Leaky Gut Syndrome: How Leaky Gut May Be Contributing To Your Autoimmune Condition.
Leaky Gut Syndrome, also known as LGS or increased intestinal permeability is a major overlooked cause of autoimmune attack and chronic illness. You may not know this but it is said that over 90% of your immune system can be found in your gut. Did you also know that during a typical lifespan 60 tons of food pass through the intestinal tract? Think about this, along with food you ingest things like bacteria, viruses, chemicals, parasites and other irritants also pass through the GI tract as well. This is unavoidable but for certain individuals this can be the start of an autoimmune condition.
The small intestinal cells have small finger-like projections that project into the lumen of the intestines. Because of this feature, it is estimated that the surface area of the small intestine is the size of a tennis court! No wonder our small intestines are designed with a complex arrangement of immune system and physical barriers. This surface area needs constant vigilant patrol of invaders.
The intestine’s job is to selectively absorb what is good for us and reject what is bad. Talk about a tough job. Because the job requires around the clock job patrolling, most of the cells of the digestive tract are will be replaced every 3-4 days. These cells and are protected with a multitude of secretions from the cells such as mucous, enzymes and immune system substances such as secretory IgA. Talk about intelligent creation.
So What is Leaky Gut Syndrome or Increased Intestinal Permeability?
The cells that make up the lining of the gut are only one cell layer thick and can be easily damaged. Remember that the cells that make up this lining live only for 3-4 days and they have extremely high metabolic activity along with intense nutritional demands.
Leaky Gut Syndrome refers to how larger molecules can bypass the protective layer of the gut epithelium (lining) and enter the blood. All material that traverses the digestive tract wall (mucosa) is inspected by the immune system, and it is here that the immune system may have its greatest antigenic exposure. Increased gut permeability can permit foreign invaders (ones that should have been left to exit in the stool) to enter the blood circulation.
If the antibodies generated towards gut antigens cross-react with the body’s own immunologically similar tissues (Thyroid, Ovaries, Pancreas, Adrenals Brain, Red Blood Cells, Intestines), the resulting process may manifest itself as an autoimmune disease.
It is important to note that the cells of the gut epithelium are joined together by tight junctions(special structural proteins including Zonulin and Occludin), so that there are no gaps between the intestinal cells lining the gut.
The main way nutrients are supposed to enter the body is through the epithelial cells to be absorbed. In this way the gut is able to strictly regulate what substances enter the body.
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