[00:00:00] Detective Ev: What is going on, my friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. My name is Evan Transue, aka Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show on the leaky gut and mental health connection.
I’m going to be flying solo today. I felt pretty inspired to create this one, just to start a conversation and educate some people that might need that education or remind people that need a reminder. We’re going to be talking about leaky gut and its relationship with autoimmune diseases and especially mental health. I gotta start off today’s show by just talking about a testimonial really that we got recently at my own practice.
This is not to shout out our own business. I do not work with clients one-on-one. It is very rare, it is something that I do with family, friends. So, please do not reach out to us thinking that I’m going to do that. Unfortunately, I will not do that.
But what we’re doing right now at my in-person business in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is we have, I’ve mentioned this a million times, so I apologize if you’ve heard this a few times, we have my girlfriend, best friend and his girlfriend going through the course to really be practitioners. This is going to help them kind of get away from their nine to five grinds because they want to transition into stuff that they like a lot more, and also do things from anywhere in the world.
I think that’s one of the biggest allures for them. At the same time, they all like health and are interested in helping people. I mean, who isn’t to some degree. So, it’s kind of a perfect thing.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Similar Symptoms
One of the things that I’ve been doing, because Maddy, my girlfriend, is about to graduate and we’ll have her on the show relatively soon, she has been consulting with some of the clients. To be clear, I know that she’s not a graduated FDN. It’s not that being a graduated FDN gives you any legal standing anyway, so technically there’s nothing that stops you from working with someone just because you haven’t finished the course. We’re not doing anything wrong. But I also think it’s just wise until someone is done with the course to not have them work with super complicated cases.
What we’ve been doing is we have a little Jumpstart Program that we do that uses two things. It is the MRT Food Sensitivity Test and the Metabolic Typing Diet. These things don’t necessarily have anything to do with leaky gut directly because I’m going to be talking about a leaky gut test today, and then, again, the implications with mental and physical health. But I’m mentioning this client testimonial and why they went through this program because it’s just inspiring. It got me thinking about this topic. It got the wheels turning.
What happened is, this person that I know, I met them through a separate work thing. I’ve known them for about five, six years now, probably five. When we first started talking, I was in shock at how similar our symptoms were in terms of the mental health stuff we had dealt with. Except for him, he was still actively dealing with a lot of the stuff, but it was managed fairly well through medication.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Get the Body Healthy Enough
Now that’s great, but obviously most of us have a goal in a perfect world to not use medication. That’s something that is true whether you’re in the functional space or not. If you ask most people whether or not they would want to be required to need a medication for the rest of their life, overwhelmingly, the majority I have talked to say, well, yeah, that’d be great not to use it.
It’s not that as FDNs we get anyone off medication unless you also happen to be a doctor. I suppose you could do that then. But I’m not a doctor so I can’t do that. And no one else at our clinic is a doctor, so they can’t do that.
What we can do though, is help the individual get their body healthy enough that they might realize they don’t need certain medications and they can go consult with their doctor to discuss whether or not those options are right for them. This is not just a cute disclaimer, right? I sound like the end of a commercial right now.
But I mean this quite seriously. If you’re going to be a functional practitioner or a health coach and you don’t have the proper credentials, you need to do this correctly. Medication does help people and there are certain medications that obviously cause severe side effects. There are certain medications that when they don’t work have horrendous consequences for the individual. But guys, we gotta still remember, any medication that is on the market is on the market because it works to some degree.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: A Time and a Place for Medication
This is one I always kind of get myself in trouble for in the functional space. A lot of people will look at me a little funky when I talk about mental health medication because, yes, if you look at some of it, it is some of the worst medication out there. The SSRIs are not particularly great. The benzodiazepines are awful in terms of their potential side effects or consequences. People are like, well, dude, what do you mean that medication’s not a big deal?
I’m saying that it’s not a big deal in the sense that it could be really supporting this person in that season of their life. I mean, what would you rather? Would you rather them going to work or school every single day suffering with severe panic attacks? Would you rather them going to work or school every day suffering with debilitating depression and battling back and forth with suicidal ideation? Because these medications, in some circumstances, can actually help those things.
Now, again, going back to the main point, we can still accept that truth, but also try to help support the person to get to a healthy enough spot in their life where maybe they don’t need these things. That would be ideal.
Anyway, this guy, I’ve known him for about five, six years and we had very similar mental health symptoms in so much that he had a overall good life growing up and still had mental health symptoms.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Good Life but Bad Mental Health
Many of us, when we talk to someone who has been through very traumatic experiences or even abuse, even if you’re not a mental health professional, you can still use your head and think, yeah, I see why that person is struggling mentally. They had this really bad thing happen to them or set of things, and now they have mental health problems as a result. That’s kind of common sense, even for the lay person.
What’s a little trickier and highly stigmatized, honestly, is the idea that someone could have an overall subjectively good life, or even objectively good, I guess, and yet still have severe mental health symptom. This has cause for a lot of confusion, but I’ve seen it in myself, and I’ve seen it in so many people, especially our youth. This is happening all the time.
Unfortunately, society approaches mental health in such a way that you have to put one thing in to get one thing out. The abuse or something has to go in, or the trauma has to go in before you can get the mental health issue out. When you take away that part of the equation and you’re just left with the result being the mental health issues, there’s a lot of, ah, come on, maybe you’re being dramatic. Or come on, it can’t really be that bad, or you can’t be depressed, you can’t have anxiety. You’re just stressed.
I’m sure in some cases, some of the time, those can be true. But there are real people out there that meet the diagnostic criteria and have received diagnoses such as myself, that feel like everything’s going pretty well, but something’s not going well mental health wise.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Starting with MRT & Metabolic Typing
Him and I talked for a long time. We’ve been on multiple calls about this stuff. He’s not a hard client to work with by any means. This is a friend of mine at this point. But he was skeptical. He had a healthy level of skepticism and things would kind of fall through the cracks. To his credit, I think what was happening is he doesn’t know many people like me who have dealt with these symptoms and then overcome them through natural means and lifestyle changes. I don’t think he’s seeing that that often.
Well, finally what happened is, I guess the in-person business probably helps out. There’s some credibility there. We have a bigger team now. I don’t know what, but something along the lines of that pushed him over the edge and made him realize, okay, I actually want to give this a shot.
So, what he did is he started out on our basic program, again, MRT and Metabolic Typing Diet. Now, I thought it was totally appropriate to have Maddy work with him, even not being graduated. He understands that; it’s not like it’s a secret because those are two of the simpler tests. It’s a good thing for her to start with. We’ll consult privately before she goes over the results in person with him and we can figure this out.
What happened to this guy is we found some sensitivities, don’t get me wrong, we found he was eating completely wrong for his metabolic type, and so we told him what we thought would be best.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Getting Great Results
He decided to implement it, and mind you, he did not even implement it perfectly. Actually, I would say he only implemented at about 60% to 70%. Yet, within two weeks, between the consults, I overheard from the other room cause Maddy and I live together, that this guy was feeling tremendously better.
Surprised, I thought like I was hearing parts, but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure if I heard it correctly. So, I walk into the other room where Maddy’s doing the consult with this guy. I just hear him going through this entire testimonial of, I can’t believe how good I feel. I’m not getting these anger spells, not being stuck in bed all morning, and able to get through my workday. And some days I find I accidentally didn’t eat for several hours.
Now we’re not recommending that, but he had to eat frequently, and he felt very hangry if he didn’t get his meals. He was so shocked that he could go for hours without eating, and yet still feel pretty good and not even notice. That’s how good he felt.
So, this is a guy who at one point in his life had very severe suicidal ideations, and for the last eight or nine years has predictably needed medication at around the same time every single year for a few months, at the very least, to help him get through that season. Yet two weeks’ worth of changes when we didn’t even get to run all the FDN labs and he’s choosing to only do this at a 60% or 70% compliancy rate, and those are the results that he got.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Another Component to Mental Health
Is that how this is going to go with every client under those circumstances? No, not necessarily. In fact, I know it won’t because I’ve seen it done before and that doesn’t happen like that. But what I’m trying to say is that there are so many people out here that have these different components to their mental health challenges that they are never told about, and so they never think about this and never connect it.
These might be our brothers and sisters out there with severe suicidal ideations, thinking about, or even attempting, or unfortunately even successfully taking their own life. I mean the word “successfully” there very loosely. Yet they just needed to make some dietary changes.
Now the dietary changes can be pretty broad. So, the reason I’m focusing on leaky gut today is because leaky gut is something that is very mainstream. You can hear a lot of practitioners talking about it. But one of the things I think we really excel at as FDNs is being able to understand leaky gut.
There’s not a lot of people that can actually explain this to you in an intelligent way. I am sure there are people out there who can explain it in an even more intelligent way than I can. I’m trying to give you some useful information today, something that you could perhaps even share with a client or potential client of yours. It would be something that they could at least digest overall, no pun intended, very crappy pun. They could have their mindset changed a little bit about how to address the mental health side of things. So, let’s get into leaky gut and how to test for this.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: What Leaky Gut Is
When we are talking about leaky gut, we need to define what it actually is that we’re referring to. Many people can’t even give you a basic definition.
For the sake of our conversation today, what we’re talking about when we say leaky gut is we’re talking about direct damage to the epithelial cell layer of the gut lining. The epithelial cell layer is that outermost layer.
You can very easily find pictures of this online. In fact, I will put in the show notes a picture that I like. It’s a cartoon, it’s very simple. But it is something that’ll help you get a visual, and I highly recommend taking the two seconds to click on it. You don’t have to follow along with me, but what you can do is just get that visual. Then if you’re listening for the rest of your car ride, or while cooking food, you have an idea of what I’m going to be getting at here. I’ll actually take a second to pull that up myself.
Now what you should see in the top left corner of this image, if you clicked on the link, is Dr. Ax. That is for Dr. Josh Ax. Shout out to him. He has this cool little diagram here, and it’s not as complicated as it could be, but it’s as complicated as it probably needs to be in terms of, again, helping a client in an effective way or just helping you get an understanding of this. When we’re talking about leaky gut, this is what you want to visualize. Let’s talk about what all these moving parts are.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Dealing with Toxic Exposures
On the outside, on the upper end of this, you have things like toxins, those are labeled. You have the microorganisms, which could be bacteria, parasites, or whatever. You have food particles like gluten. All this stuff are things that we’re exposed to on a daily basis.
I mean, we’re exposed to toxins on a daily basis, maybe not a parasite every single day, but certainly bacteria, definitely gluten. You’re going to interact with these things every single day that you exist, assuming that you don’t live in a bubble. Now, that’s fine. That’s not the problem in and of itself, but we’ll talk about how that can become problematic when we’re dealing with leaky gut.
The next thing we want to look at here, and if you look on the left, you’ll see mucosal membrane cells. That is referring to those pudgy little pink things that have what looks like hair on the top of each of them, or these little fingers. That’s your epithelial cell layer. That’s what we were talking about before. These are the outermost cells of the gut lining.
When we say leaky gut, when we say intestinal permeability, what we’re talking is this. Now a leaky gut would probably never actually look like this diagram, but it kind of helps us paint the picture. Because in this diagram, you see on the left side that cells look great, they’re totally close together, everything looks cool. Then when you go to the right, you see that clearly, even if you don’t know much about this, which you probably know something, certainly more than the average person, you can see what we already mean by leakiness. The cells are kind of split apart and things are getting through.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Nice and Tight Spaces Needed
Most likely if someone’s gut was leaky, you would be seeing this as an issue throughout the whole gut, not a few cells look fantastic and a few cells look terrible. There’s also a bit more to this, which is not expressed in this diagram, but I do think is worth mentioning.
Then on the final part there, of course you have the bloodstream. That’s what the red is, and it’s showing all these things getting into there. So, let’s break this down.
When you have a healthy gut lining, it does in fact look like the left side of the diagram. That is called the tight junctions. Well, the tight junctions can be loose. It’s still called that, even if, I guess they’re not tight. But they start out as tight junctions. Those are the spaces in between the cells, and they should be, as the name implies, tight. The cells are nice and close together. It would be pretty hard for stuff to get through.
Although, to be clear, just to be accurate with our science here, our gut lining is always somewhat permeable. You’re never going to really have a gut that is perfectly tight and doesn’t allow anything in, especially not in today’s world. That’s unrealistic.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Adding on Certain Stressors
The gut is also interesting in that it gets damaged and heals rapidly. When you eat food, even if you ate the cleanest, most organic, best food for you ever meal, you are still going to temporarily damage the gut lining. How nature designed this is that when you stop eating, otherwise known as fasting, our cells in the gut actually heal rapidly. In fact, it only takes a few days before those cells completely turn over.
That’s why if someone goes and does a 72-hour water fast, which I’m not advocating for, you should always check that kind of stuff with your doctor, I’m just saying if hypothetically someone did that, I’ve done one in the past, then you are going to have some really serious gut restoration, assuming that they introduce food back in a slow and steady way.
Don’t just go eat a pound of beef after 72 hours of fasting. That would be a terrible idea. You need to get the digestive juices flowing again in a progressive manner. You can’t just load up on a pound of beef afterwards. That would be a little rough, almost even counterproductive, I’m assuming.
So, you have these tight junctions, they’re looking good over there, everything’s going well. But as certain stressors add on in our lives, that’s when the gut becomes leaky. Now, we just said the gut is sensitive enough that even when you have things like normal food, healthy meals, the gut actually temporarily becomes more permeable.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Allowing Direct Access
So, what happens when modern people are eating all day long as a whole? I know there’s obviously still starvation in the world, but most of us have the opposite problem where we’re eating all day long.
We have a lot of mental stress that’s very chronic. We do know mental stress, any form of stress actually, does lead to increased permeability of the gut. Over exercise can lead to permeability of the gut. Glyphosate can lead to permeability of the gut.
We’re not really doing so well as a society in terms of addressing this whole leaky gut thing. And this is a main player in chronic disease. I wouldn’t say it’s a main cause, but it’s a main player in chronic disease. The whole cause thing kind of gets misrepresented a bit in the world of functional and natural medicine.
As all of these stressors are hitting us faster and faster and more and more consistently, that’s when we’re seeing the right side of the diagram. What will happen is those tight junctions are not so tight anymore.
Now you have this paracellular transport, which means it’s going kind of in between these cells. And you can already see the obvious problem here. Again, our body’s already getting exposed to these toxins and microorganisms, except now we don’t have these tight junctions to protect ourselves from it. What happens is the gut lining spreads apart and now these things have direct access to your bloodstream and they’re going to go right in.
Well to the body, and this is correct that the body does this, it sees it as a foreign invader. It says, this is bad. We don’t want this. We need to do something about this, and it starts creating reactions.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: The Vicious Cycle
This is a very common way for people to develop food sensitivities. Even though we use a food sensitivity test, and I stand by this completely, one of the reasons you might hear functional practitioners condemning food sensitivity tests is because they make the argument that if you heal the gut, a lot of the food sensitivities might just go away on their own because this food is no longer getting to the bloodstream.
I hear what they’re saying. I don’t disagree that it’s possible. They’re just missing a few factors there. One is the fact that ironically, the stuff that is now going through the cells and into the bloodstream is now contributing to leaky gut, so you have this vicious cycle.
The other side of that is, healing leaky gut is quite complex. I mean, this isn’t something that you do in a few weeks necessarily. Definitely not for most of the clients that we take on as FDNs or for most Americans, for example. You’re going to need a little more than just a cute little gut protocol to actually do this.
So, in theory, it may be correct to say get the leaky gut addressed, and you’re not going to have to worry about most of those food sensitivities. But in my opinion, from what I know after all these years of doing this, it’s an overly simplified argument. I don’t think that makes sense or is the best route for people, especially if they’re already spending money on the other labs.
I mean, what’s another few hundred on a food sensitivity test? It also depends on what food sensitivity test are we talking about. I could hear them on that side too. Anyway, I digress.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: A System-Wide Inflammatory Response
Now this stuff’s going into the bloodstream and you’re having these immune reactions. This is a very common way that people develop autoimmunity.
You can see the stuff at the bottom of the chart too, food intolerances, like I already said, there’s an issue too with the blood-brain barrier breach. We’ll talk about that in just a few minutes. And then you have systematic inflammation. This is causing a system-wide bodily inflammatory response. Then on top of all of this, you have nutrient malabsorption. You’re not getting the stuff that you need to get.
So, when we think about leaky gut, this is kind of the diagram that we want to think about. The one thing I will add is you’ll notice on the leaky gut side, the right side, they still have the hair-like/finger-like things on top of the cells completely normal. That’s not really what would happen in reality. In reality, those hair-like things would start to get broken down and you would have what’s called a blunted brush border. This is particularly bad in individuals who have celiac disease.
For those that don’t know, celiac disease is a very common autoimmune condition. It’s a strange autoimmune condition, in my opinion, because it is particularly relevant to gluten, although there are some other things that people talk about, and I think that’s probably correct. But as of right now, celiac would be defined as when people consume gluten, they have an autoimmune reaction directly to their gut lining.
It’s very profound and much more significant than even people who are just sensitive to gluten like myself. It’s kind of strange what can happen to these individuals. Again, we’ll touch on that more in just a second.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: A Blunted Brush Border
But they will really have that blunted brush border. In fact, it’s so dramatic that one of the only guaranteed ways to get a true Celiac diagnosis is, in addition to the blood testing, they’ll actually do an endoscopy. They’ll go in and get a biopsy. When they’re down there, they’ll also look around and see if that brush border is just completely shot, like if there are no hair-like things left, there’s no finger-like things left. When we’re looking at that, we know that this person’s had an immune reaction for a really long time.
So again, that’s normally going to be a case of celiac. However, you will see those hairlike things damaged, in the meantime, in other people just not to the same degree usually as celiacs. That’s very important for the nutrient absorption thing. That’s one of those things that those hair-like things do. It’s very problematic to not have those operating in the way that they should be.
With that said, the way that we test for this at FDN is actually one of our core labs that we teach in the course. I love this. It is our Mucosal Barrier Assessment. We actually only look at four markers on here. We look at something called zonulin, DAO, histamine, and then a DAO to histamine ratio. This is kind of a brief overview today. But again, we’re connecting all of this to the mental health side and things that we were talking about earlier in the podcast.
Mucosal Barrier Assessment: Measuring Zonulin
Let’s break down the zonulin thing really quick. I’m reading right from the sheet. We’re going to get a little technical and then I’ll pop in with my 2 cents.
Zonulin is a protein found in intestinal cells with production and release mimicking the effect of certain bacterial toxins on the tight junctions of the small intestines. Remember what those tight junctions were; it is that thing keeping those cells together.
Zonulin and a small family of closely related peptides bind to specific receptors only on the luminal surface of the intestinal epithelial (that epithelial cell layer) and triggers a cascade of biochemical processes that induces tight junction disassembly and a subsequent permeability increase of the intestinal epithelial. This is often referred to as, you guessed it, leaky gut.
When zonulin is high, in layman’s terms, on this test, we can get a good indicator that their gut has been damaged. Is it a direct measurement of that? No. It’s an indirect measurement, because when zonulin goes high, it causes these tight junctions to disassemble. One can make a reasonable assumption that when you see this high on the test, chances are this wasn’t an overnight thing, it wasn’t a temporary thing. Most likely the gut has been leaky for quite some time.
Moving on. Intestinal permeability changes due to zonulin have been implicated in many diseases and dysfunction, notably in celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, but also in others, including the brain, respiratory system, and skin.
It’s kind of interesting to connect these things, especially for me, someone who suffered with acne. And there’s others out there with psoriasis, eczema, whatever, we treat those as a society as skin issues. But how often do people, and their dermatologists, think of this as something going on in the gut?
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: The Dangerous Two-Way Response
Reading on further. The gluten glycoprotein, alpha gliadin, can activate zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity. This generates a two-way response. Not only can fluid exit, but intestinal contents are able to gain entry in the opposite direction into the bloodstream.
This isn’t too complicated when you looked at that chart that we talked about. We have things like gluten and specifically that glycoprotein in it called alpha gliadin, that can activate the zonulin signaling. Remember, this is irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity. This can happen to people who have sensitivities but are not celiac.
Then you have that two-way response. Not only are we allowing the fluid into the gut, which is problematic in and of itself, but more problematic is that the intestinal contents are able to gain entry in the opposite direction. This gliadin/zonulin leakage effect is longer and more pronounced, up to fivefold greater, in the intestinal cells of people with celiac disease. That’s why celiac disease is so bad.
When intestinal tissue is taken from celiac disease patients in remission and from non-celiac disease controls with digestive complaints, results show that celiac disease sufferers may produce up to 30 times as much zonulin as non-celiac disease sufferers and have a threefold greater intestinal permeability even though the non-celiac disease people are still eating diets containing gluten while the celiac disease sufferers have been gluten free for over two years. Isn’t that crazy?
This is why there’s this implication that celiac disease might have more to it than just gluten itself. So, there might be more to it than just gluten itself.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Devastating Results of High Zonulin
It actually says that next in this thing I’m going to read. This strongly suggests that something besides gluten may be contributing to permeability changes in people with celiac disease. It may be that certain types of intestinal dysbiosis, which is improper balance of bacteria and yeast in the intestines, prime genetically susceptible individuals to develop CD, celiac disease, in response to gluten.
In addition, many people who suffer from celiac disease also suffer from other autoimmune disorders. Very true. Increased levels of zonulin are implicated in corticosteroid use as well as the pathogenesis of insulin dependent diabetes, Type 1 specifically, and juvenile non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. There is also evidence of its implication in multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, skin diseases, as we mentioned, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.
Zonulin also plays an important role in permeability changes in the brain, working as a gatekeeper, not only in the intestine, but also at the blood-brain barrier. Remember, this was a key part in the mental health thing. This is clearly in the evidence when there is an intake of foods containing the alpha gliadin or similar proteins. The resulting high zonulin levels leads to disassembly of the tight junctions in the vascular epithelium, permitting many molecules, including toxins, to slip through the blood-brain barrier, resulting in activation of a brain inflammatory response.
Neuroinflammation. What have we talked about before on this podcast? Neuroinflammation seems to be more related to mental health issues than the whole serotonin theory. I do believe that there is an aspect there, but I think that’s an effect, not a cause. And when I say it’s an effect, I mean it’s a cause of the mental health symptoms. But it’s an effect of something deeper like neuroinflammation then leading to the imbalances.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Is It More than the Serotonin Aspect?
This is my theory, by the way, so don’t go around saying that this is a hundred percent true. This part is a theory that I have and I’m just sharing with you. I encourage you to challenge it and think through these things.
But the reason I suggest that is because, and this was one of the coolest studies I ever found, because I love sharing this with people, and I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth talking about again. There was a meta-analysis done with about 30 studies, and it was maybe 26, showed the efficacy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Naproxen in the short-term treatment of mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety.
Now tell me this, how on earth would NSAIDs help mental health issues unless there was an inflammatory aspect to the mental health issues? Maybe when someone is inflamed, this would make sense, I believe, they’re not processing food as well, or they’re not able to produce serotonin as well. They’re not able to utilize the nutrients that they’re getting to produce serotonin or a combination of all of those things, that could be happening. But there seems to be something there that’s missing from the mainstream narrative that when you address the inflammatory side or cause inflammation, it seems to lead people to have mental health issues, which shouldn’t have anything to do with the whole serotonin theory. I hope that makes sense.
So, zonulin is something that we check for. And this is the last part I’ll read about zonulin. It says, the resulting symptoms may include, this is from the blood-brain barrier thing, may include anxiety, depression, brain fog, slow mental processing, and emotional disturbances.
Mucosal Barrier Assessment: DAO and Histamine
Over time, this can even progress to neurodegeneration, which might be things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia as a general factor. Kind of crazy what this can do, right? So, we test for this to figure out where this individual might be.
Now, if they have some type of gluten sensitivity, it wouldn’t be uncommon for this to be super high, but you’ll see this high in people all the time, even when they’re not consuming gluten. There’s other things that we can do there, right?
The other ones I’m going to go through a little quicker. But we also look at, like I said, histamine and DAO. DAO is diamine oxidase. Histamine is a nitrogenous compound, known to be involved in 23 different physiological functions, which include local immune responses, neurotransmission, as well as regulation of physiological function in the GI tract.
Histamine either is stored or it’s rapidly metabolized and inactivated by either of these two enzymes. So, you can have histamine and methyltransferase, or DAO, which is again, diamine oxidase. The latter is a principle enzyme observed in the digestive tract. Okay? So that’s why we’re looking at these two things together.
Then when we test histamine together with DAO levels, we are provided with important information that is not revealed with standard food sensitivity tests. The latter is often thought to be the underlying cause of gut inflammation and dysfunction, when in fact the reason may actually be an imbalance of accumulated histamine and the capacity for its degradation by enzymes such as DAO.
Mucosal Barrier Assessment: DAO to Histamine Ratio
So what does this mean? It means that when we’re looking at histamine and DAO, the reason that the fourth marker on this test is that DAO to Histamine ratio is because, in theory, you could have histamine super elevated, but if the DAO can match it, it’s not that this is great, but at least the person might be getting some relief.
When that histamine goes super high and the DAO can’t match it, now you got someone who doesn’t feel so good. And what might some of those symptoms be? They’re things that you might be familiar with.
We’ve all probably taken an antihistamine at some point in our life. These would be things like Benadryl. Some of the symptoms could be a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, itching, hives, skin flushing, dizziness or vertigo, headache, migraines, nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramps, gas, diarrhea, abnormal menstrual cycle, shortness of breath, abnormal heart rate, high blood pressure, and severe allergic reactions at the most extreme, which could be anaphylaxis.
I look back, I’m like, dang, I had a lot of these when I was a kid. I always complained about a shortness of breath. It’s just kind of weird to look back and think that this is maybe something that could have been a contributing factor to these mystery symptoms that I had going on. But do you think anyone thought to test this back then? Unfortunately, no.
Other abnormalities may also arise in these areas, okay. You might have issues with memory, body temperature, circadian rhythm, and even learning. There’s so much that goes into this.
Do You Like These Kind of Podcasts?
I know so many people that feel like they’re not smart or their brain doesn’t work, and really, they just needed some good testing to figure out what was going on. And it turns out maybe they’re not a genius, but they’re a lot smarter than they thought.
All right. I think that covered just about everything for today. That’s a lot more dense than we typically get on here. Sometimes it’s very story based with information in between. So, I wanted to make sure that we got a little bit nerded out, but I also gave you guys some things to chew.
Again, check out that diagram. It’ll just give you a good visual for what we’re actually working with when we are testing. I will see if I’m allowed to do this, but I’ll also put one of our sample lab reports in the show notes as well, if I’m allowed to post that publicly. I don’t know why I wouldn’t be, but you will see if you have that or not.
If you guys like me kind of going over and connecting certain tests that we do, or even conditions, if you’ll consider leaky gut a condition, to specific things, let me know; I would love to do more of these. This one was super easy for me today simply because I’m passionate about it. But I also just had that inspiration from a client recently, and I thought it was amazing.
Leaky Gut & Mental Health: Share this Possible Life-Saving Message
More people need to know what’s going on here. I talked about leaky gut from a very general perspective, but I hope you caught me highlighting those parts about the blood-brain barrier. That is the part people are missing. Yes, it is true that certain bacteria and fungi can actually contribute to mental health symptoms in and of themselves. I think that’s how a lot of mainstream people, if they talk about this at all, think about this whole gut-brain connection, but it’s a lot more than that.
You do not necessarily need the presence of any terrible bacteria to still have someone suffering with mental health issues, there’s the neuroinflammatory aspect as well. Make sure people know this. Tell them about this, right? Share this podcast with them if you feel inclined. Or share something off YouTube. Let people know that there could be something going on internally that’s leading to the mental health things.
Guys, again, like I was talking about with that client from earlier, I never mean to be dramatic, I’m just trying to inspire action in people because it’s this important. This is a factual statement, I don’t know how many, but I know I can say this as a fact. There are people out there who have taken their own lives because they needed to make some dietary changes, and they needed to address gut health, and other things. We’re getting a little simplified, but we could have helped them. They just never knew it was an option.
So, please make sure you’re sharing this with as many people as possible, or just having conversations. Let them know that it exists. It means a lot to me, and I’m sure it’ll mean the world to them.
I’m looking forward to talking to you guys again soon. We will be back with a very interesting interview next time. We have functional medicine for pets. She was a hit on our Health Space Unmasked event that we did back in early March. You guys will love this one. I’ll see ya then. Thanks for listening.
You can always visit us at functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com.
To listen to other podcasts like this, go to functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/health-detective-podcast/.
To learn more about us, go to functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/about-fdn-functional-testing/.
URL for the LEAKY GUT graphic: www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.squarespace-cdn.com%2Fcontent%2Fv1%2F5cf9b3cdf28b1300010003e6%2F1564364283808-CN7CAX3OVLBF9VGFKDS5%2Fleakygut.jpg%3Fformat%3D1000w&tbnid=1_z_wGD_sGX5pM&vet=1&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jennalongoria.com%2Fblog-archive%2F2017%2F01%2F18%2Fleaky-gut-syndrome-9-signs-you-might-have-it&docid=5Lmlcqm-g8lqvM&w=1000&h=715&hl=en&source=sh%2Fx%2Fim