There’s No Such Thing As Leaky Gut

One of many misleading alternative medicine diagnoses

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
5 min readMay 24, 2024
Pictured: Stock photos for leaky gut are very…evocative. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Leaky gut has become something of a phenomenon. Major podcasters, influencers, and health gurus are constantly telling people that they are suffering from the dread affliction. If you ingest too many toxins, live a generally unhealthy life, or eat too much sugar, you are doomed to have vague poisons floating around your blood doing untold damage to your health and wellbeing.

The idea of leaky gut is pretty simple. Various environmental factors, in particular synthetic chemicals such as herbicides, as well as stress, diet, and other lifestyle choices, are thought to potentially damage the intestinal lining. This damage then allows a range of chemicals — and, some theorize, bacteria — to pass through the gut walls, which then causes a whole range of issues for health. This concept is often used as a reason to sell expensive supplements to generally healthy people.

The problem with this idea is that it’s not really true. As with many popular myths, there’s some real science behind the concept, but the belief that we have to avoid live a certain way, or take certain supplements, to avoid having leaks in our gut is simply not accurate.

Let’s look at the data.

Intestinal Permeability