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Is Leaky Gut Real?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Yes! And it all starts with tight junction proteins

Unexplained stomach pain or allergies? Leaky intestines might be to blame.

Your intestinal lining is a protective barrier between your gut and blood stream.

Nobody wants undigested food particles to enter the blood stream. This can cause a severely painful autoimmune response with lots of swelling. This can be just as painful as an ulcer.

When someone has gut inflammation, it can damage the intestinal walls. This inflammation further disrupts the tight junction proteins in the gut that act as a barrier between the intestines and rest of the body. Molecules such as occludin and claudin are found within the stomach and intestines and reside at the tight junctions. They serve to regulate what passes through the gut, such as water, ions, digestive enzymes, and various solutes.

There are several reasons why these proteins can weaken and make the junctions separate. Inflammation is the overarching theme. Causes of inflammation in the gut can be due to improper nutrition, (eating bread, cookies, crackers, biscuits, waffles, cereal, sugar, pancakes, and other bread-y things), dysbiosis from certain hidden vitamin deficiencies, stress, or a protein called zonulin. Vegetable oils, sugar, and grains all cause inflammation.

When those with leaky gut eat anything now, this intestinal 'sifter' (the walls) gets larger tears. Think of a flour sifter. The stomach should also not let large particles through. The large, undigested protein molecules of the food aren't broken down into smaller amino acids, and escape the tears as larger macromolecules. Food in the blood is very dangerous.

The immune system will form antibodies to any food in the blood in order to attack and rid itself of it. That is why some people suddenly come back with 25 food allergies and so much inflammation. This is reversible.

Leaky gut is also linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and can also happen from inflammatory, autoimmune conditions such as diabetes and Celiac disease. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome can also cause this due to weakened collagen structures all over the body, including the gut lining. Collagen is a type of protein. Dietary guidance can greatly prevent stomach pain and inflammation.

Less obvious reasons for leaky gut are genetic mutations. Genetic mutations such as FUT2 and DAO have been linked to leaky gut. DAO mutations can impair your ability to break down histamines in food, leaving you with more gut inflammation, leading to a cycle of weaker tight junctions, leading to more leaky gut. This perpetuates allergies. DNA analysis can be helpful in determining the cause and course of action. There are specific probiotics that help reduce the expression of these SNPs, reduce inflammation, and restore a healthy microbiome, all which can eliminate this horribly painful syndrome.

If you've done everything for leaky gut and still don't have lasting relief, weak stomach acid might be to blame. It is common for us to have less stomach acid as we get older. Digestive enzymes or diluted apple cider vinegar can help in this case. Undigested food might irritate the gut lining. Certain mineral deficiencies and other factors might cause this hypochlorohydria, deficient stomach acid. Please contact us if you suspect any of these conditions. There are incredible pain-relieving medicines and supplements that can help.

Also check out our stomach pain blog! It is quite informative.

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