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Leaky gut syndrome: breaking the vicious cycle

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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.

RESEARCH

  1. Resnick C. Nutritional protocol for the treatment of intestinal permeability defects and related conditions. NMJ 2010;2;3. [Full text]
     
  2. Swank GM, Deitch EA. Role of the gut in multiple organ failure: bacterial translocation and permeability changes. World J Surg 1996;20:411-417. [Abstract]
     
  3. de Punder K, Pruimboom L. Stress induces endotoxemia and low-grade inflammation by increasing barrier permeability. Front Immunol 2015;6:225. [Full text]
     
  4. Ramsay DB, Stephen S, Borum M, et al. Mast cells in gastrointestinal disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (NY) 2010;6(12):772-777. [Full text]
     
  5. Santos J. Role of mast cells in chronic stress induced colonic epithelial barrier dysfunction in the rat. Gut 2001;48:630-636. [Full text]
     
  6. Brandtzaeg P. Food allergy: separating the science from the mythology. Nature Gastroenterol Hepatol 2010;7:380-400. [Abstract]
     
  7. Kurashima Y, Kiyono H. New era for mucosal mast cells: their roles in inflammation, allergic immune responses and adjuvant development. Exp Mol Med 2014;46(3):e83. [Full text]
     
  8. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 4th ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2015.
     
  9. van Ampting MTJ, Schonewille AJ, Vink C, et al. Intestinal barrier function in response to abundant or depleted mucosal glutathione in salmonella-infected rats. BMC Physiol 2009;17(9):6. [Full text]
     
  10. Phytosome® vs liposome. Indena 2015. Viewed 3 August 2015, https://www.phytosome.info

 

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melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who has combined the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.