Sunday, December 19, 2010


                                  LEAKY GUT
"The diagram above shows how larger proteins can “leak” across the gut and get into the bloodstream, whereas in healthy situations the larger proteins “bounce off” until they are fully digested, or they pass into the stool.

The problem is that larger molecules that get into the blood stream will cause the immune system to react to the proteins and become over-active (to grossly oversimplify things). This worsens conditions such as asthma and eczema. In other conditions, such as chronic fatigue, larger molecules such as gluten and casein can cause morphine like actions on the brain causing sedation." This diagram and quote are from the link below.

One of the main reasons for "leaky gut" or abnormal permeable intestinal an imbalanced intestinal microflora.It may be an over simplification but the easiest way that I know of to explain leaky gut is that  the digestive system contains "good" bacteria and "bad bacteria" and that an overabundance of bad bacteria plays a role in creating fissures or openings in the intestinal lining which then allows proteins and other substances to pass through into the blood stream. These substances do not belong in the blood stream and can cause allergic and other unhealthy manifestations.

Some of the things that may cause this imbalance are.....extended use of antibiotics without supplementing with beneficial bacteria, exposures to chemicals in the diet or environment, and consuming any kind of sugar or other refined foods. Then to top it off, the modern diet is almost completely lacking in high quality living fermented foods. Many of our foods have been fermented to create the product but then they are pasteurized which  negates the healthful benefits of the fermentation process. Pasteurization  kills off the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

We need to begin looking at how our ancestors lived and how they grew and prepared their foods. There is much wisdom to be found there which we are ignoring... due to the idea that we are now more advanced than our ancestors...but are we really? It can be a fascinating study to research the food preparation methods of our ancestors and to try and understand why these methods made food even more healthy for human consumption than the original product. Our modern food processing brings the opposite result. Most modern foods are so highly processed that if the foods were not labeled, we wouldn't even know what the original food item was.

Examples of fermented foods are: 
Natural soda
Kombucha Tea
Fermented Veggies such as sauerkraut or ginger carrots
Fermented bean pastes
Raw vinegar

Kefir and yogurt free of sugar

Take beer and cider for example.....both commercial products are now mostly filtered and pasteurized. These beverages actually had some healthy benefits when allowed to naturally ferment and left unheated. Our society has been educated to be germ avoid bacteria by sterilizing everything. However, a living healthy ecosystem depends on the presence of bacteria. Humans their arrogance...think they are more intelligent than the infinite wisdom of nature/God . Instead of working with nature we think we need to tame and control it. This results in a world that is out of wack, not in tune.....disconnected from harmonious interaction.
There are many symptoms and conditions associated with leaky gut. I will list only a few:
Hair loss, Anxiety, Bloating and Indigestion, Autoimmune Disease, Muscle Cramps, Insomnia, Poor Immunity, Poor Memory, Liver Dysfunction, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Heartburn, Celiac Disease, Skin Problems, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Acne, Food Allergies, and Asthma


Healthfood stores do sell some fermented foods, however, it can be fun, rewarding and cheaper to ferment your own food. Excellent books that I would recommend on this subject are WILD FERMENTATION



The study below shows that probiotic bacteria can enhance or repair the intestinal lining.
Lactobacillus plantarum MB452 enhances the function of the intestinal barrier by increasing the expression levels of genes involved in tight junction formation.

Rachel C Anderson , Adrian L Cookson , Warren C McNabb , Zaneta Park , Mark J McCann , William J Kelly and Nicole C Roy

BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:316doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-316
Published: 9 December 2010

Abstract (provisional)
Intestinal barrier function is important for preserving health, as a compromised barrier allows antigen entry and can induce inflammatory diseases. Probiotic bacteria can play a role in enhancing intestinal barrier function; however, the mechanisms are not fully understood. Existing studies have focused on the ability of probiotics to prevent alterations to tight junctions in disease models, and have been restricted to a few tight junction bridging proteins. No studies have previously investigated the effect of probiotic bacteria on healthy intestinal epithelial cell genes involved in the whole tight junction signalling pathway, including those encoding for bridging, plaque and dual location tight junction proteins. Alteration of tight junction signalling in healthy humans is a potential mechanism that could lead to the strengthening of the intestinal barrier, resulting in limiting the ability of antigens to enter the body and potentially triggering undesirable immune responses.

The effect of Lactobacillus plantarum MB452 on tight junction integrity was determined by measuring trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) across Caco-2 cell layers. L. plantarum MB452 caused a dose-dependent TEER increase across Caco-2 cell monolayers compared to control medium. Gene expression was compared in Caco-2 cells untreated or treated with L. plantarum MB452 for 10 hours. Caco-2 cell RNA was hybridised to human oligonucleotide arrays. Data was analysed using linear models and differently expressed genes were examined using pathway analysis tools. Nineteen tight junction-related genes had altered expression levels in response to L. plantarum MB452 (modified-P<0.05, fold-change>1.2), including those encoding occludin and its associated plaque proteins that anchor it to the cytoskeleton. L. plantarum MB452 also caused changes in tubulin and proteasome gene expression levels which may be linked to intestinal barrier function. Caco-2 tight junctions were visualised by fluorescent microscopy of immuno-stained occludin, zona occludens (ZO)-1, ZO-2 and cingulin. Caco-2 cells treated with L. plantarum MB452 had higher intensity fluorescence of each of the four tight junction proteins compared to untreated controls.

This research indicates that enhancing the expression of genes involved in tight junction signalling is a possible mechanism by which L. plantarum MB452 improves intestinal barrier function.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.

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