Intestinal Permeability

Intestinal Permeability

Both malabsorption and increased intestinal permeability ("leaky gut") are associated with chronic gastrointestinal imbalances as well as many systemic disorders. Increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut) of the small intestine can: Increase the number of foreign compounds entering the bloodstream.

Why do we need a gut barrier?

The intestinal barrier covers a surface of about 400 m2 and requires approximately 40% of the body’s energy expenditure. It prevents against loss of water and electrolytes and entry of antigens and microorganisms into the body while allowing exchange of molecules between host and environment and absorption of nutrients in the diet. Specialized adaptations of the mammalian intestinal mucosa fulfill two seemingly opposing functions: firstly to allow a peaceful co-existence with intestinal symbionts without eliciting chronic inflammation and secondly to provide a measured inflammatory and defensive response according to the threat from pathogens. It is a complex multilayer system, consisting of an external "physical" barrier and an inner "functional" immunological barrier. The interaction of these 2 barriers enables equilibrated permeability to be maintained. To understand this complex barrier, not only the functions of its components, but also the processes of interactions of bacterial and other luminal components with cells and receptors of the host needs to be considered. Experimental data showed that disruption of the peaceful co-existence with intestinal symbionts at early life, and possibly even later in life, results in severe immunodeficiency and risk of disease. Such findings support the hypothesis that the breakdown of intestinal barrier control mechanisms means danger and possibly disease.

What is the difference between intestinal barrier and intestinal permeability?

The two terms have been used synonymously although they probably do not mean the same thing. A clear definition of such parameters as means to assess them is mandatory to avoid future confusion and to assess their impact for disease prevention and disease. In fact, intestinal permeability is a barrier feature closely linked to the intestinal commensal microbiota as well as to the elements of the mucosal immune system. Many factors can alter intestinal permeability such as gut microbiota modifications, mucus layer alterations, and epithelial damage, resulting in translocation of luminal content to the inner layers of the intestinal wall. Moreover, lifestyle and dietetic factors like alcohol and energy-dense food can increase intestinal permeability such as alcohol and energy-dense Western style diet.

Research indicates that certain nutritional factors may help to support mucosal health and promote normal intestinal permeability (IP). These factors include antioxidants, mucosal nutrients, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and dietary fiber. Some of these nutrients have also been shown to lead to improvement in diseases associated with leaky gut syndrome. 

Dr. Pamela Nathan Recommends:

1. Intestinal Permeability Assessment powerful and noninvasive assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel. The small intestine uniquely functions as a digestive/absorptive organ for nutrients, as well as a powerful immune and mechanical barrier against excessive absorption of bacteria, food antigens, and other macromolecules

2. Perfect Pass ProBiotic and PreBiotic - Prebiotics & Probiotics together and improve the diversity of your good bacteria daily

3. Perfect Pass Digestive Enzymes - help digest proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and cellulosic materials.

4. Primal Defense Ultra - supports normal intestinal comfort and function‚ and promotes healthy intestinal elimination regularity and consistency

5. Professional Botanicals Leaky Gutsupports the repair of the gastrointestinal tract, cools inflamed tissue,
and promotes tissue repair

6. ProOmega-D - provides exceptionally high levels of the omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA‚ in addition to 1000 I.U. of vitamin D3‚ in one delicious serving

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