Zonulin and Leaky Gut the Connection

leaky gut


What is Zonulin?

Zonulin is a protein that is synthesised in the intestines and liver cells. Zonulin regulates intestinal permeability by modulating tight junctions between digestive tract wall cells. Discovered in 2000 by Alessio Fasano and his team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, zonulin is similar to the bacterial toxin Zonula occludens;* Dr Fasano’s research identified a nearly identical protein produced by human intestine cells, naming it zonulin. Studies showed that zonulin increases intestinal permeability in primates.

Zonulin and Leaky Gut the Connection

Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, refers to a state in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, leading to the leakage of undigested food particles, harmful waste products, and bacteria into the bloodstream. This influx of foreign substances can trigger an autoimmune reaction in the body, resulting in inflammatory and allergic responses like migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and other related conditions.

Zonulin boosts intestinal permeability by enlarging the holes in the small intestines that allow larger particles of food to enter the bloodstream and travel through the body, leading to increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut. This process is believed to contribute to inflammation and the development of autoimmune disorders. The two primary triggers for zonulin release are bacteria and gluten. Even in people without immune disorders, gluten and gliadin proteins in wheat can stimulate zonulin release and heighten intestinal permeability.

4 reasons you may want to have a Zonulin Check:

Leaky Gut Syndrome: Zonulin levels can indicate the extent of intestinal permeability, which is associated with conditions like leaky gut syndrome. Monitoring zonulin levels can help assess gut health and guide treatment strategies.

Autoimmune Diseases: Since zonulin is linked to autoimmune diseases, checking zonulin levels can be part of diagnosing or monitoring these conditions. Elevated zonulin levels may indicate increased intestinal permeability and potential autoimmune activity.

Gluten Sensitivity: Zonulin is triggered by gluten and gliadin proteins found in wheat. Individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease may benefit from checking zonulin levels to assess intestinal health and gluten-related inflammation.

Inflammatory Conditions: Elevated zonulin levels are associated with systemic inflammation. Checking zonulin levels can provide insights into overall inflammation levels in the body, which is relevant for various inflammatory conditions.

Overall Gut Health: Zonulin checks can be part of a comprehensive assessment of gut health, especially in cases where intestinal permeability issues are suspected or when evaluating the impact of dietary factors like gluten.

In summary, a zonulin check can help assess gut health, monitor autoimmune diseases, evaluate gluten sensitivity, assess inflammation levels, and provide insights into intestinal permeability.

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*Cholera is an extremely serious disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration.

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