Intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” has gained increasing attention in recent years as researchers find out more about the complex interactions between our gut and overall health. This condition involves the loosening of the tight junctions between the cells lining the intestinal wall, allowing unwanted substances to pass through and enter the bloodstream. This blog will explore the causes, symptoms, and diseases related to intestinal permeability or leaky gut.

Causes of Intestinal Permeability

  • Diet: As mentioned in our previous blog, a major contributor to intestinal permeability is the Standard American Diet, which often includes high levels of refined sugars, processed foods, and excess alcohol intake. 
  • Dysbiosis: Imbalances in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can damage the intestinal barrier and cause leaky gut.
  • Stress: Chronic stress has been linked to increased intestinal permeability.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can damage the gut.

Symptoms of Intestinal Permeability

While digestive symptoms may be obvious indicators of intestinal permeability, there are other, less obvious symptoms:

  • Digestive Issues: Intestinal permeability often shows up as digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and food sensitivities.
  • Autoimmune Conditions: There is growing evidence that links leaky gut to autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Allergies and Skin Conditions: Leaky gut can lead to increased immune responses, potentially causing allergies and skin conditions.
  • Mood Disorders: A growing body of research suggests that intestinal permeability may influence depression and anxiety. 

Diseases Related to Intestinal Permeability

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Patients with IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, often exhibit increased intestinal permeability.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): While not completely understood, there’s a growing body of evidence connecting IBS to intestinal permeability. 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Some studies have suggested that children with ASD may have increased intestinal permeability.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia: Research indicates a potential association with leaky gut.


Intestinal permeability is a complex issue with numerous causes, symptoms, and related diseases. Leaky gut may have far-reaching implications for overall health and well-being. While further research is needed to fully comprehend the complexities of intestinal permeability, the available evidence points to the importance of a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, and managing stress to support gut health and reduce the risk of related health problems. Want to learn more about symptoms of poor gut health? Click here.


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