Leaky gut syndrome

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This article is about a proposed medical condition in alternative medicine. For the phenomenon whereby the intestine wall exhibits excessive permeability, see Intestinal permeability.
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, although research is ongoing.[1][4][5][6][7][8]

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.[9] In 2009, Seth Kalichman wrote that some pseudoscientists claim that the passage of proteins through a "leaky" gut is the cause of autism.[10] The belief that a "leaky gut" might actually cause autism is widespread among the public, but the evidence is weak and what evidence there is, is conflicting.[11]

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. doi:10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7. PMC 4253991Freely accessible. PMID 25407511. 
  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. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.07.001. PMC 3758766Freely accessible. PMID 23851019. 
  4. ^ Yarandi SS, Peterson DA, Treisman GJ, Moran TH, Pasricha PJ (2016). "Modulatory Effects of Gut Microbiota on the Central Nervous System: How Gut Could Play a Role in Neuropsychiatric Health and Diseases.". J Neurogastroenterol Motil (Review). 22 (2): 201–12. doi:10.5056/jnm15146. PMC 4819858Freely accessible. PMID 27032544. 
  5. ^ Akbari P, Braber S, Varasteh S, Alizadeh A, Garssen J, Fink-Gremmels J (2016). "The intestinal barrier as an emerging target in the toxicological assessment of mycotoxins". Arch Toxicol. doi:10.1007/s00204-016-1794-8. PMID 27417439. 
  6. ^ Morris G, Berk M, Carvalho A, Caso JR, Sanz Y, Walder K, et al. (2016). "The Role of the Microbial Metabolites Including Tryptophan Catabolites and Short Chain Fatty Acids in the Pathophysiology of Immune-Inflammatory and Neuroimmune Disease". Mol Neurobiol (Review). doi:10.1007/s12035-016-0004-2. PMID 27349436. 
  7. ^ Sung H, Kim SW, Hong M, Suk KT (2016). "Microbiota-based treatments in alcoholic liver disease.". World J Gastroenterol (Review). 22 (29): 6673–82. doi:10.3748/wjg.v22.i29.6673. PMC 4970471Freely accessible. PMID 27547010. 
  8. ^ Klingensmith NJ, Coopersmith CM (2016). "The Gut as the Motor of Multiple Organ Dysfunction in Critical Illness". Crit Care Clin (Review). 32 (2): 203–12. doi:10.1016/j.ccc.2015.11.004. PMC 4808565Freely accessible. PMID 27016162. 
  9. ^ Barrett, Stephen (14 March 2009). "Be Wary of "Fad" Diagnoses". Quackwatch. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Kalichman, Seth C. (2009). Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy. Springer. p. 167. ISBN 9780387794761. 
  11. ^ 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. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2016.107. PMC 5005185Freely accessible. PMID 27435372.