Suspected Causes of Type 1 diabetes: The Leaky Gut

The ‘leaky gut’ has repeatedly cropped up in my search for explanations as to the origins of Type 1 diabetes. I had come across the term repeatedly but did not fully comprehend what it meant. In essence, it is increased permeability of the absorptive surface of the intestine arising from irritation of the superficial tissue.

Here are a couple links to information on ‘leaky gut syndrome’. It is interesting to note that in the ‘wikipedia’ entry leaky gut is postulated as a cause of Type 1 diabetes. I am also including an interesting video detailing ‘leaky gut’ and ways to assist in healing this. Here is another short video also on the causes of the ‘leaky gut syndrome’.

Now, the internet is replete with information from a lot of different sources, each of them of differing credibility. So, I figured I would search ‘pubmed’, which is a very reputable resource when it comes to scientific research pertaining to medicine. Finding a good abstract that bolsters the hypothesis that leaky gut is a major factor is one thing but, I managed to luck out as the authors saw fit to provide the entire article for anyone to read. Here is another abstract from pubmed that also implicates a leaky gut as a cause of multiple diseases/disorders including Type 1 diabetes.

I am beginning with ‘leaky gut’ because I firmly believe it is likely to be an integral part of the development of Type 1 diabetes. And, when reflecting on my own situation, the idea of leaky gut as part of the initial conditions giving rise to diabetes makes a lot of sense. I believe this for several reasons:

1) I was treated with antibiotics as a young kid. I had recurrent tonsil and ear infections between the age of 2-3. I was given amoxicillin to treat them. I suspect that this contributed to the destruction of good intestinal flora, likely contributing to the initial conditions necessary for the development of ‘leaky gut syndrome’.

2) I received vaccinations at a young age. The issue of vaccination possibly causing a number of diseases, syndromes, etc. has become a highly contentious one. I will entertain it here, though. Much of the controversy surrounds the inclusion of the preservative ‘thiomersal’, which is a mercury based preservative. Mercury will tend to displace zinc, limiting its bio-availability. (It should be noted that the vaccines are injected and not ingested, meaning that the way the gut tissues are exposed to mercury is different than had it been ingested.) Zinc is important to many functions in the body including both digestion and immune function. Among the problems arising from a lack of zinc is hypochlorhydria. Zinc is also involved in insulin production. In this abstract it is suggested that zinc deficiency might exacerbate the effects of the autoimmune attack on the beta cells. (It also provides links to other abstracts and articles on the subject.) This abstract offers some insight to the effects of zinc on insulin absorption.

3) I was weaned using cow’s milk. Milk also factored in my diet very prominently for many, many years. (Milk will be addressed in a separate post.)

4) My diet and eating habits from young age all the way to a few years ago: 0 green vegetables or fruits (for almost 2 decades.) Wheat, corn, additives, preservatives, etc. were mostly what I subsisted on. (This is also significant because I have recently discovered that I am sensitive to wheat.) I also required antibiotics periodically for the treatment of illnesses, which could have compounded the situation.

5) Despite a hearty appetite, I was a meager child.

6) Decreased lymph flow: I have sought treatment from a couple different holistic medicine practitioners, including a Naturopath and have found that all have noted that my lymphatic system is congested. I have also been treated for parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections which usually signify diminished lymphatic function and/or a lack of good flora in the gut.

7) NODULES: I have a number of nodules/cysts on my body. Most are in areas of Chapman’s reflexes (for the small and large intestine especially). Each organ has an association with different muscles in the body. The small intestine corresponds with the abdominal muscles and the quadriceps. The large intestine corresponds with the the TFL (tensor facia lata), the quadratus lumborum, and the hamstrings. The top left image displays two nodules on the side of my left thigh, which corresponds to neurolymphatic reflex for the gallbladder muscles (anterior deltoid and popliteus). The nodules on my arms might be explained by the fact that I have had numerous IVs. I would speculate that proteins and lipids, able to pass through the intestinal wall in an undigested/semi-digested state, have accumulated in these areas because of the increased permeability of the vasculature in response to inflammatory processes in the local vicinity. It is also possible that the proteins and lipids actually leached out into the adjacent interstitial space from the vein because of the actual perforation of the vessel from the IV. I do wonder as well about the possibility of sub-acute inflammation around the IV sites arising from excess bad fats in the diet, hormonal imbalance, excessive inflammatory process due to the ingesting of allergens, parasitic infestation causing an increase in inflammatory chemicals, and hypothetically, ongoing emotional states which might contribute to the prolongation of inflammatory process. (My association with IVs is not the best. My first encounter was traumatic. I still have a subtle response when blood is drawn or I have an IV line started).

Perhaps the ‘nodules’ are lymphatic nodes that are congested with lipids, proteins and glycoproteins from things like cow’s milk, wheat, gluten, etc. and, because of their presence, the immune system reaction is being sustained. So, if the lymphatic system can be mobilized so as to excrete these lipids, proteins and glycoproteins and the foods can be avoided, perhaps the autoimmune impetus to destroy the beta cells can be relieved?

I am curious as to the complex interplay of conditions that lead to Type 1 diabetes. Assuming that the leaky gut is a key factor in the development of diabetes, does it persist in all cases? Does it (leaky gut) resolve with time? If yes, what perpetuates the immune response? Since an estimated 50-75% of the immune system resides in the gut, if the resolution of the leaky gut is not sufficient to induce a cessation of immune mediated destruction of the beta cells, what is the missing piece of the puzzle?

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