The Women's Journal

Functional Medicine: Leaky Gut & Immunity

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By D
r. Cynthia Crosser  

Are you experiencing bloating or gas? Do you suffer from recurrent viral or bacterial infections, or worse yet, have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease? With or without symptoms, the vast majority of the population are living with a compromised gut lining called intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” syndrome.  

For over 2000 years and going back to the time of Hippocrates, we were taught that “bad digestion is the root of all evil.” We also heard that death begins in the colon. We understand this so much better these days.

The lining of the gut is only one cell layer thick and called the epithelium. This is the largest interface between the external environment and our bodies. Here is where there is a transport of nutrients. The lining’s very vital role is to provide a solid barrier between all that makes its way to the intestines by way of massive amounts of materials and microbes through consumption. This amounts to 3-7 tons of food in a lifetime. This food may contain bacteria, molds, fungus, yeast, viruses, etc. For genetically predisposed individuals, a single dose of gluten may cause increased intestinal permeability. This is only one example, and continued insults will ultimately lead to INFLAMMATION.

This scenario can lead to local and systemic inflammation with the target tissue damage being largely determined by genetics and environmental factors and leading to conditions including gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease), autoimmune diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Type I Diabetes), neurological conditions, (Multiple Sclerosis), and cognitive dysfunction (anxiety, depression, schizophrenia) and others.  

When the gut lining becomes thin and the immunoglobulins decrease in the gut, we may see tight junction proteins called occludin and zonulin in the blood. Or we might see actomysin (gastrointestinal microfilaments) within the cells, in the blood. Traumas such as surgery, stress, strenuous exercise and medications will induce permeability of the gut. Chemotherapy, NSAIDS, antibiotics, low fiber diets, alcohol and too much caffeine consumption can also induce permeability.  

Antigenic Intestinal Permeability is a blood test that I recommend through Cyrex Laboratory to assess this most foundational component of the body to address and to prevent chronic health conditions.  

When we consider that the gut “talks” to the brain and to the lungs by way of messengers, why treat the symptoms? In order to address the vast majority of health conditions we experience, the integrity of the lining of the gut should be a first step to regaining and rebuilding health. When there is permeability, the causative factors need to be handled and the gut repaired. Then the body can start to become healthy again. If you are experiencing health challenges and need guidance to become well again, please don’t wait. A simple test could greatly benefit the outcome!!! Call 302-994-1010 or go to my website at


“Dr Crosser has knowledge, background, experience and sincere passion for her work, coupled with a true commitment to help her patients. In my opinion, it is not comparable to any medical professional I have worked with throughout a very serious medical journey the last several years. I had the pleasure of beginning treatment with her a few months ago and can truly say that her ability to recognize, diagnose and understand some of the serious challenges I am facing are quite remarkable. I am in the early diagnostic stages with her of what I know is a long journey ahead back to a state of full wellness. However, I can comment sincerely on what capable and committed hands I know I am in and what a partnership we have in tackling the issues I am facing. I am truly blessed to have met her.” ~ Cynthia E.


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