Leaky Gut Syndrome
The impetus for this newsletter was a news release concerning a study on Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the conclusion of which led me to delve further into the subject of leaky gut syndrome. We will begin by briefly examining that study.
According to the lead author of this study, Michael Karin, Ph.D., "NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the world. It can progress to more serious conditions, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death".
He went on to point out that, "With the advent of modern biochemistry and metabolic analysis, it became obvious that fructose is two to three times more potent than glucose in increasing liver fat, a condition that triggers NAFLD. And the increased consumption of soft drinks containing HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) corresponds with the explosive growth in NAFLD incidence."
Because fructose, and HFCS, are common in the Standard American Diet (SAD), so are the incidence of NAFLD common among those who consume such a diet, leading to statistics which suggest that one in three Americans have this condition.
At this point many of you may be thinking “well, I don’t consume a diet high in synthetic fructose and corn syrup, so I’m good”. Unfortunately, it may not be that simple. To quote again from the lead author of this study: "The ability of fructose, which is plentiful in dried figs and dates, to induce fatty liver was known to the ancient Egyptians, who fed ducks and geese dried fruit to make their version of foie gras". Therefore, we may also have to watch our intake of fructose from natural sources too.
Nonetheless, this is where things get more interesting. According to this study, what was not previously understood was that fructose only has this detrimental effect on the liver after it has first disrupted the epithelial barrier in the gut, the barrier that protects our internal organs from bacterial toxins.
The authors concluded that “developing treatments that prevent intestinal barrier disruption...could protect the liver from NAFLD”. (Study published Aug 24, 2020, in Nature Metabolism.)
I will point out here that, as discussed in a previous newsletter, vitamin D deficiency is also linked to NAFLD. (Newsletter)
So, now we will look at how we can prevent this intestinal barrier disruption, and the expert that I will be referring to for information on the subject is Dr. Jack Kruse.
Jack Kruse is a brilliant scientist and neurosurgeon, who has unorthodox views on many health issues. In this newsletter I will review his position on leaky gut syndrome, summarize his recommendations, and leave you with a link to his site, should you wish to examine his thesis in more detail.
“It is the complex biochemical reactions that occur in the gut that appear to be the genesis of where inflammation initially passes into our body”. (Jack Kruse)
Inflammation is a benchmark of most serious and life-threatening ailments, therefore it is no surprise to see many inflammatory conditions listed as associated with leaky gut syndrome.
Following, is a list of the most common health issues caused (at least in part) by leaky gut syndrome.
Adrenal fatigue; autoimmune diseases; fibromyalgia; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis); and obesity. Digestive disorders include esophagitis (inflammation or irritation of the esophagus), and GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). Leaky gut is also implicated in some conditions that affect the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and schizophrenia.
Causes of Leaky Gut
Now let’s look at some of the causes of leaky gut based on the research of Dr. Kruse, starting with what he considers to be the primary cause: “I believe the number one risk factor for the initiation of this syndrome is excessive environmental EMF and artificial light.” The reasons he has for this belief are too complicated to go into here, but if you follow the link to his site presented at the end of this newsletter, you can further explore his theory on the subject.
Secondary causes of leaky gut: alcohol (excessive); antibiotics (long term use); NSAID’s (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen); proton pump inhibitors (long term reduction of stomach acid); mercury (from food,dental work, or environment); chronic food allergies; severe food poisoning.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods are linked to causing inflammation in the gut, and should be avoided, especially by those who know they have leaky gut problems. These are the foods that Kruse believes are culprits in this condition.
All grains, especially wheat; dairy products; excessive coffee (or any high caffeine beverages); fructose (from fruit as well as synthesized fructose); high glycemic foods; omega 6 fatty acids (most polyunsaturated vegetable oils); refined flours, and processed foods with low fiber content.
Foods to Consume
Kruse recommends ingesting sources of good bacteria on a regular basis, ideally from fermented foods, if they are well tolerated. Good choices include kefir, kimchi, kombucha, pickles (made with salt not vinegar), sauerkraut, and/or yogurt.
When using probiotic supplements choose Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifido bacteria, or Saccharomyces boulardii. Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) supplements serve as a prebiotic, feeding good bacteria in the gut which, in turn, displace those species of bacteria that foster inflammation. One can also consider using Lactospore, which also works like a prebiotic to feed and support the colonization of our indigenous good bacteria.
Other foods Kruse recommends we ingest include omega 3 fatty acids from fish (and fish oil supplements), bone broth, and certain spices, including horseradish, oregano, rosemary, and turmeric (all of which contain antibacterial compounds).
Supplements for Treating Leaky Gut
Following are the supplements Dr. Kruse suggests are the most valuable for healing the gut lining.
Aloe vera (to be avoided in cases of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or intestinal blockages); L-glutamine; N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) in combo with vitamin C (600 mgs of NAC, and 1000 mg of vitamin C, twice a day); DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice root), a lozenge to be taken three times daily.
Kruse also maintains that it is essential we have adequate amounts of these nutrients: folate, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and COQ10.
He also believes that for treating severe, prolonged leaky gut (or autoimmune) conditions, intravenous glutathione can be very helpful. Here I would suggest considering NutriStart’s Liposomal Glutathione, which has been shown to be as (if not more) effective as the IV form of treatment.
For one final supplement, Kruse has this to say: “...you may want to ask your mom if you were breastfed and for how long? If the answer is no then consider the use of colostrum as a consistent supplement.” (Source: Jack Kruse, The Leaky Gut Prescription)
And, as always, I recommend those interested in treating this ailment read my blog, How 3 Nutrients Can Heal Most Ailments, as I consider these three nutrients to also be essential for repairing and maintaining the gut lining (along with all the internal mucosal membranes).