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Leaky Gut Syndrome
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"A phenomenon associated to the inflammation of the gut lining"

The intestinal lining serves as the barrier between the intestinal lumen (the outside world) and the inside of the body. We don't often think of food particles, chemicals, and bacteria that are travelling through the intestines as being external to the body, but they are.

Normally, the cells of a healthy functioning intestinal lining, like those depicted here, absorb digested food particles (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals) into the cell and subsequently pass these nutrients along to the blood stream. Larger undigested food particles as well as other unwanted substances such as pathogenic bacteria and yeast pass through the bowel undigested.

Occasionally these pathogens get the better of the gut lining which when unattended will lead to inflammation and in more severe cases leaky gut syndrome which we will discuss later. Inflammation can be caused by a number of possibilities including infection such as candida, trauma such as surgery, the overuse of certain medications like antibiotics and NSAIDS (aspirin), and food allergies such as gluten intolerances for example.

Generally speaking, our intestinal lining replaces itself approximately every 24 hours. This means that every cell that the lining is composed of is digested or sloughed off, and a new one grows to take its place. All this activity means the gut uses more blood when it is resting than any other organ but it is also the first to lose its blood supply when in a stress situation. If you have a lot of stress then your gut will always be starved for blood and the lining will be impaired.

There are other factors that contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. These include: Alcohol and caffeine and includes products such as coke (diet and regular), tea and coffee. Contaminated foods that harbour E. coli and other bacteria’s. Chemicals found in processed and fermented foods which include dyes and preservatives. A diet high in refined sugars and other carbohydrates which include foods such as candy, cookies, sodas, processed foods and white bread. Foods contaminated by parasites. Excessive antibiotic use causing an overgrowth of fungi thus suppressing the immune response. Ingestion of animal products that have been given hormonal and antibiotic treatments. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

The issues associated to both inflammation and leaky gut have to be considered. For example in regards to leaky gut, nutrients from the foods we digest that are not digested properly become unwanted particles that may permeate through the intestinal cells and enter the body. These foreign pathogens are attacked by the body's immune system often causing the immune system to over react which if chronic can lead to allergic reactions and more inflammation. It is truly a vicious cycle. Leaky gut problems are also associated with a variety of health conditions, including IBS, Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, and Celiac Disease.

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