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Leaky Gut ... Is That a Real Diagnosis? 1 out of 6 patients is diagnosed incorrectly, warns Dr. Rud

Every day I see patients who are concerned about their continued gastroinestinal and other symptoms despite a wide variety of prior incorrect diagnoses, says Dr. Rudert. One out of every six patients has the wrong diagnosis and this data has been published but is typically not known by the general public.

Is leaky gut syndrome a real diagnosis?

Dr. Rudert answers:

One of the many questions I am asked is if I believe in "Leaky Gut" and is it a real diagnosis? Like most things in life, this is not exactly a yes or no answer, but it leans more towards yes than no.... Let me explain. The traditional medical community typically avoids this term and in fact, until relatively recently, the term was generally only used by alternative health providers. There was no data to support leaky gut but maybe they were ahead of the curve. In 2000, the discovery of zonulin was published in the Lancet, a prestigious medical journal (Fasano et al. Lancet. 2000 355; 1518-1519.).

What does the discovery of zonulin have to do with leaky gut?

Dr. Rudert answers:

Your small intestine (for an adult) is actually about 20 feet long and is lined with cells (enterocytes) that should fit closely together separated by tiny bridges that open and close called zonulin. In celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, these bridges have been triggered to stay open too long allowing harmful proteins to enter the bloodstream causing autoimmune disease.

Is there another term for "Leaky Gut?"

Dr. Rudert aswers:

Yes, another term for "leaky gut" is Increased intestinal permeability.

What causes increased intestinal permeability?

Dr, Rudert answers:

Normally your intestinal barrier is impermeable. Many triggers for increased intestinal permeability have been identified especially in genetically predisposed individuals. Infections, an imbalance of good bacteria (dysbiosis), antibiotics and other medications have been implicated. I have seen thousands of patients who had excellent health until they had an environmental trigger.

How is intestinal permeability diagnosed?

Dr. Rudert answers:

The best way to diagnose patients is to spend enough time listening to the patient so you can narrow the possibilities without spending a fortune on expensive invasive and often unnecessary diagnostic testing. Often I see patients that bring in results of procedures, labs and Xrays that are basically normal. Sometimes they laugh when I say, "It's probably amazing to you how good you look on paper and how bad you feel!"

What is the treatment for increased intestintal permeability?

Dr. Rudert answers:

This is definitely not a one size fits all fix. It depends on the underlying cause, the organ or organs affected, the trigger(s) and the presenting symptoms.

For more intormation, please contact our office at 404.943.9820 . It is important not to self-diagnose.

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