is advised to start small. Try snacking on organic nuts or organic dried fruit first. Then, shift to healthier drinks, like organic tea. Purchasing these items in bulk can reduce costs.
Collagen is the major component of connective tissues. You need this protein to keep your gut tissues intact. Some of the collagen precursors are citrus fruits, almonds, avocado, berries, and green leafy vegetables. Broths, stocks, and gelatin are great sources as well.
Whether it's in supplement form or consumed within your daily diet, probiotics keep the gut healthy by adding “good bacteria” to your body, which aids in digestion, inflammation, immunity and more. Foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha and sauerkraut contain natural probiotics.
Avoid Processed and High-Sugar Foods
Processed foods may have additives that can create an imbalance in your biological functions, while excessive sugar intake has been linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation.
PCOS is a condition that can greatly affect a woman’s life. Taking good care of gut health and prevention of mold exposure can reduce a woman’s chances getting PCOS.