Did you know that having healthy tight junctions are key to protecting the brain and gut? Watch this video as Dr. Pierre Brunschwig talks about the Leaky Gut and Malabsorption.
Now I spoke to you about gluten related disease, Candida related complex and malabsorption. And how that interplays with our tight junction structures in both the gut and the brain, and we’re going to develop some further concepts about that. But in particular, today we’re going to talk about how to clean out the riffraff.
Restoring the biofilm and removing the tight junction inflammation
Healthy tight junctions are key to protecting the brain and gut.
We talk about cleaning out abnormal organisms in the biofilm, we’re really adding to our ability to remove inflammation and protect the tight junctions and the intestinal line. Because as you may recall that as we protect those tight junctions, we are also protecting the tight junctions in the blood-brain barrier. Healthy tight junctions are key to protecting our gut and our brain. So, gluten related disease, dysbiosis and other tight junction disruptors are important to identify as we want to work with the psychological and cognitive function of our patients.
And remember, we’re in a sea change regarding our understanding of the gut. And we’re moving away from the notion of pathogenics and moving into more the ecology and ecological approach to restoring gut balance.
Tight Junctions: Leaky Gut = Leaky Brain
On the left here, we see an image or a schematic of tight junction complexes, forming a system of basically spot welds that connect the adjacent cells to each other to form a permeable or somewhat permeable, connection between the cells. These tight junctions operate just below the brush border and the biofilm. And on the right, you’ll see all of the different protein elements that would, in some, create these tight junctions.
Zonulin increases permeability of the BBB
We talked about zonulin and its ability to increase permeability in the gut lining. It turns out zonulin has the same effect at the blood-brain barrier. This is a reference indicating that zonulin and inflammatory cytokines can increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Zonulin release by a way of reminding you can be stimulated by enteric infections, and hypoxemia and insulin resistance. Circulating zonulin has the same effect, if you will, in the intestinal lining and the blood-brain barrier.
Tight Junction leak: Three Ways
Autoimmunity tends to aggravate and cause leaking of these tight junctions in two specific ways.
- One, it can stimulate inflammatory cytokines, and it may provoke the production of autoimmune antibodies that target proteins and the tight junction.
- And these create a second level of inflammatory response that causes the tight junctions to leak.
When to Deworm
Don’t wait for a positive stool test because you’ll wait a long time. So worms remain very difficult to find under the microscope and until we have PCR testing or something comparable, we’re going to be thinking about treating presumptively. So, this is common in tropical countries, where deworming is not unusually done every year, or with the onset of a diarrheal disease. If you’re going to do presumptive treatment for worms, consider it for people who’ve had either extensive third world travel, or frequent third world travel, or ill while traveling in a third world country.