A single row of enterocytes (the intestinal cells) cover the inner surface of the intestines. Fluids and nutrients in the intestine are absorbed by the finger-like protrusions (called villi-microvilli) of these cells. There are tight junctions between these intestinal cells to prevent the toxins, bacteria, and undigested nutrients in the intestine from passing into the blood. When these tight junctions and/or intestinal cells are damaged, all the intestinal contents (digested-undigested, toxic-nontoxic, nutritious-innutritious etc.) pass through the intestinal barrier and enter the blood stream. This is called increased intestinal permeability or the leaky gut.
The molecule that regulates the tight junctions is called zonulin. Excess intraintestinal zonulin leads to tight junction opening and intestinal permeability. One of the main factors that cause zonulin levels to rise and cause tight junction opening is the gliadin peptide in the gluten protein. Excess gluten intake leads to increased permeability in the intestine in everybody. But in celiac and non celiac gluten sensitivity patients the effect lasts longer, and damage occurs in celiac patients. Dr Alessandro Fasano and colleagues have shown that zonulin dysfunction plays an important role in the development of celiac disease and Type I diabetes.
Increased intestinal permeability contributes to the etiology or progression of:
Bacterial cell walls contain a substance called lipopolysaccharide (also called an endotoxin). This substance causes no harm when contained in the intestines. However, once in the blood stream it gets into contact with the immune system, causing tissue inflammation. This inflammation is thought to contribute to or worsen:
Commonly conducted nutritional intolerance tests measure the immune response in the form of IgG to various food molecules that are in the blood stream due to increased intestinal permeability. So the lab results are a mirror of what you eat and drink. The intolerance test is not an allergy test, it shows that you have increased intestinal permeability and that your body reacts to certain foods. Patients who stop consuming foods that were positive in the IgG test show a significant decrease in the severity and frequency of migraine and fibromyalgia pain.
To heal increased intestinal permeability: