Thursday, April 18, 2013

A “Green” Solution to Leaky Gut for Celiacs

If you’re new to the world of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, you may not have heard the term ‘leaky gut’. It simply refers to the increased permeability of the small intestine that occurs as a result of damage caused by gluten. While the concept is simple to understand, the ramifications of a leaky gut are complex and devastating to health.

The small intestine very intelligently allows the passage of digested food to leave the confined of its interior and via the bloodstream such foodstuffs are delivered to all the cells of the body so that they can be nourished. Putting food in your mouth is one thing, ensuring it adequately gets delivered to the 10 trillion cells making up your body is quite another.

But while the small intestine acts as a conduit for food to leave via small openings, it too prevents the movement of anything it considers to be a ‘bad guy’, be it bacteria, parasites or other toxic substances. This scenario occurs quite beautifully in the normally functioning ‘unleaky’ small intestine.

In the damaged small intestine, a very different picture presents itself. Due to enlarged openings, partially digested food passes into the bloodstream before full digestion has occurred, bad organisms too gain access to the bloodstream. This is the picture of a leaky gut and it’s not a pretty one.

What we know very clearly, is that once a diagnosis of gluten intolerance has occurred and a gluten-free diet has been initiated, the next critical step is to ensure that the health of the small intestine is restored. This has far reaching effects that not only would influence digestive health, but also the health of the rest of the body including development of autoimmune disease, inflammation leading to degenerative disease and neurological problems, to name just a few.

Therefore I was delighted to run across some recent research that not only was extremely revealing as to how best to keep the small intestine healthy, but a major breakthrough in leaky gut.
The researchers out of Australia discovered specialized immune cells calls ILCs (innate lymphoid cells) are generated from a gene called the T-bet gene. These cells are responsible for killing bad bacteria in the small intestine, keeping the good bacteria happy, healing small abrasions on the lining of the intestine and preventing intestinal cancers. These are some amazing cells.

They are activated when the T-bet gene is turned on. What turns on the gene? Green leafy cruciferous vegetables! Now that’s an easy solution. Not only are greens loaded with antioxidants, they keep the ILCs functioning at a good level.

Which vegetables fall into this category? Glad you asked – here’s the list:
Kale collard greens Chinese broccoli
cabbage brussels sprouts kohlrabi
broccoli broccoflower cauliflower
wild broccoli bok choy mizuna
broccoli rabe turnip root, turnip greens rutabaga
arugula (rocket) maca garden cress
watercress radish daikon

In summary it is believed that ILCs play a critical role in controlling:

Food allergies
Inflammatory diseases – this category basically includes all the degenerative diseases killing most people. E.g heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
            Development of bowel cancers – the ILCs are thought to prevent these cancers.

This is exciting. Imagine being able to turn on these important genes and activate these immune cells, all with a decision of eating more green veggies. And, as you can see above, you have quite a selection to choose from.

While I wish this was the ONLY step you had to take to heal a leaky gut, it certainly is a very important step that is easily achieved – no lab test, no doctor visit – just eat those healthy greens.
I hope this was informative for you. For more information on this study go here.

If your health is not as you desire, please consider contacting us for a free health analysis – we’re here to help! Just give us a call at 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally.

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I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”


Cameron VSJ said...


I have a quick question for you regarding your blog, but I couldn't find your contact information. Do you think you could send me an email whenever you get a chance?




The HealthNOW Doctors said...

Hello Cameron,

You can contact my office at 408 733 0400. Or you can email

To Your Good Health
Dr Vikki Petersen