Leaky Gut: The Impact on Chronic Disease
Intestinal hyper-permeability or leaky gut, is a condition in which macromolecules leak either between the cells or tight junctions or through cells that line the gut called enterocytes.
This can lead to systemic inflammation and can lead to many chronic diseases. The most common endotoxin is LPS or lipopolysaccharide which, is a gram-negative bacteria.
Conditions Associated With Leaky Gut:
- Food Sensitivities
- Gluten Intolerance
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
What Are The Causes of Leaky Gut?
Stress has proven to be one of the most common factors in creating intestinal permeability. This can be emotional, physical or chemical. Other common causes are antibiotic use, NSAIDs, and proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec or Prevacid. Certain lifestyle factors such as chronic alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of sleep or over training can cause leaky gut.
How Do We Test For It?
We recommend the Array 2 from Cyrex Labs. This test will measure Lipopolysaccharides, (LPS), which will indicate infiltration of endotoxins through the intestinal barrier into the circulation.
It also measures Occludin and Zonulin. Occludin in a protein that keeps together the tight junctions making the intestinal wall not permeable. Zonulin is a protein that is responsible for regulating the permeability of the intestines.
The Array 2 will also measure Actinomyosin that helps regulate intestinal barrier function.
What Can Be Done To Repair The Leaky Gut?
As a Functional Medicine Practitioner we will run the proper tests to assess whether you have Leaky Gut. Then we will employ dietary and lifestyle choices to manage stress as well as support the tight junctions.
We incorporate strategies to increase secretory IgA levels. This will help to minimize the endotoxin LPS as it is our first line of defense and will minimize and neutralize the effects of LPS.
Nutrients that we use to increase secretory IgA levels are Colostrum, Omega Fatty Acids, Glutathione, Glutamine, Glycine and Zinc.
Next it is important to strengthen the intestinal lining or mucosal barrier.
The final step is to improve the microbiome. With leaky gut we lean towards the diversity in the microbiome. A blend of fruits and vegetables along with fiber has been shown to help heal the gut as well as improve its oral tolerance. When we begin to lose oral tolerance we become more reactive to foods which can lead to autoimmune issues.
Leaky Gut is complex and with proper testing we can identify the cause and then work towards solutions.
Strategies to include reducing stress, proper exercise and sleep are fundamental in the process of treating chronic disease and pain.