Intestinal Permeability

Posted: September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Obesity and the diseases of modern civilization are so dynamic with so many
variables that it makes it extremely hard to decipher what is really causing the
issue. I feel our true understanding for obesity and its causes are extremely
limited. With that said there are studies out there to help us guide the

To quote Hippocrates, the father of medicine, “All diseases begin in the
gut.” If this is true we need to make sure we are first, doing no damage to the
gut and second, giving it the nourishment it needs to thrive. Alessio Fassano
out of the University of Maryland is one of the world’s leading researchers in
terms of intestinal permeability. In one of his studies he showed how gliadin
from grains initiated a response from inflammatory cytokines and caused an
immune response (Fassano, 2006). Intestinal permeability is not just a problem
for celiac patients. A study published in 2011 showed that non-celiac gluten
intolerance may exist. This was due to the patients reporting on pain,
bloating, tiredness, and stool frequency. Markers for intestinal permeability,
injury, and immune activation were also monitored for 6 weeks and there were no
differences between the 2 groups in those markers (Biesiekierski, 2011). This may be due to gluten and other prolamin proteins taking time to breakdown our intestinal wall.
Patients on the gluten diet had worse symptoms which tells me enough as a

Zonulin is the hormone that regulates our intestinal permeability. Sapone
and colleagues showed that upregulation of zonulin was present in type 1
diabetics and actually preceeded the onset of the disease (Sapone, 2006).
Morreno-Navarrette and colleagues looked at zonulin and how it affects obesity
and insulin resistance. They looked at zonulin levels in 123 men and found that
zonulin increased with BMI, waist to hip ratio, fasting insulin, fasting
triglycerides, uric acid, and IL-6. It was also negatively correlated with HDL
cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity (Moreno-Navarrette, 2010).

Poor gut health can be linked to all areas of modern disease including
obesity in the research. We do not fully understand all the mechanisms involved
in these diseases, but Hippocrates may have been right that it all starts in the
gut. The first thing we want to do is to do no harm at all. Gluten and gliadin
have been proven to be a cause of intestinal permeability leading to disease and
obesity. Therefore, they need to be removed from the diet. MyPlate advises
eating grains as a staple of the diet. It does not specify how to treat the
grains so the prolamin proteins are removed. Instead people are going out to
grocery stores and buying breads, pastas, and other “heart healthy” grain
products that contain the intestinal damaging proteins and are highly
processed. Cordain and Eaton argue that agriculture and animal husbandry that
began 10,000 years ago happened too fast for us to adapt and recommend us going
back to eating the foods we evolved with (Cordain, 2005).

Fassano, Alessio (2006). Gliadin Stimulation of Murine Macrophage
Inflammatory Gene Expression and Intestinal Permeability Are MyD88-Dependent:
Role of the Innate Immune Response in Celiac Disease.
Retrieved on September 5, 2012.

Sapone, Anna (2006). Zonulin Upregulation Is Associated With
Increased Gut Permeability in Subjects With Type 1 Diabetes and Their
Retrieved on September 5, 2012.

Moreno-Navarrette, Jose (2010). Circulating Zonulin, a Marker of Intestinal
Permeability, Is Increased in Association with Obesity-Associated Insulin
Retrieved on September 5, 2012.

Biesiekierski, JR (2011). Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in
subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled
Retrieved September 5, 2012.

Cordain, L (2005). Orogins and evolution of the western diet: health
implications for the 21st century.
Retrieved on September 5, 2012


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