Intestinal Permeability (aka Leaky Gut)
The correct name for leaky gut is intestinal hyper permeability which tends to be a bit cumbersome to say quickly. Essentially this condition occurs when the junctions between the cells lining the intestine wall open too easily and allow undigested food molecules and toxic particles to move through and into the blood stream. About seventy percent of your immune system begins in the gut wall and when there is hyper permeability your immune system works hard to defend the body against this "invasion".
Gastrointestinal function is important for general health. The intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria; some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Balancing beneficial microbial flora in the gut is key to proper digestion, efficient nutrient usage, and ridding the body of waste and pathogens. Intestinal hyper permeability, poor digestion and malabsorption may lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, food intolerance and autoimmune diseases.
Testing for intestinal hyper permeability
Jan may call on intestinal permeability testing or zonulin testing to check if your digestive system wall is compromised. The intestinal permeability test is a urine test - you take specific substances supplied in the kit and then collect your urine over a time period. A sample of this urine is then sent to the laboratory for testing. If you have raised amounts of the ingested substances in the urine sample your gut wall is hyper permeable.
A zonulin test is a blood test and this measures the amount of zonulin in your blood stream. Too much indicates intestinal hyper permeability.