March 15, 2012

Leaky Gut Syndrome – Is Gluten at the Root?

 

Research Review Shows That Gluten Causes Leaky Gut

 The primary functions of the gastrointestinal tract have traditionally been perceived to be limited to the digestion and absorption of nutrients and to electrolytes and water homeostasis. A more attentive analysis of the anatomic and functional arrangement of the gastrointestinal tract, however, suggests that another extremely important function of this organ is its ability to regulate the trafficking of macromolecules between the environment and the host through a barrier mechanism. Together with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and the neuroendocrine network, the intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junctions, controls the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self antigens. Zonulin is the only physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions described so far that is involved in trafficking of macromolecules and, therefore, in tolerance/immune response balance. When the finely tuned zonulin pathway is deregulated in genetically susceptible individuals, both intestinal and extraintestinal autoimmune, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders can occur. This new paradigm subverts traditional theories underlying the development of these diseases and suggests that these processes can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by reestablishing the zonulin-dependent intestinal barrier function.

Research Source:

Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan;91(1):151-75.

Leaky Gut in Layman’s Terms

I was recently interviewed by Leaky Gut expert, Karen Brimeyer.  We discussed the ins and outs of this intestinal affliction in an easy to understand manner.  You can watch the interview below:

Karen specializes in helping people recover from leaky gut syndrome.  You can learn more about her Leaky Gut Cure Program  here <<<

You can also read more on supplements to help correct the problem here <<<

Dr. Fasano Discovered Leaky Gut

Multiple research studies have linked gluten to the condition known as intestinal permeability -  I recently had the privilege of speaking with one of the leading gluten sensitivity researchers in the world, Dr. Alessio Fasano. He is the head of research at the University of Maryland Celiac Research Center, and he is responsible for discovering the gluten/leaky gut connection. In this video, we discuss how this condition can affect the gut, the brain, and multiple other tissues in the body…

Making the Connection – The Gluten Free Warrior’s Stance:

Most people assume that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are the same thing. Fortunately, this archaic thought is rapidly changing as new research has proven that gluten sensitivity exists independently of celiac disease. Although it is well established that gluten often impacts the villi of the small intestine, it has also been shown to affect the body in multiple ways. These differences account for the massive failure of doctors to diagnose gluten sensitivity. Below is a diagram of environmental triggers to intestinal permeability (leaky gut). You will find that gluten sensitivity can directly and indirectly contribute to this problem. To the intelligent observer, this picture illustrates why simple antibody testing fails to accurately diagnosis gluten sensitivity. Antibody production is only one lab component of a multi-faceted problem.

Click on image to enlarge…

How Does Gluten Play a Role in All of These Factors?

  1. Gluten – As stated above, gluten directly impacts the intestinal lining through zonulin production. Zonulin is a protein that directly causes leaky gut.
  2. Antibodies – Gluten contributes to the formation antibodies. Antibodies can cause the secretion of inflammatory chemicals leading to tissue damage. Additionally, through a process called molecular mimicry, antibodies can cross react with the tissues of the body causing autoimmune disease. Lab tests measuring these antibodies are typically not associated with gluten because most doctors are not trained adequately to identify the connection.
  3. Medications – Many medications commonly contain gluten leading to a direct effect. However, many chronic health conditions caused by gluten sensitivity are misdiagnosed leading to medicine prescriptions that are not only unnecessary, but can be detrimental to the gastrointestinal tract. Anti-acid medications are a common example. These medications predispose to infection and lead to abnormal bacteria presence in the gut. Over utilization of antibiotics to treat viral infection is another example.
  4. Stress – Although not a physical stressor, gluten is a chemical stressor on the body. Chemical stress comes in many forms. One of them is vitamin and mineral deficiency. Loss of key nutrients causes a fundamental breakdown in the body’s ability to modulate the healing and repair process.
  5. Bacteria – Gluten ingestion causes detrimental changes in intestinal flora (AKA gut dysbiosis) predisposing to infection. This is one of the reasons why so many yogurt companies are adding beneficial bacteria to their products. Gut dysbiosis is an epidemic in the U.S. If you need a gluten free probiotic go here <<<
  6. Cytokines – Gluten induces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemicals that damage cells).
  7. Neurotransmitters – Gluten causes neurochemical changes in the production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow the nervous system to communicate). Examples include: serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, epinephrine, and histamine. Gluten is also a neurotoxin that has been shown to damage nerve tissue. This is the reason so many with neurological disease (autism, migraine headaches, ADD, bipolar, schizophrenia, neuropathy, epilepsy, etc.) do well on a gluten free diet.
  8. Digestive chemicals – Gluten can damage the intestine, the pancreas, the liver, and the gall bladder. All of these organs play a pivotal role in the body’s ability to produce digestive chemicals and enzymes. When this mechanism is compromised, digestive processes start to break down and become ineffective.

Sum it all up -

Leaky gut contributes to autoimmune disease. The only known cause for any autoimmune disease is gluten sensitivity. We are blind fools to ignore this connection because it does not fit the status quo of the allopathic medical paradigm. If you have autoimmune disease and have not investigated gluten sensitivity as a contributing factor, you should. Learn more about genetic testing for gluten sensitivity now!

 

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12 Responses to “Leaky Gut Syndrome – Is Gluten at the Root?”

  • Lori says:

    Thank you! I think this is me! I am in stage three kidney disease. I have gotten a rash with allapurinol, stumbled into Celiac info and have started gluten free diet. After only several days I can’t believe how much better I feel! I think I may have found my answer and am so optimistic. I want to be healthy again, not just medicated. Thank you for your article!

  • Renee says:

    The sound quality was bad…but I listened to the whole thing the best I could. When I read the list of gluten symptoms in kids, I had several my whole life, until I went gluten free. And when I went gluten free it wasn’t even for these reasons. They were just a happy byproduct of getting the junk out of my diet. I have no desire to be tested. I’m sure I’m Celiac. A naturopath diagnosed me because of some health issues that cleared up after being gluten free. She saw no reason to put me on gluten to be tested. I don’t need an official diagnoses, I have no desire to feel bad again. I have a daughter that has had eczema her whole life. Finally at 15 she tried gluten free. Her transformation has been nothing short of miraculous! She is a new person. We eat good whole foods that I cook at home. It’s too bad it took us so long to figure this out. All the wasted time of feeling awful. It’s not that hard to go gluten free once you get your mind wrapped around it and it is so worth it!!!!!

  • Judi says:

    Thank You! My daughter and I are doing much better now that we are gluten free. My husband is still suffering.

  • Gluten and alcohol free is a must for leaky gut. Autoimmune paleo diet (additionally free of eggs, milk, nightshades) is good way to improve further.

  • Pat says:

    Hi,

    I saw your video on youtube and was impressed, as I have many of the health issues you mentioned.

    When you say to stop eating grains–what exactly do you mean by that?

    I’m finding it hard to pin down a definition of grain; and grass; and since you are the one recommending that, your definition–for these purposes–is what I’m after.

    I’ve been finding even amongst “experts”, scientists, etc. some calling a plant a grain and others saying it isn’t–without clarifying the meaning.

    Same for grasses.

    thank you
    P.

  • Technically speaking, grains are the seeds of grass. There are many different species of grass. The most common are wheat, barley, rye, oat, sorghum, millet, corn, and rice. There are some foods that commonly get confused with grain – buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. These are technically not grains, but because they are commonly cross contaminated with grain and because some research shows them to cause inflammatory reactions in patients with gluten sensitivity, I recommend avoidance.
    Hope that clarifies.
    All the best,
    Dr. O

  • When I knew for sure that I was gluten intolerant, I wanted to know if there were other foods that I should not eat, so I had the Array four test done by Cyrex. I discovered that I needed to avoid all dairy, eggs, nightshade plants like tomatoes and potatoes, and others. I wanted to know what was in common with these foods and discovered that they have lectins, some that cause symptoms similar to wheat; even watermelon. So now I avoid all foods with the lectins that can cause adverse effects and no longer have GERD, constipation, foggy thinking, bloating and through therapy by Dr. Corey King, have regained my balance and a lot of the memory that I had lost. Functional medicine saved me from a miserable life. I hope it will save many others.

  • Kayla Parker says:

    I suffer from systemic yeast which started after I took accutane about 10 years ago. I have had several ALCATs done and, at first, I had NO gluten sensitivies, but then years later it said I had a mild sensitivity. I am not a big meat eater and will never be. I am very underweight (110 lbs at 5’8″)because of my candida-safe diet. I do not understand what I can eat. Fruit supposedly feeds the yeast so I stay away from that. I eat A LOT of greens (kale, spinach, okra, cabbage, avacados etc. . . ). I started reintroducing brown and wild rice because my weight was going down so much from just eating greens. I feel like I am wasting away and I do not know what to do!

  • Germaine says:

    Dr. O, I am gluten sensitive with Hashi. I have an ex with adhd and 2 teenage sons suffering with allergies, adhd, anxiety, depression. With the combo of genes between mom and dad here which specific testing can you recommend be done for both boys? We are on max meds and I do not have dietary compliance with oldest who is almost 18. He is going to college soon and his executive functioning is severely impaired. He also has a deviated septum which I believe is affecting oxygen to brain during sleep. I am desperate to get help! HELP!

  • pat Fisher says:

    my Husband has celiac. He found out and was tested back in 2002, and he has a lot of other problems. he had back surgery L3, L4 L5 and S1 he has rods and cages.
    he just had neck surgery for his disk and nerve trouble. I have told him to get off all grain but he says if it says it is gluten free than he can eat it. my question is how can the government let this happen that the food co. can say a product is gluten free when it is not??? He has all kinds of health problems and I need to get him fixed but he thinks I am not to be listen to. I have been with this man for 48+ years and want to keep him around for a few more years, When he was in the hospital we told them he was on a gluten free diet and they sent his 1st try up with a Brownie, that is a Hospital u would think they know how to cook for a gluten free person….

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