If you have allergies, food sensitivities, digestive symptoms, headaches, cognitive decline, depression, an autoimmune disorder or a chronic inflammatory condition, finding and treating a leaky gut could be especially crucial for you.
Healing the gut barrier is so pivotal for resolving chronic disease that if it isn’t addressed, other treatments will have little to no effect.
There are loads of ways you can test for a leaky gut – or intestinal permeability as it should be called technically. Over the years, I’ve discovered there are several mechanisms at play and several tests to measure them. I often assume leaky gut and treat, but in some cases it can be very useful to have more knowledge to work with so you know how to treat effectively.
My favourite test nowadays is the Precision Point Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment (Advanced IBA). It measures:
Histamine and diamine oxidase (DAO) to give information about histamine balance and gut mucosal health. Did you know, for example, that as the villi become more damaged, levels of DAO will go down? So, healing a leaky gut and improving villi status can be a way of increasing DAO. Many people with food and environmental sensitivities have woefully low DAO. By increasing DAO, you lower the inflammatory reactivity level and this helps heal the leaky gut, taking the pressure off the villi. It also breaks down more of the pesky histamine excess and symptoms will come down.
Plasma Zonulin is a well-documented marker of intestinal tight junctions and is the preferred specimen for assessment. Zonulin triggers opening of the so-important tight junctions in the intestinal wall, so if it is high, there’s your problem.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (some of my favourite things to measure) are endotoxins produced by gram-negative bacteria. LPS antibodies give information about inflammation and intestinal permeability. If LPS are high, you can bet your bottom dollar they are causing inflammation and problems either locally or systemically. Our job then is to find why the LPS is high in the first place – we hunt for infections!
Here’s a useful table showing what each marker is associated with:
Much as I’d like them to be, protocols to improve intestinal permeability are not one-size-fits-all. The Advanced IBA profile helps to identify the root cause of barrier dysfunction so that treatment is speedy, cost-effective, and successful. Some patients need to address DAO and histamine balance. Others need to address root causes of Zonulin elevation or high LPS antibodies. With the Advanced IBA profile, you can pinpoint and treat the causes of intestinal permeability and get yourself back on the road to wellness more quickly – and we always like that ;).