In my pratice as a registered dietitian my patients sometimes ask me was the gut barrier is. On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about the gut barrier!
What is your ‘gut barrier’?
Your gut barrier is a multi-layer barrier that plays an extremely important role in our health.
It’s made up of:
1) gut microbiota – the microbes in our gut
2) mucus layer – a layer of protection
3) epithelial lining – a single cell, semi-permeable lining
4) lamina propria – where our immune system in our gut is housed
This layer is alive and dynamic – changing and responding to different environmental conditions.
A well-functioning gut barrier is essential for health and wellbeing, and compromise of the gut barrier is found in conditions like IBD, celiac, and liver disease (and associated with so many more!)
There are many markers being looked at to measure intestinal permeability including markers in the blood, urine or feces – though none are clinically validated yet, and appear to possibly vary depending on the condition driving them!
🔐What impacts our gut barrier function? 🔐
Research has found there’s plenty of lifestyle and dietary factors that do, or could influence our gut barrier function.
1) nutrition (fibre, phytochemicals, and more!)
All things we can make positive changes toward – but also definitely don’t need to be black and white about it either.
Because here’s the thing.
Lifestyle is not the only driver of intestinal permeability; genetics, environmental factors, and disease appear to all contribute – so it’s complicated and not as simple as ‘if I do everything right – I can prevent any gut barrier issues’ (something I’m seeing ‘sold’ a lot online unsurprisingly!)
Questions about your gut barrier?