The Cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition characterized by tiny holes in the walls of the intestine, which allow harmful substances to enter the GI tract. The epithelium on the villi of the small intestine becomes irritated and inflamed, allowing toxins to flood into the bloodstream. This compromises various organs and systems including the liver, immune response, and lymphatic system.
It is one of the major causes of disease in our modern culture, accounting for at least half of all chronic complaints. Commonly called an autoimmune disease, LGS is responsible for many incurable diseases that cause the body to attack itself. Often, it is the primary cause of the following conditions:
- Food allergies
- Irritable bowel
- Chronic sinusitis
- Fungal infections
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Breast and uterine fibroids
Additionally, leaky gut syndrome is very often the core cause of pediatric immune deficiencies and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Historically, the only way bacteria and toxins were able to enter the gut and bloodstream was through trauma, such as through a spear jab or sword cut, which led to septicemia and likely death. The body maintained a selective barrier around the intestines that kept the good bacteria in and the wastes and toxins out; nutrients could enter unhindered. Now, however, leaky gut syndrome seems to be reaching epidemic proportions in modern western culture.
Modern Day Cause of Gut Break-Down
Antibiotics are the primary cause of leaky gut syndrome, with the secondary cause being non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aleve, Motrin, and Advil. These drugs are notorious for causing LGS because they violently inflame and irritate the lining of the intestines, which causes a widening between cells and, sometimes, hemorrhaging.
Further causes are chemotherapy, inhaled formaldehyde (new carpets), stress, lactase deficiency, gluten allergy, alcohol, food allergies, and abdominal flora (yeast, parasites, and bacteria).
Since the 1950’s and 1960’s, antibiotics like penicillin (becoming available in mainstream healthcare in 1939) have been prescribed at the first sign of infection or inflammation. Specifically, pediatric sore throat, bronchitis, and ear infections have been frantically treated with antibiotics.
Unfortunately, however, the majority of these infections are viral in nature, so not only do the antibiotics do more damage than help, they are also unnecessary. It is believed that antibiotics should be medicine only used in a hospital setting when it has been confirmed through lab testing that bacteria has entered the bloodstream, an organ, or a bone.
The Destruction of Good Bacteria
There are two ways that antibiotics damage the body. The first is that they destroy good bacteria in the gut. There are over 500 different kinds of good bacteria in your gut and small intestine. They perform hundreds of functions that are required for a healthy immune system and regulated metabolism. They break down hormone secretions that come from the small intestine and liver. This may contribute significantly to the high prevalence of colon cancer.
Bacteria transform wastes – like hormones, cellular debris, bile, pus, viral and bacterial toxins, etc. – through enzyme secretions. As an example, bile is created as lubricant to cleanse the liver of wastes; however, it also detoxifies poisons that accumulate in the liver. However, bile is extremely damaging to the large intestine. When it goes through the common bile duct into the small intestine, the good bacteria work feverishly to break down the bile salts into a less toxic component, which makes it so it is not dangerous by the time it reaches the large intestine.
Additionally, good bacteria break down hormone secretions that come from the small intestine and liver. For example, if the bacteria needed to break down estrogen is missing and intestinal permeability altered, then the individual reabsorbs the estrogen back into their original state. The body will then deposit this estrogen into sensitive areas like the uterus, ovaries, and breasts. This can lead to tumors and fibroids.
The body is built with a special lining in the intestines that allows nutrients in, while simultaneously keeping wastes and toxins out. Healthy bacteria helps in this process. In leaky gut syndrome, however, that barrier does not function properly and blocks good nutrients from entering the gut and bloodstream, but permitting toxins and wastes through.
Promoting the Growth of Fungus
The second way antibiotics are damaging to the intestines and body is that it fosters the growth of Candida albicans, along with other yeast and fungi. This, more than anything, precipitates the development of leaky gut syndrome.
In a healthy system, the tight cell junctions created by the small intestine epithelium build the barrier that protects the gut from wastes and toxins. There is also an important chemical barrier in the mucus that holds immune agents that neutralize the toxins that try to pass through the barrier.
An aldehyde secretion, which comes from Candida, causes the epithelial cells in the small intestine to shrink in size, allowing for toxins to filter through the epithelium and into the bloodstream. The chemical barrier remains the only agent for neutralization, and eventually the immune system exhausts itself by trying to rise to that challenge. Candida’s primary damage is done by breaking down this epithelial barrier and allowing the absorption of all the wastes and toxins coming from the liver.
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