The small intestine is lined with a single layer of cells that make up the mucosal barrier. Between them are very small spaces called tight junctions through which nutrients cross through during absorption. Most toxic substances are bigger than those spaces so they are unable to enter the body.
Leaky Gut Syndrome develops when the mucosal barrier in the small intestine becomes too porous and stays open, allowing undigested foods and toxins to move freely enter the bloodstream. When this happens, the body produces antibodies to fight the “foreign substances”, resulting in inflammation which can spread from the gut to the rest of the body.
Several factors are attribute to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen; antacid, antibiotics and steroid are well known to irritate the intestinal lining. Prolonged use of these drugs may weaken the intestinal lining and affects the body’s ability to repair it. In addition, excessive intake of refine carbohydrate, alcohol or caffeine, overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, Candida infection, stress, unhealthy diet can further aggravate the condition.
As a result of these factors, the tight junctions of the gut lining loosen over time; and cause bad bacteria, toxins, undigested foods and other foreign substances to be leaked into the bloodstream, subsequently triggering an immune response in the intestine which could lead to many chronic diseases such as:
- Systemic inflammation (inflammation in the joint, lung, gut, etc.)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Food allergies
- Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease)
- Skin problems (eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes)
- Malabsorption of nutrients leading to fatigue, irritability, poor concentration and memory