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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine July 1995


An Offshore Solution To Common Medical Problems

Leaky Gut Syndrome

A healthy gastrointestinal tract should:

  1. Properly digest and absorb food
  2. Carry vitamins and minerals attached to carrier proteins across the gut lining into the bloodstream,
  3. Participate in the continuous detoxification process needed for optimal health,
  4. Act as the first line of defense against dangerous bacteria slipping into the bloodstream.

Leaky gut syndrome occurs when chronic inflammation causes large spaces to develop between the cells of the gut, allowing bacteria, toxins, and large particles of food to leak into the bloodstream.

When these large food particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system produces an antibody response that causes an autoimmune reaction against what would otherwise be harmless foods. This autoimmune response can produce inflammatory reactions throughout the body that may result in arthritis, asthma, lupus, and host of other autoimmune diseases.

Once the gut develops these large leaky spaces, toxins that would not normally penetrate the protective barrier of a healthy gut overload the liver, causing a systemic toxic effect that causes unpleasant conditions and degenerative diseases associated with aging.

Leaky gut syndrome can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Carrier proteins are required to transport nutrients across the gut membrane and these proteins are damaged by the chronic inflammatory condition characteristic of this syndrome.

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Our modern lifestyles make us all vulnerable to leaky gut syndrome.

We constantly irritate the lining of our digestive tract with high intake of sugars, food additives, herbicide-pesticide residues, alcohol and caffeine, dangerous bacterial strains, and FDA approved drugs. This constant irritation results in chronic inflammation of the GI tract that leads to leaky gut syndrome.

Antibiotics can kill our friendly bacteria causing an over-growth of fungi, yeast and dangerous bacteria that contribute to the chronic inflammation that leads to leaky gut syndrome.

A major cause of leaky gut syndrome is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are frequently prescribed by American doctors. These FDA approved drugs inflame the intestinal lining and cause widening of the spaces between the cells that cause leaky gut syndrome.

How Leaky Gut Syndrome Causes Disease

Chronic inflammation of the gut prevents proper absorption of food and nutrients resulting in bloating, gas, and fatigue. The absorption of large putrid food particles creates autoimmune responses that can cause arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and other autoimmune illnesses.

The continued assault on the body by the leaking of toxins from the gut into the bloodstream causes additional chemical sensitivities and resulting autoimmune reactions throughout the body.

Without an intact digestive tract, infections with parasites, bacteria, viruses and yeast strains, such as candida, can become chronic.

Unpleasant symptoms include the development of new allergies, headaches, lack of energy, intestinal pain, irritable bowel syndrome with alternative bouts of constipation and diarrhea, and a loss of mental clarity

Nutrient deficiencies can develop even in those who take supplements because of impaired assimilation of nutrients through the intestinal.

The Short-Term Solution

Innovative medical doctors who treat leaky gut syndrome advise patients to make radical changes in their diet, which involves avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, food that the person is allergic to, and chemicals that cause internal damage. However, it is difficult for people to avoid all the dietary factors that contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

Getting off nonsteriodal anit-inflammatory drugs is crucial. Remember, these drugs provide only temporary relief of inflammation and pain. Long term use can cause permanent gastrointestinal disorders, severe liver and kidney damage, a worsening of the chronic inflammatory condition, and eventually, death.

FDA approved nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs kill about 75,000 Americans a year. That's why glucosomine-chondroitin therapy is used in Europe to treat degenerative-inflammatory diseases. Interestingly, glucosomine is one of the nutrients used to treat leaky gut syndrome.

For people with severe overgrowth of yeast fungi, or dangerous bacteria in the gut, short term antifungal/anti-microbial therapy may be needed to kill the organisms that have infected and inflamed the gut.

Digestive enzymes taken before a meal can facilitate the breaking down of food into smaller particles. Fiber can help move food and toxins through the digestive tract more efficiently. Probiotics provide the "good" bacteria (acidophilus and bifidus) that can improve the health of the intestinal lining.

Nutrients that are beneficial include aloe vera extract, garlic, bioflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, detox herbs, and antioxidant supplements.

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