In recent years, much has been discovered about the structure and function of the gut, not just as an organ of digestion and absorption but also as a barrier against the passage of pathogens and endotoxins.
A healthy gut, with its tight junctions intact, effectively prevents the passage of macromolecules into the bloodstream. Any impairment in the modulation of the intestinal barrier can readily result in pathological increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosa, or leaky gut syndrome. An increase in intestinal permeability (IP) leads to increased absorption of intestinally derived endotoxins, antigens, inflammatory mediators and, in some cases, bacteria.
These agents can cause local and systemic reactions associated with a broad range of acute and chronic diseases. Increased IP is typically observed in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) but it is also seen in various conditions initially related to gut disorders, including inflammatory response syndrome, allergies, asthma and even autism.
Infections, dysbiosis, stress and food intolerance represent major influences on the integrity of intestinal barrier and should therefore be key targets for therapy.
Research indicates that nutrients, plant compounds such as glutamine, glutathione, quercetin, licorice and cinnamon, as well as dietary factors may help to support intestinal mucosal health and promote normal healthy intestinal integrity. In this infographic we focus on this research and its relevance to the safe treatment of increased IP and impaired gastrointestinal function.
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