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The Negative Impact of Leaky Gut Syndrome on Anorexia, Dysbiosis, Intestinal Permeability, and Autism

Monday, August 7th 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Leaky gut syndrome, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the lining of the intestines becomes compromised, allowing harmful substances such as toxins, undigested food particles, and bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. This can lead to a cascade of health issues throughout the body. In this article, we will explore the adverse effects of leaky gut syndrome on anorexia, dysbiosis, intestinal permeability, and autism. Additionally, we will discuss strategies to improve leaky gut based on scientific research.

Leaky gut syndrome and anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a distorted body image and an extreme fear of gaining weight. Recent research suggests a potential connection between leaky gut syndrome and anorexia. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Arrieta et al., 2016) found that individuals with anorexia had increased intestinal permeability compared to healthy controls. Leaky gut may contribute to the development or exacerbation of anorexia by allowing toxins and bacterial byproducts to enter the bloodstream, potentially affecting brain function and behavior.

Leaky gut syndrome and dysbiosis

Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the gut microbiota, where there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. Leaky gut syndrome can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiota, leading to dysbiosis. A study published in Gut Microbes (Parashar and Udayabanu, 2017) demonstrated that increased intestinal permeability can promote dysbiosis by altering the gut microbial composition. Dysbiosis, in turn, can contribute to various health issues such as inflammation, immune dysfunction, and metabolic disorders.

Leaky gut syndrome and intestinal permeability

While leaky gut syndrome itself is characterized by increased intestinal permeability, it can also exacerbate the condition further. Chronic inflammation, food sensitivities, and certain medications can damage the intestinal lining, leading to increased permeability. A study published in Frontiers in Immunology (Camilleri et al., 2019) highlighted the bidirectional relationship between intestinal permeability and inflammation. Increased permeability can contribute to systemic inflammation, and inflammation, in turn, can perpetuate the cycle of increased permeability.

Leaky gut syndrome and autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition. Several studies have suggested a link between leaky gut syndrome and ASD. A review published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience (Fiorentino et al., 2019) discussed the potential role of increased intestinal permeability in autism. The presence of leaky gut may allow certain molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier, affecting brain function and contributing to the development or severity of ASD symptoms.

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