Leaky Gut and Atrial Fibrillation
Most diseases start in the gut and I think atrial fibrillation is no different. Assessing a patient for leaky gut is my first approach when it comes to causation and cure. If we find a leaky gut, we heal the leaky gut. Many times, symptoms go away.
Atrial fibrillation is more common in those with inflammation. The source of inflammation is often the gut, the leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut
The intestinal lining has many distinct functions including the breakdown of food, absorbing food nutrients, absorbing water, excreting body waste, and immune system optimization. Simply, the gut should allow things into the body that belong. Things that don’t belong in the body should not be absorbed and be safely passed out the other end.
Leaky gut, often called intestinal hyperpermeability, is a condition where things enter the body that do not belong, leading to a host of medical problems. Poorly digested food particles and toxins can enter the body through the leaky gut and wreak havoc on our system.
The extreme of leaky gut may be Celiac disease. People with Celiac have plenty of inflammation. They also have a 34% higher risk of atrial fibrillation than the general population (1). There appears to be abnormal atrial electrical function in people with celiac (2).
The Wheat Zoomer
The Wheat Zoomer is a test from Vibrant Wellness. I think of the Wheat Zoomer as two tests in one. First off, the components of a leaky gut are checked. This section is known as the intestinal permeability area. The second part of the Wheat Zoomer looks at the immune response to wheat and gluten.
The leaky gut is assessed through several different variables including zonulin, immune activity to zonulin, immune response to actin, and immune response to lipopolysaccharide. Immune activity can be measured by checking a particle known as an antibody. This particle is produced by immune cells to attach onto another molecule and target it for destruction by other cells of the immune system. Think of the antibody as like a sticky-note on something to be thrown out, a reminder to put it in the garbage.
Zonulin is a small protein found extensively in the lining of the gut. This protein is responsible for keeping the intestinal barrier strong. The tight junctions between the cells should remain tight, allowing in only select particles. When zonulin levels are high, food and toxins can get into the body between intestinal cells. This is called paracellular transport. The more zonulin, the more food and toxins transport into the body. Contrast this to intracellular transport, where food (and toxins) is absorbed into the cell lining the intestines. Paracellular and intracellular transport each have a role in health when functioning normally.
Zonulin antibodies (ABY) are naturally present, but when levels are high, it is a sign that the barrier is leaky. High zonulin ABY correlates well with intestinal permeability and subsequent adverse health effects.
Actin antibodies is my favorite test. Elevated actin antibodies indicate that the immune system is attacking the actin protein in the body. Actin is a muscle protein that resides in the muscle tissue of the gut, skeletal muscle, arteries and the heart muscle itself!
Is it possible that atrial fibrillation is being triggered by the immune system attacking the atria of the heart, leading to irritability and irregular heart activity? I think so, and science is just starting to prove this theory.
LPS antibodies are a good thing to have. They are evidence that your immune system is attacking bacteria that get from the gut into the blood stream. But to many LPS ABY’s are a sign that an overabundance of bacteria is getting into the body. This sets up a lot of inflammation, which is bad. It also indicates that the leaky gut is present and all its ensuing ramifications to sickness.
Stop the guessing. Order the Wheat Zoomer and find out where you stand. Fix the gut and re-test in 3 months.
Fix the LG- We suggest a call with one of our health coaches to help you with this program.
Here are the steps to fix the gut
Supplements for the Leaky Gut- 3 month protocol.
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