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Do I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?

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Do I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?

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Diseases Associated With Leaky Gut

The claim that leaky gut is the root of modern health problems has yet to be proven by science. However, many studies have connected increased intestinal permeability with multiple chronic diseases (3).

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by a severe sensitivity to gluten.

Several studies have found that intestinal permeability is higher in patients with celiac disease (1, 6, 7).

In fact, one study found that ingesting gluten significantly increases intestinal permeability in celiac patients immediately after consumption (6).

Diabetes

There is some evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in the development of type 1 diabetes (1).

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas (19).

It has been suggested that the immune reaction responsible for beta cell destruction may be triggered by foreign substances "leaking" through the gut (20, 21).

One study found that 42 percent of individuals with type 1 diabetes had significantly elevated zonulin levels. Zonulin is a known moderator of intestinal permeability (22).

In an animal study, rats that developed diabetes were found to have abnormal intestinal permeability prior to developing diabetes (23).

Crohn's Disease

Increased intestinal permeability plays a significant role in Crohn's disease. Crohn's is a chronic digestive disorder characterized by persistent inflammation of the intestinal tract (1, 24, 25).

Several studies have observed an increase in intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn's disease (26, 27.)

A few studies also found increased intestinal permeability in relatives of Crohn's patients, who are at an increased risk of developing the disease (26, 28).

This suggests that increased permeability may be connected to the genetic component of Crohn's disease.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Studies have found that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are likely to have increased intestinal permeability (29, 30).

IBS is a digestive disorder characterized by both diarrhea and constipation. One study found that increased intestinal permeability is particularly prevalent in those with diarrhea-predominant IBS (31).

Food Allergies

A few studies have shown that individuals with food allergies often have impaired intestinal barrier function (32, 33).

A leaky gut may allow food proteins to cross the intestinal barrier, stimulating an immune response. An immune response to a food protein, which is known as an antigen, is the definition of a food allergy (10).

Summary: Multiple studies have demonstrated that increased intestinal permeability is indeed present in people with certain chronic diseases.

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