Most people do not know that illnesses like colds, flu, respiratory disorders and the like gain entrance into our system by way of the gut. How, you might ask, continue reading and you’ll be surprised, as well as astonished, as to how we can stop illness by simply dealing with this one very important health issue.
Leaky gut syndrome is the name given to a very common health disorder in which the intestinal lining is more permeable than it should be. This increased permeability of the gut allows entry of all manner of disease, like viruses, bacteria’s, fungi, parasites, metals, candida, and toxic materials.
With a healthy gut, toxic materials, undigested food and fats would be repelled and eliminated, with an unhealthy gut, that has become compromised, toxins, undigested protein and fat will pass through the "leaky" intestinal wall, and instead of being utilized by the body they are now a health risk for the individual.
Allan Walker, MD, reported in 1975, that antigen absorption through the intestinal wall was linked to several clinical diseases. DR. Walker suggested that preventing this antigen absorption would be due to mothers breast feeding their babies for at least the first three months of life. Thanks to DR. Walker, it is now a well known fact that the immune factors passed from the mother to the child will protect the infant from invading microorganisms due to the IgA Immunoglbulins found in the first mothers milking (colostrum).
Leaky gut syndrome has become as common an occurrence as the common cold, and it is caused by an inflamed and irritated bowel lining. This inflammation can occur by quite a few things. Below is a list of some of these irritating agents:
- Any and all prescriptive corticosteroids.
- Alcohol and caffeine which irritate the gut wall, this includes cokes (diet and regular), chocolate, coffee, cocoa.
- Contaminated foods, E. coli and other bacteria’s can develop due to poor food handling.
- Chemicals found in processed and fermented foods (dyes and preservatives), wine, vinegar, soy sauce, tofu, etc.
- A diet high in refined sugars and other carbohydrates (e.g. candy, cookies, sodas, processed foods and white bread).
- Foods contaminated by parasites (pork, chicken, fresh water and hatchery fish).
- Antibiotic use-this causes an overgrowth of bacteria (yeast) in the gut due to the immune suppression that occurs.
- Ingestion of animal products that have been given hormonal and antibiotic treatments.
Inflammation in the gut causes the normal permeability of the wall to increase, which then allows the absorption of larger molecules, which are normally broken down to smaller pieces before passing into the body. Once inside these microbes are then able to invade the bloodstream and colonize just about anywhere in body tissue or organs causing disease processes to occur.
This inflammation also damages the protective coating of the antibodies of the IgA family (immunoglobins) normally present in a healthy gut. The IgA’s help our body to ward off infections, however, a leaky gut causes considerable damage to the immune system (IgA’s) and makes us less resistant to viruses, bacteria’s, parasites, toxic materials, metals and candida.
Another problem a leaky gut creates is a mineral deficiency because the damage that happens to the carrier proteins which are needed for transport of specific minerals are damaged by the inflammatory processes. For example, a magnesium deficiency that is present in most Fibromyalgia patients. This patient can take incredibly high doses of magnesium, however, if the carrier protein for this mineral is damaged, no matter how much of the mineral you take, it will not get into the body where it is needed. This can also be true for some bone disorders. Even a zinc deficiency, which will effect hair loss and some eye disorders (macular degeneration). Copper deficiency can also occur this way which can lead to Osteoarthritis or even elevated blood cholesterol in some cases. This is true for any syndrome that could be connected to a mineral deficiency, or perhaps symptoms that don’t seem to go away no matter what you do, consider the possibility of a leaky gut.
The inflammation in the gut causes swelling and, along with the noxious chemicals that are present there will be a blocked absorption of even vitamins and essential amino acids. Eventually nutritional deficiencies can lead to other complaints such as fatigue, headaches, memory loss, lack or concentration and irritability. Lower bowel gas, bloating and cramping are also among the symptoms that are associated with a leaky gut. Even unexplained weight gain is another symptom, which can be due to the deficiencies that are created by the leaky gut.
Another problem with leaky gut syndrome is that the toxins that accumulate in the gut put an incredible burden on the liver. One of the livers main jobs is to help keep the bowel clean for better absorption, consequently, when the bowel has become overloaded with toxins, due to the inflammation, the liver also becomes unnecessarily burdened, which in turn decreases the livers ability to do it’s other 200, or so, jobs efficiently which will then cause further disruption to the homeostasis of the body and so on and so on.
Healing a leaky gut reduces the toxic load to our liver and body, and will greatly improve nutritional uptake. Eating a good, nutrient-rich (organic) diet that has a good amount of fiber is a good start. A good Detox is always recommended, but I would caution people about starting this on their own, there could be side effects which could do more harm then good. Detoxing to quickly can lead to side effects like:
- Headaches, severe to mild which can last for days if the Detox is not done according to what your specific needs.
- Flu-like reactions, from mild to severe, which can be minimized with the right detoxification program.
- Lack of energy, this can be eliminated through proper supplementation.
- Changes in bowel function
The above symptoms can be minimized with the correct diagnosis and protocol given for your particular needs, and only a licensed health-care practitioner can help you make the right decision as to what would be best for you. Check with your health-care practitioner before starting a Detox to make sure your system is up to it.
There needs to be a protocol included that will help the gut to heal while cleaning (detoxing) it, this would be the rebuilding phase and is essential in preventing the reoccurrence of any problems.
The protocols we have used in the clinic for years with great success are designed to re-establish the proper bowel microflora. Once balance is established the gut can then be healed; preventing further systemic damage from happening.
The recommended protocol I have used with great success gives the body the nutrients needed to do the necessary repairs to the intestinal lining because altered Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut) is a model for chronic disease.
Below is the specific product I recommend and have used with patients for a period of no less than 12 weeks for the final stages of healing.
IPS: 2-3 Capsules twice daily away from food.
This product has the nutrients specific to healing the gut and contains:
Jerusalem Artichoke-a source of Fructooligosaccharides known to promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
L-Glutamine-represents a major fuel for intestinal cells and, normalizes intestinal electrolyte transport and support tissue for turnover.
Tillandsia-contains fiber, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, chlorophyll, beta-carotene and B vitamins. It also contain coumarin and resins believed to possess antimicrobial properties Lamb intestine concentrate.
Glucosamine Sulfate-an amino sugar that is the key building block of connective tissue and the basement membrane to which the intestinal mucosa is anchored.
Gamma Oryzanol-a potent antioxidant, and phytosterol that helps maintain the integrity of the GI tract and support glandular activity of the stomach and intestine.
Glutathione-helps maintain the internal redox environment to inhibit the production of pre-inflammatory cytokines and to maintain protein sulfur groups for the maximum biological free radical elimination.
To better determine what protocol would be best for you I recommend that you call the clinic for a free 10 minute consultation.
This and other protocols are available through our clinic for the asking, or call your health-care professional to get started, after all you have nothing to loose, and everything to gain.
Bridger, J.C.: Brown, J.F. "Development of Immunity to Porcine Rotavirus in Piglets Protected From Disease by Bovine Colostrum" Infectious Immunity 31(3):906-910. 1981.
The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Assoc., Cellular Detoxification, Kratz, Allen M., PharmD, Human and Experimental Toxicity, vol. 13, 1994.
Walker, Allan, MD, "Antigen Absorption from the Small Intestine and Gastrointestinal Ds.", Pediatric Clinics of North America. 22(4):731-746, 1975.
Doe, W.F., "An Overview of Intestinal Immunity and Malabsorption", American Journal of Medicine
Galland, L.; "Leaky Gut Syndrome: Breaking the Vicious Cycle", Townsend Letter for Doctors 145(6) 63-68, 1995.
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