Leaky gut syndrome is a well-defined functional disorder of the gut that causes abnormal intestinal permeability. Imagine the gut as a hollow pipe built out of billions of living building blocks (epithelial cells). The tube is inhabited by a myriad of microorganisms, some of which attach to the tube and others float within the lumen. In a cyclical way, the tube fills up with remnants of food, bile and digestive enzymes and acts as a highly selective filter allowing only a small portion of molecules to escape from the lumen. When this filter, or tight junction, is abnormal; intestinal permeability increases, releasing a large number of molecules from the lumen resulting in leaky gut syndrome. The abnormal permeability of the gut, the ‘degree of leakage’, can be measured and monitored with specific laboratory tests.
The common causes of leaky gut syndrome include:
• Poorly balanced diet
• Chronic use of alcohol
• Intestinal parasites
• Chronic yeast (candida) infection
• Abnormal gut microflora (dysbacteriosis)
• Radiation therapy
• Prolonged use of antibiotics
• Chronic use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac etc)
• Chronic use of corticosteroid hormones (prednisone, methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone)
• Chronic use of estrogens (birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy)
Based on the mechanisms of the disease, the therapy of leaky gut syndrome is based on several simple principles:
• Elimination of potential triggers
• Diet optimization
• Improvement of food digestion
• Normalization of gut microflora
• Optimization of mucosal immune responses
• Restoration of the tight junctions
• Begin a supplement protocol with products targeting leaky gut including L glutamine and butyrate salts
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid derived from the microbial fermentation of dietary fibers in the colon. Butyrate salts, including calcium and magnesium butyrate, are the regulators of intestinal integrity and gene expression (both in the intestine and in various internal organs). At the intestinal level, butyrate regulates fluid transport, controls intestinal permeability, modulates inflammatory and immune responses, suppresses yeast (candida) overgrowth and optimizes intestinal motility. At the whole body level, butyrate regulates glucose and lipid metabolism, prevents certain types of cancers, regulates stem cell and tissue regeneration, reduces ammonia concentration and improves memory and brain function.
L-glutamine is an amino acid and serves as a structural component of various proteins. It plays a vital role in the maintenance of intestinal integrity and permeability, regulates the acid balance in the kidneys and is involved in ammonia synthesis and transportation.
L-glutamine and butyrate salts should not be taken if you are currently taking Coumadin, Allopurinol, anti-seizure medications or Tetracycline. Or if you have acute gout, hypoglycemia, chronic and acute renal insufficiency, chronic anticoagulation therapy; or are pregnant.