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Intestinal Permeability or Leaky Gut

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/19/2024

Leaky gut is a difficult condition to live with, so it is important to gain an understanding of it and learn about potential remedies.

Understanding Intestinal Permeability or Leaky Gut

So, you've heard of "leaky gut," but what exactly is it? Medically, it is known as intestinal permeability. This is when your intestines has many holes form in it.

And these holes can allow food particles escape into your lymphatic system, which can set off immune reactions like allergies and inflammation.

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

Things like processed sugars and gluten-containing grains can make your intestines leaky. Whenever possible, consume unprocessed foods to avoid unnecessary problems with your gut.

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 connects the brain and the gut to keep things running smoothly.

The Connection Between the Vagus Nerve and the Immune System

The vagus nerve acts as the brain's assistant, shuttling information between the brain and the gut, keeping digestion and the immune system in check.

How Low Vagus Nerve Function Increases Permeability

Now, let's talk about leaky gut syndrome. 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, keeping the gut-brain connection healthy is of the utmost importance.

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," communicates with your stomach.

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

The parasympathetic division not only makes betaine HCL, but it also tells the pancreas to release enzymes and the gallbladder to release bile.

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.

Gluten's Gut-Wrenching Effect

Did you know that those grains you eat could wreak havoc on your gut? Despite being a fancy source of Vitamin B1, a.k.a. thiamine, grains can lead to many intestinal problems.

Grains and Your Gut

The troublemaker here is gluten, a protein found in wheat and barley, among other grains. This sticky stuff is tough to digest, and can cause 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.

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.

  • They are superfoods, 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.

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 helps fix those holes and strengthen the intestines.

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that zinc carnosine can be helpful in solving leaky gut issues.

Remember, talk to a doctor before trying new supplements or treatments.


Understanding and managing intestinal permeability, or "leaky gut," is vital for those affected by this condition.

Avoiding trigger foods, supporting vagus nerve function, and considering supplements like zinc carnosine are potential strategies.

Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended before trying new treatments. By taking proactive steps, individuals can better address leaky gut and enhance their overall well-being.

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