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Leaky Gut Syndrome or what is more accurately called Intestinal Hyper-permeability is an often overlooked disorder associated with increased intestinal permeability due to damage of the intestinal lining. This damage is often due to exposure to toxic substances within the intestinal lumen which can damage the “tight junctions” between intestinal epithelial cells.

The wall of the intestinal tract must endure vast amounts of physical, chemical and biological insults, it is the first mechanism of defence for our immune system. During normal digestion the “tight junctions” stay closed forcing all food molecules to be screened by our immune system and only pass into the blood stream through the mucosa cells, which can be likened to the security guards at the front of a secure building.

When the “tight junctions” become damaged and eroded, dangerous food molecules can get through into the blood stream instead of staying within the digestive tract. The liver and immune system will leap into action as toxins, undigested food molecules, yeast and other pathogens start to accumulate throughout your body.

Today’s modern diet, environmental toxins and stressful lifestyle has contributed to the vast amount of digestive complaints. One in five of us will experience unpleasant digestive symptoms at some stage throughout our lives.

Common causes of intestinal hyper-permeability are:

  • Gluten
  • Coeliac disease
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Nutrient insufficiencies
  • Viruses
  • Excessive stress
  • Bacterial infections
  • Yeasts such as candida
  • Parasites
  • Food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance

Toxins that escape through the damaged intestinal barrier will overwhelm the phase I and phase II liver detoxification system. When this happens it can cause;

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives and dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Environmental illness
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Childhood hyperactivity
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Alcoholism

Although the CDSA stool test can identify certain makers of malabsorption, the lactulose/mannitol is a more specific means to check for intestinal hyper-permeability.

Food reactions are often at the core of intestinal hyper-permeability cases. Determining which foods you react to is crucial with regard to designing an effective program to allow your body to heal. Food allergy testing or simply omitting commonly known inflammatory foods will help in cases of leaky gut.

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