Leaky Gut or Intestinal Hyper-Permeability
WHAT IS A LEAKY GUT?
Cells that make up the lining of the digestive tract are held together by “tight
junctions” (see diagram below), the tight junctions act like bouncers at a night club, only allowing specific substances through. When the tight junctions become compromised and weaken, large undigested protein particles, bacteria, parasites, fungi, fats and toxic waste can pass through the gut lining, either reaching the blood stream where they cause havoc and the immune system is alerted to foreign invaders. Or toxins from the gut leak into the body, causing inflammation. Both resulting in a wide range of symptoms. This is known as intestinal hyperpermeability or leaky gut.
The immune cells create a memory to these foreign particles and each time they are consumed, or pass the gut integrity the immune system is primed to attack them. Over time immune cells can also see other molecules with a similar structure as the invader, this is known as molecular mimicry. Zonulin is a protein that modulates the permeability of the tight junctions. Some people are particularly
susceptible to an up regulation of zonulin due to genetic and environmental factors, such as those with coeliac disease.
WHAT CAN CAUSE A LEAKY GUT?
• Chronic stress - leading to gut inflammation, this
compromises the tight junctions.
• Pathogens - bacteria, viral, parasitic, fungal
• Medication e.g. antibiotics, NSAID’s,
• Crohn’s disease/Ulcerative Colitis
• Coeliacs disease
• Food Allergies
• Poor diet - Gluten, cow dairy,sugar, grains, GMO’s
• Gut dysbiosis
• Genetic and environmental triggers
• Inflammation - of any kind
• Lack of zinc - zinc is critical in maintaining a
strong intestinal lining
SYMPTOMS OF A LEAKY GUT:
• Food sensitivities: Due to the immune system
reacting to the foreign particles, each time the
food is consumed the immune system responds,
creating antibodies and an inflammatory
• Autoimmune disease: Due to the zonulin
protein allowing macromolecules through the
gut, the body reacts to these. After time and
the immune system being hyper alert,
itconfuses ‘self’ with ‘non-self’ cells and begins
to attack certain parts of the body
• Depending on the location, depends on the
autoimmune condition that develops
• Nutrient malabsorption/maldigestion
• Mood disorders/Autism
• Inflammatory skin conditions
• Systemic inflammation
• Chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia
RESTORING GUT HEALTH & TREATMENT OF LEAKY GUT:
1. REMOVE: Food or triggers perpetuating leaky gut e.g. gluten, stress.
2. REPLACE: Using healing nourishing foods that heal the gut e.g. probiotic rich foods, foods rich in glutamine, collagen e.g. organic bone broth, cabbage juice.
3. REPAIR: Using supplements to support gut health, encourage the healing of the mucosal lining and tight junctions e.g. Glutamine (not to be used with cancer),
4. REBALANCE: Gut micro biome are essential for a healthy digestive system and overall health.