Your gut can give you a headache

If your belly hurts, you will probably see what is going on with your gut. However, if your head hurts, your gut might be the last thing you think of. You might simply accept headaches as a fact of life and suppress the pain with medication. Who can blame you? Afterall, the head is so far away from the gut and that is the way mainstream medical care approaches most health problems—prescribe a medication aimed at where it hurts. Headaches, even migraines are a good example, but surprisingly, lots of conditions and diseases start in the gut.  

About 13 percent of men and 33 percent of women will regularly experience migraine headaches. Science cannot tell us exactly how migraines are caused. However, several studies suggest that migraines are an inflammatory disorder that may be associated with inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders like the “leaky gut syndrome”. For example, a 2014 study published in the medical journal “Frontiers in Neurology”, concluded that people who have the type of inflammatory bowel conditions with associated increased intestinal permeability, often had a two to three times higher risk of suffering from migraines.

As shown in these crude diagrams, the intestinal mucus membrane serves two functions. One, because of protrusions called “villi” and “micro-villi”, it has a huge surface area for absorbing nutrients. It is also a barrier that protects the blood circulation from intestinal contents which do not belong elsewhere in the body. If, as shown in the leaky gut diagram, the intestinal mucosa becomes permeable with gaps in this barrier, harmful substances can pass unhindered into the bloodstream. As a result, the immune system will react with inflammatory and allergic processes causing pain and degeneration in remote parts of the body. In addition to intestinal symptoms and migraines, this can lead to a variety of other problems such as autoimmune diseases, arthritis and sleeping disorders. As you can imagine, when the gut lining is damaged and the villi are degraded, nutritional absorption is greatly reduced. That in turn makes it harder for the body to deal with the harmful things being absorbed. Several common factors can cause a leaky gut: an unhealthy diet, stress, the intake of antibiotics, mycosis [fungus overgrowth], viruses and chemo therapy.

Diagnosis of leaky gut is possible through a simple stool test. Unfortunately, traditional check-ups at the doctor’s office often ignore the gut entirely or, at best, include very superficial stool tests. To heal, you must know what you are dealing with and for that, it is important to make sure the right markers are tested.

Tests detection to detect leaky gut should at least contain the following factors: Alpha-1-Antitrypsin (it reflects the permeability of the gut during inflammatory processes); Secretory IgA (it is an immune protein which reacts anti-inflammatory); and Zonulin (it is a protein molecule which helps with the regulation of tight junctions between cells in your intestinal wall). It is best to choose a test that also analyzes the intestinal flora [bacterial] balance and checks for yeasts [fungus]. A more comprehensive analysis not only shows if leaky gut is present, but also the reasons behind the condition so you and your doctor will know where to begin the gut renovation.

Note that the diagnosis test can either be done by a medical practitioner or through an at-home stool test. Find more information on the leaky gut syndrome and stool diagnosis on I arranged for our listeners to save 5% on any test by using the code HBN185. By the way, they will try to connect you with a doctor that knows what to do with the tests.

No matter if you have tests done or not, it surely will help the health of your gut to regularly take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics.


Saskia van Hemert et al., “Migraine Associated with Gastrointestinal Disorders: Review of the Literature and Clinical Implications”, Frontiers, November 2014.

Dr. Shahram Lavasani et al., “Intestinal barrier damage in multiple sclerosis”, ScienceDaily, September 2014 

Fasano, Alessio, and Terez Shea-Donohue. “Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases.” Nature clinical practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2.9 (2005): 416-422.

Hollander, Daniel. “Intestinal permeability, leaky gut, and intestinal disorders.” Current gastroenterology reports 1.5 (1999): 410-416.

Sderholm, Johan D., and Mary H. Perdue. “II. Stress and intestinal barrier function.” American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 280.1 (2001): G7-G13

Lisa Richards. “How Are Leaky Gut Syndrome And Candida Linked?” The candida d

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