The Weight and Leaky Gut Connection

According to the Centers for Disease Control the number of US adults who are overweight, including obesity is 73.6%. Being overweight is a risk factor for leaky gut syndrome, which is characterized by gas, bloating, other digestive symptoms, as well as inflammatory conditions throughout the body.

The journal Physiology reports that people with obesity have a lower percentage of the flora Akkermancia muciniphila, which is associated with healthy intestinal mucus and gut barrier. The same researchers also note that increasing this bacterium can improve insulin resistance, which is a factor for weight gain and diabetes risk. In addition, people with obesity have higher circulating levels of LPS, a marker of leaky gut.

Even young adults with insulin resistance are susceptible to leaky gut. A study published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy found that leaky gut was associated with insulin resistance in young adults. The same researchers note that abdominal obesity is associated with leaky gut and dysbiosis, likely due to the consumption of the western diet. Higher levels of the leaky gut marker zonulin are typically higher in obese people than people who are lean.


Improve Your Weight and Gut Health

If you are overweight, especially obese, then it is important to achieve a healthier weight to resolve leaky gut and dysbiosis. In addition, many patients report they are able to lose weight more easily and that their elevated insulin and glucose levels drop when they follow my leaky gut program, which includes a Modified Mediterranean Diet. This is not surprising since the Mediterranean Diet, and even more so with the reduced grain intake in my modified version, has been shown to help with weight and diabetes.


Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at His clinic website is



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“FastStats – Overweight Prevalence.” Obesity and Overweight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 6, 2022.

Mkumbuzi, Lusikelelwe, Mvuyisi MO Mfengu, Godwill A Engwa, and Constance R Sewani-Rusike. “Insulin Resistance Is Associated with Gut Permeability without the Direct Influence of Obesity in Young Adults.” Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy Volume 13 (August 24, 2020): 2997–3008.

Saad, M. J., A. Santos, and P. O. Prada. “Linking Gut Microbiota and Inflammation to Obesity and Insulin Resistance.” Physiology 31, no. 4 (June 2016): 283–93.