How do you know if your gut barrier (and probably other body barriers including skin, eyes, blood-brain etc) has been damaged by gluten?
How can you see how ‘leaky’ you have become because of gluten’s specific ability to upregulate the productionn of the zonulin protein that controls what gets through the body barriers?
Do you want to know if bacteria, food proteins and yeasts like candida have breached the mucosal barrier – your first line of immune defence? How about checking if all proteins checked have got through, thus showing a major breakdown of barrier permeability?
Well, now you can. I gave up waiting for one US lab to bring this test to the UK and have convinced another lab to help. Happily, it is now all set up and we can now check the barrier function.
Why is this important?
Well, if you are genetically sensitive to gluten (and not just the revered gliadin!), gluten, as I said above, increases the action of zonulin, which acts like a kind of gatekeeper if you like to what can go through the body’s barriers and what can’t. Most people here think particularly about the gut, but all body barriers are structurally very similar and if gluten-upregulated zonulin has gone haywire and is allowing all sorts to the party in the gut, you can make a safe bet that’s not the only place the party is going on, if you see what I mean. Think gluten-reaction migraine or depression, for example, which suggests a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier not just the gut.
I wrestled with the fact that we could assume a gluten sensitive person is going to have a leaky gut/breakdown of the first-line mucosal defence and has become hyper-permeable, but it is entirely different seeing the result on paper – especially since mine was all proteins (why was I surprised?!). For the patients who have had it done so far, my impression is that they have appreciated seeing the physiological effect of the gluten damage and understand why I am sticking them on such a strict diet and the now updated NCGS protocol which has dovetailed the previous protocol for inflammation, malabsorption etc with a comprehensive new barrier permeability protocol. It takes work and commitment, this, to sort it out, the first job of course being to stay clear of any type of gluten (and not just gliadin).
One last note: if you have had a leaky gut test before which was negative, the old sugar leaky gut tests have now been superceded by this much more sophisticated saliva test, well, in my opinion anyway.
So, now that’s explained, here is some blurb for you from the eshop including information from the lab about the test; it’s there if you need it. Check here too for more on this subject.
The new much more sophisticated and reliable way to test leaky gut, barrier hyper-permeability and mucosal immunity breakdown. Once the proteins tested are getting through (evidenced by the IgA and IgM antibodies found), we know that other sensitivities will soon follow, as can inflammation and auto-immunity.
This test is especially useful for anyone suffering allergies, intolerances, gluten sensitivity and auto-immune conditions. We use it mainly to confirm that gluten has upregulated a protein called zonulin which allows breakdown of the mucosal barrier, starting in the gut but possibly affecting other body barriers including skin, eyes and blood-brain barriers. We then use a protocol designed to regain strong barrier protection, lessen sensitivity and risk of inflammatory damage and autoimmunity.
Lab testing to assess: the integrity of the gut’s mucosal barrier; antigen penetration; dysbiosis; leaky gut; malabsorption; dietary protein sensitivity; secretory IgA production; intestinal permeability; crypt hyperplasia; antibody response to: Candida, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and dietary proteins.
- Single sIgA, plus IgA+IgM antibodies to:
- Combined dietary proteins (Wheat/gliadin, corn, soy, cow’s milk, egg)
- Aerobic bacteria (Escherichia coli and E. enterococcus)
- Anaerobic bacteria (Bacteroides fragilis and Clostridium perfringens)
- Candida albicans yeast
Optimal health is not possible without proper Intestinal Barrier Function.
Being on the front lines in defending the body, the mucosal layer, the extrinsic barrier, of the GI tract is exposed to a multitude of stressors, antigens, pathogens, imbalances of neurotransmitters, toxins and medications, and sometimes this barrage can weaken and break down the protective barrier. What follows the loss of mucosal immune tolerance is a cascade beginning with the formation of immune complexes and inflammatory cytokine responses. These abnormal levels of regulatory cytokine production such as in IL-10 and TGF-beta lead to enhanced intestinal permeability in which the tight junctions in the intrinsic barrier open and allow the passage of dietary proteins and peptides into the blood stream. Commonly known as leaky gut, enhanced gut permeability is the precursor to autoimmune disorders such as Type I Diabetes, RA, Lupus, MS and autoimmune hypothyroidism. It is also the pathway to neurologic dysfunction associated with gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, Autism and ADHD.
Your First-Line Immune Defense
The mucosal barrier—your first-line immune defense—refers to all of the mucous membranes that comprise the primary interface between the external environment and the internal environment of the body. This mucosal barrier lets beneficial things into your general circulation and keeps harmful ones out.
To clarify this, an analogy can be made between the earth’s ozone layer and your body’s mucosal barriers. The ozone layer lets the right amount of sunlight through, sustaining life on earth; your mucosal barriers allow nutrients through, sustaining your health. The ozone layer prevents harmful radiation from getting through; the mucosal barriers prevent infectious agents and allergens from invading your body. But just as our planet has a damaged ozone layer, many of us have damaged mucosal barriers. Consequently, we are not protected from harmful substances such as parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
No disease or symptom needs to be present to warrant protecting the mucosal barrier of the intestines; keeping it healthy helps to keep us strong and disease-resistant. Strengthening the gut lining is applicable to relieving and avoiding the impacts of asthma, arthritis, food allergies, ulcers, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, autoimmune diseases, alcoholism, chronic fatigue, joint pain, migraines, diarrhea, parasitic infections, dysbiosis, candidiasis, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, all of which can have their origin in harmful substances penetrating through the intestines.
The one thing I would add is that the test can only show if you are producing antibodies and how high the antibody level is. It can’t show you if you currently have candida, allergies to the proteins tested, or a bacterial infection. If they turn up positive, I usually advise we check those and deal with them because the barrier will never heal properly in my view if pathological attackers like those aren’t dealt with. The other choice you would have is to check IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies in the blood (the second stage of the allergy/intolerance immune reaction), which not only shows you that the barrier is broken but also a list of foods you may be having problems with.
Coming together, this, isn’t it? I hope. Anyone who’s had the test already wish to give their view…?