Why Leaky Gut is a Distraction


Leaky gut is a common buzz word today, many claim to have it and many claim to present solutions to it. I often come across people struggling for years, having tried all sorts of random concoctions, yet still suffer from the symptoms they claim are leaky gut.

To understand leaky gut lets first understand the foundational pathway, that controls the tight junctions in the epithelial cells of the intestines. The AMPK pathway is a nutrient-sensing pathway that is activated when AMP:ATP ratios raise. ATP is a molecule that is broken down to release energy, think of it like the currency of energy within the body; it consists of adenosine and three phosphates. When one or two phosphates are broken off from ATP, it realises energy for the cell to do work, as phosphates are broken off ATP becomes ADP or AMP. As AMP levels rise and ATP falls AMPK or adenosine monophosphate kinase is activated.

This induces energetic stress which activates the stress polarity signalling pathway leading to a tightening of the epithelial cell tight junctions. When this pathway is inhibited or blocked disorganisation occurs within the intestinal epithelial cells, and a sliding scale of increased intestinal permeability starts to occur.

This is what we see in leaky gut; a person can have slightly increased permeability all the way to complete disorganisation. Both complete disorganisation and gastric inflammation cause similar symptoms, but classical leaky gut results typically in stronger immune type implications.

To resolve or prevent leaky gut the first step is to remove the cause of AMPK inhibition as these are often much stronger signals than any amount of food or supplement you will use to attempt to activate AMPK. 

AMPK inhibitors 

  • Glycogen accumulation
  • Lipid overload 
  • Excess glucose 
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Metabolic disorders 

AMPK activators 

  • Exercise 
  • Fasting
  • AMP mimetics like metformin 
  • Polyphenols 
  • Alkaloids 

Most of these problems are products or symptoms, making leaky gut a tertiary issue. So many people claim leaky gut to be the primary source of health concerns, but when we look at the reality of the pathway, it becomes evident that it is yet another symptom and not a cause.

Primary causes may still reside in the GI tract, but leaky gut is not likely to be it. This understanding goes a long way to help get full resolutions to this type of problems that don't take years of painful trial and error, but proper testing is needed.

Test Don't Guess



Health and Wellness Consultant


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