Leaky Gut: How to test for it & How to heal it

Increased Intestinal Permeability, or “Leaky Gut,” is the name for when the tight junctions in your gut lining break apart and allow all kinds of food particles and antigens to cross through, that are normally too big to cross through your gut lining.

Why You Should Care About This:

In hundreds of peer reviewed studies, Leaky Gut has been linked to Cancer, Chronic Systemic Inflammation on a cellular level, Crohn’s Disease, development of Auto-Immune Diseases, Bowel and Intestinal Diseases, Parkinson’s Disease, Constipation, Food Sensitivities/Allergies, SIBO, Acid Reflux, Bloating…the list goes on.

Over 70 million people in the United States have Gut/Digestion issues. These can range from:

-Bloating after you eat a meal (No, bloating is not normal. You’re never supposed to feel bloated after you eat food.)
-Constipation (or alternating between diarrhea and constipation)
-Not going to the bathroom every day – yes you should go every single day.
-Ulcers or Gastritis
-Acid reflux / laryngopharyngeal reflux / GERD (all the same root cause)
-Excessive Belching after a meal
-Excessive Gas after you eat
-Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
-Food Sensitivites/Allergies
-Candida overgrowth or yeast infections

A lot of these gut issues that plague 70 million Americans seem to be similar to the issues that having Leaky Gut can cause. *BING* Lightbulb moment.

How The Immune System Works:

Oral tolerance is the state of local and systemic immune unresponsiveness to the foods you eat. Simply put, Oral Tolerance is like the super power your immune system has. This super power is to not react negatively react to what foods you put in your mouth.

When you have “lost” oral tolerance, this means that your immune system is severely dysregulated and you’re reacting to everything you’re eating. This can be evidenced by how many foods you react to on a food sensitivity test. If you react to almost everything, then the test is no longer a measure of what you can and can’t eat – it is a measure of oral tolerance.

Regulatory T Cells are the cells that determine what foods you are going to react to or not. When these guys become dysregulated, they begin reacting to almost everything that you eat and this contributes to leaky gut, creates more allergies, auto-immune issues, rashes, asthma, and over all lowered immune function against viruses and bacteria.

What Can Trigger An Immune Response To A Food?

For your immune system to not react to a food/antigen, it must be broken down to less than 5,000 Daltons. (A Dalton is a specific kind of measurement, such as an inch or millimeter that we use to describe distance. A Dalton is a measurement of a particle size.)
So, your food must be broken down by Hydrochloric acid that is in your stomach, and it must be broken down less than 5,000 Daltons. If it is not broken down that small, your immune system will send out cells that tag this food you just ate as a foreign invader. And then other cells come out and destroy this invader – which creates a cascade of inflammation and immune activation. This also creates a memory for any time in the future that you eat this specific food, your immune system will go out and attack it again. While your immune system is busy fighting off these foods, this leaves an opening for viruses and bacteria to sneak through the gates and wreak havoc. Your immune system is so busy with the food that it doesn’t see the viruses and bacteria as quickly. Boom, you get sick. You get cold sores often, you have a weaker functioning immune system.


How Can I Find Out If I Have Leaky Gut?

Above is a sample of a person’s leaky gut test, Green is negative. Yellow and Red mean Positive for antibodies and confirm that you have leaky gut.

CyrexLabs.com – This Lab tests for antibodies to different parts of your intestinal barrier as well as the bacterial endotoxin that is only present IF you have leaky gut. If you have any of the follow markers present, it indicates the breakdown of a healthy intestinal barrier, which allow the penetration of large antigenic molecules to travel where they should not be.

A little more detail on the anatomy of your gut lining: The gut is comprised of “The Actomyosin Network” which is a complex protein that regulates intestinal barrier function by maintaining the plasticity of tight junctions.
Zonulin is a protein that regulates the permeability of the intestines.
Occludin is part of the main component of proteins that holds together the tight junctions of your gut lining.
The zonulin and occuludin are supposed to allow the tight junctions of your gut lining to open and close to allow things to pass through. But the problem is when the tight junctions are broken open and remain open constantly.
Lipopolysaccharides are large molecules found in gram-negative bacteria. These are endotoxins, and they can elicit a strong immune response. If these are present in your leaky gut test, this means that these endotoxins have infiltrated through the gut barrier and are now circulating in your body.

What If I Do This Test & I Have Leaky Gut?

Congratulations! You have identified the areas where you are “leaking” and now can pin point how to heal!

The #1 thing that you should do if you have leaky gut or any sort of GI/Neurological issues is……..GET OFF OF GLUTEN AND DAIRY. (See my previous post on how gluten & dairy can contribute to neurological disorders.)

The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research stated that “No one can properly digest gluten. We do not have the enzymes to break it down,”  “It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.” His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.”  http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/14134/are-humans-incapable-of-digesting-gluten

#1 It is vitally important you clean up your diet when you are trying to heal leaky gut. When you eat foods that you are sensitive to, the tight junctions of your gut lining break apart within 5 minutes after exposure. Stick to it, and don’t cheat, because you’re just cheating yourself out of health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2915475/

#2 Probiotics are essential to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Everyone should be taking a probiotic – Ideally it should be one that is not cultured on Dairy. Kombucha is another source of probiotics, and any other fermented veggies.

#3 Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics.

#4 Aloe Vera. Aloe is extremely healing to your gut lining. It works instantly if you have a bout of acid reflux or gastritis. *Side note*: Acid reflux is caused because you do not have enough stomach acid to digest your foods – so your food is putrifying to digest itself. You actually need to take digestive enzymes, drink ACVinegar, Drink celery juice in the morning on an empty stomach to help rebuild your HCL. The stomach has an extremely acidic pH of 1-3. If you have reflux, your stomach is too alkaline.

I recommend Stockton Aloe 1 because it is organic, taken off of the leaf by hand instead of machine processed. When aloe is processed by machine it gets the skin in the mix and that is what can cause diarrhea.

#5 Collagen / Bone broth – Collagen hydrolysate is amazing for repairing mucosal linings, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin , nails. Also, bone broth is like liquid collagen. I recommend My Organic Juice to order the bone broth from. MOJ has the highest quality bones out there, grass fed and grass finished. www.myorganicjuice.com

#6 Have an Attitude of Gratitude  Feeling happy, having a feeling of gratitude can increase regulatory T cell function. The opposite effect happens for depressed people.

#7 Vagal Nerve stimulation – In the brain, the Vagus Nerve helps control anxiety and depression. In the gut, it increases stomach acidity, digestive juices and  gut flow/motility.

Gargling with water for 5 minutes every day. The vagus nerve activates the in the back of the throat that allows you to gargle. Gargling contracts these muscles, which activates the vaguest nerve and stimulates the GI tract.

Stimulating your gag reflex with a tongue depressor. Start at the tip of your tongue and slowly inch the tongue depressor back towards your throat to facilitate a gag response.

#8 Vary Your Diet – Make sure you rotate your foods, meaning you do not eat the same thing every day. For example: if you eat eggs on Monday, you do not eat them again for 4 days later. Doing this will decrease your future development of more food sensitivities and allow your immune system to regulate its response to certain foods.

#9 Have Optimal Vitamin D Levels – In conventional medicine, the recommended vitamin D range is 20-50. In functional medicine, the range you want to be at for vitamin D is 70-80. Every cell in your body has receptors for vitamin D. Studies have shown that just by having adequate vitamin D levels you cut your risk for all kind of cancers by more than 50%. If you have an auto immune disease some functional medicine doctors could even recommend pushing your vitamin D levels a little greater than 80. Studies have also shown that having optimal levels of vitamin D make it easier for your body to shed fat. (Take 5,000 IUs per day, its a no brainer.)


Other Tests To Consider If You’re Just Not Convinced:

Array 3 – Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity

  • This test all 23 proteins that the wheat protein is comprised of. Most doctors only test 3-4 of these to see if a person has antibodies or a sensitivity to wheat/gluten. If those come back negative, “you’re fine.” This is the true way to test for a gluten sensitivity.

Array 4 – Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity

  • This tests all the foods and grains that commonly cross react with gluten. Meaning, they look similar to gluten to your immune system.

Array 10 – Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen

  • This is the ultimate food sensitivity test. Almost all other food sensitivity tests out there test only raw food proteins. Aristo Vojdani, the most incredibly brilliant immunologist who developed this lab, has found that when foods are cooked, it changes the structure of food. He discovered that people can react to cooked and raw foods differently. This tests for sensitivity to the following foods cooked and raw: Dairy, Eggs, Grains, Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Fruits, Veggies, Fish, Seafood, Meats, Meat Glue, Herbs, Spices, Gums, Brewed Beverages and Additives.

You should check out their website and read about it for more information: www.cyrexlabs.com


All of the supplements for healing leaky gut are available at Dr. Jack’s Wellness Center!

Author: Melissa Mullin

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