What is Leaky Gut Syndrome ?
Leaky gut is actually strictly not a single disease or syndrome; it’s a pathological condition that occurs as part of many different diseases and syndromes. The term refers to an abnormal increase in the permeability of the small intestine. Increased intestinal permeability is a component of many different disorders. [Ref]
The small intestine has the largest surface area of any organ in your body. [Ref] Two-thirds of your immune system is within it. The small intestine continuously activates itself by sampling the molecules that pass through the intestinal lining. [Ref]
Cells linked together by tight junctions form our intestinal barrier. These junctions control what passes through into the bloodstream. The small intestine absorbs vitamins and nutrients through these junctions. Generally they remain tight enough to prevent the passage of any harmful compounds.
The healthy intestinal mucosa ordinarily allows only small molecules – amino acids, simple sugars, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals –to cross the gut barrier into the blood stream. The surfaces of intestinal cells have specialised carrier proteins that allow these specific nutrients through, but keep larger molecules within the gut.
Poor eating habit or a lack of exercise as well as some types of medication cause imbalance in our digestive tract. There are also some genetic contributors to an imbalanced digestive tract. Imbalance leads to increased gut inflammation and gut permeability. This permability is also called “leaky gut.” A leaky gut refers to bacterial antigens and unwanted proteins permeating the intestinal wall, leaking into the bloodstream.