Leaky Gut & More: The Impacts of Dysbiosis – Part 2

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted August 19, 2021

Dear Longevity Insider,

No one wants Leaky Gut!

As a quick recap: Your bio-individuality may make you more sensitive to changes in the digestive system, but your DNA does not determine your gut health destiny. 

leaky gutHow leaky gut works...

One Tuesday, we discussed three common causes of leaky gut: alcohol use, diet, and dysbiosis. But there are many other common causes as well that'll dive into today...

Stress. Stress is a health disruptor on your body, mood, and behavior. In the case of leaky gut, it can increase gut barrier permeability, which can result in “leaky gut.” There are many stress management strategies that you can try to incorporate from the comfort of your home such as physical activity, meditation, relaxing music, and yoga. If you are unsure where to start and/or have taken steps to manage your stress with no results, your healthcare provider can work with you to create a stress management care plan.  

Food Allergies & Sensitivities. There is a difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. Food allergies are typically an acute hypersensitivity reaction that typically takes place within 2 hours of consuming the allergenic food. The symptomatic presentation can vary ranging from anaphylaxis and hives to respiratory or gastrointestinal distress. Food allergies are mediated by IgE immunoglobulin activity and cause a profound histamine release. Treatment can range from needing an epinephrine pen to steroids and antihistamines. In contrast to food alllergies, food sensitivities can result in a delayed hypersensitivity reaction which can take place upwards of 72 hours post-consumption. Food sensitivities are typically mediated by IgG and trigger inflammation. The problem is that foods that we are intolerant of can present themselves very mildly compared to an allergy and cause chronic gut inflammation, thereby increasing gut permeability. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that 80% of our immune system resides in the digestive tract in the form of Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT), and chronic exposure to larger food particles can ultimately lead to immunological programming and intolerances to foods that we commonly consume. Ultimately, this can trigger immunological dysregulation and autoimmunity.

SIBO. Another unassuming condition that often goes underdiagnosed and undetected is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It occurs when excess bacteria are growing in the small intestine, disrupting the balance, and causing dysbiosis in your gut microbiome. Clinically, SIBO is an often-neglected mechanism for patients who have weakened nutrition. Normally, you would find very little bacteria in the small intestine compared to the large intestine. SIBO has negative consequences on the structure and function of the small intestine and can cause mounting issues, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney Stones
  • Incomplete Digestion
  • Vitamin Deficiency.

Osteoporosis. Our bones are constantly undergoing continuous recycling throughout our lives. This process is known as bone remodeling and involves the removal of mineralized bone by osteoclasts followed by the formation of bone matrix through the osteoblasts that subsequently become mineralized. In other words, old bone is broken down and new bone is formed. For this to occur, our bones need a steady supply of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats to be properly absorbed. Healthy digestion is needed for optimal bone health. Over time, SIBO can cause poor calcium absorption which in turn drives bone loss.  

Kidney Stones. If you know anyone who has had kidney stones, you’ve heard enough to hope you never have one. Kidney stones are a multifactorial complex disorder between the gut, liver, bone, and kidney. If you have SIBO, you have an increased risk of kidney stones because of the absorption issues that are a result of bacterial overgrowth.

Incomplete Digestion. Our small intestine continues the process of digestion that begins in the stomach and runs to your large intestine. But unlike the stomach, which has minor absorptive property, 90% of food absorption occurs in the small intestine. Whatever is not absorbed is then passed on to the large intestine. Bacterial overgrowth disrupts conjugated bacterial cells, and dihydroxylation of bile salts, which are needed to digest fats, resulting in incomplete digestion of fats and diarrhea. 

Vitamin Deficiency. The adverse effects of SIBO on nutrition involve several factors, but one of the most common clinical manifestations is malabsorption. Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs in SIBO as the bacteria take up the vitamin. Vitamin A, D, and E are also commonly seen in SIBO due to the malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins. 

How can you optimize your Gut Health? 

The health of our gut determines the health of the rest of our bodies. What are simple steps you can do at home to optimize your gut health?

Be sure to take care of yourself.

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ