Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gluten, Candida and Leaky Gut

Extraordinary Health News

Leaky gut syndrome is also known as intestinal permeability due to the idea that unhealthy bacteria and other toxins pass through a permeable intestinal lining and into the bloodstream and body, wreaking health havoc. And while it may be called “leaky gut,” the symptoms can be in other areas than the gut, since toxins are allowed to circulate bodywide. Up until recently, leaky gut was not given the credence it was due, but newer research shows that it is a definite force to be reckoned with, and may also be the cause of or tied to several diseases and disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome; inflammatory bowel disease; rheumatoid arthritis; asthma; eczema; psoriasis; chronic fatigue syndrome; kidney disease; diabetes; depression; heart failure and more.
Leaky gut syndrome is so real, that there is even a test for it—a test developed in the 1980s by UCLA researchers seeking to understand what caused Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers found that leaky gut came before the inflammation, leading the researchers to believe that the gut leakiness played a key role in the disease development. Likewise, there are over 10,000 articles related to intestinal permeability.
And now we understand even more about how leaky gut occurs. Harvard celiac researcher, Alessio Fasano, M.D., discovered that our bodies produce a protein called Zonulin that functions to “unzip” the tight junctions that seal up our intestinal lining—leading to leaky gut. It’s not determined what all causes the release of Zonulin, but gluten and unhealthy bacteria can do it, leading to unzipped tight junctions and leaky gut. Add that to genetic factors or predispositions, and you’re looking at the perfect storm set for leaky gut. Dr. Fasano writes, “I firmly believe that without the loss of the intestinal barrier, it is difficult to understand how autoimmune diseases would develop.”
Fasano and other doctors have gone so far as to say that gut health should be their main objective in medicine. That makes sense, too, since Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, said that all disease begins in the gut—a statement he made over 2,000 years ago.
Now let’s discuss the effects of gluten and Candida on the gut. For starters, some people find it difficult or impossible to properly digest gluten. If the gut isn’t healthy, then gluten proteins can damage the intestinal tract—causing inflammation and irritation, leading to leaky gut. What happens is the intestinal villi are damaged or destroyed. That’s a problem, too, because the villi are tiny hair-like projections along the epithelial lining of the intestinal wall which function to help our bodies absorb the nutrients and fats it needs.
When the villi are damaged or destroyed, then the gut gets “leaky” and also attracts Candida albicans, a fungus, as well as unhealthy bacteria, leading to further permeability of the gut as well as more inflammation and more damage. Over time, the walls of the intestinal tract become so “leaky” or permeable that unhealthy bacteria and other toxins can enter the bloodstream where they then circulate bodywide. The villi aren’t the only things damaged in the gut, though. The cells that make up lining of the intestinal wall can take a hit, too. These cells are usually bound tightly together, making up what’s called “tight junctions,” which we mentioned earlier. But when gluten comes on the scene, it loosens up those tight junctions, allowing undigested food particles, parasites, unhealthy bacteria, fungi and other toxins into the bloodstream as well.
Even for those with a healthy gut who are genetically predisposed to celiac disease, eating gluten even in minute amounts can damage their intestinal lining, leading to making it more susceptible to Candida, unhealthy bacteria and to developing leaky gut. For them, no amount of gluten is safe.
Interestingly, a protein called HWP-1 found in Candida is nearly identical to two gluten proteins named alpha gliadin and gamma-gliadin—proteins known to stimulate immune cell responses in those with celiac disease. In short, Candida has the same protein sequence as gluten and may also be a trigger for celiac disease.
Of course, Candida overgrowth degrades the intestinal walls, too, and also grows filaments, or tentacles, that “drill” into the gut lining and grow in the gut wall. Candida also feeds on sugar and the standard American diet is packed with sugar—giving Candida an almost never-ending source of food to feed its growth.
Leaky gut—it’s real and can cause a lot of damage. So, avoid possible triggers, including gluten and Candida.