Gut Permeability Issues: Leaky Gut

The gut flora and tight junctions of the intestinal epithelial wall are extremely important in keeping a healthy microbiome and to sustain efficient biological processes. Leaky gut causes toxins and unwanted substances leak into the bloodstream leading to inflammation. This can be prevented through lifestyle management and healthy eating habits which will complement the effective functioning of the microbiome.

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Gut permeability and “Leaky Gut” are often two related terms, and are relatively new in terms of their understanding within science. Although the concept was rejected long ago, health specialists and scientists are rediscovering new information that has somewhat revived the theory. The information and clinical trials gathered are rather convincing, and make a lot of sense when looking at the body as a whole.

What is gut permeability?

Gut permeability refers to the condition in which cell junctions within the gut epithelial wall lose their integrity. In layman’s terms, the spaces between the cells in the epithelial lining become larger, and allow for toxic materials to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

How does Leaky Gut occur?

The intestinal tract is composed of a number of components, including healthy bacteria that help to protect the epithelial wall. The disruption of the microbiome may lead to a number of issues, including leaky gut. The barrier that lines our gut is selectively permeable and it is therefore important to understand the strict balance that comes into play when substances are allowed to move across the membrane. Leaky gut causes the cells of the epithelial wall to become sparsely spaced, allowing harmful toxins and materials from the intestinal tract to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to inflammation and onset of chronic diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS and Coeliac Disease. This being said, the onset of these diseases may also lead to chronic inflammation. 

Causes of Leaky Gut

Both genetics and lifestyle management may play a huge role in a person’s susceptibility to Leaky Gut. Some of the largest driving factors behind gut inflammation may be alcohol consumption, low fibre-high sugar diets (Standard American Diet – SAD), and genetic predisposition. Other factors may include medications such as antibiotics and candida overgrowth. 

How to treat Leaky Gut

Determining signs and symptoms of leaky gut are bloating, gas, cramps, aches, pains and food sensitivities. It is important to first investigate these symptoms and approach your trusted clinician. Integrative Medical Doctors and Practitioners are certified in preventive and functional medical practices, where treating the ailment from the root is of utmost priority. Often, in severe cases, one might be sent for a GI Map Stool Test or regular pathology test in order to determine the state of gut health.

However, there are many simpler lifestyle changes that can be made to aid in the prevention and treatment of leaky gut. Adopting a low fodmap diet, may decrease gut irritation and prevent inflammation. Implementing a stricter regime of pro and prebiotics into the diet may help assist the production and maintenance of healthy bacteria in the gut. 


In essence, the gut flora and cell junctions of the intestinal epithelial wall are extremely important in keeping a healthy microbiome and to sustain efficient biological processes. When these factors are out of place, toxins and unwanted substances leak into the bloodstream and cause inflammation. The tight junctions between intestinal cells are designed to prevent this from happening. The symptoms and effects of leaky gut can be prevented if taken care of early enough. Through lifestyle management and healthy eating habits, one can prevent the onset of chronic inflammation and the development of leaky gut.

How do I Become a Functional Medicine Practitioner to learn more about Gut Permeability?

The Institute of Integrative Medicine is a global leader in the field of Integrative Medicine Education. Integrative medicine aims to be at the forefront of modern technology and new discoveries. Leaky gut can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can be managed with the correct treatment protocols. We offer certified online courses helping you to take charge of your practice and improve the quality of life for your patients. Find out more about the courses we offer today!

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