Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Our gastrointestinal lining is one of our first barriers between the outside environment and the inside of our bodies. The barrier is made up of cells connected by tight junctions that transport contents of our gut directly into our blood stream. In an ideal situation, the junctions between our gastrointestinal cells are tightly bound and are very selective to what can pass into our bodies. This protects us from microbial pathogens, ingested toxins, large food molecules and cellular debris produced from our microbiota, from entering the body and causing chronic low-grade inflammation.
For many for us this isn’t the case. Factors like stress, medications, diet choices, allergies, intolerances and alcohol amongst other health conditions can disrupt our barriers making them inflamed. The inflammation at the site of the membranes disrupts those tight junctions causing them open, and become hyper-permeable, otherwise known as “leaky” (think of a punctured hose).
The process begins with either direct damage to the lining of the gut or a slower progression of loss of barrier strength due to dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria).
With this leaky barrier, partially digested food, fragments of bacteria and other waste substances from the digestive tract leak through the gut wall into the body where they don’t belong. The barrier disruption is a chronic issue that puts a significant burden on the body’s immune and detoxification systems, resulting in low grade inflammation throughout the body due to immune activation and poor elimination in the liver.
With Leaky Gut, its common to experience
Poor weight control
Common treatment is to restore the barrier by removing any irritants, reducing gastrointestinal inflammation, balancing the gut microbiota and providing energy for these gut cells to rebuild and repair.