Intestinal Permeability or Leaky Gut

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 12/09/2023

Leaky Gut Treatment can feel like navigating a maze without a map.

You're not alone if you've been grappling with the discomfort and confusion it brings along...

Leaky gut treatment, huh?

We often find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there. Distinguishing reliable sources from those that are not can be a daunting task. The truth is that dealing with a leaky gut isn't easy, folks.

I recently spoke to an individual who had tried countless remedies and diets in hopes of finding relief. Yet every new attempt seemed only to exacerbate their symptoms rather than alleviate them.

This person felt defeated and anxious about ever finding an effective solution for their condition...

Sounds familiar?

Understanding Intestinal Permeability or Leaky Gut

So, you've heard of this thing called "leaky gut," but what does it mean? Well, in fancy medical terms, it's called intestinal permeability.

But let's break it down into more straightforward language, shall we? A leaky gut happens when your intestine gets all holey. Yeah, like Swiss cheese.

And these little gaps let food particles sneak into your lymphatic system—sneaky little buggers. And guess what? This can set off immune reactions like allergies and inflammation. Thanks, gut.

Don't forget the nosh and drugs that can demolish your gut wall. Not cool, bro.

Foods That Can Cause A Leak In Your Intestine: What To Avoid.

Prepare to be disappointed, but some of your favorite comfort foods might be the culprits behind your leaky gut. Bummer, right?

Things like processed sugars and gluten-containing grains can make your intestines leaky. We'll dive deeper into how your eating habits mess with your guts later. But first...

The Role of the Vagus Nerve in Controlling Intestinal Permeability

Let's dive into the fascinating world of our body's internal communication network.

The vagus nerve is like the body's Wi-Fi, connecting the brain and the gut to keep things running smoothly.

The Connection Between the Vagus Nerve and the Immune System

This mighty vagus nerve acts as the brain's assistant, shuttling information between the brain and the gut. It's like a superhero, multitasking to keep digestion and the immune system in check.

Vital Functions of the Vagus Nerve in Digestion & Immunity:

  • The vagus nerve keeps the digestive organs on their toes, making sure food easily moves through the gastrointestinal tract.

  • It also acts as a snitch, alerting the brain to any inflammation or infection in the gut so the immune system can jump into action.

How Low Vagus Nerve Function Increases Permeability

Now, let's talk about leaky gut syndrome. Be prepared, and this is going to be intriguing.

The vagus nerve's inadequate functioning can cause the intestine to become more permeable, thus permitting undigested food particles to pass through small gaps in the intestinal wall.

This means undigested food particles can sneak through tiny holes in the intestine wall, causing all sorts of trouble.

So, let's keep our "gut-brain superhighway" in top shape, shall we?

Parasympathetic Division of the Autonomic Nervous System and Its Impact on Digestion

The parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, also known as "rest and digest," is like the chill friend who helps us with digestion.

The Importance of Hydrochloric Acid Secretion for Digestion

This part of your nervous system tells your stomach to release hydrochloric acid (HCL), which breaks down food particles, especially proteins, into smaller absorbable units.

Enzyme Release from the Pancreas and Bile Release from the Gallbladder

Not only does it make HCL, but it also tells the pancreas to release enzymes and the gallbladder to release bile. These digestion sidekicks help us break down fats and carbohydrates like a boss.

Pancreatic enzymes and bile are essential in digestion, ensuring we get the most out of our food. In addition to directly impacting digestion, this parasympathetic activity helps keep our gut lining inflammation-free.

It's like having a bouncer at the door, protecting us from leaky gut syndrome. But what happens when we eat foods that can harm our gut health? Let's dig deeper into gluten consumption next.

Gluten's Gut-Wrenching Effect on Your Tummy

Did you know that those innocent grains you gobble up daily could wreak havoc on your precious gut? Despite being a fancy source of Vitamin B1, a.k.a. thiamine, these sneaky foods can lead to a leaky gut situation - yikes.

Grains: Thiamine Heroes or Gut Villains?

The troublemaker here is gluten, a pesky protein found in wheat and barley, among other grains. This sticky stuff is a tough nut to crack during digestion, causing inflammation in your belly over time.

This not only messes with nutrient absorption but also opens the door for undigested food bits and nasty bacteria to invade places they shouldn't be.

Now that we've exposed the gut-wrecking ways of gluten-rich grains let's explore some gut-friendly alternatives that pack a nutrient punch without harm.

Alternative Sources For Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

In pursuit of better gut health, we must search for substitute sources of essential nutrients. Vitamin B1 or thiamine is crucial for good health, but it can be tricky due to its presence in gluten-containing grains that can harm the gut lining.

Nutritional Yeast As A Source Of Thiamine

Looking for a fantastic substitute? Try nutritional yeast. This deactivated yeast is rich in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins like thiamine. Its savory, cheese-like flavor makes it an excellent addition to dishes without compromising your digestive health.

Sunflower Seeds - An Excellent Alternative

If you're seeking another great source of vitamin B1, look no further than sunflower seeds.

  • Packed with healthy fats,

  • Rich in antioxidants,

  • These tiny seeds are indeed superfoods and are filled with essential minerals like magnesium and selenium.

Just a quarter cup serving provides over 30% of the daily recommended intake of thiamin. Opt for sunflower seeds when you're looking for a nutritious snack. They'll satisfy your hunger and contribute to healing leaky gut syndrome.

Remember: When selecting edibles, consider their effects on your overall health, particularly if you have medical conditions like elevated intestinal permeability or inflammatory bowel disease.

Make informed choices because what goes into our bodies directly affects how we feel inside out.

Zinc Carnosine and Leaky Gut

Imagine your intestines like a wall made up of bricks. These bricks fit tightly in a healthy gut, creating a solid barrier. A leaky gut happens when tiny cracks or holes between the bricks allow bad things to escape and enter our bodies.

Zinc carnosine is like a superhero that helps fix those cracks and strengthen the wall.

It works by filling in the gaps between the bricks, preventing harmful substances from leaking out. This can help our bodies stay healthy and prevent problems caused by leaky gut.

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that zinc carnosine can be helpful.

Remember, talking to a doctor before trying new supplements or treatments is always a good idea. They can give you the best advice for your health.


When your intestines get all holey, a leaky gut is more than just a pain in the gut - it's a severe health concern. The vagus nerve is like the bouncer at the club, keeping out all the bad stuff from entering your body through the intestinal barrier.

Our autonomic nervous system is the boss of digestion, ensuring everything runs smoothly with acid secretion and enzyme release. And gluten, despite its thiamine goodness, can be a real troublemaker, making your gut more absorbent than a sieve.

But fear not. There are safer ways to get your thiamine fix, like nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds, that won't mess with your digestive wellness.

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