If you suffer from some form of gluten intolerance, you probably are also suffering from a leaky gut. Believe it or not, the term leaky gut is a commonplace term even among scientists. It refers to a small intestine with an unusually permeable lining and wall.
Autoimmune Diseases and Leaky Small Intestines
The most severe and clinically defined form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. People who suffer from an autoimmune disease suffer a condition where their own immune system damages their body. In most cases, we don’t know what triggers the immune system to attack its own body. Two common examples of this type of autoimmune disease are Rheumatoid arthritis and Diabetes mellitus type 1.
In the case of celiac disease, the trigger for this attack is gluten and proteins very closely related to it. When the immune system detects gluten, it over-reacts and attacks the lining of the small intestine.
Recently, through researching celiac sprue disease, researchers discovered many people suffering from autoimmune diseases have something in common: an unusually permeable small intestine.
What Is a Leaky Gut Anyways?
In people who do not have an autoimmune disease, tight junctions along the intestinal wall glue cells tightly together. Digestible bits of food are grabbed by villi, small finger-like hairs along the wall, and in a deliberate fashion brought through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Indigestible bits of food pass on to be eliminated.
In people suffering from celiac disease and many autoimmune diseases, these junctions are much more loose. Digestible bits of foods pass undigested into the bloodstream and even indigestible bits of food may pass into the bloodstream through these gaps in the wall.
Having foods meant for elimination and undigested foods brought into the bloodstream when the body doesn’t expect it leads to a plethora of consequences. For example, in gluten intolerance sufferers researchers currently believe this causes Dermatitis Herpetiformis.
Is there A Treatment for Permeable Small Intestines?
For the time being, unfortunately no. But researchers are trying to develop treatments for this leaky gut phenomenon. Many of them believe that better sealing these leaky guts could provide significant relief to both celiac sufferers as well as those suffering from other common autoimmune diseases like diabetes and arthritis.
This understanding is very recent and it is still evolving. While it may sound disturbing to think of your intestines letting through more than it should into your bloodstream, this discovery could in fact lead to some great breakthroughs for people suffering from many different diseases.