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Glutathione and Your Intestines.

keywords:Leaky Gut,leaky gut syndrome,intestinal health,health of your intestines

The intestinal tract is usually overlooked and ignored until there's a problem. Just as the skin is a  barrier that keeps foreign substances from entering the body from the environment, the mucosa lining is the barrier of the intestines, inside the body, that keeps foreign substances (viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, and so on) from entering the body from what ever was ingested so that these materials and organisms are discharged through the rectum. These are things that if they got into your body it would be perceived as foreign and would cause a significant reaction within your blood cells for an allergic type of reaction.  So the intestinal wall provides a protective barrier as it were against these things that might want to gain entry into your body. 

 If something does get into your body then your immune system tries to detect it and eliminate it before it can make itself at home and reproduce or hurt you and lastly if it does get a hold of you-you catch a cold, you have an infection or whatever your immune system's job is to help you eliminate it.  When we look at the immune system we have to start looking at it closely into the intestinal tract.  

Some of the things that can occur if your GI tract is unhealthy are abdominal pain and cramping, anxiety, nervousness, feeling of chronic tiredness, constipation, feeling of a depressed mood, diarrhea immediately after eating, sensitivities to different foods, gas, bloating, indigestion, joint pain, stiffness, liver dysfunction, muscle aches and pains, poor memory, even skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. 
All these health issues are related to a problem within your intestinal tract.  It's commonly referred to as “leaky gut syndrome.” The intestines are lined with a mucosal surface and these cells are known as enterocytes.  When enterocytes are tightly held together it's called a tight junction where one butts up against another one with the purpose with allowing the right things to come through and keeping things out that should be kept out.  That is the purpose of the enterocytes.  What we find is that there are many different things that can cause a dysfunction of these tight junctions of enterocytes.  They become inflamed, they become irritated by many different things –more later. 

As they become inflamed they start separating apart, they spread apart a bit and that allows  these tight junctions to open up.  When they open up things start migrating through to the blood stream that are not suppose to be there.  That is the beginning of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Remember Leaky Gut again simply tells us that the normal barrier has been disrupted.  Many different things can disrupt that normal barrier.  One of the most common things would be an overgrowth of abnormal bacteria.  So for example use of antibiotics can make not only all the bad bacteria, but also the good bacteria die off.  If the good bacteria doesn't come back in a healthy balance, you have a bacterial imbalance inside the intestinal tract which causes a lot of irritation.  The irritation causes atrophy or shrinkage of these enterocytes resulting in the tight junctions opening up.  When the tight junction opens up things that normally would not be allowed through simply pass through and they wind up in the bloodstream and then the bloodstream starts reacting to these normal components and this could be bacteria, could be viruses, it could be parasites, it could be chemicals in the food you eat, it could even be some of the food particles that normally would not get through. 

 One important thing to consider is the disruption of the healthy bacteria and the pathological or dangerous bacteria that lives within our intestinal tract.  Leaky gut is correlated with autoimmune disease, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, all sorts of environmental allergies, hives and acne, inflammatory joint problems and even pancreas issues, The list goes on and on. 

The first thing to do for a healthy colon is to promote healthy bacteria with pro-biotics. How do you know if you have leaky gut syndrome?

The answer is a urine test where you consume a two different sugars--one is Mannitol and the other is Lactulose,  Typically what happens is Mannitol is a small molecule and is normally allowed to pass between the enterocytes into your bloodstream so it's always welcomed through.  Lactulose is large in size and would not be allowed to pass through.  So if you have healthy mucosa in your intestinal lining and you did a Mannitol - Lactulose challenge test what would happen is you would find and after six hours you would find is there is a lot of Mannitol and essentially no or very low amount of Lactulose in your urine.

If both the Lactulose and Mannitol are high then we know that that person has a disruption of their tight junctions within their intestinal tract so their ability to keep things out is diminished. On the other hand if both Lactulose and Mannitol are low then what that tells us is the individual is dealing with some kind of malabsorption problems and that’s a different issue. Fortunately it's much less common then leaky gut.  Leaky gut is probably far more common the we realize because doctors just don't tend to test for it.  If you find that your Lactulose is low and your Mannitol is high – that's a normal result you have a good healthy mucosa. 

When things pass through the intestines to your blood stream that are not supposed to, your liver (the body's washing machine) has to work overtime to try and clear these additional toxins from your body.  It uses huge amounts of glutathione for its functioning creating a deficiency in glutathione in the blood stream as it is the liver which supplies glutathione to the bloodstream. The second thing to do is boost your glutathione.

The third thing to do for a healthy colon is to supplement with L-glutamine. As opposed to all other cells in your body, enterocytes prefer glutamine over sugar as a fuel source for the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP (the energy of cell) contributes to a healthy production of mucus (mucen).  If you've got the proper amount of mucus production by these cells the intestinal wall is a better barrier for keeping things out that should not be in there. L-glutamine helps to maintain the function of the entire GI tract and that does include the liver and the pancreas.  The greatest users of L-glutamine in the body is the mucosa and the muscles.

Lastly, Acetyl D glucosamine is also necessary for the production of mucin which lines the intestinal mucosa of the entire intestinal tract making it difficult for other things to get near the tight junctions that can move through.  It will also inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria that would be the ones that are considered not good for your health and can also decrease the production of what are called endotoxins.  These are simply toxins made by certain bacterial strains. Acetyl D glucosamine directly affects the GI tract. 

In the Diabetologia journal published in 2006, they were looking at intestinal permeability for people with type 1 diabetes (childhood diabetes). What they found in type1diabetes is they all have autoimmune disruption of pancreatic function and in other words the pancreas seems to be destroyed by the person and so that’s a component of type 1 diabetes.  They looked at this study where they did the Lactulose – Mannitol testing for a total of 81 different subjects with type 1 diabetes and what they found with that is that all of the subjects even before they started showing symptoms had increased intestinal permeability in other words the Lactulose was getting through even before they knew for sure they had type 1 diabetes. 

There's another report in The Gastro and Neurology report that was published 1999 again looking at permeability so this is the Lactulose Mannitol test (leaky gut) and intestinal disorders  “Ample evidence indicates that permeability has increase” in other words tight junctions are not tight, “ in most patients with Crohn's disease and 10-20% of their clinically healthy relatives.  This abnormal leakiness of the mucosa in Crohns patients and their relatives can be greatly amplified by aspirin preadministration.” 

In other words aspirin will open up those tight junctions. From the same article: “Permeability is also increased in Celiac disease and by trauma, burns, non-steroidal inflammatory drugs.” In addition things that damage those walls,  the strength of the tight junction, would be chemotherapy and radiation treatments which often result in gastrointestinal symptoms.

Does a colonoscopy identify leaky gut? It will tell you a lot but a colonoscopy will not tell you if you have leaky gut syndrome which is on a microscopic level. 

On a side note, those with autoimmune issues such as Lupus, arthritis, and so on, acetyl D glucosamine

is important to counter the impact of the body being attacked by its own immune system. Studies have shown that  acetyl D glucosamine decreases that likelihood dramatically such that people who have autoimmune disorders seem to do fine even if their immune systems become healthier with the use of something that supports the structure and function of their immune cells.

In summary for a healthy colon:

  1. Use a pro-biotic to populate your intestines with healthy bacteria.
  2. Boost glutathione to support liver function and replenish glutathione spent by toxins.
  3. Add L glutamine to feed the mucin and keep them healthy.
  4. Utilize Acetyl D glucosamine for the production of mucin.


Information taken from Dr. Daria's weekly calls at

Dr. Daria Davidson is a board certified medical doctor focusing on holistic medicine with 30 years of practice.

Richard Kuhns has been writing for the internet for over three years. He has shown thousands of individuals how to get healthy and stay healthy with his top selling self;help mp3 downloads at  Please go to to find out more about glutathione, receive a free bulletin re the health benefits of glutathione, and take advantage of a risk free two month trial offer.