Leaky gut syndrome results in an increase in the so-called permeability of the mucosal intestinal lining to luminal macro molecules. In other words, large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall and this allows bacteria, toxins and food to leak in. Once the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed or damaged it disrupts the way the digestive system functions.
The spaces that open up allow large food antigens to be absorbed into the body, which are regarded as ‘foreign’ to the body’s defense system. Leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, but evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines.
The theory is that leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances.
As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.
The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.
Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen such disorders as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.