Intestinal Permeability aka “Leaky Gut” Diagnosis and Treatment
Leaky gut syndrome doesn’t happen overnight, but over time due to eating foods we are sensitive to, poor diet in general, gluten and numerous other factors, patients end up with abnormally large spaces in between the cells of the gut wall.
Leaky gut Syndrome. difference between Healthy cells, and inflamed intestinal cells. Comparison normal tissue of the gastrointestinal tract, and leaky gut.
These large spaces allow all sorts of toxic materials through and can cause a runaway reaction of inflammation and increased permeability. Leaky gut is a major issue and is associated with a number of auto-immune conditions and is involved in literally every patient with chronic illness like Lyme, Mold/CIRS and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Causes of Leaky Gut
The list of root causes is long and includes:
- Medications (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and motrin
- Microbial overgrowth or infection
- Parasite infections
- Fungal overgrowth (Candida)
- Ingestion of allergenic foods or foods the patient is sensitive to
- Maldigestion/malabsorption (pancreatic insufficiency or low HCl)
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy
- IgA deficiency
- Chronic alcohol intake
- Excessive or strenuous exercise
- Inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or generalized abdominal discomfort are some of the key symptoms. But leaky gut may also cause allergies and sensitivities that a patient hasn’t had all along as well as lack of energy and fatigue. Hint — patients with more than a handful of severe and moderate food sensitivities almost always have leaky gut.
Diagnosis of leaky gut
The diagnosis of leaky gut is based on a combination of symptomatic expression and the results of specialized laboratory tests. Generally if a patient has more than a handful of severe sensitivities on any of the high-quality food sensitivity test panels, this is a good indication of leaky gut. Accordingly, food sensitivity testing is one of the diagnostic tools used for leaky gut diagnosis. Positive indicators for leaky gut include anti-zonulin antibodies, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and anti-actin antibodies. These are direct indicators of leaky gut and can be found on many of the specialized tests for gut issues.
Treatment of leaky gut
Our comprehensive functional medicine treatment plan consists of 3 steps. Expect treatment to take from 3 months for mild cases to 6-9 months for severe cases. The steps are as follows:
- Preparing and Eliminating. This step consists of preparing the body in part by eliminating the foods identified in the food sensitivity test to be severe or moderate. Additionally, patients should eliminate NSAID-class medications if at all possible even if it means switching to a non-NSAID type anti-inflammatory medication. Reducing or eliminating alcohol and eliminating strenuous exercise are the final components to the preparing and eliminating step.
- Implement the PWC Nutraceutical Leaky Gut Protocol. The components are listed below.
- Full spectrum Binder. We generally use Biotic Reserch GI Detox or Cell Core Biosciences Carboxy. Reducing toxins helps the facilitates gut healing.
- Probiotics. Probiotics are key to restoring gut health. We generally use Multibiome by Xymogen.
- Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes help a damaged gut fully digest foods, which reduces the amount of partially digested, toxic particles that are impacting the intestinal lining so these are a needed step in healing.
- Glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that has been shown to be effective in healing leaky gut
- Quercetin. Stabilizes mast cells, reduces inflammation, helps seal the leakiness.
- Evaluate and retest. This final test consists of evaluating the patient for symptom elimination and retesting when healing appears to be complete. Healing will take between 3-9 months depending on severity of the condition and patient response.
Think you can go it alone and treat yourself? In most cases, patients are not successful with self treatment because they don’t know how/when to add the right ingredients, how to titrate for variations in patient response and how to otherwise overcome the individuality that exists with each patient.
Ready to get PWC engaged to end your leaky gut? Fill the contact form below and we will get back to you within 24 hours except weekends.