Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut Syndrome) What is it? Can it be treated?

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Why do doctors claim leaky gut syndrome is a “HOAX”?

You Have a Right to Know!

(I am not a doctor or a medical professional and I don’t play one on the internet. I am here to share with the world what I have learned from extensive research and personal experience. To see my disclaimer click here.)

Healing leaky gut syndrome is how we stopped our dependency on dangerous medications and recovered our health from chronic illness from asthma attacks, food allergies, croup, acid re-flux, insomnia and so much more… 

As the famous Greek Physician Hippocrates who is known as the “father of medicine” said over 2000 years ago, “all disease begins in the gut”. Unfortunately, many of us are only just starting to realize how right he was.

Internal inflammation leads to chronic illness and is the initial start of the disease process. Addressing the root cause of chronic illness is key to preventing and recovering from chronic illness and disease.

While searching the internet for additional supporting studies on leaky gut syndrome, I found this poor man who like myself spent a great deal of time and money on doctors that could not seem to figure out what was causing his symptoms. His doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota told him, “there was no such thing as leaky gut, it was a hoax.” If leaky gut is a hoax, why can it be found in so many studies associated with so many chronic illnesses and why was I able to resolve so many health issues in my family by treating it? Including damage done by conventional medicines.

What is Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut Syndrome)?

Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut Syndrome) is when foods and substances that are generally unable to cross the intestinal wall break through and gain access to the blood supply in the body. This is a huge problem for blood flow, oxygenating the body as well as the immune system as it senses these foreign invaders and tries to fight them off. (1)

Permeability – meaning to allow things to pass through.

What Our Doctors Aren’t Telling Us

Intestinal permeability (or leaky gut syndrome) most conventional doctors and professionals will claim that it does not exist. However, many studies by the US National Library of Medicine verify that it does exist and these studies indicate that it is the root cause of many, if not all, chronic illness and disease. So why do they deny it? Is it because healing the gut is too effective and they are afraid that we will not rely on them so desperately?

The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology published a study in 2003, Intestinal Permeability: The barrier between health and disease, this study explains, “Intestinal permeability is believed to contribute to the parthenogenesis of several gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and food allergy.”(2) The US National Library of Medicine, published a similar study the same year, Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease. (3) Another study, Gut flora in health and disease, suggesting gut flora is likely a contributing factor in pathological disorders, such as multi-system organ failure, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel diseases. (4)

Why were we not informed about intestinal permeability (or leaky gut syndrome) by our doctors?

The US National Library of Medicine shows studies as early as 1991 that establish leaky gut syndrome (or intestinal permeability) being studied in psoriasis and that psoriasis patients had increased intestinal permeability.(5)

Our Current Health Crisis – Mental Health and Chronic Illness

In 2011 the United States National Library of Medicine published a study, Chronic Disease: Are We Missing Something? reports that chronic disease is the number 1 cause of death and disease in the United States. (6)

In 2011 a study published by the United States National Library of Medicine, reports that 1 in 4 children suffer from chronic illness in the United States that is more than 21 million. That was 5 years ago. How many kids have chronic illness now?(7)

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reported in 2015 that 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 5 children currently have or at some point in their life have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. (8)

What are we missing? I believe the answer may be too obvious for some to realize. It certainly was for me. I don’t believe these kids can heal until their doctors learn to ask one very simple question. Why? Unfortunately, doctors rarely research a cause of a condition. Rather they focus on medications that treat the symptoms, some of these medications carry horrific side effects.

Brain-Gut Connection

In an article by the New York Times published in 2014, Learning How Little We Know About the Brain, this article explains that scientists (and therefore doctors) knowledge on the brain is based largely on speculation. (9)

Reported on WebMD by a Gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic states, “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.” “Leaky gut syndrome isn’t a diagnosis taught in medical school”. Instead, “leaky gut really means you’ve got a diagnosis that still needs to be made.”  He goes on to say, “You hope that your doctor is a good-enough Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it is very hard to make a diagnosis.” (1)

With limited knowledge of the brain, and doctors who don’t really understand the gut. What does that mean for the ever so important brain-gut connection? With mental illness “becoming a global epidemic” and chronic illness statistics soaring in the United States. (10)

Many studies show leaky gut syndrome associated with a wide variety of mental illness conditions, and many if not all chronic illnesses. However, it is not taught in medical school? What about all the medications we are being handed out, such as steroids that are suppressing our immune system and antibiotics that are destroying gut bacteria? Are conventional medications leading us to these chronic conditions in the first place? Our gut is 70% of our immune system. We are essentially tearing down the one thing designed to protect us and keep us healthy. It is time we start educating ourselves on how to protect our bodies from dangerous foods, harmful chemicals in our diets, heal our intestinal permeability and rebuild natural microbiota in our bodies so that we can recover our health and further prevent disease. (11)(12)

How do I know if I have Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Symptoms Leaky Gut Syndrome

  • Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea
  • Acid re-flux, (also known as GERD and heartburn)
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (or SIBO)
  • Allergies
  • Food allergies, sensitivities, intolerance
  • Failure to thrive, malnourished, or weight loss
  • Internal Inflammation
  • Migraine headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Brain fog
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia

Conditions that Studies have Shown Associated with and Imbalance in Gut Flora (or Microbiota) and Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut Syndrome)

Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut) studies associated with chronic illnesses:

  • Food Allergy (2)
  • Celiac Disease (2)(21)
  • Asthma (14)
  • Diabetes (15)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (16)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS)(2)(3)(17)
  • Kidney disease (18)
  • AutoImmune (19)(20)
  • Psoriasis (5)
  • Eczema (or atopic dermatitis) (20)
  • Active Crohn’s disease (2)(21)(22)
  • Ulcerative colitis (2)
  • Heart failure (23)
  • Psychological (or mental health)(anxiety, depression (25), chronic fatigue syndrome (26), mood disorders, ADHD (or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism spectrum disorders, and Schizophrenia. (2)(10)(27)(28)
  • Neurological (ataxia, epilepsy, and seizure disorders)(27)(28)

Gut Flora (or Microbiota) studies associated with chronic illnesses

  • Obesity (3)(13)
  • Gluten Intolerance(2)(21)
  • Irritable bowel disease (or IBD) (3)
  • Colon Cancer (4)
  • Multi-system organ failure (4)
  • Autoimmune disease (24)

Intestinal permeability assessment has been used to determine prognosis of many disorders, such as Crohn’s diseases and ulcerative colitis.(2)

One study goes on to state that, “Converging and accumulating evidence suggests that the gluten-mediated immune response is frequently associated with neurological and psychiatric manifestations”… “However, gluten sensitivity remains under treated and under-recognized as a contributing factor to psychiatric and neurologic manifestations.”(27)(28)

What is even more, concerning is another study reports, “A significant percentage of the general population report problems caused by wheat and/or gluten ingestion, even though they do not have celiac disease or wheat allergy.” (29)

Leaky Gut Syndrome, asthma, autism, psoriasis, heart failure, eczema, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, ataxia, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, arthritis, crohns disease, mental illness, food allergies, malnourished, sibo, ibs, ataxia, failure to thrive, seizures, epilepsy,

Leaky Gut Syndrome (or Intestinal Permeability) goes undiagnosed in many chronic illnesses

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

What the studies suggest…

  • Food processing
  • Malnutrition of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Alcohol
  • Hot or spicy foods, paprika, cayenne
  • Aging and hereditary factors

What has been established…

  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Food Particles
  • Toxins
  • Pathogens
  • Poor Diet (vitamin & mineral deficiency)


Should I get tested? What tests are there?

Testing can be the first step in healing. However, before you spend a bunch of money on testing ask yourself a few questions.

How has your diet been? Have you been exposed to pesticides, herbicides in your food? Have you been exposed to heavy metals? Have you had exposure to antibiotics, steroids, or hormones from dairy and meat products? Have you taken prescribed antibiotics or steroids? Are you eating GMO foods? If you have answered yes to any of these questions the chances are you have leaky gut syndrome.

The tests offered include:

  1. Most common, “Lactulose/Mannitol Test”
  2. A new version,”Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen”

Both of these tests are great at detecting permeability in the intestinal wall. If you can afford the expense of testing that’s great. Check with your doctor. For those of you who can’t afford these test, like most of us. If you answer yes to the above questions and you are experiencing symptoms as described it is highly likely you have leaky gut syndrome and even if you don’t if you are experiencing digestive issues or chronic illness you need to heal your body anyway. There are foods and natural supplements that are safe without side effects and are shown by studies that can treat permeability in your intestinal wall, heal your body and replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut.

What’s the worst that can happen? You might feel better.
Save your money and put it towards some healthy food choices and natural supplements.

It takes about a week for toxic exposure to leave your body. With diet changes and supplements the symptoms went away within a few days, and we were feeling better and sleeping better.

Be patient and stick with it. It will take time for rebuilding the gut to see progress with food allergies, immune system rebuilding and other more serious symptoms due to the whole-body effect that leaky gut syndrome can have on the body. Once you see serious progress right away you will realize that spending a bunch of money on the test was just a waste of money.

Can changing my diet alone heal my leaky gut syndrome?

While some people can see a great deal of progress from simple diet changes from diets like SCD, GAPS, WAPF, and Paleo. It really depends on the severity of the condition and the length of time the person has been experiencing the symptoms.

Steps to Heal Leaky Gut

I refer to Dr. Axe when it comes to healing. Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist with a passion for helping people get healthy by using food as medicine. In 2008, he started Exodus Health Center, which grew to become one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world. See is document online regarding leaky gut syndrome here.

  • Remove harmful foods
  • Replace with natural organic, non-GMO foods
  • Proper nutrition is very important
  • Repair with supplements (recommended by a natural doctor)
  • Re-balance with probiotics

No doubt we are talking about a very serious condition that left unattended will likely lead to some very serious consequences. Toxic exposure leads to internal inflammation and can affect every part of the body, vital organs included.


Diet change is critical, however only one important piece of the puzzle.

Studies by the US National Library of Medicine.

Black and green peppers, bay leaf, nutmeg, and Lactobacillus Brevis and in studies have shown the ability repair the intestinal wall. Lactobacillus Brevis is one element of natural gut flora (or microbiota) found in the body. In many studies depletion of the gut flora has been associated with internal inflammation, chronic illness and disease.(2)(3)

  • Lactobacillus  (there are 16 different species) is a natural bacteria found in fermented foods and cultured foods.
  • L.brevis is a species of Lactobacillus found in healthy functioning human intestines and is also in sauerkraut and pickles. It has also shown to improve immune system function.

2003 – It was established in 2003 in a study by the US National Library of Medicine, Intestinal barrier: an interface between health and disease, that Lactobacillus was able to reduce permeability and improve function if the intestinal wall. (1)

2004 – A study on, atopic dermatitis or eczema, Lactobacillus a study concluded, “Impairment of the intestinal mucosal barrier appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. The study explains that probiotic supplementation may stabilize the intestinal barrier function and decrease gastrointestinal symptoms in children with atopic dermatitis.”(20)

In my experience (with my boys who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity and food allergies) removing toxic exposure by going to an all natural all organic diet, non-GMO diet, I learned that I did not have to make other restrictions such as worry about gluten as long as their diets were free of unnatural substances and free of harmful chemicals.

Water and Milk Kefir offer 30 to 50 beneficial bacteria and are absolutely amazing at calming the digestive tract and rebuilding healthy gut bacteria. With proper care, they can be used indefinitely. You can also use the whey you get from them to make your own homemade fermented vegetables. Fermenting your vegetables at home also removes unwanted toxins which all offer a great cost saving benefits. Cultured or fermented foods such as homemade sauerkraut or cultured vegetables to be extremely helpful in treating all digestive issues including helping to calm accidental exposure to toxins or unnatural food sources in my kids. As well as daily treatment for increasing beneficial bacteria and keeping the gut functioning properly.

We love sauerkraut, pickled ginger, pineapple, and mango for immediate relief of internal inflammation digestive issues.


  • Under a natural doctors care, we used l-glutamine to repair the intestinal lining

Other natural supplements we used were

  • Quercetin which is effective at supporting and protecting the intestinal wall and treating season and food allergies.
  • Licorice Root (or DGL) was extremely helpful for my son that experience recurring croup and is very effective at treating acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD, just about any other stomach issue.
  • Integrative Therapeutics Similase Gluten and Casein Digestive Enzymes to recover the enzymes lost from toxic diet and poor nutrition. 
  • Gaia herbs probiotics have been the most effective probiotic supplement I have found that can get past the stomach acid to replenish beneficial bacteria.
  • Garden of Life Raw probiotics.
  • Natural supplements that are great at calming gut inflammation are Natural Factors Pharmaceutical Grade fish oil.
  • Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal helps detox the system of accidental gluten exposure, toxins, and heavy metals while leaving the essential nutrients.  Note: Always check allergy concerns.

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  1. WebMD,Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?
  2. The US National Library of Medicine, Intestinal barrier: an interface between health and disease, Farhadi A1, Banan A, Fields J, Keshavarzian A., 2003
  3. The US National Library of Medicine, Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease, Eamonn M. M. Quigley, Sept 2013
  4. The US National Library of Medicine, Gut flora in health and disease., February 2003
  5. The US National Library of Medicine, Intestinal permeability in patients with psoriasis. Humbert P1, Bidet A, Treffel P, Drobacheff C, Agache P., 1991
  6. The US National Library of Medicine, Chronic Disease: Are We Missing Something?, James L. Oschman, 2012 Apr 27
  7. The US National Library of Medicine, Coping with Chronic Illness in Childhood and AdolescenceBruce E. Compas,1 Sarah S. Jaser,2 Madeleine J. Dunn,1 and Erin M. Rodriguez, Apr 2012
  8. The National Alliance of Mental Illness, Any Disorder Among Children
  9. The National Alliance of Mental Illness, Mental Health By The Numbers
  10. The New York Times, Learning How Little We Know About the Brain, By
  11. The US National Library of Medicine, Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: from Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part I – autointoxication revisited., Bested AC1, Logan AC, Selhub EM., March 18, 2013
  12. The US National Library of Medicine, Allergy and the gastrointestinal systemG Vighi,* F Marcucci, L Sensi, G Di Cara, and F Frati, September 2008
  13. WebMD, Components of the Immune System
  14. The US National Library of Medicine, Obesity alters gut microbial ecologyRuth E. Ley, Fredrik Bäckhed, Peter Turnbaugh, Catherine A. Lozupone, Robin D. Knight,§ and Jeffrey I. Gordon, August 2, 2005
  15. The US National Library of Medicine, Increased intestinal permeability in bronchial asthma, J Allergy Clin Immunol, June 1996
  16. The US National Library of Medicine, Leaking gut in type 1 diabetes, Vaarala O., 2008
  17. The US National Library of Medicine, Abnormal bowel permeability in ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis., J Rheumatol. 1985
  18. The US National Library of Medicine, Abnormal intestinal permeability in subgroups of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndromes., Dunlop SP1, Hebden J, Campbell E, Naesdal J, Olbe L, Perkins AC, Spiller RC., 2006
  19. The US National Library of Medicine, The intestinal microbiota, a leaky gut, and abnormal immunity in kidney disease., Anders HJ1, Andersen K, Stecher B., 2013 Jun
  20. The US National Library of Medicine, Intestinal permeability in patients with psoriasis. Humbert P1, Bidet A, Treffel P, Drobacheff C, Agache P., 1991
  21. The US National Library of Medicine, Effect of probiotics on gastrointestinal symptoms and small intestinal permeability in children with atopic dermatitis., Rosenfeldt V1, Benfeldt E, Valerius NH, Paerregaard A, Michaelsen KF., 2004 Nov
  22. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Intestinal Permeability Barrier in Crohn’s Disease: The Difficulty in Shifting the Paradigm, Daniel Hollander, July 2013
  23. The US National Library of Medicine, Research Advance in Intestinal Mucosal Barrier and Pathogenesis of Crohn’s DiseaseKuan Wang, 1 Lu-yi Wu, 1 Chuan-zi Dou, 1 Xin Guan, 2 Huan-gan Wu, 1 and Hui-rong Liu, 2016
  24. The US National Library of Medicine, The heart and the gut., Rogler, Rosano G., 2014
  25. The US National Library of Medicine, Autoimmunity and the Gut, Andrew W. Campbell, 2014
  26. Scientific America“Leaky gut” may exacerbate depression, THURSDAY, OCT 24
  27. The US National Library of Medicine, Increased serum IgA and IgM against LPS of enterobacteria in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): indication for the involvement of gram-negative enterobacteria in the etiology of CFS and for the presence of an increased gut-intestinal permeability., Maes M1, Mihaylova I, Leunis JC., 2007
  28. The US National Library of Medicine, Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity, Jessica R. Jackson, William W. Eaton, Nicola G. Cascella, Alessio Fasano, and Deanna L. Kelly, 2013
  29. The US National Library of Medicine, Neurologic and psychiatric manifestations of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, Jackson JR1, Eaton WW, Cascella NG, Fasano A, Kelly DL, March 2012
  30. US National Library of Medicine, Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: literature review., Mansueto P1, Seidita A, D’Alcamo A, Carroccio A., 2014
  31. US National Library of Medicine, Possible links between intestinal permeability and food processing: A potential therapeutic niche for glutamine., Rapin JR1, Wiernsperger N., 2010
  33. US National Library of Medicine, Dietary glutamine prevents the loss of intestinal barrier function and attenuates the increase in core body temperature induced by acute heat exposure. Soares AD1, Costa KA1, Wanner SP2, Santos RG1, Fernandes SO1, Martins FS3, Nicoli JR3, Coimbra CC4, Cardoso VN, Nov 28, 2014

FTC DISCLOSURE:  This site is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Heidi Hall developed this site to raise awareness on concerns regarding conventional medications and how they can affect the immune system, vaccine safety, and informed consent regarding vaccines. As well as conditions such as leaky gut syndrome that commonly go undiagnosed by doctors as you have seen in my situation.

It is always important to check with your doctor before you stop any medication and some supplements can have a negative interaction with prescription medications. You can seek the advice of a naturopath doctor who can help you safely stop using conventional medication when necessary. Naturopath doctors are experienced in healing leaky gut syndrome, as well as diagnosing autoimmune diseases, food intolerance, and treatment options. 

All information on Healing Children Naturally is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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Hello, my name is Heidi!

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1 Response

  1. Kathleen Shanley says:

    This is a great, well researched piece. Thank you.
    I was diagnosed w/ Idiopathic Gastroparesis in ’09,problems staring in mid 1991’s, progressively worsening & leveling, then worsening & leveling off. Ruined my life. Dr’s could tell me everything to WASN’T, but not what is was. Gastric PACEMAKER, that didn’t help, actually caused severe gastro pain didn’t have before implant. Drugs, created more problems, like LACTATING! Then I was done. I stopped all meds, did more research, took 5 years to find my guy & go to him. In those 5 years from avoiding the Dr’s & Meds, I worked on changing diet, supplements, etc. Some things need someone to really guide you thru the rest of the way.
    I’ve started seeing a Functional Medicine Chiro Acupuncturists, etc., a year ago this June. The results are tremendous. Enzymes & diet improvements. I’m looking forward to living a fairly normal life again, ZERO thanks the Medical Industrial Complex Machine who made me & so many ill to begin with. I would highly recommend a reputable Functional Medicine type Doctor to everyone. Thanks again. God Bless.
    If anyone in NYC/LI area wants to know my guy, he’s in LI, NY. Happy to give more info if requested.
    Thank you Heidi.

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