What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome is a well-defined functional disorder of the gut that causes abnormal intestinal permeability. Imagine the gut as a hollow pipe built out of billions of living building blocks (epithelial cells). The tube is inhabited by a myriad of microorganisms, some of which attach to the tube and others float within the lumen. In a cyclical way, the tube fills up with remnants of food, bile and digestive enzymes and acts as a highly selective filter allowing only a small portion of molecules to escape from the lumen. When this filter, or tight junction, is abnormal; intestinal permeability increases, releasing a large number of molecules from the lumen into the bloodstream resulting in leaky gut syndrome.

The common causes of leaky gut syndrome include:leaky gut visual

  • Poorly balanced diet
  • Chronic use of alcohol
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Chronic yeast (candida) infection
  • Abnormal gut microflora (dysbacteriosis)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics
  • Chronic use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac etc)
  • Chronic use of corticosteroid hormones (prednisone, methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone etc)
  • Chronic use of estrogens (birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy etc)