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The Intestinal Permeability test, also referred to as a “leaky gut” test, is a precise and non-invasive method for assessing gastrointestinal mucosal integrity.  The lining of the gut wall is often subjected to a wide variety of insults from substances such as alcohol, caffeine, spices, medicines and environmental chemicals. The impact of chronic stress may also affect the permeability of the gut wall over time.


What is Intestinal Permeability?


The mucosal lining of the small and large intestines act as a barrier to the penetration of toxic compounds, molecules and bacteria into the bloodstream. Elaborate immunological and mechanical processes for excluding harmful dietary antigens, bacterial products and viable microbial organisms are present at the mucosal level.


Intestinal injury, intestinal inflammation, abnormalities of the immune system or abnormalities in the mechanical barriers lead to enhanced uptake of inflammatory mediators and pathogenic bacteria.


In the past few years, there has been considerable interest in changes to gut permeability as the association between intestinal inflammation, increased permeability and auto-immune disease has become well established.


Conditions associated with Altered Intestinal Permeability


*  Accelerated Ageing

*  Acne


*  Arthritis

*  Autism

*  Auto-immune diseases

*  Chemotherapy

*  Coeliac Disease

*  Crohn’s Disease

*  Eczema

*  Failure to thrive

*  Food allergy

*  Food sensitivity

*  Giardiasis

*  Inflammatory Bowel Disease

*  Inflammatory Joint Disease

*  Intestinal Infections

*  Irritable Bowel syndrome

*  Malabsorption

*  Malnutrition

*  NSAID Enteropathy

*  Parasite infections

*  Psoriasis

*  Ulcerative Colitis  



The Intestinal Permeability test


The Intestinal Permeability test directly measures the ability of two-non metabolised sugar molecules, mannitol and lactulose, to permeate the intestinal mucosa. Measuring the recovery of these sugars in the urine accurately reflects the extent of permeability or malabsorption.


The measurement of passive permeability using the dual sugar technique (lactulose and mannitol) is the most useful, precise and non-invasive method for assessing mucosal integrity in the small bowel.



This test is also suitable for children between the ages of 4-12 years. 


How is the test done?


An oral liquid containing lactulose and mannitol is consumed.  One urine specimen is taken from a six hour urine collection and analysed for the ratio of the percentage recovery of lactulose and mannitol.


Treatment Considerations


Correcting the altered permeability may have an immediate effect on the relief of symptoms and facilitate the gradual improvement in the underlying condition.





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