Intestinal permeability as a cause of diseases

Intestinal permeability as a cause of diseases

Increased intestinal permeability has been found in people with different intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, celiac disease, active inflammatory bowel disease (Colitis ulcerosa and Crohn’s disease) as well as systemic or distant organ diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, graft versus host disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and autism.

Existing inflammation due to the inflammatory activity of the disease itself has the capacity by itself to increase intestinal permeability, making it difficult to differentiate whether permeability is the cause or effect of the underlying disease (egg or chicken) or is a vicious circle in the one who enters.

In contrast, the treatment of the underlying disease has been shown to reduce the permeability of the intestine in these patients.


Increased intestinal permeability and gastrointestinal diseases

Regarding digestive diseases, each year more data appears on gastrointestinal diseases until now considered functional, in which disorders in intestinal permeability and basal inflammation of the lamina propria are being described, which we have always thought were non-specific. In the consultation we find with relative frequency digestive biopsies with lymphocytic infiltrates with an uncertain meaning, in patients with chronic digestive symptoms at the intestinal or gastric level. These results do not meet the pathological criteria for, for example, celiac disease and other specific inflammatory enteropathy. However, they could be related to this increased permeability, or perhaps to some reaction to some food that we are unaware of today, or what we often think of as the effect of medications.

In favor of this are studies such as those carried out by a team of researchers from the Vall D’Hebrón Hospital, who have described increases in intestinal permeability and non-specific inflammatory infiltrates in irritable bowel syndrome and have subsequently found similar alterations in the mucosa of the duodenum. in patients with functional dyspepsia (heavy digestion, pain and burning in the epigastrium, early satiety), which is making them think that the symptoms of functional dyspepsia would be related to the increases in intestinal permeability found.


Symptoms and diseases that have to make us think that we can have the most permeable intestine:

Despite not yet being agreed or clear what signs and symptoms are reliable to think that we can have a more permeable intestine and waiting for there to be a scientific consensus on it, based on everything explained above it seems sensible to think that someone can have greater risk of having an increased permeability in the following clinical pictures, although it is very likely that in most of them, we will not find it!

Irritable bowel syndrome: which include symptoms of recurrent abdominal pain at least 3 days a month for 3 months accompanied by improvement with defecation, change in the frequency of bowel movements or in their appearance (at least 2 of 3)

Functional dyspepsia: includes symptoms lasting more than 3 months such as postprandial fullness, early satiety, pain or burning in the epigastrium.

  • People with allergies and food intolerances, especially in multiple foods.
  • People with active autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis, vitiligo, psoriasis, or celiac disease
  • People with chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical hypersensitivity or fibromyalgia.
  • States of chronic fatigue that do not become chronic fatigue without apparent cause (without a real cause, that many do not want to see the rhythm or lifestyle they lead)
  • Recurrent infections
  • Chronic or recurrent inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema, chronic urticaria…
  • People infected with HIV (even in treatment).
  • Excess consumption of alcohol and processed food.
  • People with premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis.