Friday, November 13, 2009

Leaky Gut Syndrome - Colon Health, part 1

This 3 part blog series is dedicated to my Uncle Bill, who had both pre-cancerous and cancerous polyps. The cancer has affected his liver, bladder, and now his pancreas. Thank you for your humor and determination to let everyone know your story before the cancer takes you away. (Colon Health, part 3 will be on polyps.)

Leaky Gut Syndrome (also known as Increased Intestinal Permeability) affect millions of people, many of whom don't recognize it, or realize how it affects their health.

LGS is defined as a disorder where the large intestine/colon wall doesn't have the integrity to keep undigested particles and toxins inside and proccessed/released normally. Instead they escape out into the body, affecting the surrounding tissues and organs, and quickly compromise our overall well being.

Babies have more permabeability (leakage) than older children or adults. This is generally due to the small physical size of babies and how their bodies receive and process nutrients before and after birth.

Contributing factors are inherited tendencies, health of both parents when the child was conceived, health/diet of the mother, and any prescription or over the counter medications taken during the pregnancy. Also, after the baby is born, they may not get the nutrients (even if nursed) needed for continued building/growth and functioning of the digestive tract.

After babies, almost twice as many women as men have LGS. Reasons for this are women tend to naturally have a slightly weaker immune system than men, take more medicines for health related issues (so we don't pass them to our children), and so on. Men, however are now realizing many of their health problems are related to LGS, so much so that even "Men's Health" and "Men 4 Health" have mentioned it in their articles.

The most common causes of LGS are: antibiotics, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), excess wheat or dairy products, cytotoxic drugs (chemo/cancer treatments), alcohol, over growth of Candida (yeast infections), parasites, infections (including fungal), stress, and lack of water and proper nutrients in the diet. And in some people their Ilocecal Valve (ICV) is also stuck open, producing more LGS and auto-intoxication symptoms. (Auto-intoxication is the next blog in this series on Colon Health.)

Hallmark symptoms of LGS are: inflammation, irritability, tenderness/swelling in the lower right abdomen*, gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrehea, allergies, headaches, and so on. It's also a known fact that the liver of people with LGS works almost twice as hard to filter the toxins that escape out into to the blood stream.

When the liver is overworked, our immune system also goes into overdrive, causing it to attack our body in every place the toxins have lodged, producing inflammation.** This has led many to believe that LGS has a direct bearing on autism, MS, fibromylagia, lupus, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. And many researchers and doctors also feel LGS, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chron's Disease, and Celiac Disease are all interrelated.

While some doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatories and other meds for LGS, the most common way to treat it is naturally. This includes being properly hydrated, eating foods high in fiber, and substituting or avoiding foods that contain wheat, dairy, or have a high sugar or alcohol content.

Supplements used to support the colon so the walls can rebuild are: Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's), probiotics (acidophilus), B12, Gamma Oryzanol, Magnesium, Glutathione, and Glutamine. Note: anyone sensative to MSG, maltodextrin or other glutamate deravitives may not want to use Glutamine.

* not to be confused with the appendix (also located in the same area as the ICV), when appendicitis occurs there is also an elevated white blood count & slight fever
** it's now said that inflammation is either the root cause or biggest contributing factor to almost every disorder and/or disease known

Note: many people with LGS are also sensitive to artificial sweetners, such as Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Splendid (sucralose), so be cautious with these, or use a natural plant non sugar sweetner such as Stevia or the new one made from chicory. (Stevia can even be found everywhere from health food stores to Wal-Mart. Both Stevia and chicory sugar is very sweet so start with small amounts, and increase to desired taste.)

Sources:,,,,,, and "Textbook of Natural Medicine", Joe Pizzorno, ND, 2005.

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