What’s the Deal with Leaky Gut?
Everyone recognises that in the context of the human body the gastrointestinal tract consists of an enormous surface area. In turn, it has some well understood roles in human health and that includes being optimised to efficiently absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes from the food we ingest.
Yet at the same time, it needs to provide a tight barrier against the ingress of harmful substances, and protect against a reaction to a persistent exposure to mostly harmless compounds. Over the last 20 years or so, it has become increasingly well understood that a dysfunctional intestinal barrier is associated with various diseases and disorders.
In this review, the role of intestinal permeability in common disorders such as infections with intestinal pathogens, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, and food allergies will be discussed. In addition, the effect of the frequently prescribed drugs proton pump inhibitors and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on intestinal permeability, as well as commonly used methods to assess barrier function will be reviewed.
A timely review to revisit from time to time to reconnect the relationship between a unique part of our physiology and environmental ingress.
 König J, Wells J, Cani PD, García-Ródenas CL, MacDonald T, Mercenier A, Whyte J, Troost F, Brummer RJ. Human Intestinal Barrier Function in Health and Disease. Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2016 Oct 20;7(10):e196 View Full Paper
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