The Roles of the Systems in Leaky Gut Syndrome

In previous posts, we discussed what leaky gut syndrome is and what is responsible for its development.  Usually, it is antibiotics, NSAID’s, or a fungal infection that causes the barrier lining of the intestines to break down and become dysfunctional. When this happens, toxins and wastes get through the epithelial lining and enter into the bloodstream, causing a laundry list of health problems.

The Liver and Lymphatic System

All of the toxins that enter into the bloodstream because of leaky gut syndrome end up in the liver.  The liver’s job is to detoxify and discharge those wastes and toxins.  Normally, the liver is a hard working organ that is taxed “by the end of the day” by just getting rid of the normal daily metabolic wastes that are created by organ and cell activity.  Imagine the work it would have to put in with the further load of extra toxins and wastes getting into the bloodstream on a regular basis.  The liver, at one point, becomes saturated and can no longer detoxify, so the poisons are returned to the bloodstream.

The blood will diffuse a lot of the chemicals and debris into the interstitial fluids by using sophisticated mechanisms for preserving homeostasis.  From this point, the lymphatic system attempts to neutralize the toxins; however, since it is unable to send these poisons to the liver, the body becomes toxic.

leaky gut part 3When the body is toxic, microbes develop, hence the reason for chronic swelling.  Over time, the poisons will be forced into the muscles, joints, and connective tissues, leading to migraine syndrome and fibromyalgia.  It can also leak into the cells, which can cause a genetic mutation and cancer.

Immune and Endocrine System Stress

In leaky gut syndrome, the immune system is stressed in three primary ways:

  1. It is where the intestinal mucosa is, and as toxins and antigens come up against that mucosa, the immune system activates to try to neutralize the toxins. Normally, this is done by good bacteria, but in LGS, this is not a viable option because those good bacteria are depleted.  The body tags the toxins with a chemical secretory IgA to try to consume the toxins; however, the immune response becomes overwhelmed in this process and, therefore, depleted.
  2. The liver and lymphatic systems become overwhelmed, which puts immense demands on the immune system.
  3. Finally, the third stressor is one of consequence: As immunity is decreased, more viruses, fungi, and bacteria come into the system and multiply, which leads to a state of chronic infection.

The adrenal gland is the most important gland that produces stress hormones and immune response agents.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of stress leaky gut syndrome places on the body, it also diminishes the functionality of the adrenal glands.  In early stages, there is generally an excess of adrenal hormones; however, as time passes, the stores of those hormones are depleted and the adrenal glands cannot keep up, leading to a drop in cortisol levels and exhaustion.

The Digestive Tract

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Candida albicans is a fungus that thrives in the intestines when leaky gut is a problem.  Unfortunately, however, getting rid of the Candida may not prove to be successful in treatment.  This is due to the chemistry and vitality of the intestines, which is not normalized with the eradication of Candida.  Therefore, Candida returns.

Antibiotics are primarily responsible for the intestinal terrain change.  It kills acid-forming bacteria, which makes the environment alkaline and promotes Candida growth. Chronic illness and antibiotics significantly reduce stomach acid, which leads to alkalinity and poor absorption.  Most people with LGS are malnourished and lose excess amounts of weight no matter how healthy/unhealthy the food.  Unfortunately, many believe that lactobacillus supplementation is all that is needed.  This is not true.  Most lactobacillus supplements do not survive in the intestines.

Summary of Leaky Gut Syndrome

  • Inflammation in the gut leads to poor digestion because the enzymes that digest foods are not secreted, resulting in indigestion, gas, and bloating (often referred to as irritable bowel syndrome).
  • New symptoms and food allergies are created when large food particles are absorbed.
  • Carrier proteins are damaged when the gut is inflamed, leading to the development of nutrient deficiencies and malabsorption. This slows the ability of the gut to heal itself, which can lead to any number of symptoms.
  • When the epithelial barrier in the gut is compromised, the body can develop a chemical sensitivity. The leakage of those toxins can overwhelm the liver, lymphatic and immune systems.  The body becomes less able to handle everyday chemicals in air, water, and foods.
  • Inflammation of the intestinal lining, the protective coating around the antibodies in the gut are lost, which leads to the loss of secretory immunoglobulin A, making the body more susceptible to infections from viruses, bacteria, parasites, and yeast. They will become resistant to any treatments.  The more resistant they are, the more antibiotics are prescribed and the worse the condition will get.
  • Bacterial and yeast can translocate when the lining in the gut is inflamed. That means they can easily pass from the intestines into the bloodstream and bring the infection to any other part of the body.
  • Leaky gut syndrome leads to the formation of antibodies, with food antigens leaking across the gut wall and resembling natural tissue antigens. The protective antibodies then attack these antigens and can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

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