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7 Food Additives That Cause a Leaky Gut

Written By Arkansas Physical Health & Rehab on June 26, 2020


Food Additives

There is No Doubt!!

The research is clear. And we see it in the office every day. The Standard American Diet causes the most prevalent diseases that people experience in their daily lives and ultimately die from.

Today I want to talk about food additives. A recent article from June 2015 in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews looked at how food additives lead to intestinal permeability (or leaky gut )and this leads to Autoimmune Diseases.

Autoimmune diseases are among the fastest growing diseases in our country and others. They have shown a steady rate of increase over the past 3 decades, especially in Western cultures, and it’s now estimated that 25-50 million Americans suffer, making it more prevalent than cancer or heart disease. billion.

Multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases (mainly Crohn's disease), systemic lupus erythematosus, primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune thyroiditis, hepatitis and rheumatic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis), and celiac disease are several examples. Over 100 different diagnoses have been considered autoimmune in their mechanism.1 And this does not include everything. This is just a list of some of the more serious ones.

The standard medical approach to this problem of autoimmunity is to use various drugs to shut down your immune system. This may help to relieve the immediate symptoms, however, this is a very bad idea in the long run. Many of these medications have been shown to increase your risk of serious infections and cancers and various other health problems that your immune is supposed to prevent.

The job of the gut is to let the good stuff in (vitamins, nutrients) and keep the bad stuff out.

Your gut is lined by a layer of cells called the gut epithelium. It’s this thin layer of cells that lets the good stuff pass through and keeps the bad stuff out! When this layer becomes damaged, bad stuff gets into the bloodstream and the immune system will then recognize this and mount an immune attack. I always use the analogy of a screened-in porch. The job of a screen is to let the good stuff in (fresh air and cool breeze) while keeping the bad stuff out (mosquitos, bugs). A screen is a very simple yet very effective layer of protection against these things, just like your gut lining. But what happens if somebody is poking holes in your screen? The good stuff still gets in, but so does the bad stuff. This is what is called a Leaky Gut, and it’s at the root of many disease processes today, including autoimmune diseases. Many factors influence the integrity of your screen, or gut lining (excessive carbohydrates, sugar, stress, alcohol, antibiotic use, oral contraceptives, etc.) but I want to share with you specifically these 7 food additives that research has proved cause leaky gut and will absolutely contribute to autoimmune disease.

    1. Sugar. I always put sugar as number one on my lists of foods to avoid, and it’s no coincidence that research studies did the same. Sugar fuels inflammation, it feeds cancer, it feeds candida and bad bacteria in the gut, and according to this study, it pokes holes in your gut lining.

    2. Salt*. “Cereals and baked goods are the single largest contributor to sodium intake in the US and UK...The salt content in processed foods can be 100x higher than homemade meals.” Added salt not only increases intestinal permeability, but increases inflammation often associated with autoimmune diseases. *This is ADDED salt into PROCESSED foods, it’s not the same as dietary sea salt at home!

    3. Emulsifiers and Surfactants. “....widely used in the bakery, confectionary, dairy, fat and oil, sauces, butter and margarine, ice cream, cream liqueurs, meat, coffee, gum, beverages, chocolate and convenient food industries...numerous synthetic surfactant food additives have been shown to increase the intestinal permeability through paracellular and/or transcellular mechanisms.” These are seen on the label as things like lecithins (soy lecithin is in everything) or polysorbates (polysorbate-80 is also an ingredient in several vaccines).

    4. Organic Solvents. “The organic solvent chemicals are genuinely dangerous. Most of them have warning information on the labels as poisons. Examples of organic solvents used in industry are: benzene, xylene, toluene, turpentine, acetone, methyl/ethyl acetates, hexane, ethanol and several detergents…..Some nutrients like glutamine and polyphenols protect TJ barrier integrity (gut lining), in contrast, several organic solvents used in the food and beverage industries, like alcohol and its metabolites impair the TJ barriers.” Alcohol is one of the biggest culprits for poking holes in a leaky gut, not just alcohol that you choose to consume, but added alcohols and other solvents! I have personally tested high for xylene exposure in the past, this is one of the sources.

    5. Gluten. Gluten has a lot of research showing what it does to the gut lining and its implications in Celiac disease. Gluten’s main antigen called Gliadin has been shown to inhibit cell growth, cause cytotoxicity (cell toxicity), alter cellular metabolism, and destroy the gut lining.

    6. Microbial transglutaminase (mTG). “Multiple applications of mTG in the food industry exist: improvement of meat texture, appearance, hardness and preservability, increased fish product hardness, improved quality and texture of milk and dairy products, decreased calories, improved texture and elasticity of sweet foods, protein film stability and appearance and improve texture and volume in the bakery industry.” These are fake meat glues and texturizers that make food look, feel, and taste a different way. Gross!

    7. Nanoparticles. This is the newest and fastest-growing technology in food additives, and we still don’t know a lot about future health implications, but we do know that it causes holes in your intestines.

Some of these additives we may be more familiar with (sugar, salt, gluten) while others you may have never heard of. And this isn’t an all-inclusive list. If food companies figure out that you won’t buy a produce with a certain ingredient listed, then often they simply change the name of it. Or, in the extreme, when Monsanto (the most hated company in the world) found their name was too hard on their sales, they simply sold the entire company. Their horrible products and practices are still available however.

The point of all this isn’t to go looking on your food labels for “Sugar-Free” or “Gluten-Free” (after all diet soda is both sugar free and gluten free.) The point is TO EAT REAL FOOD. The food additive business is a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon. You can choose not to buy processed foods! You are responsible for your health.You decide what you put in your mouth and your children’s mouths and bodies!

If this is an area of your life that you struggle in, call us today to set a time for a nutrition evaluation. We will sit down with you, perform some tests and get a plan together to improve your nutrition and your health. Call us today at 479-443-0800.



  2. Lerner, A. Matthias, T. Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity Reviews Vol 14, Iss 6. June 2015. Pages 479-489

  3. Samsel, A. Seneff, S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology. 2013 Dec; 6(4); 159-184


Posted In: Nutrition