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  Dr Rajendra Sharma - Leaky Gut

The small intestine acts like a selective sieve, allowing through into the blood stream only the breakdown products of digestion. Larger proteins, carbohydrates and fats are kept out permitting only the amino acids and short chain peptides from proteins, single or double sugar molecules (mono-saccarides or di-saccarides) from carbohydrates and small chain fatty acids from fats to enter the blood stream.

Anything larger may be recognised by the body as an invading particle and an immune response is initiated. Foods that are not fully digested are absorbed into the blood stream and the body sets up an allergic or immune response that will, from that time on if not treated, recognise basic foods as if they were bacteria or viruses and, potentially, set up an attack.

There are many causes of a leaky gut as anything that inflames the bowel may cause the syndrome. Parasitic, fungal or yeast, bacterial or viral infection are often a cause. Anything that can or does diminish the bowel's natural flora are more common causes. These include anti-biotics, either prescribed by the doctor or found inadvertently in processed foods, chemical toxins such as pesticides, preservatives and additives may also be culprits.

Stress produces an acidic response from the stomach that can alter the bowel pH which may have an effect and excess adrenaline cuts down the blood flow to the bowel, reducing oxygen and nutrients, allowing deterioration of the bowel wall.

A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition (2000;83:000-000) has drawn a connection between rheumatoid arthritis and a leaky gut and even the ultra orthodox New England Journal of Medicine (Albert LJ and Inman RD, 2000;341(27):2068-2074) has published a review article supporting the possibility of multiple sclerosis being associated with the body recognising protein sequences in foreign substances which resemble the body's own thereby causing an attack on the nervous system

Other conditions with evidence of being caused or worsened by the presence of increased intestinal permeability are: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ankylosing Spondilitis, Crohns' Disease, allergic disorders such as Asthma, Hayfever and Eczema, Schizophrenia and Migraines.

Testing for a Leaky Gut The Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) test

The orthodox medical world does not recognise this as a medical condition - yet. There are laboratories in the United States and one here in the United Kingdom that test for this condition using a very simple method.

A solution of inert (indigestible and unusable) molecules is drunk and, having emptied the bladder previously, urine is collected for the next six hours. At the end of this time the sample is shaken and a small portion sent to the laboratory. A certain percentage of the small molecules should have passed through the gut wall, into the blood stream and been filtered out by the kidneys into the urine. The larger molecules that were drunk should not have got through and simply pass out with the faeces. The presence of any large molecules, therefore, in the urine indicates the presence of increased intestinal permeability - the leaky gut syndrome.

At this time instructions and collection kits can be sent to an individual. Once the sample is collected it is returned directly to The Diagnostic Clinic and results returned, usually, within 7 days.

The Leaky Gut Syndrome is frequently associated with yeast or fungal infections including Candida. A test called The Gut Fermentation study can give practitioners information regarding the presence of yeast. This simple test involves the patient taking a sugary capsule or drink and an hour later having a blood sample taken to look for alcohols in the blood. This appears because of the fermentation of sugar by yeasts. This test also gives information about a lack of dietary fibre, possible hypoglycaemia and the presence of good and bad bowel flora.

Food Allergy Testing

Food Allergy Cellular Test is the test of choice regarding food allergy. This looks for a particular inflammatory compound that comes out of White Blood Cells in the presence of an allergic food. Food allergy is a main issue either causative or as an effect of a leaky gut.

Bioresonance Food intolerance testing

Testing for food intolerance can be done using a Bioresonance computer. The Diagnostic Clinic's choice is the QX Quantum CI in the hands of a specialised nutritionist.

BioHit - Stomach acid production assay

Poor digestion can leave large undigested molecules in the small intestine that can damage the inner or epithelial lining of the gut. These larger molecules may also be more likely to trigger an immune response. A new test called BioHit is a blood test that allows us to tell if the stomach lining is producing the correct quantity of acid to ensure breakdown of food.


If a leaky gut is established and symptoms of ill health can be associated with this then treatment is a prerequisite for a return to good health. Current treatment protocol includes high dose acidophillus (to replenish bowel bacteria and challenge yeast i.e. Candida, infection), herbal antibacterial extracts including berberine from berberis, a special clay powder that releases oxygen into the bowel (most bad bacteria are anaerobic - they don't live in oxygen), herbal extracts known to increase the integrity of mucosal (gut lining) cells and the protein glutamine - a protein essential for bowel membrane integrity. A diet avoiding fermentable foods - an anti-candida diet is recommended strongly along side the treatments regardless of the evidence for yeast infection as these diets tend to be hypo-allergenic in any case.

Dr Sharma's Leaky Gut Protocol

  • Gastropax (4 days) Bentonite-like clay combination - one teaspoonful in warm water tds before meals £16.25
  • Ventropax (1 Bottle) Herbal combination - 20 drops in a little warm water hour pre meals £18.25
  • Lactibiane High potency bifido-acidophillus - 1 sachet daily £29.96
  • Berberis Tincture Anti-dysbiotic herbal extract - 2 teaspoonsful twice daily (250mls) in pineapple juice £15.00
  • L - Glutamine Precursor to the bowel epithelial lining - 1 capsule three times daily with meals £10.50. 89.96 + P&P

    Dr Rajendra Sharma is a fully qualified doctor specialising in Integrated Medicine and the Medical Director of The Diagnostic Clinic. His protocol can be prescribed by practitioners who can obtain the preferred products mentioned above via The Dispensary 01202 744 717. You can vist The Diagnostic Clinic website at

    Medical Disclaimer The advice given is in no way meant to take the place of professional advice. Should you wish to consider any level of treatment we strongly advise you to run this past your GP or health professional.

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