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Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson's Chronic Condition Natural Treatment Blog

Intentional musings of a unique Shelby Township Michigan Chiropractic Physician dedicated to helping people find solutions to improving their health by rooting out causes to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, stubborn thyroid disorder symptoms, balance disorders, chronic knee & shoulder pain, migraines, sciatica, ADD/ADHD/ASD, back pain, peripheral neuropathy, gluten sensitivity and autoimmune disorders so they can Reclaim Their Life!

From the Desk of Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC.....

Leaky Gut Syndrome: Overlooked Cause of Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness

Posted by Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC on Sun, Mar 27, 2011

Leaky Gut Syndrome, also known as LGS or increaesd intestinal permeability is a major overlooked cause of autoimmune attack and chronic illness.  Did you know that during a typical lifespan 60 tons of food pass through the intestinal tract?  Of course, along with food there are also bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and other irritants that pass through the GI tract as well.

PhotobucketThe small intestinal cells have small finger-like projections that project into the lumen of the intestines.  Because of this feature, it is estimated that the surface area of the small instestine is the size of a tennis court!  No wonder our small intestines are designed with a complex arrangement of immune system and physical barriers because a tennis court is a lot of surface to patrol.

The intestine's job is to selectively absorb what is good for us and reject what is bad.  Talk about a tough job with such a large surface area.  Becase the job is so tough, most of the cells of the digestive tract are replaced every 3-4 days and are protected with a multitude of secretions from the cells such as mucuous, enzymes and immune system substances such as secretory IgA.

So What is Leaky Gut Syndrome or increased intestinal permeability?  The cells that make up the lining of the gut is only one cell layer thick and can be easily damaged.  Remember that the cells that make up this lining live only for 3-4 days and they have extremely high metabolic activity along with intense nutritional demands.  Leaky Gut Syndrome refers to how larger molecules can bypass the protective layer of the gut epithelium (lining) and enter the blood.  All material that traverses the digestive tract wall (mucosa) is inspected by the immune system, and it is here that the immune system may have its greatest antigenic exposure.  Increased gut permeability can permit exogenous antigens (ones that should have been left to exit in the stool) to enter the systemic circulation. If the antibodies generated towards gut antigens cross-react with the body’s own immunologically similar tissues, the resulting process may manifest itself as an autoimmune disease.  It is important to note that the cells of the gut epithelium are joined together by tight junctions (special proteins including zonulin and occludin), so that there are no gaps between the intestinal cells lining the gut.  The main way nutrients are suppossed to enter the body is through the epithelial cells to be absorbed. In this way the gut is able to strictly regulate what substances enter the body.

Intestinal Barrier

Diagram coutesy of ImmunoSciences Laboratory and Dr. Aristo Vojdani

Some of the signs of LGS are as follows:

  • abdominal pain

  • chronic joint pain

  • chronic muscle pain

  • asthma

  • fuzzy or foggy thinking

  • confusion, poor concentration

  • flatulence, indigestion

  • mood swings, nervousness, anxiety

  • poor immunity, recurrent vaginal infections

  • bloating, diarrhea or constipation

  • poor memory

  • aggressive behaviour

  • fatigue

Several conditions are caused by (in part or fully) Leaky Gut Syndrome, these include:

  • autoimmune disease

  • celiac disease

  • Crohn's disease

  • hives, allergies

  • inflammatory joint disease, arthritis

  • intestinal infections

  • pancreatic insufficiency

  • ulcerative colitis

  • chronic fatigue syndrome

  • eczema, psoriasis

  • food allergies and sensitivities

  • liver dysfunction/overload

  • kidney dysfunction/overload
  • irritable bowel syndrome

The two most serious consequences of LGS are compromised liver function and autoimmune conditions.  These two consequences often lead to a long search for help from traditional doctors as LGS is seldom considered as a causitive factor in most illnesses.  Instead the various symptoms are treated with drugs or as conditions worsen, surgery.

The causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome are varied and include:

The aging process AIDS with diarrhea
HIV Alcoholism
Malnutrition Burns
NSAIDS Cancer
Pancreatitis Celiac disease
Psoriasis Certain drugs
Radiation therapy Chemotherapy
Rheumatoid arthritis Chronic hepatitis
Shock or anaphylaxis Crohn's disease
Toxic shock syndrome Cystic fibrosis
Trauma Giardia and other parasites
Ulcerative colitis Gluten sensitivity

The good news is that specialized testing to determine if LGS is a potental source of your chronic condition is a STANDARD test that I employ in my initial assesment of those who seek my care and advice.

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If LGS is discovered, there is a specific 6 step protocol called the 6R protocol that I employ as part of the designed individualized treatment program.  The general outline for the "6R Protocol" is:

  1. Remove mucosal irritants
  2. Reduce certain foods in the diet that can thwart the healing process
  3. Restore normal bowel transit time
  4. Replace agents for digestive support
  5. Reinoculate with friendly bacteria
  6. Repair the mucosal lining

Of course this "6R Protocol" is customized for each individual.

If you would like to obtain a case review and detailed testing for your chronic condition call 586-731-8840 or visit this page of my website for additional information.

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If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with low thyroid symptoms despite having medical managment. Thank you, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living!

All the best – Dr. Johnson – Digging Deeper To Find Solutions


Topics: autoimmune, LGS, leaky gut syndrome, Chronic Illness

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