Nutrients that have been properly digested will normally pass through the lining of the gut into the bloodstream. The blood then carries the nutrients through the body to the various organs and glands of the body, and in the process, the roots of your hair are also supplied with nutrients.
Normally, the cells of the gut walls are tightly packed, but when the intestinal lining becomes irritated, holes develop in the gut wall (“leaky gut”) which allow unwanted larger food particles into the bloodstream. These unwanted substances are seen as ‘foreign’ by the immune system, and this triggers an antibody reaction.
When the intestinal lining becomes further damaged, larger substances such as bacteria, undigested food particles and toxins pass directly through into the bloodstream. This in turn alarms the immune system even further, so more antibodies are released. This fight produces oxidants which cause inflammation throughout the body. You now have a situation where you will develop an auto-immune disease.
The most common causes for a leaky gut are antibiotics, NSAIDS, excess alcohol, constant stress, toxic metals, invasive organisms and eating foods you are intolerant to. The main foods that are irritating the gut are grains, dairy products, sugar and soya.
In my experience, the only way to heal the gut is to change the way you are eating. Especially if you are suffering with alopecia areata, alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis, you have to eat small amounts of meat or fish, vegetables and some well-chosen carbohydrates. If you don’t eat meat or fish, you need to at least be able/ willing to eat eggs and cheese. I have not found any way to heal the gut without some animal proteins. Animal proteins contain vital nutrients that nourish the body while the gut is repairing itself. Once the gut is healed, the inflammations in the body stop and the hair can grow again.
If you think you might have a leaky gut, you can have a Polyethelyne Glycol (PEG) test done where you drink a solution of mannitol and lactulose (two types of sugar) and then collect your urine. If the levels of mannitol and lactulose in the collected urine sample are high, it is indicative of leaky gut syndrome.
A colonoscopy will not be able to determine whether you have a leaky gut.