Endotoxemia - A Leaky Gut Worst Outcome

Leaky gut means that the tight junctions in your intestinal lining has becoming weakened. For more information on leaky gut, see my most recent post on the symptoms and causes of leaky gut but, in short, this increased intestinal permeability results in bacteria, toxins and undigested food protein passing through the gut wall and into the blood stream. This triggers an immune response and causes unnecessary inflammation. 

One food protein that causes a lot of issues for your health when it passes through the intestinal wall is lipopolysaccharides (LPS). These molecules are complex endotoxins found in bacteria, and they trigger an especially large immune response. This immune response results in inflammation all over the body, it is NOT just isolated to your gut. Why is this? The LPS enters your blood stream and can be carried around the entire body.


Metabolic Endotoxemia

gut health

So, how does this all relate to endotoxemia? Well, metabolic endotoxemia is the name given to the leaking of LPS from the gut into the bloodstream when it reaches a certain level. This level is more than two times higher than ‘normal’ concentrations.

Inflammation from endotoxemia can trigger insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and increased risk of heart disease. This is why managing your toxic load is so important!!! I have harped on about toxic build-up over and over again – we are more exposed to toxins than ever before with environmental pollutants, toxic cosmetics and household products and excess processed food in our diets – and its detrimental impact on the body.

Due to the exposure to more toxins, our risk of leaky gut is higher than ever, which further increases toxicity overload in our body. Endotoxemia only adds to this toxic build-up.


Symptoms of Endotoxemia

Please note, that many of the symptoms are similar to that of leaky gut – this is because endotoxemia occurs as a result of leaky gut, but the symptoms of endotoxemia are usually more intense and further down the line. 

- Leptin Resistance

- Cognitive Decline

- Digestive Issues

- Mental Health Issues

- Chronic Pain

- Eating Disorders

- Low Testosterone

- Autoimmune Conditions

- Food Intolerances

- Chronic Fatigue

- Weight Gain

- Insulin Resistance


Common Conditions Linked with LPS

The ‘leaking’ of LPS into the bloodstream has been linked to many uncomfortable and life-altering conditions:


Mental Health Issues

mental illness

We know that leaky gut can result in leaky brain, which means the LPS that has migrated into the bloodstream can infiltrate the blood-brain barrier. This will impact the effectiveness of your dopamine receptors, resulting in low mood. Additionally, LPS disrupts the pathways between the hypothalamic-adrenal pituitary axis AND reduces serotonin in the CNS, which can cause depression.

The above, and the fact that LPS can stimulate nociceptors, can negatively impact sleep quality, leading to low mood, being less equipped to maintain good mental health and chronic pain.


Cognitive Decline

cognitive decline

Inflammation in the blood brain barrier leads to cognitive decline, and can lead to issues such as loss of memory, mood disorders and serious conditions such as Parkinson’s.


Digestive Issues

woman clutching stomach

Digestive issues don’t always directly come from the gut! Lots of factors can impact the digestive system, including LPS entering the nervous system. This disrupts the signals for bowel motility, causing issues when it comes to gastric emptying, resulting in constipation.

LPS entering the enteric nervous system can also lead to leptin resistance due to disrupted communication between the gut and the brain.


A Vicious Cycle

vicious cycle

When the LPS enters the bloodstream via the weakened intestinal junctions, inflammation occurs all over the body. This is the first step of entering you into a vicious cycle that is hugely detrimental to your health.

Chronic inflammation is never a positive thing for your health and will further inflame any existing health issue, this includes leaky gut. So, because of the increased inflammation from leaky gut, your digestive system suffers more. Consequently, less nutrients are effectively absorbed, leading to nutrient deficiencies. Your immune system is less equipped to protect you due to the lack of nutrients, and it begins to misfire.

What does an immune system misfiring look like? It can mistake harmless food or even your own tissue for foreign invaders and start attacking, resulting in increased food intolerances and, more and more often, autoimmune issues. Oh, this of course causes even more inflammation, so you re-enter this terrible cycle with more intensity each time.


Healing from Endotoxemia

stomach with hands in a heart shape

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a solution! Endotoxemia was the result of a leaky gut, right? Well, what caused your leaky gut? Eliminate the triggers for leaky gut, that is step one. Step two is closing the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to stop LPS and other toxins and bacteria escaping into your bloodstream, once you have done that your body will begin to rebalance. But if your gut isn’t balanced, your body has no chance!

The most effective and quickest way to heal your gut is to follow a functional medicine protocol, such as the GI Protocol. I developed this specifically to rebuild, rebalance and restore your gut, which will heal your leaky gut.

Optimising detoxification is so important to get rid of the excess LPS in your system, so I would also recommend following a functional medicine detox. In fact, if you have never done a functional medicine detox before such as the 21 Day Reset, then it is essential, endotoxemia or not!! In this day and age, we cannot avoid toxic build-up, and therefore regularly need to give our liver a helping hand.

Lastly, you need to manage your stress! Stress is one of the most common root causes for so many health issues, including leaky gut. What’s the point of doing all this good work of functional medicine detoxes and gut healing protocols, if you remain chronically stress? As this stress will inevitably cause relapses when it comes to your gut health. Having an effective evening and morning routine is a gamechanger when it comes to managing your stress levels. Read more here.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.