Leaky gut syndrome

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

Unlike the scientific phenomenon of increased intestinal permeability ("leaky gut"),[1][2] claims for the existence of "leaky gut syndrome" as a distinct medical condition come mostly from nutritionists and practitioners of alternative medicine.[1][3][4] 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 2021, there is little evidence to support this hypothesis.[1][5]

Doctor Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, stated that "There is much we know about leaky gut in terms of how it affects people’s health, but there is still so much that is unknown."[6]

Stephen Barrett has described "leaky gut syndrome" as a fad diagnosis and says that its proponents use the alleged condition as an opportunity to sell 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.[7] The belief that a "leaky gut" might actually cause autism is popular[quantify] among the public, but the evidence is weak and what evidence exists is conflicting.[8]

Advocates tout various treatments 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 whether they are safe and effective for this purpose.[3] The U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend the use of any special diets to manage the main symptoms of autism or leaky gut syndrome.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Leaky gut syndrome". NHS Choices. 26 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. 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 4253991. 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 3758766. PMID 23851019.
  4. ^ a b Barrett, Stephen (14 March 2009). "Be Wary of "Fad" Diagnoses". Quackwatch. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. ^ Quigley EM (2016). "Leaky gut - concept or clinical entity?". Curr Opin Gastroenterol (Review). 32 (2): 74–9. doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000243. PMID 26760399. S2CID 40590775.
  6. ^ "Putting a stop to leaky gut". Harvard Health. 2018-11-18. Archived from the original on 2021-10-21. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  7. ^ Kalichman, Seth C. (2009). Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy. Springer. p. 167. ISBN 9780387794761.
  8. ^ 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 5005185. PMID 27435372.