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Leaky gut is a digestive condition where the intestinal wall becomes permeable, allowing bacteria and toxins to leak out. The bowel is lined by a mucosal barrier that absorbs nutrients, but prevents most large molecules and germs passing. It is thought that an interaction between the immune system and germs, toxins or other substances causes the intestinal wall to become porous. The concept of leaky gut is not widely accepted in the medical field, as there is limited scientific evidence to support it. It is largely considered a part of complementary and alternative medicine. Irritants of the intestinal wall such as alcohol, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen have documented effects of damaging the mucosal barrier. Excessive sugar intake, nutrient deficiencies (vitamin A, D and zinc have been linked to increased intestinal permeability), poor gut health, and yeast overgrowth may also play a role. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to leaky gut. However, leaky gut is generally not a serious or life-threatening condition. The symptoms may include bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, joint aggravation, brain fog, aches and pains. Medical conditions can also damage the lining of the bowel, such as Crohn's disease, chronic kidney disease, coeliac disease, immunosuppressants (medicines that weaken the immune system, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, sepsis, and an intestinal infection – such as salmonella and norovirus. It is believed that leaky gut may play a role in food allergies, migraines, tiredness and chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS), scleroderma and eczema, and autism. Treatment normally isn’t required for a leaky gut, but it is recommended to take nutritional supplements containing probiotics, use herbal remedies, eat gluten-free foods, or follow a FODMAP, low sugar or antifungal diet. The symptoms usually improve over time after limiting alcohol consumption and stopping the use of NSAIDs.