For many years main stream medicine denied that such a condition existed. However, in recent years the amount of research into the structure and function of the gut has shown that it is not just an organ of digestion and absorption, but also a major barrier against the passage of pathogens and toxins.
A healthy gut, with its tight junctions intact, effectively prevents the passage of macromolecules into the bloodstream. Any impairment in the integrity of the intestinal barrier can readily result in a pathological increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosal lining – or leaky gut syndrome. An increase in intestinal permeability leads to increased absorption of intestinally derived endotoxins, antigens, inflammatory mediators, bacteria, parasites and other pathogens.
These agents can cause local as well as systemic (whole of body) reactions associated with a broad range of acute and chronic diseases. Leaky gut is typically observed in inflammatory bowel disease but it is also seen in various conditions initially related to gut disorders, including many inflammatory responses, allergies, asthma, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory joint disease, ankylosing spondilytis, psoriatic arthritis, atopic dermatitis, chronic heart failure and psychological or mental health conditions.
What causes Leaky Gut?
Infections, dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria), food intolerances and STRESS represent the major influences on the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Other stressors contributing to leaky gut include NSAIDs, imbalanced enzymes, excess sugar and processed food consumption, antibiotics and some medications.
Can it be repaired?
Yes. A qualified natural health practitioner is able to assess the condition of your digestive health and advise on the best treatment for you. Depending on the extent of permeability and inflammation, treatment may take several weeks or months. So if you experience any of the conditions mentioned above, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at your gut.