Allergies and autoimmune diseases are common medical conditions that develop in many people. The basic underlying foundation of these diseases is what is known as the "leaky gut syndrome". This develops when there is chronic inflammation in the walls of the intestinal tract. The intestinal chronic inflammation can be asymptomatic. However, it may manifest itself with symptoms of excess gas and/or abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain such as heartburn and cramping.
Healthy intestinal walls are not just responsible for absorbing the various nutrients that the body needs to function properly. The intestinal wall is also supposed to keep OUT of the blood (i.e. prevent the absorption of) substances that can be harmful, such as infectious organisms and toxic molecules. Undigested food particles should also not be absorbed. When the intestines are chronically inflamed, this protective barrier function is compromised and non-nutrient substances begin to diffuse through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
When the amount of non-nutrient substances that cross the intestinal wall becomes significant, the immune system will react against some of the substances turning them into “antigens” in your body. Exposure to antigens results in various immune system responses. Antibodies are made to the antigens, some of which bind to white blood cells in various parts of the body triggering the release of many types of inflammatory chemicals. Immune complexes, the combination of the antibody to the antigen, can deposit in body tissues causing inflammation in those tissues. Lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) may develop receptors on their cell membranes that bind the antigens. These cells are located throughout the body and release many inflammatory chemicals when antigen binds to the cell membrane receptor. THE VARIOUS FOOD ALLERGY TRIGGERED IMMUNE SYSTEM RESPONSES RESULT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IN AREAS THROUGHOUT THE BODY, NOT JUST IN THE INTESTINES.
THE CAUSES OF LEAKY GUT SYNDROME INCLUDE:
- Toxic fat intake in food.
- Use of prescription and OTC anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, aspirin, and Aleve.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Excessive sugar intake and use of antibiotics causing yeast overgrowth in the intestines.
- Chronic stress, causing weak digestive function.
- Chronic constipation.
- Nutrient deficiencies: low intake of anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, and protein.
- Low dietary fiber intake.
- High pesticide intake in the diet via non-organic animal fats and dairy products.
- Heavy metal toxicity via silver fillings in teeth and/or large intake of certain types of fish.
- Intestinal parasite infections.