What is Leaky Gut? In good health, the small intestine epithelium maintains tight cell junctions. These cells are coated with a mucus lining which also serves as a protective barrier to prevent harmful pathogens from entering the body. There is also an important chemical barrier within the mucus, which can neutralize toxins that comes in contact with it.
When the epithelium on the villi of the small intestine becomes inflamed and irritated, they can lose their tight cell junctions and allow toxins, pathogens and food particles to enter the blood stream where they do not belong. These toxins can compromise the liver, lymphatic, endocrine and immune system functions.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut: asthma, food allergies / intolerance, chronic sinusitis, eczema, urticaria, migraine, irritable bowel, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, auto immune, chronic fatigue and inflammatory joint disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, gluten intolerance.
Candida overgrowth and other pathogens like parasites can cause small intestine epithelial cells to shrink. This allows the pathogens to enter through the epithelium and end up in the blood. Eventually, the immune system and the body weaken causing symptoms, illness and disease.
Toxins that enter the bloodstream through a weakened mucosal barrier end up in the liver, which has to detoxify and discharge the poisons. When there are too many, the liver becomes saturated; and the poisons are returned to circulate in the blood. The blood will move as much of the toxic chemicals and physical debris into the interstitial fluids as it can. From here the lymphatic system will attempt to collect and neutralize the toxins. The lymphatic system will now attempt to send the toxins to the liver for excretion from the body. But because the liver is already saturated with toxins, the body itself has no choice but to begin storing the toxins – hoping for the day they can be discharged! Essentially the body has become a toxic storage site! In most cases the person that continues to store the toxins becomes overweight and -no matter what diet they try- they are unable to loose the weight! In other cases the person looses too much weight due to poor absorption of nutrients and has trouble gaining weight.
Leaky Gut and Adrenal Fatigue: A weakened mucosal barrier can diminish adrenal function. And the most important organ in the production of immune agents is the adrenal gland. This may be displayed in hyperactivity, anxiety, exhaustion or even insomnia. The body has a powerful tool; the mucosal barrier lining, that allows digested nutrients in while keeping toxins out. Due to the overuse of antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and NSAIDs, the average person’s health and their much-needed mucosal barrier has been significantly challenged and weakened allowing the onset of debilitating infections.
Because of the mal-absorption of vital nutrients, leaky gut sufferers are actually malnourished!
As toxins and food antigens continue to irritate the intestinal mucosa, the immune system moves to neutralize the toxins. Normally, beneficial bacteria would have done much of this work. Unfortunately, by this point the beneficial bacteria have all been destroyed by overuse of antibiotics. For toxins that make it to the mucosa, the body will tag them with a chemical secretory IgA (SIgA), which attracts macrophages and other white blood cells to consume the toxins. It is not long before this immune response is overwhelmed and depleted. SigA measurement is part of our leaky gut test.
What measures leaky gut? If secretory IgA (SigA) tests low, this is an indicator for leaky gut syndrome. Along with your test results our practitioner will write a protocol for you to help you heal the leaky gut and improve your absorption.