Leaky Gut and Athletes

running exercise

The intestinal barrier is part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is only one thick cell layer. Typically, it’s porous enough to allow for the absorption of nutrients while preventing large molecules and bacteria from getting into the bloodstream.

‘Leaky gut’ occurs when this intestinal barrier is more porous than it should be. You might suffer from a leaky gut if you are an athlete or engage in rigorous exercise. Fortunately, there is treatment and hope for resuming regular activity.

Why Do Intestinal Walls Leak?

The walls of the intestines have a certain amount of permeability. The intestinal wall typically acts as a selective filter, allowing nutrients to be absorbed into your system while preventing bacteria, toxins, and other harmful substances from entering and contaminating your bloodstream.

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition where the small intestine’s lining becomes more porous. When the integrity of the intestinal lining is compromised, unhealthy particles may leak through and enter the bloodstream, triggering immune responses and potentially leading to other health issues. Gluten increases intestinal permeability throughout the human species.

Leaky Gut Among Athletes

Exercise, especially as it increases in intensity, diverts some blood flow from the stomach to the moving muscles, a process called hypo-perfusion. The limited blood flow to the stomach and the oxygen and nutrients that come with it can disrupt cell functioning and digestion.

Running or lots of up-and-down movements, especially in hot environments, can add to the permeability of the GI tract. Individuals who do CrossFit or exercise to exhaustion increase their susceptibility to leaky gut. Also, intense exercise over long periods can increase stress hormones and immune responses, leading to inflammation and heightened gut membrane permeability.

If you’re an athlete or regularly engage in moderate to vigorous exercise, watch for leaky gut symptoms like fatigue, which could signal an electrolyte imbalance. You might also experience nausea or vomiting, cramps, or diarrhea. These symptoms might come on after an endurance event like a marathon.

Contact Blatman Health & Wellness for Leaky Gut & Related Disorders

Don’t let GI issues get in the way of the athletic activities you enjoy. Blatman Health and Wellness Center of Cincinnati, Ohio, can help you if you have a leaky gut or another inflammatory bowel disorder, even if it’s not due to strenuous exercise. If you want to learn more about our pain relief services and treatments, contact Blatman Health and Wellness Center today to talk to a staff member or schedule an appointment.

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