“Leaky Gut” is a term that is very unique to functional medicine. It refers to the lining of the gut (the gut-blood barrier or intestinal mucosa) becoming leaky due to chronic inflammation, and thus allowing for particles of food and bacteria to circulate through the ruptured gaps and into the opposite side of gut (the bloodstream) where they don’t belong and where they will elicit an aggressive immune response, leading to alterations in immune function, cardiovascular and neurologic health.
Back in the fifth century B.C, the father of Western medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates, explained to his students and patients that “all diseases originate in the gut”. In Ayurvedic medicine, the medicine of ancient India that goes hand in hand with yoga, all diseases of the body and mind have their origin in either the stomach, the small intestine, or the colon.
In functional medicine we know from scientific verification that all of this is true for a myriad of chronic health illnesses like most disorders of the immune system, most disorders of the cardiovascular system, and most disorders of the neurologic system.
Not long ago, when in functional medicine we focused on supporting the growth of health-building gut bacterial colonies with probiotic supplementation and on reducing the levels of disease-building bacteria species and fungi like Candida, Blastocystis hominus, or E. coli, the gastroenterologists and conventionally trained doctors laughed at us. But curiously enough, the traditional exclusive use of antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, and laxatives, the preferred approach to treat IBS or IBD in the conventional medicine world, do not treat the root-cause of any G.I imbalance, let alone the root-cause of an immune, cardiovascular or neurological disease.
Did you know that if you currently suffer with ailments like IBS, heartburn, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, insomnia, or even anxiety, the right course of action is to investigate the current health of your digestive system and to treat it with a completely different approach than the one proposed by your Gp and your gastroenterologist?
Let me just give you three examples to demonstrate to you the importance of having a healthy gut if you wish to:
- Become healthy or stay healthy for life
- Reverse or dramatically improve auto-immunity, cardiovascular disease, neurologic disorders
- Boost immune function without the need for toxic vaccines
- Reverse IBS or IBD
Here are some scientific facts for you:
Intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are characterized by an impaired gut–blood barrier commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’. Therefore, functional evaluation of the gut–blood barrier is a promising diagnostic marker. – Experimental PhysiologyVolume 104, Issue 8 p. 1226-1236.
An increased GBB (gut-blood barrier) permeability, also referred to as ‘leaky gut’, has been reported in a variety of intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (Bischoff et al., 2014; Sandek et al., 2007).
“The leakage in leaky gut may be responsible for a huge variety of health issues, ranging from minor (bloating, cramps, fatigue, food allergies and sensitivities, gas, and headaches) to “bigger things”: autoimmune conditions, depression and other mood disorders, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis” -Gut. 2019 Aug; 68(8): 1516–1526.
If you suffer from any of the below disorders you may suspect leaky gut syndrome is the root-cause of your health problems:
High blood pressure
Any auto-immune disorder (Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, etc.).
Obesity, weight-loss problems
The functional medicine approach to reversing leaky gut syndrome is very comprehensive and does not limit only to taking probiotics and removing gluten. The strategy is advanced and it may take a few months under professional guidance. But the good news is that with the right program anyone can correct intestinal permeability.