INFO: On this topic, please also read our latest (more detailed) article on Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut means that the barrier function of the mucosa of the small intestine is disturbed. As a result, bacteria and toxins from the intestine can enter the bloodstream and promote systemic inflammation. Furthermore, disturbances occur in the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements, and enzymes (which are secreted by the intestinal epithelium, such as diaminooxidase, which is important for the breakdown of histamine, or lactase) are produced in reduced amounts.
Leaky gut syndrome is observed in the context of many autoimmune diseases (type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). Whether this is responsible for the autoimmune disease or a consequence of it is not (yet) clarified or disputed by conventional medicine. In alternative medicine, Leaky Gut is held responsible for a variety of ailments that affect the entire body. Triggering factors discussed include stress, food components (e.g. FODMAPs, or gluten), environmental toxins (e.g. fertilizers, heavy metals, dental materials, etc.) and infections of the gastrointestinal tract. For diagnosis, we use blood tests for zonulin and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (iFABP).
Zonulin increases the permeability of so-called tight junctions in the digestive tract. Zonulin is released from small intestinal epithelia in response to inflammatory stimuli and still requires a minimum amount of intact intestinal epithelia present. I-FABP is located within the intestinal epithelial cells. iFAPB is secreted in all non-inflammatory intestinal epithelial damage, e.g., stress-induced deficient blood flow, after antibiotic therapy, or toxic metal exposure. Zonulin tends to be elevated in the initial phase, iFABP in the chronic phase. If elevated, the findings are consistent with leaky gut syndrome. Similarly, elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers are often seen in stool (calprotection, alpha-1-antitrypsin, and elevated secretory immunoglobulin A levels / sIgA). We clarify all differential diagnoses and offer a therapeutic approach based on phytotherapeutics. These parameters are regularly included in our stool examinations.