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Causes of Leaky Gut?

Causes of Leaky Guy Syndrome in AdultsCauses of Leaky Gut Syndrome (intestinal permeability)

There are numerous causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome all associated with a break down in the normally healthy probiotic inner ecology or mircobiome. Whereas any of the factors below can individually or collectively cause temporary harm from which the micobiome can adapt and bounce back, repeated use or exposure over time will cause actual damage to the bowel epithelial cells and the tight juncture between them. This tight juncture breakdown creates a severe compromise to the integrity of the GI tract, allows passage of unwelcome toxins directly into the blood stream, thereby contributing to a variety of well documented disease related effects such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Intestinal permeability (leaky gut), Crohn's disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), collectively called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Advanced breakdown contributes to immune-mediated conditions characterized by a chronic inflammation of the gut such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus. (See our page: Signs and Symptoms).

Causes of leaky gut:

  • DRUGS: leaky gut will increase and be affected by OTC (over the counter) aspirin and related NSAID (nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs as well as Rx prescription drugs. (3)
  • FOOD ADDITIVES: leaky gut will increase from commonly used food additives such as gluten, salt, glucose, microbials, organic solvents, emulsifiers. (2)
  • CANDIDA (yeast) overgrowth: can play a significant role in the tearing or 'cleavage' of the intestinal cell wall causing hyper permeability, intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. (4)
  • Alcohol Use. Ingestion of alcohol can cause a 'leaky gut'syndrome which in turn contributes to infection and systemic organ dysfunction (1) (5)


(1) Dissolution of lipids from mucus: a possible mechanism for prompt disruption of gut barrier function by alcohol.Qin X, Deitch EA. Toxicol Lett. 2015 Jan 22;232(2):356-62. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.11.027. Epub 2014 Nov 25. PMID: 25445722

Abstract:Acute and/or chronic alcohol ingestion has been shown to exacerbate the morbidity and mortality rate associated with acute mechanical and/or thermal trauma. While alcohol ingestion can affect many organs and systems, clinical and preclinical studies indicate that alcohol ingestion can cause a 'leaky gut' syndrome which in turn contributes to infection and systemic organ dysfunction. This study investigated the acute effect of alcohol on gut barrier function.


(2) Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease.Lerner A, Matthias T. Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Feb 9. pii: S1568-9972(15)00024-5. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2015.01.009. PMID:25676324

Abstract:The incidence of autoimmune diseases is increasing along with the expansion of industrial food processing and food additive consumption. The intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junction, controls the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self-antigens. Tight junction leakage is enhanced by many luminal components, commonly used industrial food additives being some of them . Glucose, salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles are extensively and increasingly used by the food industry, claim the manufacturers, to improve the qualities of food. However, all of the aforementioned additives increase intestinal permeability by breaching the integrity of tight junction paracellular transfer.


(3) Differential trafficking of saccharidic probes following aspirin in clinical tests of intestinal permeability in young healthy women . Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2014 Feb;41(2):107-17. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12163. Sequeira IR 1, Lentle RG , Kruger MC , Hurst RD Abstract ...Following the consumption of aspirin, the cumulative rate of excretion of the smaller sugars (i.e. mannitol and rhamnose) was significantly reduced whereas that of lactulose was increased over the 6 h collection period KEYWORDS:aspirin; intestinal permeability; lactulose; mannitol; rhamnose


(4) Cleavage of E-cadherin: a mechanism for disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier by Candida albicans. Frank CF1, Hostetter MK. Transl Res. 2007 Apr;149(4):211-22. PMID:17383595 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Abstract: To investigate how intestinal epithelial cells respond to contact with Candida albicans, an organism able to invade the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, we focused on the junction proteins occludin, E-cadherin, and desmoglein-2. ... These experiments identify 2 E-cadherin cleavage events that are enhanced by contact with C. albicans: an intracellular cleavage event that generates a substrate for gamma-secretase and an extracellular cleavage event that is temporally associated with an increase in monolayer permeability.


(5). Evidence that chronicalcohol exposure promotes intestinal oxidative stress, intestinal hyperpermeability and endotoxemia prior to development of alcoholic steatohepatitis in rats. Keshavarzian A, Farhadi A, Forsyth CB, Rangan J, Jakate S, Shaikh M, Banan A, Fields JZ (2009)J Hepatol 50:538–547