Intestinal Permeability - A New Target for Disease Prevention and Therapy

Hey guys, thought this was a great article that included some much needed definitions as to what exactly intestinal permeability and intestinal barrier are. In addition, this article goes into great detail explaining many more points that I could briefly mention here about how vulnerable our body can really become once the barrier has been broken and permeability becomes an issue.

  • “Intestinal barrier” is a term that has been established more recently by gastroenterologists, immunologists and microbiologists to emphasize the protective component of the gut shielding us against bacterial invasion, or invasion of other microorganisms and their toxins
  • Intestinal barrier is a functional entity separating the gut lumen from the inner host, and consisting of mechanical elements (mucus, epithelial layer), humoral elements (defensins, IgA), immununological elements (lymphocytes, innate immune cells), muscular and neurological elements
  • “Intestinal permeability” is a term shaped preferentially by electrophysiologists studying epithelial permeability in Ussing chambers using tissue explants from animals or humans for research purposes.
  • Intestinal permeability is defined as a functional feature of the intestinal barrier at given sites, measurable by analyzing flux rates across the intestinal wall as a whole or across wall components of defined molecules that are largely inert during the process and that can be adequately measured in these settings
  • Several diseases have been linked to changes in the microbiota populations, or to reduction of the microbiota's diversity, including, atopic diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, obesity, cancer and very recently, even neuropathologies. Some of these pathologies are associated with altered barrier function and increased permeability of the epithelium 
  • Since we now know about the clinical implications, interest in understanding the regulation of this barrier is growing. Two major regulatory factors could be identified, diet/nutrients/prebiotics, and, secondly, the intestinal microbiota/probiotics. Both are related to life style, which suggests that environmental factors might influence the function of the intestinal barrier and thus gut health 
  • Already 20 years ago it was found that increased intestinal permeability precedes clinical manifestations of CD, but is insufficient to cause disease suggesting other factors being involved.
  • Apart from IBD, IBS, metabolic diseases and intestinal failure in critically ill patients, other diseases might be related to the gut microbiota and the intestinal barrier such as celiac disease, colon carcinoma or inflammatory joint diseases. Therefore, alteration of the gut barrier seems to have multiple consequences facilitating the onset of a variety of diseases depending on other hits and on genetic or epigenetic constellations, respectively. The growing significance of the gut barrier and bacterial translocation raises the questions of how we can improve gut barrier functions and gut microbiota

Far too many celiacs, myself included in the beginning just do not have an understanding on the damage that needs to be repaired in our bodies. What it will take for your body to heal? Healing and becoming healthy as a celiac disease person requires a great amount of patience, understanding, change in your eating habits, change in the way you approach your new world, acquiring the right tools and implementing this knowledge into your everyday life, its about finding the right doctors who can help you, testing you properly, staying on top of your vitamin and mineral levels and all of this works in conjunction to heal your body. And, in truth if you have lots of damage, this is not going to happen overnight, this could take years to rebuild your body and to heal from the inside out.  

Just something to think about after you have removed gluten from your diet, that it isn’t enough to heal your body, that’s the first step in no longer throwing fuel on your intestinal fire. Next step is to focus on your healing and repairing the damage that was done to your gut, your joints, your brain, etc.

* Here’s my little disclaimer, I’m not a doctor, researcher, immunologist, just someone deeply concerned and trying to help as many peeps as I can make conscious, good, healthy choices for their health and their bodies when living life with gluten challenges. I have not been compensated or obligated to write this article, and as always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own!