Gastrointestinal permeability, or simply intestinal permeability, is a term used to describe a condition in which the lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes porous or "leaky". It's also referred to as leaky gut syndrome (LGS). In light of the fact that more and more physicians are recognizing it as a real condition affecting immune health, there is more focus on understanding its ramifications. Intestinal permeability is the primary cause allergies, chronic and autoimmune diseases affecting a large percentage of the population today.

The intestinal lining is only one cell thick and normally the junctions between the cells are "tight", hence the term "tight junctions" which describes the cells comprising a healthy and intact G.I. lining. When the junctions are no longer tight, there is space between the cells which allows waste material from the G.I. tract to pass through into the bloodstream. Essentially, material from your "brown river" (undigested food particles, environmental contaminants, bacteria, viruses, fungi and their toxins) enters your "red river" (bloodstream). Once this "sewage" gets into the bloodstream, the immune system immediately recognizes it as foreign material and goes to work trying to destroy it by initiating an inflammatory response.

When intestinal permeability is ongoing or chronic, the inflammation also becomes chronic. At some point, the immune system can no longer discern the foreign material from healthy tissue, and it begins attacking the cells that comprise the body's tissues and organs. Chronic inflammation can lead to significant tissue destruction which presents itself as a diagnosable disease. If joint tissue is attacked, arthritis is diagnosed. If pancreatic beta cells are attacked, diabetes is diagnosed. If gut tissue is attacked, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease are diagnosed. Any tissue or organ of the body can be attacked, thereby leading to a multitude of autoimmune diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recognizes eighty autoimmune diseases, but there may be perhaps more than a few hundred distinct diseases.

Prior to the development and diagnosis of a full-blown disease, intestinal permeability symptoms most often include bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, aches and pains. A physician can perform laboratory tests to make an official diagnosis of gastrointestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), but if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, you're likely to have the condition. A variety of poor lifestyle behaviors and unavoidable environmental factors almost guarantees that every American has a leaky gut. More than two thousand years ago, the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, said that "All disease begins in the gut". Today, with our current understanding of intestinal health, it's even more appropriate to say, "All disease begins in a leaky gut".

Preventing and Healing Intestinal Permeability

With intestinal health so key to overall health and disease-free living, the solution must also begin in the gut. Bovine colostrum is the only substance clinically proven to heal and prevent intestinal permeability. Growth factors help repair the G.I. lining so that the cellular junctions remain tight and prevent the sewage from entering the bloodstream. Moreover, it contains immune factors (antibodies, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, proline-rich polypeptides) that kill gut pathogens and assist the immune system in modulating inflammation. Elimination diets, colon cleanses, herbs, acupuncture may temporarily help some people feel better, but they do not address the root cause of the problem. Only colostrum can provide relief and true healing for gastrointestinal permeability. Halting years (or decades) of tissue damage is imperative to disease regression and preventing additional autoimmune diseases from developing. Colostrum with its more than 200 growth and immune factors is the only viable solution to intestinal permeability and autoimmune disease.