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leaky gut / leaky brain


Leaky Brain Syndrome

  Because they are so common, I’ve spent a fair bit of time on this site talking not only about LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (increased intestinal permeability), but about LEAKY BRAIN SYNDROME as well (increased permeability of the blood brain barrier or BBB).   Unfortunately, it seems that the chasm between the research side of the mainstream medical community and the practice side of the mainstream medical community continues to grow (HERE).  Nowhere is this seen more clearly than by the continued denial of practicing physicians concerning the phenomenon known as increased barrier permeability (gut, brain, nerves, spinal cord, lungs, etc).  Today we are going to talk a bit about the relationship between leaky gut and leaky brain.

Despite mountains of peer-reviewed research (there are literally tens of thousands of studies that discuss “leaky, increased, or altered” intestinal permeability in relationship to chronic conditions and chronic pain), the practicing medical community is still full of detractors, or as I have called them in the past, DENIERS.  Let’s take a quick look at a few prominent examples. Realize that in their refutations, these folks actually do a pretty good job of describing the very thing they claim doesn’t exist. 

  • “A phenomenon called “leaky gut” has gained quite a bit of attention lately, particularly among natural health enthusiasts. Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall.  Mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a real condition.   Supposed symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include bloating, food sensitivities, fatigue, digestive issues and skin problems. However, leaky gut is not a recognized medical diagnosis. In fact, some medical professionals deny that it even exists.  Proponents claim that it’s the underlying cause of all sorts of conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, thyroid abnormalities, mood swings, skin conditions and autism.  The problem is that very few scientific studies mention leaky gut syndrome.”  From a 2017 issue of Healthline (Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? An Unbiased Look)
  • “A proposed gastrointestinal disorder dubbed ‘leaky gut syndrome’ is currently the topic of numerous debates throughout the medical and natural health communities. Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that leaky gut syndrome is a prevalent problem responsible for ill health in many people. However, most physicians maintain that there is not enough research to prove that it is a legitimate issue.  Whatever you hear in the media, the fact remains that there is no quality research to support the existence of ‘leaky gut syndrome’.”  From the Canadian Society for Intestinal Research (Debunking the Myth of ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’)
  • “Health is not immune (forgive the pun) to fads. The ‘theory’ of leaky gut syndrome has recently resurfaced, and with it, a plethora of treatment articles and advice listicles – how much of it is real though? Like all ill-defined maladies, leaky gut is said to be a causing factor of a lot of problems, from things as mundane as bloating and as serious as autism. However, there are currently little – if any – credible scientific sources that show definitive evidence between leaky gut and these issues. Experts in the field (gastroenterologists/gut specialists) don’t refer to leaky gut as a medical diagnosis…..”  From the 2017 article from insurance company, CBHS Health Fund (Leaky Gut Syndrome is Not Real / What’s Really Happening in Your Gut?)
  • “‘Leaky gut syndrome'” is a proposed condition some health practitioners claim is the cause of a wide range of long-term conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis (MS). Proponents of “leaky gut syndrome” claim that many symptoms and conditions are caused by the immune system reacting to germs, toxins or other substances that have been absorbed into the bloodstream via a porous (“leaky”) bowel.  While it’s true that some conditions and medications can cause a “leaky” gut (what scientists call increased intestinal permeability), there is currently little evidence to support the theory that a porous bowel is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems.”  From Great Britain’s NHS (their government’s SOCIALIZED MEDICINE) — Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • “Leaky gut syndrome is a hypothetical, medically unrecognized condition.  Unlike the scientific phenomenon of increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”), claims for the existence of “leaky gut syndrome” as a distinct medical condition come mostly from nutritionists and practitioners of alternative medicine.  Proponents claim that a “leaky gut” causes chronic inflammation throughout the body that results in a wide range of conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and autism. As of 2016, there is little evidence to support the hypothesis that leaky gut syndrome directly causes this wide array of diseases.”   From Wikipedia’s entry on LGS
  • “First there was leaky gut; now there’s leaky brain. These questionable concepts are being promoted by practitioners of so-called ‘functional medicine.  Three years ago Mark Crislip wrote about leaky gut syndrome for SBM. He said, ‘because of an almost complete lack of supporting basic science and few therapeutic clinical trials showing no effect, virtually no physician who has an understanding of the gastrointestinal physiology gives the disease credence.’ Nothing has changed.  While it’s true that some conditions and medications can cause a “leaky” gut (what scientists call increased intestinal permeability), there is currently little evidence to support the theory that a porous bowel is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems.  The same ‘leaky gut’ ideas are now being applied to the brain, blaming all kinds of symptoms on substances leaking through a faulty blood-brain barrier (BBB).”  From HARRIET HALL of GORSKI’S Science-Based Medicine column, November 2018 (Leaky Brain, Leaky Gut: Are They Real?)
  • “Intestinal structures are complex and dynamic, varying between individuals and stimuli. Importantly, the lining acts as a mechanism of defence for the immune system, with leaky gut often a manifestation of autoimmune disease. However in healthy individuals, human and animal studies conclude that changes in intestinal permeability are insufficient in instigating disease. Research does not support a syndrome or attribute the aforementioned symptoms to a leaky gut.”   From the Nutrition Press’s 2016 article, Debunking the Myths of Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • “”Leaky gut syndrome,” is described by proponents as a condition in which the intestinal lining becomes irritated and porous so that unwanted food particles, ‘toxins, bacteria, parasites, and Candida” enter the bloodstream and result in ‘a weakened immune system, digestive disorders, and eventually chronic and autoimmune disease. Treatment of this alleged condition can include dietary changes (such as not eating protein and starch at the same meal); ‘cleansing’ with herbal products; ‘reestablishing good balance’ of intestinal bacteria; and supplement concoctions claimed to strengthen and repair the intestinal lining. Note: Some medical scientists use the term ‘leaky gut’ for problems associated with abnormal intestinal permeability……..”  From Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch (Be Wary of “Fad” Diagnoses)
  • “There is plenty of misleading and inaccurate medical information online.  Let’s consider two completely fake, yet surprisingly popular, diagnoses: ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’ and ‘Candida overgrowth.’ These conditions have essentially no medical basis….”  From gastroenterologist, Christopher McGowan, for a site called Cary Gastro (Fake Disease Alert: Leaky Gut and Candida Overgrowth)

For various reasons, the protein that holds the cells of the body’s epithelial barrier systems “tightly” together, fails, allowing the cells to become “loose” in relation to each other.  The end result is that all sorts of nasties — things that are supposed to be kept out (bacteria, VIRUSES, YEAST, MOLD, PARASITES, PARTIALLY-DIGESTED FOOD PARTICLES, etc, etc, etc) — are allowed in.  The result of this “leaking” or excessive “permeability” is predictable — INCREASED INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE, which unfortunately is a major component of AUTOIMMUNITY.  From my diagram below (IT CAME FROM THIS VERY COOL POST ON THE UNIVERSAL CAUSES OF DISEASE) you can see that leaky gut or leaky brain can either be a cause or a consequence of the viscous cycle. 


  There is, however, a change afoot within the medical community at large.  Although the research side has been talking about the high physical cost of excessive leaking of epithelial barriers for decades, it seems that the medical mouthpieces — the pundits of medical practice — are slowly coming around to the idea (HERE).   For instance, WebMD’s article, Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?, admits that “Leaky gut syndrome isn’t a diagnosis taught in medical school…. We don’t know a lot but we know that it exists.”  Admitting its existence is a start.  

Harvard University goes a step further in a 2017 article found on their website (Leaky Gut: What is it, and what does it Mean for You?).  Listen to what Dr. Marcelo Campos, an internist and professor at both Harvard and Tufts, had to say…..

“What if this ancient concept of illnesses originating in the gut actually holds some truth? Could some of the chronic diseases our society faces today actually be associated with a dysfunctional gastrointestinal system?  The expression “leaky gut” is getting a lot of attention in medical blogs and social media lately, but don’t be surprised if your doctor does not recognize this term.   We already know that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in certain gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Some studies show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases (lupus, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even mental illness.”

Cool.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock you should be at least somewhat cognizant of the importance of GUT HEALTH in the role of overall health.  However, I’m not nearly as interested in what experts in the public eye are saying (particularly the deniers mentioned earlier) as I am in what’s being said by the research community.  

A six month old study published in the German journal, Medizinische Klinik Intensivmedizin und Notfallmedizin (Intestinal Cross-Talk: The Gut as Motor of Multiple Organ Failure) dealt with the importance of Gut Health, showing the downward spiral things take when it starts to fail.  “The gut is a crucial immunologic, metabolic and neurologic organ system and impairment of its functions is associated with morbidity and mortality. The gut has a central position in the cross-talk between organs and dysfunction of the gut may result in impairment of other intra-abdominal and extra-abdominal organ systems.” 

Some of the “impairments” mentioned include DYSBIOSIS and excessive “leaking” of the gut.  “Damage of the intestinal mucosa leads to a disorder of the mucosal barrier function, increases the permeability and promotes translocation (leaky gut).  The leading mechanism in the evolution of endogenous infections is the intestinal translocation [movement from one place to another] of microbes“.  The authors concluded by stating the obvious; “Maintaining and/or restoring intestinal functions must be a priority of any intensive care therapy.”  But herein lies the problem. 

Although there are now simple, inexpensive tests (many of them DIY home tests) that do a decent job of measuring these mucosal / epithelial failures and quantifying the subsequent leakage, how in the world can the medical community effectively address these sorts of problems when the biggest portion of the practicing medical community denies their very existence? It’s the all too common dilemma seen regarding numerous health issues that are considered FUNCTIONAL AS OPPOSED TO PATHOLOGICAL

And while the previous study mentioned finding new drugs to solve the issue, never forget that aside from a crappy diet, the number one cause of excessive or abnormal permeability of the body’s various epithelial barrier systems in the first place?  The quality that causes them to act as sieves instead of walls?  MEDICATION.  This is why titles like Gut Dysbiosis, Leaky Gut, and Intestinal Epithelial Proliferation in Neurological Disorders: Towards the Development of a New Therapeutic Using Amino Acids, Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics from January’s issue of Reviews in the Neurosciences should pique some interest in the chronic illness / chronic pain crowd.  Especially in light of this next study.

This past December, the journal Microorganisms published a study titled simply, Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain?  The paper started out by talking about the “mutually beneficial relationship between the host and its resident gut microbiota.”  We give these bacteria a place to live and they make vitamins (HERE) and numerous other metabolites required by our bodies to function properly. 

When there are not enough of these bacteria, or the ratios of the hundreds of species of bacteria are knocked off kilter (ANTIBIOTICS and OTHER DRUGS are most responsible for this), we call it ‘dysbiosis’.  The authors went on to say that these bacteria control both the brain and digestive tract (as well as significant portions of the endocrine system).  Disrupt the HOMEOSTASIS of this system and inflammation ensues.  And while this study pertained mostly to CELIAC DISEASE, it went on to say that both SCHIZOPHRENIA and AUTISM share many of the same abnormal physiological / neurological components.

“The net metabolic cross-talk occurring with co-metabolism it is staggering, so it is not surprising that the human central nervous system (CNS) is under constant assault or, conversely, does benefit from a wide mix of extrinsic and intrinsic neuro-psychotropic-modulating microbes, pathogens, and their metabolites. It is important to to remember the gut microbiota and the brain are not necessarily in opposition to one another, but work together for proper functioning of the CNS, which may be dependent upon the presence of correctly balanced microbial populations.”

Before expounding on this, the author made a simple, authoritative statement, “Inflammation disrupts blood brain barrier“.  The study went on to discuss numerous ways that the “tight junctions” protect neurological tissues, brain included, from various sorts of TOXICITY and INFECTION.  What’s super intriguing is that many of the substances that the brain becomes permeable to are not a problem to the rest of the body, but highly problematic / toxic if exposed to the brain. 

The end result is a “translocation” of numerous substances into the brain, where they can wreak varying degrees of havoc on the body’s most sensitive tissues.  This helps explain why most drugs given for neurological diseases either don’t work as claimed, or have so many SIDE EFFECTS that they are virtually unusable for people who need to function / think normally in their daily lives. 

“A dysfunction of the blood brain barrier leading to a ‘leaky brain’ can be linked to various neurological diseases, including autistic spectrum disorder, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia. A breakdown in the blood brain barrier was observed in patients with major psychiatric illnesses. Moreover, the blood–brain barrier may become ‘leaky’ in select neurological diseases that have an immunologic component, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, brain trauma, edema, brain cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, meningitis, and systemic diseases such as liver failure. Moreover, co-metabolism within the gut–brain–endocrine interactome play a role in the same neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and even autism, appear to have a microbial-driven component in their pathogenesis. Moreover, known microbes are implicated in contributing to the susceptibility and pathogenesis of these disease and BBB permeability and disruption has been established in Alzheimer’s, which may allow peripheral blood, amyloid beta, and cytokines to enter the brain and contribute to pathogenesis in vulnerable neurons.   The gut certainly can influence the blood brain barrier through gastro-intestinal-derived hormonal secretion, allowing some drugs, amino acids, and small molecules to permeate barrier systems and even influence cytokine production, which is one inflammatory piece of the innate immune system issue. Bacteria can pass the human permeability and blood barriers. While this is evidence that bacteria can affect distal organs, there are some unfortunate issues in the best found studies one can use to argue for a leaky gut/leaky brain. Nevertheless, we cannot preclude that there is not something here and we should explore this idea further.”

The study, from as mainstream a journal and author as you can find, went on to talk about the fact that 75% of autistic individuals show signs of leaky brain, and over 2/3 show signs of a leaky gut.  And while VACCINES were not mentioned in this study by name, it was suggested that some of these findings were indeed “controversial“.   Admittedly, the studies on leaky gut and leaky brain are not perfect, but as the author intimated, we can no longer act like they don’t exist.  Too bad some of the pundits mentioned earlier didn’t get the memo.  Allow me, however, to show you just a few of the newer studies on the topic.  For the record, there are over 15,000 studies on PubMed that discuss intestinal permeability / leaky gut.

  • AUTISM AND THE LEAKIES:   A study that was published in last August’s issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (The Perturbance of Microbiome and Gut-Brain Axis in Autism Spectrum Disorders) went into detail on this relationship, saying “There is a convincing body of evidence that suggests a relationship between gastrointestinal distress and autism.   The presence of increased systemic metabolites in ASD is of importance due to the bi-directional relationship between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract (the gut-brain axis). The ‘leaky gut’, through the neuroimmune, neuroendocrine, and autonomic nervous system, affects brain function, potentially contributing to the pathogenesis of ASD The severity of GI symptoms has been correlated with autism severity, strongly suggesting an interaction between the gut and the brain.”  The study is free online.
  • THE LEAKIES’ EFFECT ON BEHAVIOR IN GENERAL:  Chilean researchers recently published a study in the International Review of Neurobiology (Intestinal Barrier and Behavior) showing more of this relationship.   “Chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease are associated to intestinal barrier dysfunction. An increasing number of studies are now investigating the association between gut permeability and CNS disorders, under the premise that translocation of intestinal luminal contents could affect CNS function, either directly or indirectly.”  Let’s take a deeper look at a couple of the other “behavior disorders“.
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA AND CHRONIC LEAKING:   Just days ago, Molecular Neurobiology released a very cool study titled Upregulation of the Intestinal Paracellular Pathway with Breakdown of Tight and Adherens Junctions in Deficit Schizophrenia.  Although this was a rather complex study, the authors concluded, “The results show an upregulated paracellular pathway with breakdown of the tight and adherens junctions and increased bacterial translocation in deficit schizophrenia. These dysfunctions in the intestinal paracellular route together with lowered natural IgM, immune activation, and…  contribute to deficit schizophrenia.”  For the record, deficit schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia based more on objective observations than subjective complaints.  The journal, World Psychiatry (Deficit Schizophrenia: An Update), stated that “The deficit group has a poorer quality of life and level of function…
  • THE LEAKIES AND DEPRESSION & SUICIDE:  Research by a team of eight from Sweden and Michigan was published in February’s issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Leaky Gut Biomarkers in Depression and Suicidal Behavior) and concluded, “Inflammation is associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal behavior. According to the ‘leaky gut hypothesis’, increased intestinal permeability may contribute to this relationship via bacterial translocation across enterocytes. We measured plasma levels of gut permeability markers in patients with a recent suicide attempt, MDD subjects with no history of a suicide attempt, and healthy controls, and related these markers to symptom severity and inflammation.”  If you did not catch that re-read it.  The more severe the inflammation and leaky gut markers, the greater the chances of a recent suicide attempt.   By the way, this relationship between depression and inflammation has been known for a very long time (HERE).
  • STROKE AND THE LEAKIES:   On the last day of last year, Brain Circulation published a paper titled Brain–Gut Axis After Stroke in which they talked about the bi-directional movement of the leakies and disease processes, specifically stroke (see my earlier diagram whenever you see the word ‘bi-directional’ in one of these studies).  “The brain–gut axis or gut–brain axis is often referring to the bidirectional communications between the central nervous system (CNS) and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (microbiota and immune system).  Stroke often leads to gut dysmotility, gut microbiota dysbiosis, ‘leaky’ gut… Emerging evidence suggests that gut inflammatory and immune response plays a key role in the pathophysiology of stroke.  Stroke patients associated with GI complications often have poor outcomes, with increased mortality rates and deteriorating neurologic function.  GI tract contains over 70% of inflammatory and immune cells in the body, and thus should play a key role in inflammatory and immune response after injury in remote organs including the brain. However, the major issue in the field of brain–gut axis research is the lack of complete understanding of the role of gut microbiome, the involvement of gut inflammatory and immune cells and the communications through the PAMPs, humoral, and vagus nerves between the brain and gut after stroke.”   For the record, I have very cool stuff on both the VAGUS NERVE and the fact that 70-80% of the body’s immune system is found in the Gut (HERE).
  • THE LEAKIES ARE ALMOST UNIVERSAL IN PEOPLE WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS:  The title of a two year old study from Frontiers in Immunology (Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases) says it all.    A German / Israeli joint effort was published in last month’s issue of Autoimmune Reviews (Autoimmunity in Celiac Disease: Extra-Intestinal Manifestations); which,  prior to discussing EPIGENETIC FACTORS IN DISEASE, declared that “Nutrients, dysbiosis, dysbiotic components and their mobilome, post-translational modification of naive proteins, inter-enterocyte’s tight junction dysfunction resulting in a leaky gut, microbial lateral genetic transfer of virulent genes, the sensing network of the enteric nervous systems and the ensuing pro-inflammatory messengers are mutually orchestrating the autoimmune interplay.”   In the same way that even the most ardent “ANTIVAXXER” would never say that vaccines are the only cause of the gut dysfunctions that so often lead to autism (HERE), we see that a leaky gut, while related to autoimmunity, is not the only association with either.  However, if you follow my site you will quickly realize that the relationship is both significant and grounded in science, no matter what the naysayers mentioned earlier want you to believe.
  • MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND THE LEAKIES:   The relationship between MS (an AI disease) and the leakies is well-founded and steeped in peer-reviewed scientific research (HERE).  In fact, doing a search on PubMed for the terms ‘Multiple Sclerosis Permeability’ returned almost 600 studies.  One of the newest, from January’s issue of Neurotherapeutics (Intestinal Permeability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis), had this to say….  “Changes of intestinal permeability have been extensively investigated in inflammatory bowel diseases and celiac disease, two autoimmune disorders… . Most recently the influence of intestinal permeability changes on organs far from gut has been appreciated, with special attention to how it affects brain function.  A change in intestinal permeability may be considered as a biomarker for local or even distant immune-mediated disorders. In fact, increased gut permeability allows the passage of macromolecules, toxin, and bacterial species, both pathogenic and commensal, through the intestinal epithelial layer. This event may trigger immune-mediated illnesses in different systems, even distant from the gastrointestinal tract, such as central nervous system.”  Why do the people I know who are controlling their MS (OR  OTHER AI DISEASES) with diet have to work at it so relentlessly? “Our study suggests the following points: an alteration of intestinal permeability is a relatively frequent event in MS.
  • FOOD INTOLERANCES (OFTEN SEEN IN AUTOIMMUNITY) ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE LEAKIES:  Click the previous link to see an interview I did with a person who sent five debilitating autoimmune diseases into remission purely with diet — and lost 100 lbs in seven months as a bonus.  She did it using the PALEO DIET — a clean way of eating that emphasizes avoiding (or at least limiting) foods with the greatest potential for immunological reactivity / intolerance — GRAINS, LECTINS, NIGHTSHADES (in some cases), CRAPPY FATS, DAIRY, and chemicals of almost all kinds (MSG / ASPARTAME are two common examples).  Why would this make sense?  Last November’s issue of Autoimmunity Reviews (Food Intolerance in Patients with Manifest Autoimmunity) concluded after looking at 125 patients with obvious lab-confirmed autoimmunity compared to healthy controls that, “We could clearly find a difference in food intolerance profiles when we compared AI patients with people without any AI. Overall there is a much greater reaction to several food epitopes, which can be observed on the level of specific antibodies to the food epitopes. These igG levels for specific food antibodies are significantly higher in the patient group then in the control group. We can also see that some food epitopes provocate a very pronounced reaction, while other show no increased level of igG. Among the most reactive food epitopes are caseine, cow milk, wheat, gliadin, white of egg and rice. A variable reaction can be seen on nuts e.g.; walnuts and almonds. Almost no antibody reaction is noticed on vegetables, fish and meat products, who seem to be immunologically very neutral.”  This is why it’s not a fluke that “Elimination Diet” is the very first item found on my ONLINE PATIENT HANDOUT.
  • LYME DISEASE ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT:  A few months ago the journal Healthcare Basel (Precision Medicine: The Role of the MSIDS Model in Defining, Diagnosing, and Treating Chronic Lyme Disease/Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome and Other Chronic Illness: Part 2) mentioned the word “leaky” eight times, determining that along with the “food allergies / senstivities” seen in the previous bullet, it’s a significant component of Lyme Disease, and probably other tick-borne illness as well.  Interestingly, the study’s authors were doing clinical testing for NCGS, Celiac, IBD, H. PYLORI / GERD, C. DIFF, SCFA’S, parasites, CRP, and several others, along with various tests for LGS itself.  What does this mean?  It means there are a battery of tests that the average doctor is not utilizing to figure out what’s wrong with their chronically ill patients, usually because INSURANCE COMPANIES do not cover them.
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND LEAKY GUT:   Recently, my site has been beating the drum concerning the relationship between chronic neurological illness and infectious diseases.  First is that increasing numbers of infections are making their way past the blood-brain barrier and into the brain itself — a crystal clear example of leaky brain (HERE is one with lots of links to others).  Secondly, all infections, as we will see in the next bullet (IN SOLIDARITY WITH CANCER), are promoted by sugar consumption (HERE).  A couple of weeks ago the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (Children With Noncritical Infections Have Increased Intestinal Permeability, Endotoxemia and Altered Innate Immune Responses) came to some interesting conclusions, as suggested by the study’s title.  “Collectively, these changes are typical of immunoparalysis seen in children with critical illness and may increase the risk of subsequent infections.”  In other words, non-critical infections (URI’S, FLU, EAR INFECTIONS, etc) can cause ‘leaking’ epithelial barriers and the increased levels of circulating LPS that always follows — a problem magnified by the most common treatment for all infections (yes, even viral infections); antibiotics.
  • LEAKING EPITHELIAL BARRIERS ARE PROMOTED BY FRUCTOSE:   After telling us about the numerous common problems associated with fructose (fruit or corn sugar — MOST FRUIT is now genetically modified for high fructose content and MODERN CORN HAS BEEN A PROBLEM for a long time); among other findings, these authors determined “for the first time that fructose intake causes… increased gut leakiness, endotoxemia and steatohepatitis with liver fibrosis.”  Endotoxemia is found in the last link, previous bullet.  Fibrosis is the world’s leading cause of death (HERE). Add them together and you have a real “CONUNDRUM“.   Bottom line, avoid sugar.  Period.  Whether you have chronic conditions or not.
  • UNHAPPY MARRIAGES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A LEAKY GUT:  A ten-person research team from MD Anderson, Ohio State, and the University of Delaware, teamed up in last December’s issue of Psychoneuroimmunology (Marital Distress, Depression, and a Leaky Gut: Translocation of Bacterial Endotoxin as a Pathway to Inflammation) to determine that “Marital distress and depression work in tandem to escalate risks for inflammation-related disorders. Translocation of bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) from the gut microbiota to blood circulation stimulates systemic inflammatory responses.  Our bacterial LPS translocation data illustrate how a distressed marriage and a mood disorder history can promote a pro-inflammatory milieu through increased gut permeability, thus fueling inflammation-related disorders.”  My advice?  Ephesians 5 tells us “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…  He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”
  • LEAKY GUT, MISCARRIAGES AND PRETERM INFANTS:  If you want to see this, the studies are free online in their entirety, with the story largely told through their respective titles.  First is the study by a team of five Italian researchers that was published a year ago this month in Science Translational Medicine (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is Associated to Leaky Gut: A Novel Pathogenic Model of Endometrium Inflammation?).  The second is a joint effort between three universities; Harvard, Howard, and the University of Maryland, titled Microbial Biomarkers of Intestinal Barrier Maturation in Preterm Infants from last November’s issue of Frontiers in Microbiology.

While facts like these are fine, what people really want to know is how to determine whether or not they have leaky epithelial barriers, and what can can be done about it?  Firstly, I mentioned diagnostic testing earlier (and provided some links in the process).  Secondly, if you are seriously overweight / underweight, have digestive issues, hormonal issues, EXTREMELY LOW ENERGY, or chronic illness of almost any kind, assume it.  In other words, sick people have leaky barrier systems.  Secondly, while there are numerous products on the market used to address the leakies (I like Clearvite / Repairvite by Apex Energetics), the biggie is carefully watching what you eat.  What does current research have to say about successfully addressing a leaking gut (which will typically successfully address other leakies as well)?

Heal the gut, heal the body.  It’s not like this is a new concept.  This thought process has seemingly been around forever — at least within the natural healing community — and is gaining steam in certain segments of the mainstream medical community.  We can see this in studies like Is Psoriasis a Bowel Disease? Successful Treatment with Bile Acids and Bioflavonoids Suggests It Is that was published in last June’s issue of Clinics in Dermatology.  Interestingly, the author, a practicing dermatologist and university professor, provided readers with “a complete protocol for curing psoriasis“.   Unfortunately, when it comes to AUTOIMMUNITY, the biggest part of the mainstream remains stuck in the past, using methods and protocols that have changed little in the past sixty years.

A study from the August 2019 issue of Nutrition — yes it’s already out (Association of Intestinal Permeability with a NUTRIC Score in Critically Ill Patients) bears this out, along with the fact that nutritional status and real nutrition is not being emphasized in either the elderly or chronically ill.  In a nutshell, poor diets affect gut function; especially true of the populations seen in the previous sentence.  This leads to a leaky gut, allowing endotoxins into the general circulation, causing inflammation, all of which can be tied to worse NUTRIC scores; a metric used to asses “nutrition status“.  Interesting, considering diet is usually an afterthought in modern medicine (HERE).

One other thing I need to mention here is probiotics.  While there are a lot (a LOT) of studies showing benefits of probiotics for a wide number of health-related problems, not all research is so positive.   Studies like The Transformative Possibilities of the Microbiota and Mycobiota for Health, Disease, Aging, and Technological Innovation and Probiotics, Prebiotics and Amelioration of Diseases in recent issues of Biomedicines and the Journal of Biomedical Sciences respectively, tout major benefits of probiotics for any number of illnesses, both physical and psychological.  However, last month’s issue of Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy was not quite as glowing in its assessment of unbridled universal probiotic usage.

“The last few decades have witnessed the unprecedented growth in the application of probiotics for promoting the general gut health as well as their inception as biotherapeutics to alleviate certain clinical disorders related to dysbiosis. While numerous studies have substantiated the health-restoring potentials for a restricted group of microbial species, the marketed extrapolation of a similar probiotic label to a large number of partially characterized microbial formulations seems biased.   The term ‘probiotics’ has been marketed in such a manner that everyone has a presumption that the consumption of these products is always beneficial, almost a panacea, with zero risks. However, the actual scenario seems different from this idea, and hence both the facets of the picture must be considered via risk versus benefit evaluation, to better harness the benefits of probiotics.  In particular, the individuals under neonatal stages and/or those with some clinical conditions including malignancies, leaky gut, diabetes mellitus, and post-organ transplant convalescence likely fail to reap the benefits of probiotics. Further exacerbating the conditions, some probiotic strains might take advantage of the weak immunity in these vulnerable groups and turn into opportunistic pathogens engendering life-threatening pneumonia, endocarditis, and sepsis. Moreover, the unregulated and rampant use of probiotics potentially carry the risk of plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance transfer to the gut infectious pathogens.  Probiotic usage should be treated with caution.  This review highlights the fact that probiotics are no ‘magic bullet’, and their administration under the current pretense of microbiota restorative and immunomodulator, might not be universally safe and effective.”

This is not anything new, and something that’s been heavily discussed in the FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE COMMUNITY.  Five years ago I ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE in relationship to Fecal Microbiota Transplants or FMT.  Bottom line, there are ways to go about addressing GUT HEALTH and one’s MICROBIOME that work synergistically with your body rather than work against it.  If you are interested, take a look at the generic protocol for helping reduce inflammation, getting out of pain, and starting to successfully address chronic conditions (HERE).  Nope; it’s not going to be the answer for everyone.  However, it’s going to help the majority.  And even if it’s not the complete answer, it provides a good foundation if you do wind up needing to see a functional medicine specialist. 

So; it increasingly looks like the “experts” who were saying that the leakies don’t exist have been (and continue to be) proven wrong.  If you appreciate completely free information like this, be sure and spread the word to the people you love and value most by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.


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  1. What everyone is missing, is “where is the gut leaking TO”????
    Remember that study that coined the possibility that “the Interstitium” might be an organ? The authors said that “standardized diagnostic tests of the interstitial fluids might have major diagnostic power”. (Quoting from memory).
    Where else would “what is leaking from the gut”, be going? Of course it is unlikely to show up much in blood or urine, which is what the health system tests and then tells you there is nothing wrong with you.
    Most likely, blood is self-regulated and the interstitial fluids are where the body robs essential elements from and dumps toxic ones, as needed. The HTMA test is probably a default better test than “blood”, for picking up what has gone wrong in those “spaces” and their fluids, which is why HTMA often contradicts what the Doctors said. They said my “electrolyte levels were normal” when my life was being ruined by agonizing and prolonged nocturnal cramp attacks. Thank goodness a pharmacist told me about HTMA, and the first one I got showed seriously depleted magnesium and potassium. Supplementing more aggressively than I had been, solved the problem at that time. Actually reversing my Fibromyalgia has been a longer story, I am convinced that this condition too is closely related to what has happened to the biochemistry of the interstitial fluids and the immediately adjacent tissue, the fascia.

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