Lady eating a salad

Intestinal Permeability and Food Intolerance

Rosacea Nutritional Advice

Lisa is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She has been practising nutrition for 12 years across a broad spectrum of health conditions and food intolerances. She has a special interest in Rosacea, and her research, together with hands­on experience, led to the writing of her thesis entitled “The Nutritional Management of Rosacea”.

This week I want to continue from the previous newsletter and cover the subject of Intestinal Permeability and Food Intolerance and their impact on the Rosacea sufferer.

Last week I explained how a simple yeast called Candida can mutate into a pathogenic fungus and penetrate the gut wall, making it leaky or more permeable than normal. There are other causes of leaky gut that I will explain here today.

So What is Intestinal Permeability / Leaky Gut Exactly?

Intestinal permeability is where the protective mucosal surface of the intestines has become damaged by any one or more of a number of factors (see below). The tiny thread like projections of the intestines called villi and microvilli, which move food along the digestive tract and facilitate the absorption of nutrients, become damaged or are destroyed completely. The intestinal lining becomes inflamed, irritated, and very porous, thus allowing toxic material, bacteria, and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream.

The result of this is a gut that ‘leaks.’ This means that larger than normal size molecules can cross the gut wall. When they enter the blood stream our immune system responds as if they were foreign invaders (antigens); it does not recognise them as food, and so creates antibodies to attack the molecules thus identifying foods as ‘enemies’.

This kind of immune response evokes antibody-antigen reactions that create inflammation. The specific antibodies produced in Food Intolerances are called IgG. Food Intolerance Laboratory Testing measures IgG antibodies to a variety of foods and beverages and does so from just a small blood sample.

If we have a leaky gut, we are more likely to develop an intolerance to foods we eat most often as they are more likely to have crossed the protective barrier of the gut wall (statistical advantage) through such leaks, and consequently, we develop intolerance to everyday foods.

If one has IgG antibodies to any food and continues to eat that food, one is essentially provoking an immune response and suffering the subsequent inflammatory responses that reach much further beyond the gut wall. This is why it is crucial to be tested for IgG antibodies to foods and drinks, if your health profiles indicate it, AND to avoid any foods identified by the test.

I always look for indicators of Food Intolerance in a client with Rosacea and recommend testing as a first action because by eliminating offending foods and healing a leaky gut, one is effectively reducing the burden on immunity and so brings about inflammation control. Additionally, and more seriously, if left untreated, leaky gut may lead to more serious health issues including malabsorption of nutrients, immune abnormalities and autoimmune disease. The immune system goes awry when it is repeatedly hounded by ‘enemies’ which are merely food particles too big to be recognised and an awry immune system attacks your own healthy cells.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

While there is no single cause of leaky gut, contributing factors may include chronic stress, impaired digestion, Dysbiosis (a disruption in the balance of beneficial versus non-beneficial bacteria), poor diet, parasites, Candida overgrowth, environmental contaminants, chemotherapy, radiation, and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Ibuprofen). One of the more common causes of leaky gut is the continued consumption of foods that can be highly irritating to the intestinal lining. These include wheat and other gluten grains such as rye, barley and most oats, corn, dairy from cow’s, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), and processed foods.

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in grains, sugar, (GMO’S), and conventional dairy products made from Cow’s milk.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms of Leaky Gut?

Those suffering from leaky gut may display a wide variety of symptoms, including:

• Abdominal pain or cramps

• Anxiety / Nervousness / Feeling Overwhelmed

• Chronic Fatigue

• Depression

• Diarrhoea immediately after eating

• Constipation

• Food & Chemical sensitivities

• Gas and bloating

• Indigestion

• Joint pain and stiffness

• Tooth decay

• Liver dysfunction

• Malnutrition

• Muscle aches and pains

• Poor Immunity

• Poor memory / concentration

• Psoriasis/Eczema

• Acne/Rosacea

Other Conditions associated with leaky gut include:

• Autism

• Alcoholism

• Multiple Sclerosis

• Fibromyalgia

• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome

• Asthma

• Accelerated ageing


• Schizophrenia

• Colon cancer

If you suspect you may have leaky gut or Food Intolerances, contact [email protected] for a comprehensive analysis of your health profiles.

This Week’s Quote:

“It is time for all of us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.” Vince Lombardi