Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut) refers to weakness and leakage through the inner wall of the small intestine. Because of these microscopic leaks, half-digested food particles slip into the bloodstream. This leads to food allergies and a poor immune system. It may be the root cause of many ‘auto-immune’ illnesses and ‘diseases of unknown origin.’
CDC – Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) had over 394 documents on this topic in 2008 (and even more now).
NIH – National Institutes of Health (pubmed.gov) in 2008 had over 160 research articles, beginning in 1966.
In 2004 NDDK (National Institute Diabetes, Digestive, & Kidney Disease) estimated 60 to 70 million Americans were affected by digestive diseases, while American College of Gastroenterology said 95 million were affected annually. Current thought is that up to 70% of Americans have leaky gut.
“Research in recent years has uncovered the important connection between the health of the human body and the integrity of the gut wall. It is now well established that inflammation of the intestines and a resultant increased permeability of the intestinal mucosal wall has a connection with conditions such as infection, food allergy, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, dermatological conditions, colitis, auto-immune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Accelerated Aging, Endotoxemia.” – Dr Sandra Cabot
Leaky Gut symptoms include: abdominal pain, asthma, chronic joint pain, chronic muscle pain, headaches, confusion, fuzzy or foggy thinking, gas, indigestion, mood swings, nervousness, poor immunity, frequent colds, recurrent vaginal infections, skin rashes, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, recurrent bladder infections, poor memory, shortness of breath, aggressive behavior, anxiety, fatigue, feeling toxic.
If you have a weak immune system, consider that
80% of our immune system’s strength arises from the gut.
Dr. William Donald Kelley said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Let’s take a look at the gut wall. The villi are like a shag carpet on the inner lining of the small intestine. Each villus finger has many microvilli which absorb nutrients from our food. When the intestinal lining is irritated, the microvilli can become inflamed, and their tiny cells may separate from each other. When these junctions loosen, larger undigested food molecules pass through into bloodstream.
The immune system sees these substances as foreign and begins an antibody reaction (inflammatory response). If the lining is further damaged, larger toxins and bacteria get into the blood, and the immune system produces more antibodies and cytokines, which alert white blood cells to fight the particles. This fight also creates oxidants, which cause inflammation throughout the body.
The liver breaks down the immune complexes, which puts stress on its detoxifying capability. Thus the toxins may accumulate in the liver, fatty tissue, muscles, and joints.
The antibodies formed above cause food allergies, because the body reacted to food particles initially. (Food allergies may reveal themselves obviously or subtly in sinus drainage and cold-like symptoms. Also the immune system is weakened, thus inviting more colds.)
To completely recover from this often-chronic condition, a dairy-free gluten-free (free of wheat, rye, corn) diet is usually essential for months (sometimes years). Avoid sugar, processed meats, cheeses, coffee, alcohol. Increase intake of raw vegetables and fruits, raw garlic on salads. Lightly steamed vegetables. Lower intake of protein and flesh foods. Take extra acidophilus, probiotics, digestive enzymes, recommended herbs.
Drink celtic salt water. (See my posts about these treatments.)
Yucca juice is also helpful in healing the intestinal inflammation. People with Rheumatoid Arthritis have had great relief from their symptoms by drinking yucca juice.