Skærmbillede 2013-12-20 kl. 15.53.18Leaky gut syndrome is not a generally accepted diagnosis in the medical world. TOO MUCH MAGazine now introduces a missing link – in the form of DNA – that provides evidence of the existence of the Leaky gut syndrome.

The term ‘Leaky gut syndrome’ is used to describe the condition of ‘Hyperpermeable intestines’. This is said to happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. According to the theory, this allows undigested food molecules and other harmful particles (yeast, toxins, microbes, etc.) to flow freely into the bloodstream.

Once the integrity of the intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a flow of toxic substances leaking into the bloodstream, the body is said to experience increases in inflammation and adverse health consequences such as food intolerances, allergies, autism, autoimmune diseases and asthma. The proponents of leaky gut syndrome explain that an altered or damaged bowel lining results from poor diet, parasites, infection and/or medications.

Leaky gut syndrome is, however, not a diagnosis taught in medical school, and it is not generally recognized by conventional physicians. According to the publicly founded health care system UK National Health Service (NHS), the Leaky gut syndrome is only a proposed condition, and they add there is: “little evidence to support this theory, and no evidence that so-called ‘treatments’ for ‘leaky gut syndrome'(..) have any beneficial effect for most of the conditions they are claimed to help.”

Stephen Barret, the founder of Quackwatch, which aims to combat health-related frauds, fads, misconduct and “quackery related information”, sides with NHS when he calls leaky gut a “fad diagnosis” and “figments of pseudoscientific imagination” that its proponents use as an opportunity to promote a number of alternative health remedies including diets, herbal preparations, and dietary supplements.

Wikipedia sums up the disbelief, when they write: “There is some concern that the promotion of the contentious “leaky gut syndrome” diagnosis is a dishonest ploy designed to make money from the sale of supposed remedies for it.” (accessed 20-12-13)

But now it seems like a new discovery flies in the face of what the medical society and researchers have previously believed. The researcher Zoltan Szallasi and his Hungarian research team from Systems Biology at the Technical University (ITU) in Denmark have, much to their surprise, discovered tomato and potato DNA in the blood samples of cancer patients. According to Zoltan, this simply should not have been possible.

This news has been published and circulated in scientific magazines for some weeks now. TOO MUCH MAGazine wondered if this finding could be connected to the “heretical” Leaky gut syndrome and decided to dig deeper and ask Zoltan Szallasi about a possible link.

TMM: “Could certain groups of patients leak food DNA into the blood to a higher extent than the majority of healthy people?”

Zoltan Szallasi: “Yes – in our paper we have seen that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have higher concentrations of food DNA in their plasma.”

TMM: “Would you say food DNA in human blood can promote food intolerances?”

Zoltan Szallasi: “Interesting thought – there are certainly indications that toll like receptors may fine tune the immune system which could translate into the phenomenon you have just described – but (…) we need to do much more research on this.”

It was Zoltan Szallasi’s colleague from DTU Systems Biology— genome analysis expert Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén— who first identified the link between DNA found in blood samples and genes from, among other things, tomato chloroplast. Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén explains that scientists are currently making many of these types of surprising discoveries and the reason for it:

“First and foremost, we now have the necessary computer power to do in days what used to take years to calculate. Also, leveraging new technologies such as next-generation sequencing, we can get reliable sequence data from even the smallest quantities of DNA at an ever lower cost. The result is a data explosion made available through public databases.”

At the same time if we choose to believe the article “Alterations in intestinal permeability” by M C Arrieta, L Bistritz, J B Meddings, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta (2006), the scientists from DTU can rest assured that they are onto something groundbreaking. The review presents an “emerging paradigm” describing alterations in intestinal permeability and concludes as follows: “Long thought to be a static nonregulated barrier to the passage of luminal material, it (the intestine) with a functional state that is carefully regulated. Luminal organisms can modulate the state of the tight junction through multiple mechanisms and while opening tight junctions may be of benefit for the microflora, it may be deleterious to the host.”

Not only do the findings of DNA in blood indicate that leaky gut isn’t an invention of nutritionists and a greedy industry selling supplements, it seems likely that the future could show further hard evidence for the existence and effect of leaky gut and in this way lead to a paradigmatic shift.

Until then you might want to listen to the believers of the theory when they warn us against nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, cytotoxic drugs, radiation, certain antibiotics, chronic stress and excessive alcohol consumption – all said to cause Leaky gut. But at the same time be wary of any diagnosis of Leaky gut syndrome if you don’t have inflammatory bowel conditions (Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome), rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, asthma or food intolerances.

Since TOO MUCH MAGazine published this article (19-12-13) some of our readers have informed us about several other (recent) research papers providing evidence of the condition of hyper permeable intestines/Leaky gut syndrome. We are happy to learn that things are changing for the better and have chosen to share the research papers here. Remember to share these with your doctors so we can spread the word, and please inform us if you learn of other articles shedding light on the subject.

“Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases”
“Alterations of the intestinal barrier in patients with autism spectrum disorders and in their first-degree relatives”
“Leaky gut and diabetes mellitus: what is the link?”
“A randomized, double-blind study of larazotide acetate to prevent the activation of celiac disease during gluten challenge”
“Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases” Intestinal Permeability
“Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer”
“Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases”

TOO MUCH MAGAZINE will soon be crowdsourcing – learn about the best treatment options for Leaky gut syndrome here. You too can help us report qualified, effective treatment options by telling us what has worked for you.