The GUT is responsible for 90% of the body's total immunity. Maintaining a health gut barrier is thus critical to health and wellness. If gut integrity is compromised, it results in a 'leaky gut'. Amongst others, toxins , pathogens and chemicals then leak into the blood stream. This is know as Metabolic Endotoxemia.
Metabolic Endotoxemia causes inflammation in the gut and systemically. This results in many chronic diseases as explained in detail below.
LPS is a long carbohydrate made up of fat and sugar that is in the cell wall of bacteria. It is also know as an endotoxin.
Endotoxins are the debris created when bacteria are killed off. “Endo” means within the bacteria. It is not a toxin secreted by the bacteria. It is a toxin that is part of the bacteria’s cell wall - a bacterial coating. When the bacteria is killed off and is disintegrating, this cell wall coating breaks into pieces. These pieces are the “LPS”. These pieces of LPS can leak through a permeable gut into the bloodstream and cause a massive inflammatory response.
The extreme severity of the inflammatory damage is because the triggers are two-fold. Firstly, the infiltration of this endotoxin LPS from our gut into our circulatory system is one of the most toxic things that happens to us. Secondly, the “leakiness”, the porous structure of the damaged gut wall that allows for a free flow passage of this pathology. LPS is referred to as a toxin because it is far more toxic than smoking, drinking, or than any carcinogen that you can ingest from food.
Metabolic endotoxemia (ME) is a condition that is estimated to affect an extremely high percentage of the western population. Leaky gut is the old street term for ME-LPS. This is not to be confused with ME as a label for chronic fatigue syndrome. The “toxemia” aspect of the name implies a toxin that can cause a systemic toxic effect within the body that is measurable. You can measure it with biomarkers and through inflammation. The reason it is called “endo” toxemia is because the toxin actually comes from within, from the gut. It is not a toxin that we derive from the outside world. Most simply put- “Endotoxemia” simply means high levels of endotoxins in the blood.
Health Implications of Metabolic Endotoxemia
Metabolic Endotoxemia is linked to an extensive array of medical conditions. The research confirms that markers of gut leakiness or permeability with the presence of LPS are dramatically elevated in correlation with depression, autism, chronic fatigue, infertility, low testosterone, obesity, rapid weight gain and the inability to lose weight, type 2 diabetes, chronic constipation, atherosclerosis, the brain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, general cognitive decline, brain fog, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and inflamed joints, sepsis, organ failure and multiple autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Hashimoto’s disease, MS, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Celiac disease among many others.
The four primary areas of concern are:
Increased levels of fatigue invariably accompany all the above.
If LPS enters your circulatory system, it firstly creates a massive inflammatory immune response, both at the local site of the gut where it is escaping, and systemically wherever it goes and chooses to embed itself. Secondly, LPS suppresses our anti-inflammatory responses. Even low-dose endotoxins can suppress the cellular anti-inflammatory protective mechanisms and have severely damaging consequences.
This auto-immune activation and subsequent inflammation can occur anywhere in the body - leaky gut signs and symptoms occurs locally at the site - but damage frequently occurs at sites far removed from the intestines- such as the blood brain barrier and our joints.
The human brain is inseparable from the human gut microbiome. The definition of the human microbiome is “the collection of microorganisms which live on us”. The focus in this article is the microorganisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract - referred to as the gut microbiome- because they form one unit with the brain having developed embryologically from the same developmental molecule, from the same site-where one went up and the other went down.
When two cells originate from the same place,
they always retain a memory for each other. The gut microbiome has direct
communication to the brain via a bi-directional highway. There are 400 times
the number of messages coming from the microbiome to the brain than from the
brain to the body. How you treat your gut bacteria is going to affect not only
your gut but your brain and the rest of your body.
Not many people are aware of this statistic:
As a result, it is accurate to say that the microbes in our gut control these 4 main brain chemicals:
Ninety percent of the optimal function or dysfunction of these four neurotransmitters, the cornerstone of our happiness and wellbeing and how we relate to the world, is under the direct control of our gut health. Our gut health is largely dictated by the degree of damage inflicted by LPS /Metabolic Endotoxemia.
The dysfunction arising from the permeability in our gut leads to the LPS being able to go from the gut into the circulatory system, eventually ending up in the brain. It is found that the LPS commonly ends up embedding itself in the many different compartments of the brain like the amygdala and hippocampus. The inflammatory cytokines from the auto-immune activation end up attacking these parts of the brain, creating plaques. These plaques start eating away at brain tissue. A ground-breaking study has shown how in this scenario we start losing brain function. One of the most common debilitating symptoms of LPS is memory loss, extrapolating into senile dementia and Alzheimer’s. With the current research that is underway, in time LPS/ME may prove to be undoubtedly the no 1 trigger for memory loss.
So how exactly does LPS cause depression and anxiety? Our immune system is programmed to identify these LPS fragments as a foreign invader and manufactures inflammatory cytokines to fight them. This mechanism that explains the Gut -Brain connection.
Memory and sleep problems are also classic symptoms because from this bacteria overgrowth, the previously described inflammatory process lowers the neurotransmitters in the brain. As a rule, the more inflamed your gut becomes, the higher the correlation with increased brain damage.
As mentioned above, 90% of the serotonin is produced in the gut. The specific cell in the gut that produces serotonin is called an enterochromaffin cell (EC cell). The chief stimulators of these EC cells to generate serotonin are the spore forming bacteria found in Florish. These spores have been found to produce up to seven types of neurotransmitters. Research shows that one of the strains in Florish, Bacillus Coagulans, is associated with bringing down clinical depression, and at the same time alleviating IBS. There is an extremely high association between IBS and clinical depression.
A study that was published by the American Diabetic Association that showed, once this LPS endotoxin enters your body and interacts with your fat cells, it actually causes the fat cells to swell, and as a consequence you put on fat. Most weight gain is not from the process of adding more fat cells. Weight gain is specifically from the swelling of existing fat cells. All indications are that LPS drives this function. The net result is a marked expansion of your current fat stores and you end up looking fatter. Metabolic Endotoxemia is a powerful driving force for weight gain. At the same time, it is driving the loss of muscle mass. The net result is that weight loss becomes extremely difficult.
Further studies have shown that weight gain and metabolic diseases are closely linked to LPS/ME, where people who are obese and have been overeating, or who have Type 2 diabetes tend to have much worse endotoxic response than people without these conditions. Several preliminary studies show that Metabolic Endotoxemia actually induces obesity and diabetes. Once obesity develops, it becomes an increasing source of inflammation. This continued propagation of inflammation by adipocytes is the link between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. So once weight is gained, adipocytes perpetuate the low-grade inflammation and a vicious cycle begins. Because LPS is a big driver of change in fat morphology, treating this condition successfully can have a dramatic effect on reducing cellulite.
A new phenomenon on the hormonal health front is where testosterone levels start to decline quite dramatically from our late 30’s and early 40’s. Symptomatically, men can develop gynecomastia (man boobs), put on weight easily, lose muscle mass and have a lower sex drive. This also increases the risk for diabetes, dementia and heart disease. Testosterone production is affected so dramatically because we are in this state of constant chronic immune activation. Studies show that when the innate immune response is activated, our body cuts down testosterone production.
It is important that people understand the link
or connection between autoimmune disease and leaky gut (or
Metabolic Endotoxemia as it is now called). As particles, especially LPS
particles, leak out through the permeable gut lining, they move to other parts
of the body. The immune system will view these particles as threats and send
out cells to fight back, which is the perfect model of what an autoimmune
condition is. Every time an unwanted particle such as LPS or another
pathogen enters the bloodstream, an immune response is triggered. So, if the
gut continues to be hyperpermeable, the immune system will be on constant
attack. Thus, when a leaky gut is not healed, it leads to continuous and
body-wide inflammation. This autoimmunity chronic activation of the innate
immune system in various tissues leads to the by-stander effect, where
“self-tissues” inadvertently become targeted by the immune system.
It is common for people with chronic GI
inflammation to develop autoimmune ailments such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid
arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s, SLE, Parkinson’s and
ulcerative colitis. However, what must be borne in mind is that these
aforementioned names given to these diseases are simply classifications for the
symptoms themselves, rather than a true diagnosis of what causes the disease
and how to treat it. The treatments for LPS/ Metabolic Endotoxemia as outlined
in this paper is the latest cutting-edge treatment for addressing the “cause”
This intestinal epithelial lining of the gut forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, such as the presence of LPS particles from Metabolic Endotoxemia, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of these LPS particles and other toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the blood stream creating a “leaky gut.”
Several recent reports have shown that specifically the Bacillus family of probiotics and Colostrum can reverse the leaky gut damage by enhancing the production of cells medically known as “tight junction proteins”.