What is a leaky gut?
With a surface area of up to 400-500 square meters and a length of nearly eight meters, the intestine is our largest organ with the largest area of contact with the environment. Our intestine is similar to the brain in that millions of neurons run through the intestine. On the one hand, our colon must be so permeable that useful nutrients are absorbed but on the other hand, it must protect our body against pathogens and toxins.
This involves the following organs:
- Intestinal flora
- intestinal mucosal cells
- Intestines own immune system
A healthy intestinal flora consists of about 400 different strains of bacteria that cover our mucous membranes and protect them so that they recognize pathogens and toxins and render them harmless. The cells of the intestinal mucosa serve as mechanical protection. The gut’s immune system is located in the cell layer, which is next to the mucosa. It is here where most immune cells are found in our body.
Several factors can cause the intestinal flora and the intestinal mucosa to change and make the intestine more permeable. When this occurs it is known as "leaky gut". Instead of just the useful nutrients being absorbed into the body, harmful toxins and metabolites penetrate the damaged intestinal mucosa and cause various problems such as; food intolerances, bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation and diarrhea, allergies, depression, etc. Nutrients are not properly absorbed causing deficiencies to occur.
How is a ‘Leaky Gut’ formed?
Pathogens (eg, fungi, viruses), antibiotics, malnutrition, radiation therapy and surgery, damage our intestinal flora, which is supposed to protect us and our mucosa from such harmful factors.
If this protective function becomes damaged then pathogens and toxins damage the cells of the intestinal mucosa and the intestinal lining becomes more permeable. This allows harmful substances and not properly digested food ingredients to enter our body. In our immune system they build an immunity to such substances as they are seen as foreign and harmful. This is how, for example, food intolerances are caused. Consequently, the intestine's immune system gradually weakens with time.
Which tests can diagnose a leaky gut syndrome?
1. Zonulin Test
Zonulin is a protein molecule that helps with the regulation of tight junctions in your intestinal wall. When it connects to specific receptors on the cell surface, the tight junctions open up and therefore increase your intestinal permeability. This can be caused e.g. by being exposed to certain types of bacteria. The ensuing exposure to foreign antigens and cell components can cause immunological reactions and dysregulations. High zonulin values indicate a leaky gut.
2. Leaky Gut Test
For the Leaky Gut Test we do a comprehensive analysis of your gut. We check for mykosis, analyse your pH-value and your intestinal flora. Furthermore we analyse yourAlpha-1-Antitrypsin- and the sIgA-value. These two values are essetial for an intact intestinal mucosa and also show whether there is are any signs for inflammation.
The advantage of this test is that the more comprehensive analysis can also show the reasons behind your leaky gut syndrom. A leaky gut often goes hand in hand with e.g. Candida infections or an anbalances intestinal flora. So, knowing the causes of your leaky gut, you'll know where to start in order to restore your gut.
3. Leaky Gut Complete
The test Leaky Gut Complete combines our "Leaky Gut Test" and the "Zonulin Test".