Leaky Gut is a well-known syndrome where chronic, gastro-intestinal inflammation causes the immune system to work overtime and is linked with anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, autism-spectrum, and chronic-inflammatory/autoimmune diseases. As scientific research delves deeper into the body’s mysteries, natural health principles are ever-present and point the way to optimal health.


New findings reveal that nutrition and herbs form the foundational basis of health. Beyond that, the new research is elevating the importance of intestinal inflammation, dysbiosis (excessive pathogens, not enough probiotics), and Leaky Gut Syndrome as a primary causative factor that predisposes human health toward disease. Also, it’s clear that if practitioners fail to address Leaky Gut as a prerequisite, then they will subsequently fail to have truly positive clinical outcomes.


Here’s some bullet-point facts on Leaky Gut/Dysbiosis to inspire us clinicians to re-address this subject to support neurological health.


  • Intestinal health determines if our genes express health or disease via the enteric nervous system’s communication with the brain and the body’s epigenetic responses.


  • E. coli bacteria, a natural inhabitant of the colon, in the absence of proper probiotic cultures that control it, engender tumor formation.


  • Intestinal health predetermines obesity. Children with antibiotic-disturbed intestinal flora are 15% fatter than children not treated with antibiotics. The intestinal cultures instruct the body on how much fat to store!


  • Dysbiosis is closely linked to diabetes.


  • Leaky Gut damages the thyroid via the immune response to an enzyme transglutamase. The body can reverse hypothyroidism (including autoimmune Hashimoto’s) if leaky gut is corrected and localized free radical and cellular metabolic malfunctions are properly addressed.


  • Intestinal inflammation is a determining factor to the inflammation level throughout the body.


  • Intestinal bacteria directly influence brain genetics regarding the desire to take risks, violence, and overall mood.


  • Intestinal bacterial DNA creates the “set point” for the body’s neuroendocrine axis—hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenals. This is part of the “gut/brain connection.” Intestinal health predisposes hormonal and neurotransmitter communication throughout the body. Intestinal bacteria govern weaning, puberty, and the effectiveness of the human immune system.


  • Noting the many causes of an altered gut-microbiome (all the microbes inhabiting the intestinal tract), it’s no longer a question of IF a person has leaky gut—it’s a question of HOW MUCH the intestinal endothelium is damaged and how many tight-junctions are leaking. Leaky gut means more inflammation and less nutritional uptake—a double whammy for human health.


The higher inflammation is supported via the gut-brain nerve communications as well as physiological food particles, bacterial wastes, microbial DNA, and messenger molecules.  In February, 2002, the cover article for Time Magazine, Inflammation The Silent Killer, brought the inflammatory basis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer to the forefront of public awareness.


Emerging research points directly to a new, foundational focus that is specifically germane to Chiropractic Physicians and a fortuitous opportunity to broaden the scope of practice to provide deeper, more lasting patient health benefits.  It’s the bi-directional relationship between the intestinal microbiome and the neural/immune system network. This is the “gut-brain axis” which means that bacteria have an enormous influence over what we think, do and feel.


At best, it seems that we humans holds 50.5% of the “voting authority” and the microbes hold 49.5% making them a most important player in human health. Humans have harnessed “microbe power” for our very life energy – mitochondrial ATP. It’s fair to say that microscopic life is vastly important part of our human experience.


Bi-Directional Hotline Communications. Microbes in the intestines speak directly with the brain, and the brain monitors and communicates directly with intestinal microbes.  More than a casual conversation, the gut microbiome plays a determining role in the entire body’s inflammation set-point that, when elevated, leads to chronic-degenerative/autoimmune disease as well as anxiety and depression. The enteric nervous system connects to the vagus nerve and mediates inflammation.


Origins Of Microbiome Mutation. Current research points to multiple causes of inflammation. Antibiotics (as remedial drugs as well as imbedded in commercial meat products) encourage mutation of microbial biofilms toward more virulent forms.  Genetically modified foods (85%—90% of commercial corn and soy products contain unlabeled genetically-modified chromosomes) and impart inflammatory glyphosate (Round Up©) pesticide now found in breast milk and infants’ bodies. Further, glyphosate is being investigated for mutating intestinal microbes to manufacture pesticides in-vivo. Wheat, a massively hybridized grain, is highly inflammatory due to the additional chromosomes that increase gluten and regulate height for the thrashers.  Refined carbohydrates and sugars (high fructose corn sweetener) as well as synthetic sweeteners (Aspartame) are clearly linked to increasing inflammatory activity in the intestines and throughout the body.  Processed foods and lack of dietary fibers are linked to inflammation via alteration of the intestinal microbiome.


Immune responses inflame cell membranes—plasma, mitochondrial, and nuclear. The cells become dysfunctional because hormone receptors don’t work well. Membrane inflammation is the real cause behind hormonal imbalances including insulin (diabetes’ inflammatory basis), and estrogen/progesterone/testosterone (PMS, and troublesome menopause/andropause.)


Available to clinicians is a four-dollar, in-office/at-home urine test that measures cellular inflammation via the lipid peroxidase.  Patient’s appreciate seeing proof.  Another inexpensive in-office/at-home test is a $35 dysbiosis test that measures urinary pathogen metabolites thus reveals the basis of inflammation and the need for intestinal microbiome rejuvenation.


The intestinal microbiome imprints the body’s immunological and physiological systems shortly after birth, and continues to influence inflammation and cellular metabolism throughout life.  The presence of pathogens and pathogenic biofilms in the intestines activate brainstem nuclei and become the basis of anxiety, depression, and chronic inflammatory conditions. We must correct the intestinal microbiome health to improve our overall health. Imperative!


Research demonstrates that improving the intestinal microbiome with rejuvenative therapy helps patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Crohn's Disease is now regarded as a “disruption in the immunological accommodation of the intestinal microbiome,” and studies reveal differences in the microbiome DNA profile between patients with bowel disease and controls that have no disease.


New research elevates the importance of the intestinal microbiome’s influence in baseline human health.  This is particularly true of neurological health and thus is critically important to helping patients with neurological symptoms—not just for brain concerns; but for joint inflammation, pain, disc, and spinal issues. An elevated inflammation set-point via enteric-vagus-central-peripheral nervous systems’ influence over immunological responses undermines corrective adjustments.


Modern research validates the “holistic” model that anything that affects one part of the body, affects the whole person.  The intestinal microbiome is actually an organ on par with the liver and brain. Simply put, anything that affects the intestinal microbiome affects the whole body; and anything that affects the body, affects the microbiome.  An example of that reciprocity is when the body releases stress hormones, the microbiome changes and becomes more inflammatory. This further strengthens the body-mind connection and becomes the body-microbiome-mind connection.


Correction of an altered microbiome is more that tossing some probiotics down the hatch or eating some pasteurized commercial yogurt. It involves a simple strategy that accomplishes three things: 1) reduction of pathogenic species and their biofilms, 2) re-colonization of beneficial species, and 3) reinforcement of beneficial species and their biofilms with prebiotic fibers and probiotic species.


Natural health is all about “correct the cause.” Lowering the inflammatory set-point, opening neuro-pathways (chiropractic adjustment) and freeing the body’s innate vitality to correct symptoms is the epitome of natural health practice.


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Otitoju and Onwurah Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Biomarkers of Pesticide - Contaminated Environment, Pollution Control & Biotechnology Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nigeria.


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