Your intestinal epithelium lines your gut, it is only 1 cell thick and is a crucial part of your immune system – it protects you from your non-self (including pathogens).
‘Leaky gut’ or ‘increased intestinal permeability’ refers to the widening of, what should be tight, junctions of the intestinal epithelium. This can be triggered by many different things such as excessive alcohol intake, stress, medication and dysbiosis.
When these junctions widen, it means particles, including toxic by-products produced by your microbes (endotoxins) may cross the gut lining and enter your blood stream. This is not good news!
It can set off a cascade of inflammatory immune responses and you could find yourself unable to tolerate foods you once could without symptoms. Some research shows it may also be linked to mental health disorders.
Chronic inflammation increases your risk of developing metabolic disorders, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and many more. Amazingly, your gut microbes have the power to look after your epithelial lining. More on this here.
Dr. Ruairi Robertson – gut microbiome scientist
Your gut is the main entry point into your body so it controls what is allowed in and what is kept out. A ‘leaky’ gut struggles to keep bad things out!