Leaky gut syndrome is related to many types of autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut syndrome happens when the normal sieve that is the absorptive surface of the small intestine develops bigger holes than is normal.
This allows for the passage of larger food particles and toxins that increase the inflammation in the body and can result in the immune system recognizing normal tissues as being foreign, causing an autoimmune disease.
Things that are linked to leaky gut syndrome include celiac disease, food allergies, strenuous exercise, chronic alcoholism, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and infections of the GI tract from parasites, fungal organisms, and bacteria. This causes undigested protein molecules and undigested proteins as well as toxic waste and fat to enter the bloodstream, causing problems for the body.
The connection between leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases are often associated with having a leaky gut. In order to heal the autoimmune disease and lessen the symptoms of the disease, you need to first listen to your gut and heal the leaky parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Autoimmune diseases happen when the immune system fights the body’s own tissues and makes antibodies against bodily tissues, setting up an immune response that causes a variety of symptoms related to autoimmunity. Some autoimmune diseases include hives, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, vasculitis, thyroiditis, vitiligo, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, alopecia areata, and lupus. It has just been recently that researchers have begun to recognize the relationship with gut health and autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut syndrome is especially associated with autoimmune diseases because it allows for foreign proteins to enter the bloodstream, setting up an abnormal immune response.
Inflammation and Gut Health
Researchers have found that inflammation results in the spaces between the cells in the lining of the GI tract to become bigger than they are supposed to be. This allows for absorption of protein molecules that have not been completely digested. This, in turn, causes the immune system to make antibodies against these undigested protein molecules that then become similar to antibodies against the body’s own tissues. While you may think you are eating harmless foods, these foods can contain proteins that the body sees as foreign. In autoimmune diseases, normal human tissues have antigens and proteins on the surfaces of the cells that mimic proteins found in fungi, Candida species, parasites, bacteria, and the food you eat. These antigens made from increased absorption of these organisms and proteins are mistaken for human tissue antigens so that an autoimmune disease occurs. Leaky gut syndrome can lead to food allergies because the proteins we eat activate antibodies in the immune system and cause pathogenic organisms in the gut to enter the bloodstream. The liver becomes overworked trying to detoxify these pathogenic organisms and we develop sensitivities to environmental chemicals, such as cigarette smoke and perfumes. Autoantibodies are made and the body becomes inflamed by the immune system. The autoantibodies can be to any tissue in the body, including connective tissue, thyroid tissue, joint tissues, and the pancreas. Wherever the immune system makes the autoantibodies to, this area of the body becomes inflamed and the immune system damages the body tissues. This is the origin of autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut syndrome generally increases the risk of various types of infections and causes a sensitivity to environmental toxins that cause ongoing inflammation. The protective coating of antibodies found in the healthy gut (also known as IgA antibodies) become damaged so that you can’t fight off GI infections as well as you should be able to. The infection can reach the bloodstream, resulting in the formation of antibodies against the infectious organism that can be confused with antigens on the tissues of the body. This is how digestive health is related to getting an autoimmune disease.