Leaky gut syndrome has far reaching effects on overall health. In practice we see this correlation every day. Often we recommend to avoid gluten when the patient presents with gastro-intestinal complaints. Now to find out the actual interaction in the gut that starts the cascade of dysfunction.
One protein in gluten is called gliadin. When you eat gluten containing foods gliadin is present and stimulates zonulin. Zonulin is found in the small intestine and its purpose is to open the door to let digested nutrients pass through the small intestine lining to the blood stream on the other side. Gliadin has been found to stimulate zonulin to the point that the passageway is breached by undigested proteins and foreign bacteria. This is where the term "leaky gut" is used. When these foreign bacteria and undigested proteins enter into the blood stream the body reacts with an immune response. This response increases inflammation in the area and causes many health issues.
The top 4 reasons for the increase of zonulin are:
1. Gluten in the diet
2. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
3. Fungal Dysbiosis and yeast overgrowth
4. Parasite infections.
Removing gluten from the diet will help to lower zonulin levels in the gut. This is the start to improving leaky gut symptoms. Many times supplementation with probiotics, digestive enzymes, chlorophyll, aloe vera juice, and anti-fungal herbs can start the gut healing process.