Intestinal Permeability ASSESSMENT
(Leaky Gut Testing)

The Intestinal Permeability Test is a powerful and noninvasive assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel. The small intestine functions as a digestive organ for nutrients as well as a powerful immune and mechanical barrier against excessive absorption of bacteria, food antigens, and other macromolecules. Both malabsorption and increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) are associated with chronic gastrointestinal imbalances as well as many systemic disorders.

Increased gut permeability has been observed in a range of disorders such as:

  • Autoimmune reactions and diseases
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Food allergies or sensitivities  
  • Inflammatory joint disease
  • Chronic dermatologic conditions
  • Asthma
  • Increased risk of developing diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood, weight and appetite  

Studies have shown that the increased permeability observed in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and vasculitis may be an important factor in the pathogenesis of these disorders.

Decreased permeability, on the other hand, appears as a fundamental cause of malabsorption, subsequent malnutrition, and failure to thrive. In certain disease states of the small intestine, such as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, permeability to large molecules may increase while permeability to small molecules decreases, a result of damage to the microvilli. As a result, nutrients become even less available to assist in the detoxification of antigens flooding the system.

Possible causes of intestinal permeability include:

  • Intestinal infection
  • Ingestion of allergenic foods or toxic chemicals
  • Prescriptions medications
  • Chronic stress

The Intestinal Permeability Test measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules to permeate the intestinal mucosa. The patient drinks a premeasured amount of lactulose and mannitol. The degree of intestinal permeability or malabsorption is reflected in the levels of the two sugars recovered in a urine sample collected over the next 6 hours.