Vitafoods Insights is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Understanding Increased Intestinal Permeability or 'Leaky Gut'

gut microbes design
For generations, we have been indoctrinated by the belief that bacteria are disease-causing scourges. The shocking truth is that there are as many bacterial cells in our gut as in the entire body. Even more incredible is that more and more research is revealing that these so-called ‘gut germs’ keep us healthy, rather than leading to sickness. This intestinal ecosystem of bacteria is called the gut microbiome.

The mammalian gut is inhabited by a complex community of microbes existing in symbiosis with their host—collectively referred to as the microbiota. Once considered a collection of freeloading ‘commensal’ organisms that simply found a ready source of food, it is now appreciated that the relationship between the host and the microbiota is an intricate mutualistic symbiosis. In return for secure environmental niches, the microbiota provide a number of key functions that contribute to the proper functioning of the host gastrointestinal tract.

Nutrients in excess and in deficiency have significant impact on gut microbial communities in both rodents and humans, acting directly on the microbiota or indirectly via altering host physiology. Over-nutrition seen in Western societies and malnutrition seen in underdeveloped countries can both result in a dysbiosis that favours the growth of pathobionts and leads to intestinal inflammation.

According to the Digestive Disease Clearinghouse and Information Center, sixty to seventy million Americans have digestive diseases and some cases end in hospital admissions. Unfortunately, most digestive problems are treated symptomatically, why may be a good approach for an occasional concern, but if you have a chronic health concern, this remedy doesn’t address the underlying cause of the problem. Ayurvedic polyherbal formulations for gut health can help in such a situation.

Our health is—to a great extent—controlled by that thin lining of our intestinal tract called gastrointestinal mucosa. The maintenance of its integrity or prevention of its damage so that it does not become ‘leaky’ is of great importance, as increased intestinal permeability underlies an enormous variety of illnesses and symptoms. A healthy intestinal lining allows only properly digested food to pass through and keep out bacterial products, foreign substances, and large undigested molecules. This is called the barrier function of the gastrointestinal mucosal lining.

But when the cells are leaking, bacteria passes into the bloodstream and throughout the body. Intestinal bacteria colonise in other parts of the body known as translocation, usually found in people with leaky gut syndrome. There are ways to help prevent this, including changing dietary habits and taking specific supplements. Carefully studied and scientifically-supported supplementation is a potential solution to gut health issues in general.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.