You may have been wondering “do I have a leaky gut?” On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about gut permeability and the role that fibre plays in your diet.

two images side by side. the first image depicts a full and healthy pink-coloured mucus membrane with pathogens unable to reach the cells and it is title "fibre-rich diet" the other image is titled "fibre-free diet" and shows a deteriorated mucus layer with pathogens interacting with the cells beneath.

‘If you don’t feed them, they will feed on you.’⁠

Everyone is OBSESSED with ‘leaky gut’ or how I prefer to refer to it – gut permeability. ⁠

Your gut barrier is made your gut microbiota and a few components:⁠
1) Your mucus layer⁠
2) epithelial lining (a single celled lining that makes up your gut wall and selectively allows things to pass through)⁠
3) your lamina propria (a mucosal right behind the epithelial lining where your immune system is housed and things pass through to be absorbed, or an immune response is mounted). ⁠

These layers work together in conjunction with your gut microbiota to regulate what gets through the gut and what doesn’t. ⁠

While we know the gut barrier can be compromised and contribute to disease states there ALWAYS seems to be a pill, potion, supplement regime out there because apparently ‘everyone has leaky gut’. ⁠

💤Tired? Leaky gut.⁠
💩Constipated? Leaky gut.⁠
💰Don’t got enough money in the bank? Leaky gut. ⁠

The REALITY of gut permeability is – we do NOT have a validated test. Which means we certainly don’t have a validated treatment.⁠

Where is the state of science? 🔬⁠
Research has begun to show us the role diet plays in gut permeability. ⁠

In animal models 🐀 we can explore the mechanism of action in which diet plays a role. When rats are fed a fibre devoid diet, it ‘starves’ many of their microbes. However our mucus degrading microbes can thrive in this situation, because they still have fuel – the mucus layer! This leads to a breakdown of the mucus layer, increased gut permeability and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. ⁠

So if you REALLY want to take care of your gut permeability – at this point, it’s really all about getting back to basics and eating enough fibre! Because if your microbes aren’t fed, they’ll feed on you 😉