Leaky gut syndrome

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Leaky gut syndrome
Pseudomedical diagnosis
Risks Nocebo

Leaky gut syndrome is a hypothetical, medically unrecognized condition.[1]

While increased intestinal permeability ("leaky gut") is a phenomenon recognized by mainstream science,[1][2] claims for the existence of "leaky gut syndrome" as a distinct medical condition are mostly made by nutritionists and practitioners of alternative medicine.[1][3] Proponents claim that a "leaky gut" causes chronic inflammation throughout the body that results in a wide range of conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and autism.[1][3] As of 2016, there is little evidence to support the hypothesis that leaky gut syndrome directly causes this wide array of diseases.[1]

Stephen Barrett has described "leaky gut syndrome" as a fad diagnosis and says that its proponents use the alleged condition as an opportunity to promote a number of alternative health remedies including diets, herbal preparations, and dietary supplements.[4] In 2009, Seth Kalichman wrote that some pseudoscientists claim that the passage of proteins through a "leaky" gut is the cause of autism.[5] The belief that a "leaky gut" might actually cause autism is popular among the public, but the evidence is weak and what evidence there is, is conflicting.[6]

Various treatments are touted for "leaky gut syndrome", such as dietary supplements, probiotics, herbal remedies, gluten-free foods, and low FODMAP, low sugar, or antifungal diets, but there is little evidence that the treatments offered are of benefit.[1] None have been adequately tested to determine if they are safe and effective for this purpose.[3] The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend the use of special diets to manage the main symptoms of autism.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Leaky gut syndrome". NHS Choices. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Bischoff SC, Barbara G, Buurman W, Ockhuizen T, Schulzke JD, Serino M, et al. (2014). "Intestinal permeability--a new target for disease prevention and therapy.". BMC Gastroenterol (Review). 14: 189. PMC 4253991Freely accessible. PMID 25407511. doi:10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7. 
  3. ^ a b c Odenwald, Matthew A.; Turner, Jerrold R. (2013). "Intestinal Permeability Defects: Is It Time to Treat?". Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 11 (9): 1075–83. PMC 3758766Freely accessible. PMID 23851019. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.07.001. 
  4. ^ Barrett, Stephen (14 March 2009). "Be Wary of "Fad" Diagnoses". Quackwatch. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Kalichman, Seth C. (2009). Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy. Springer. p. 167. ISBN 9780387794761. 
  6. ^ Rao M, Gershon MD (2016). "The bowel and beyond: the enteric nervous system in neurological disorders". Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol (Review). 13 (9): 517–28. PMC 5005185Freely accessible. PMID 27435372. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2016.107.