International Association of Natural Health Practitioners

An Association of Natural Health & Fitness Professionals

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Terahertz Therapy

Posted on July 20, 2022 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Terahertz Therapy

Terahertz frequency or energy is found between the far-infrared rays and the microwave energy. Within the last two decades, researchers have discovered the health benefits of terahertz therapy on the human body. It is a wellness modality belonging to the category of Energy Medicine.

Here are some facts:

* Terahertz is an electromagnetic wave with the same vibration frequency as human cells (2-17 THz); it can resonate with human cells and activate them

* Through a proven device applied to the body, terahertz waves are absorbed by our cells and utilized to bring balance to every gland, organ, structure, and system.

* Individuals who have used terahertz therapy for wellness have reported improved circulation, enhanced immunity, detoxification, more energy, skin condition improvement, pain reduction, and much more.

The Terahertz Therapy Blower Device is for personal wellness. It generally has a 1-year warranty and will last for at least 5 years or more. It is safe to use by most people and comes with an eBook and a user pdf guide. The eBook will have links to testimonials and much more.


The Itera Care Device

 Anyone with a pacemaker, open wound, fracture, have plates in the body, are pregnant or menstruating, or have congenital heart disease should not use this device.

 The Itera Care device looks like a hairdryer but is not. It has a 3 in 1 core technology consisting of terahertz, quantum, and optical quartz. It is about the size of a hairdryer and does blow heated air or non-heated air (depends on how you adjust the switch) which delivers the healing waves of the terahertz band.

 The individual or practitioner simply turns the itera care electrical device on and blows the air that sends the healing waves on areas of the body that need healing and repair. It usually takes at least 15 or 20 minutes a day, twice a day for 10 days to see good results. The Classic blower is the most affordable. The Pro Unit is for professional use.

This product has been clinically tested for performance. It carries an FC Certificate of Conformity and is manufactured by the DeShang Company. IteraCare is based in Malaysia and markets these products in over 46 countries of the world, including the USA.

For more information or to purchase a Terahertz Therapy Device, email Primitius International at


Here is a video link that describes the device:


Herbal Support for Retroviruses and Other Conditions

Posted on December 14, 2020 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Cistus Incanus tea is known for helping the body deal with retro-viruses and ward off mosquitoes and ticks. It is extremely effective for Lymes Disease and other chronic conditions.


What Is Cistus Incanus?

Cistus incanus is an evergreen dwarf shrub herb in the family Cistaceae. It’s native to the arid Mediterranean region. The plant reaches 1-3 feet in height. The grey-green leaves are ovate-lanceolate to elliptic, measuring 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. The branches and sometimes the leaves are hairy and sticky. The flowers have five petals, are pink to purple, and bloom for only one day.

Plants growing in the Mediterranean ecosystems endure multiple stressors and harsh conditions, such as drought, high sun exposure, and high temperatures. Mediterranean plants produce high levels of polyphenols to protect them against these stressors. Cistus incanus has the highest polyphenol content of any plant in Europe.


Cistus incanus is a source of polyphenols, proanthocyanadins, bioflavonoids, catechins, gallic acid, rutin, and other beneficial bioactive compounds. You can drink it as a loose tea.


Traditional Uses

The traditional use of Cistus reaches back millennia. The Book of Genesis references the resin of Cistus plants. Ancient traditional uses include treating colds, coughs, menstrual problems, and rheumatism. Cistus was used in ancient Greece as a wound healer and a beauty product. In Moroccan traditional medicine, Cistus tea has long been used to maintain a healthy mouth and throat. In traditional herbal medicine, the leaves of Cistus have been used to treat skin and inflammatory diseases.


Therapeutic Uses

Recent scientific research has confirmed the validity of this traditional herbal knowledge. Studies have shown that Cistus leaf extracts have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and biofilm-breaking qualities. Cistus has shown anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans, Candida krusei, Candida glabrata, and Aspergillus fumigatus.


Drink Cistus tea daily (about 2 cups a day) for good health. 6 cups a day are recommended for certain conditions like lymes , lupus, RA and retro-viruses.


Cistus incanus herb is rich in bioflavonoids and polyphenols. Tea made from this herb may ameliorate cold and flu symptoms.


In Europe, Cistus is widely used to fight germs, viruses, and fungi. It’s used externally to cleanse the skin and ameliorate eczema, acne, and psoriasis. You can create your own herbal version of a powerful antidandruff shampoo by using a batch of tea to wash your hair.


Cistus also works well for oral cavity hygiene. You can use it as a mouthwash. Its biofilm-busting activities significantly reduce oral bacteria and leave your mouth feeling clean.


Interestingly, recent studies suggest that Cistus extract targets viral envelope proteins, preventing the primary attachment of the virus to host cells. This reduces the virulence and reproductive ability of the pathogen. Cistus may have even more verified uses in the future.


Resource links:

The IANHP Team

Strophantus Plant

Posted on April 27, 2019 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)
Strophanthus: The Insulin of the Heart. Strophantus is an effective approach for angina, unstable angina and heart attack prevention. Such a medicine already exists and has been both widely used and sorely overlooked during the past century. Strophanthus seeds contain the active ingredient referred to as g-strophanthin in Europe and ouabain in the US. Ouabain is a copy of a hormone made by our own adrenal cortex, and it has many functions that are useful in dealing with heart disease. Used as the main treatment for the prevention of MIs in Germany for many decades, ouabain has been shown to support the parasympathetic nervous system, improve the micro-circulation and convert the lactic acid in the myocardial tissue into pyruvate, which is the preferential fuel of the heart. With the conversion of lactic acid into a nutrient for the heart cells, the cycle of pain and subsequent necrosis of the myocardial tissue is broken. In the majority of cases, the individuals will experience relief from their angina as well as improvement in heart function. For more information, see this link:

Micro-circulation Enhancement

Posted on September 28, 2016 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Importance of Micro-circulation

All the body systems have their importance but in the natural health and wellness field the digestive system ranks high when it comes to priority of care because we are what we digest. This is fine, but have you ever wondered if the nutrients obtained from digestion and assimilation are getting to every 100 trillion cells of your body?

Research shows that most people do not have an optimal micro-circulatory system (part of the circulatory system) and therefore are not getting the adequate oxygen and nutrients to their cells for function, repair, and multiplication. This is important to know because you can have the best digestive and absorption capability but not all is going where it should- to the cells and tissues (tissues are made up of cells). Also, if the digestive system is not receiving proper micro-circulation it will not function or heal properly- this explains the unexplained digestive issue problems.

It is vital that our micro-circulatory system (made of of capillaries) operates optimally.

Capillaries are the smallest of the body's blood vessels (4 to 10 microns in diameter). They are only one cell thick, and they are the sites of the transfer of oxygen and other nutrients from the bloodstream to other tissues in the body; they also collect carbon dioxide waste materials and fluids for return to the veins.


Signs and Symptoms of Poor Micro-circulation


Do you suffer from any of the following?

• Cold feet and toes – even in the warm season

• Cold hands and fingers

• Numbness in certain parts of your body – generally extremities

• Frequent dizziness

• Headaches

• Dry skin despite regular consumption of water

• Hair loss

• Lack of energy or frequent exhaustion

• Water retention in your feet

• Blemishes or spots on your skin

• Memory loss

• Difficulty catching your breath

• Feelings of pins and needles in extremities

• Brittle hair and nails

• Skin discoloration

• Weakened immune system

• Dark circles under eyes

• Low libido (sex drive)

• Unexplained digestive problems

• Loss of appetite

• Decreased cognitive ability

• Tightening of the chest

• Problems with sleep

• Chronic pain and skeletal muscular stiffness



From the above signs and symptoms, you can see that many people have an issue with poor micro-circulation.

From 40 years of age and up, micro-circulatory problems are very frequent and are very common in elderly people.

The incredible thing is that young people have been tested for micro-circulatory status and have been found deficient! Even twenty-five year old athletes!


Conditions Related to Poor Micro-circulation:

Leg ulcers

Varicose veins


Cardiovascular diseases

Cerebrovascular diseases


Sleep disorders

Chronic Fatigue

Immune disorders





From the above list of conditions related to poor micro-circulation, it is no wonder that micro-circulation enhancement is now becoming an important topic.

Micro-circulation enhancement should be a holistic approach in every wellness program or plan.

The factors that inhibit proper micro-circulation are:


Endothelial dysfunction

Endothelial dysfunction is one of the greatest threats to the microcirculatory system. Capillaries are hollow tubes protected by endothelial lining called an endothelium. Under normal circumstances, the body utilizes the amino acid arginine to produce nitric oxide that helps relax the endothelium and allow sufficient blood flow. If the nitric oxide production is disturbed, the endothelium can collapse and restricted blood flow is the result.

Heavy metals

Heavy metals like lead and mercury result in buildup that slows down circulation.

Free radicals

Oxidative stress and damage due to free radicals within the cell impede microcirculation.


Cellular toxicity overloads cells and tissue to the point of slowing circulation.

Tight clothing

Tight clothing impairs proper peripheral circulation.

Poor diet and lack of certain nutrients

A poor diet would be one that is loaded with saturated fats, junk foods, alcohol, excessive sugars and high glycemic index foods, fried foods, and heat extracted oils.

What is recommended is; six vegetables a day, 2 fruits a day, one ounce of nuts like walnuts and almonds, plenty of beans like garbanzo beans and black beans, whole grains like quinoa and millet, plenty of pure water, fermented products that contain probiotics, and lastly some fish, organic chicken and grass-fed beef if you are not vegetarian.

Certain nutrients are essential for a healthy circulatory system, they are:

B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C and E, K2, selenium, omega 3 fatty acids, and iron.

Not enough movement or exercise

Movement and exercise are imperative for a healthy and strong circulatory system.


Normal BMI (Body Mass Index) is valuable for overall health because excess weight contributes to poor circulation.

Certain diseases

Coronary Microvascular disease

Aortic Stenosis

These above are just of few diseases that are factors in poor microvascular circulation; see the link below for more:

Lack of PEMF’s

Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF’s) of energy are one of the elements essential for life. These magnetic fields in the earth clearly bring planet earth to life. Without them the earth would be a lifeless rock like mars and other planets.

Our bodies need 0-30 Hz of PEMFs to function optimally. These PEMFs are like spark plugs to our body, stimulating circulation and other functions. The problem today is that:

1. We do not spend adequate time outdoors (daily) in order to receive vital PEMFs. We should be walking barefoot on grass surfaces to be grounded with the earth’s magnetic field.

2. The earth has only 50% of the PEMFs today compared to 300 years ago. This is due to several reasons including man-made pollution.


A Special Device

There is a special bio-electric magnetic energy regulator (B.E.M.E.R) device for therapy that has a unique patented signal that enhances circulation in an eight minute session. In fact, it is a PEMF device but in reality the PEMF is just the carrier of a patented signal that has been clinically researched in Germany for 16 years. Thousands of studies which can be seen at prove its efficacy for enhanced micro-circulation and other positive effects.

This unit can emit its signal to the whole body via a matt that is laid over a zero gravity chair or used on the ground or bed. This matt will cause micro-circulation enhancement throughout the body. It comes with accessories so that specific areas of the body like the joints or stomach area, etc., can be helped with enhanced circulation effect.

Bio-electric magnetic energy waves have been used for years to enhance health and longevity. Thousands of clinical trials have proved its efficacy.

Just several minutes a day three times a week for your clients or patients can change their health and life.


This technological device enhances:


* General Blood flow (micro-circulation)

* The body's nutrient and oxygen and waste disposal

* Cardiac function

* Physical fitness, endurance, strength and energy

* Concentration, mental acuity, stress reduction and relaxation

* Sleep management

* Sports recovery

* And more


In fact, cellular oxygen levels increase up to 30% with each session. With this, detoxification of the 100 trillion cells of your body takes place. When this happens, the cells are ready to receive the full nutrients they could not receive before because of cellular congestion due to toxins and other inhibitors.

This therapy increases the electro-magnetic energy of all the cells; it improves the circulation and oxygenation of the tissues. This encourages each cell in the body to function optimally and to correct metabolic and energetic abnormalities, which result in optimal health.

In order to fulfil its functions, the cell requires energy which comes from a supply of oxygen and nutrients. 50% of the energy is used to convert ADP to ATP, and the other 50% is needed to maintain the cell membrane potential. This electrical charge around the healthy cell should be 70-90mV. In disease the membrane potential is found to be reduced to 30-40mV, and in cancer even as low as 15-20mV. At levels below 60mV the membrane structure becomes distorted, and below 10mV the cell dies. This device has been shown to restore the membrane potential to normal.

Article by Lawrence DeSantis, EMP, CFMP, ND 

The website below will give you further information on this device:
















Astragalus Root

Posted on June 6, 2016 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Astragalus Herb

Astragalus is an herb found in northern Asia that’s been used to treat fatigue and sickness for thousands of years.

Some of the plant constituents have shown to be so potent that they’re being used as the basis for different drugs to treat cancer, fatigue, and subdue ulcers, among other things.

The Health Benefits of Astragalus

Astragalus seems to work through the following mechanisms:

• It causes your body to produce more telomeres, a part of your DNA that protects chromosomes from degradation

• It contains a unique class of polysaccharides which are very biologically active

• It improves the rate of replication of immune cells called macrophages

It’s health properties are unique that isolated compounds from its polysaccharides are being used to treat disease.


How Astragalus Stops Aging

Astragalus is uniquely healthy for cellular health because of its ability to protect your body’s telomeres from degradation.

Telomeres are small pieces of DNA located at the edge of your chromosomes. When your cells replicate telomeres help prevent your DNA from unraveling and keep it locked into place. They serve a similar function as the plastic caps on the edges of your shoelace.

Whenever your cells replicate telomeres shorten a bit. After so many replications the telomeres reach a critical point where they’re no longer usable and cells begin their programmed death, a process called “apoptosis.”

The gradual shortening of telomeres is an important component of aging and different types of cancer.

Astragalus causes your body to increase its production of a substance called “telomerase”, which is an enzyme that enables the production of more telomeres. In clinical studies mice treated with extracts of astragalus root had telomeres that were longer and degraded more slowly than a control group.

What is impressive is that despite these remarkable effects on cellular health there’s no toxicity from astragalus.


Astragalus Helps Improve Sickness and Heal Wounds

Compounds in astragalus called formononetin, calycosin and astragaloside IV, seem to do the following things in your body:

• Reduces the amount of nitric oxide released from cells, which reduces inflammation

• Causes certain genes and metabolic pathways to be shutdown which would otherwise cause blood and chemicals to flow to wounds

• Activates other genes and pathways which activates different immune cells

It’s been used to treat ulcers, swollen wounds, reduce hemorrhaging, and serve as a complimentary input to cancer treatments.

One study on astragalus was published in the journal, Clinical Investigative Medicine, and it studied the ability of astragalus to reduce fatigue in cancer patients with very developed cases.

The patients were treated with a purified extract of Astragalus membranaceous in two 1 month cycles. After the first month 82% of patients reported feeling better and more energetic, and the following month 71% of the remaining group reported better feelings of energy, vitality, and youth.

The study was a double-blind placebo controlled study.

Astragalus is Good For Diabetics

Astragalus benefits diabetics. Patients who take astragalus show better blood sugar control.

The different polysaccharides protect against radical scavengers, and the benefits astragalus provides to cellular health seem to carry over in its ability to metabolize different nutrients.

Astragalus Membranaceous is the kind to purchase, as it’s the kind most studied.

You can either buy astragalus membranaceous in its root form or as an extract. Astragalus supplements typically come in powdered form, but it’s also available in capsules.

With most supplements the amount of astragalus contained will be between 250-1000mg.

It is possible that at very high dosages astragalus might suppress your immune system, and taking it with immune-stimulating drugs might cause side effects.

Because of its widespread health benefits and benign nature, most people would benefit from having some astragalus in their diet.

Due to its unique properties astragalus provides great help to the following:

• elderly people looking for a non-invasive way to fight the vagaries of old age

• people looking to reduce fatigue or reduce the collateral damage from severe chemotherapy or drug treatments

• anyone with a brittle immune system that’s sensitive to over the counter medication

• people looking for a natural/homeopathic way to help control blood sugar

If you have specific questions about a condition you should consult your doctor or licensed medical professional. This is not specific medical advice.



Bernardes de Jesus, Bruno, et. al. “The telomerase activator TA-65 elongates short telomeres and increases health span of adult/old mice without increasing cancer incidence”

Fu-Lun, Li, et. al. “Astragaloside IV Downregulates ?-Catenin in Rat Keratinocytes to Counter LiCl-Induced Inhibition of Proliferation and Migration”

Kwok-Kin Lai, Patrick, et. al. “Isolation of Anti-inflammatory Fractions and Compounds from the Root ofAstragalus membranaceus”

Kim, Wonnam. “Astragalus membranaceus Ameliorates Reproductive Toxicity Induced by Cyclophosphamide in Male Mice”

Chun-Chung, Chen, et. al. “Chinese Herb Astragalus membranaceus Enhances Recovery of Hemorrhagic Stroke: Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Study”

X, He, et. al. “Inhibitory effect of Astragalus polysaccharides on lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-a and IL-1? production in THP-1 cells.”

Chen, HW, et. al. “A novel infusible botanically-derived drug, PG2, for cancer-related fatigue: a phase II double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study.”

Shao, Bai-Mei, et. al. “A study on the immune receptors for polysaccharides from the roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a Chinese medicinal herb”

Sinclair, Steven. “Chinese Herbs: A Clinical Review of Astragalus, Ligusticum, and Schizandrae”

Harley, Calvin, et. al. “A Natural Product Telomerase Activator As Part of a Health Maintenance Program”


Hydrilla Verticillata

Posted on June 5, 2016 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Hydrilla Verticillata (Aquatic Super Green Food)


Hydrilla is a green plant that grows naturally in the pristine fresh waters of Florida. It is a fascinating and remarkable plant in that it grows up to six inches a day while hyper-accumulating nutrients from the soil it is rooted in, as well as, the water it lives in. Gram per gram this super green food contains more nutrients than any plant on earth. It is the highest source of calcium and Vitamin B12. It is so nutrient dense, one need only take one 500mg capsule per 50 lbs. of body weight.


Hydrilla is the King of all Plants


Because of the variety and concentration of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace minerals, antioxidants, and a host of plant chemicals, Hydrilla has been shown to benefit every system and cell of the body. It is of great value to:


Colon health and detoxification


The Immune System


Nail, hair, skin, bone and joints


Women’s Health


Weight control


Energy levels


Mental concentration, focus, and memory


The Gastro-intestinal tract (Digestion)


Heavy metal elimination





Antioxidants – Hydrilla contains Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc, Beta-Carotene/Vitamin A, and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), a powerful, naturally occurring, essential antioxidant. Antioxidants work to protect your body from free radical damage, which results in premature aging and impaired immune system function.

Essential Trace Minerals – Hydrilla is an excellent source of silica, which plays a major role in skin, nail, hair, bone, cartilage, and artery health. Hydrilla also contains cobalt, molybdenum, zinc, selenium, copper, and iron– all essential in trace amounts for proper health and an alkaline system.

DNA and RNA – Hydrilla is a rich source of DNA and RNA proteins, which the body is able to use as building blocks for repair of our own strands of genetic material.



Nutritional Info Based on

4.75g Serving Size (1 tablespoon)

Dietary Fiber2 g (8%) Sugars 1 g (0%) Protein 0.65 g Vitamin A 5454 IU (109%) Vitamin C 6.53 mg (11%) Vitamin E 2.77 IU (9%) Thiamin 7.2 mg (480%) Riboflavin 0.26 mg (15%) Niacin 13 mg (65%) Vitamin B6 4.5 mg (225%) Vitamin B12 475 mcg (7,750%) Pantothenic Acid 8.4 mg (84%) Calcium 624 mg (62.4%) Chromium 7.4 mcg (6%) Copper 174 mcg (8.7%) Iron 4.6 mg (25%) Phosphorus 12 mg (1.2%) Magnesium 38.3 mg (9.6%) Molybdenum 8.7 mcg (11.7%) Selenium 1.25 mcg (2%) Zinc 0.3 mg (2%) Boron 65 mcg* Cobalt 174 mcg *Silica 32.7 mg *GLA 3 mg* Chlorophyll 16 mg* Polysaccharides 2 g


*Numbers appearing in parenthesis are Daily Values (% DV)

* No Daily Value (%DV) established


Scalar Energy Devices

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Electromagnetic field (EMF) pollution has been a concern to many of us for a long time. Research indicates that constant exposure to radiation coming from cell phones, computers, radio, TV, artificial lighting, microwaves, household appliances, X ray machines, and more have a negative effect on health. Cancers and tumors have been linked to this exposure. Fatigue, muscle weakness, eye strain and poor vision, poor immunity, headaches, insomnia are just a few consequences of EMF pollution.


The Answer: More than Just EMF Pollution Protection

The Quantum Pendant is a natural energy generating device which improves the metabolic and circulatory functions of the body to achieve optimal holistic health. The active ingredients inside the Pendant comprises of 76 different natural minerals extracted from volcanic rocks which are then recombined using nanotechnology and heat fusion methods. Energy medicine sees human beings as networks of complex energy fields that interface with the physical and cellular systems of the body and uses specialized forms of energy to positively affect those energetic systems that may be out of balance.


The Quantum Pendant works by radiating natural scalar energy, which enters the body of the wearer and is distributed to the areas in need of energy balance. It helps to restore energy that has become weak in the body. By restoring the energy balance in the body this pendant helps one to maintain health and well-being.

Scalar Energy

Nicola Tesla demonstrated the existence of Scalar Energy towards the end of the 19th century. It is a subtle energy that can be harnessed to produce healing energy. Science only recently have positively demonstrated it's existence and are harnessing it for health purposes.



Wear it on a chain or carry it in your pocket. The scalar energy from the pendant works outwardly and within the body. Outwardly scalar energy enhances the body’s bio-field. Inwardly it works to facilitate cell permeability and thereby enhances the many physiological functions of the cells in the body.


Researched Health Benefits:


  • · Reduces inflammation
  • · Promotes unclamping of cells
  • · Enhances circulation
  • · Enhances immune and endocrine systems
  • · Has the ability to destroy viruses and bacteria
  • · Enhances cellular nutrition and detoxification
  • · Enhances cellular permeability
  • · Increases energy
  • · Helps to protect DNA from damage
  • · Helps to retard the aging process
  • · Helps to fight cancer cells
  • * Strengthens the body’s bio-field preventing elector-magnetic waves from affecting one’s health
  • · Increases focus and concentration





Scalar energy emitted from a scalar energy pendant turns dead water to living water by reducing its molecule size to smaller clusters thus increasing water's absorption or hydration capability many times. This facilitates the absorption of nutrients and detoxification at the cellular level.


The German researcher, Andrija Puharich found that scalar energy enhance the functioning of the immune system. Lymphocytes (white blood cells) exposed to scalar energy increased proliferation (multiplied) by 75% compared to lymphocytes not exposed to scalar energy.


Scalar energy has the ability to bring balance to the endocrine system and the rest of the body by bringing the energy level of the cells to the optimum -70 millivolts. Remember, EMF pollution and other negative factors can reduce cellular energy below this optimal level, leaving the body vulnerable to disease.


Scalar Energy Devices are available through


Is leaky gut the hidden root of your health challenge?

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 8:15 AM

By Lucinda Bedogne – CNHP


More and more is being discovered today regarding the clear connection between gut health and the overall health of the body. The fact is that food cannot be converted to energy or provide fuel to run the various processes of the body if it is not sufficiently digested and absorbed. Nor can the body be truly healthy apart from adequate nutrition.


The essential role the small intestine plays in the final stages of digestion and absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream cannot be overestimated. Evidence continues to mount which proves that a healthy and uncompromised gut lining equates to a strong immune system and affords us protection against a wide range of health disorders and diseases currently on the rise. Thus far, the following disorders or diseases have been linked in medical literature with a condition commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome:


In actuality, a great many more health issues people commonly experience originate with poor digestive health and a weakened immune system stemming from leaky gut syndrome. However, the connection between the two is often not recognized since leaky gut syndrome symptoms run the gamut and conventional medicine tends to focus more on treating symptoms than identifying underlying root causes.


The Body’s First Line of Defense


In order to comprehend how a condition such as leaky gut can cause such a wide array of health problems, one must first understand the important role the gut wall plays in protecting our health. The lining of the small intestine forms a barrier that keeps unwanted compounds in the digestive tract from escaping into the bloodstream where they can travel throughout the body. This semi-permeable barrier acts as our first line of immune defense – sorting through and selectively choosing what raw materials the body can assimilate while, at the same time, rejecting any microbes, toxins, large food molecules or whatever else might adversely affect the health of the body.


Nutrients the body needs to produce energy and fuel its processes are absorbed into the bloodstream through hundreds of villi (small, fingerlike folds) that line the walls of the small intestine, each of which is covered with thousands of microvilli. Because villi and microvilli appear under a microscope similar to bristles on a brush, this one-layer thick small intestine lining is sometimes referred to as the “brush border”. If the surface area of all of these villi and microvilli were spread out flat, it would comprise an area the size of a tennis court when you take into account that the small intestine itself is 20 to 25 feet in length. Even more amazing is the fact that the cells that make up this lining are able to replace themselves approximately every six days.


Many people are unaware that approximately two-thirds of immune system activity takes place within this intestinal lining. One type of antibody produced there in abundance (secretary IgA) performs the job of neutralizing or otherwise countering bacteria, microbes, parasites and allergens to keep them from crossing the gut wall and getting into the bloodstream. Other specialized immune cells located throughout the gastrointestinal tract are housed in a type of lymphatic tissue known as GALT (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue) that lies just on the other side of the brush border. The job of these immune cells is to identify harmful substances and alert white blood cells and macrophages (another kind of immune “attack” cell) to destroy potentially harmful substances before they can enter the bloodstream.


In this way, the small intestine lining functions as both a barrier and a gatekeeper. How well the immune system is able to do its job of counteracting harmful substances in order to keep them from penetrating the internal environment of our body greatly depends on the condition of the intestinal brush border.


What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?


In a perfect world food particles are reduced to their lowest common denominators before reaching the wall of the small intestine for absorption - proteins into amino acids, carbohydrates into simple sugars and fats into fatty acids. A healthy gastrointestinal tract only absorbs these types of completely digested food molecules.


Leaky gut syndrome (termed “increased intestinal permeability” in the medical world), is a condition that develops when gaps form in the tightly packed junctures between cells in this protective membrane due to inflammatory damage. Tiny holes or tears from various sources of irritation cause these gaps to widen, allowing partially digested food components as well as bacteria, yeasts, parasites and toxins to literally leak into the bloodstream. A leaky gut is usually characterized by damaged cells in the intestinal lining along with flattened or inflamed microvilli that are no longer able to effectively secrete IgA or produce the special enzymes needed to facilitate the absorption of nutrients in the final stage of digestion that takes place in the small intestine.


A leaky gut wall becomes like a sieve that lets food particles pass into the bloodstream before they are completely digested. Because partially digested food and other substances were never meant to enter the bloodstream, the immune system perceives them as foreign invaders and acts to mobilize an immune defense against them. Antibodies form and white blood cells spring into action to initiate the inflammatory process the body engages to deal with these “invaders”. Oxidants and free radicals are produced in this battle that can cause further irritation and inflammation to other parts of the body. Since the inflammatory process makes tissues swell, cell membranes can lose tone and more easily become porous over time. As the intestinal lining becomes more permeable, its ability to act as a protective barrier is compromised.


How Leaky Gut Syndrome Affects the Body


When the gut loses its ability to filter incompletely digested food particles, harmful toxins and microbes, the organs that must deal with the effects of that influx in the bloodstream and lymphatic system can become overburdened with the toxic load. The liver, which acts as a back-up “second line of defense” for the body, especially bears the brunt of dealing with these substances. This is because everything from the digestive tract first goes to the liver for processing before it can be utilized by the rest of the body. The more the liver is bombarded with inflammatory irritants and partially digested food molecules, the less capacity it has to break down or neutralize chemicals and metabolic byproducts.


Since this important detoxification organ can only deal with so much at a time, the overflow of irritants and toxins from the intestines through a leaky gut diffuse into tissues of the body and tend to accumulate in organs, glands and fat cells. The inflammatory and free radical damage created in combination with the repercussions of an overtaxed liver and overworked immune system can result in any of the following conditions:



  • Gastrointestinal Problems – abdominal pain, gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Celiac, Candida, and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) are typical gastrointestinal conditions that arise from a “leaky” gut.
  • Poor Digestion – although poor digestion is often a causal factor of leaky gut syndrome, a damaged gut can also lead to further digestive difficulties due to reduced enzyme production within the villi of the brush border of the enzymes needed to break down certain types of sugars (disaccharides).
  • Nutritional Deficiencies - carrier proteins responsible for transporting minerals and other nutrients across the gut wall become damaged when prolonged irritation and inflammation occurs in the intestinal lining. The more villi and microvilli are damaged, the less surface area is available for nutrient absorption.
  • Food Allergies – when incompletely digested food molecules escape into the bloodstream past a weakened and compromised gut lining, an immune system attack is triggered each time the offending food is consumed, which results in further inflammation and damage. For more information on these types of delayed food allergies, I would refer you to my article "Food Allergies - Could They Be Your Problem?"
  • Weakened Immune System – leaky gut syndrome severely compromises immunity as the constant need to react to food allergens and other antigens can overwork the immune system and render it less able to produce the antibodies and hormones it needs to function effectively. Constant activation of the immune system defenses of the gut become a trigger for chronic inflammation. When the cells that produce secretory IgA are damaged due to inflammation, it becomes more difficult for the body to ward off bacteria, yeast, viruses and other harmful microorganisms.
  • Translocation of Microorganisms – bacteria, yeast, fungi and other microorganisms can pass from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream where they can proliferate and infect other organs and systems of the body. An example would be the overgrowth of Candida, a yeast/fungal organism that emits toxins that can result in all types of symptoms, ranging from gastrointestinal distress to depression and brain fog.
  • Autoimmune Diseases – food allergens and other antigens that enter the bloodstream and trigger the production of immune system antibodies often have a similar protein structure to the body’s own cells. When the immune system cannot distinguish “self” from “non-self”, a person’s own tissues may be attacked in the course of an immune response. At that point, diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, type 1 diabetes or any other of the 80 plus recognized autoimmune diseases may eventually develop.
  • Brain and Nervous System Diseases – leaky gut syndrome increases the likelihood that neurotoxic substances become systemic and reach the brain. These substances are closely linked with mental and nervous system disorders such as brain fog, depression, anxiety, ADD and schizophrenia.
  • Skin Conditions – because the skin is the largest organ of elimination, an overload of systemic toxins from leaky gut may manifest as eczema, psoriasis, cystic acne and other skin eruptions.
  • Respiratory Conditions – since the same type of immune cells found in the gut also exist in the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract, the systemic effects of leaky gut may result in inflammatory conditions such as respiratory allergies and asthma.



Do You Relate to any of These Symptoms?


The symptoms that indicate leaky gut syndrome may exist are numerous and extremely varied. Some of the more common ones people tend to experience are:



  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Indigestion or flatulence
  • Mucus or blood in stools
  • Chronic joint or muscle pains
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Changes in memory and cognition
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities
  • Poor exercise tolerance
  • Migraines
  • Weak immunity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rashes, hives, eczema or psoriasis
  • Asthma, bronchitis, respiratory infections
  • Sinus or nasal congestion
  • Food allergies/intolerances
  • Feeling sick with alcohol consumption



What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?


Anything that compromises the intestinal lining or disturbs the healthy balance of intestinal flora can potentially lead to the development of a “leaky” gut. The primary causes are:



  • Drugs – the following OTC or prescription medications are known to contribute to leaky gut syndrome:
  • Antibiotics - antibiotics kill off the natural intestinal flora that normally protect the intestinal lining from the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms, leaving the intestinal terrain vulnerable to bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi that colonize the area and contribute to gut-damaging irritation and inflammation.
  • NSAIDS – Nonsteriodal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) work by blocking pain and inflammation-producing prostaglandins (messenger molecules that circulate throughout the body). But they also cause damage to the protective lining of the stomach and intestines by blocking the prostaglandins that enable the body to repair them. Prolonged use of these drugs renders the gut wall weak, inflamed and more prone to intestinal impermeability.
  • Antacids – decrease the acidity of the stomach and reduce the activity of pepsin (protein-digesting enzyme), thereby diminishing the ability of the stomach to adequately digest proteins. This increases the number of large, incompletely digested protein molecules that enter the intestines and, potentially, into systemic circulation.
  • Steroid drugs (prednisone, hydrocortisone, etc.) – suppress the immune system
  • Chemotherapy agents/radiation therapy – creates inflammation in the small intestine and hinders the absorption of nutrients
  • Birth control pills – disrupt the balance of bacteria



Dietary Factors



  • Refined carbohydrates - refined sugar and flour products are the worst but other grains, starches and sweeteners also can become food for harmful bacteria in the small intestine, enhancing yeast overgrowth and making it difficult for brush border cells to repair or function properly. This is especially true when friendly bacteria are absent and immune function is compromised.
  • Hydrogenated fats - produce gut damaging free radicals when heated to high temperature.
  • Processed foods - chemical additives, preservatives, and artificial coloring and flavoring in processed foods add greatly to the toxic load of the body and are a source of irritation to the intestinal lining. Even more of a problem is the fact that processed foods are deplete in nutrients. Not only do they only lack the nutrients needed to process them but they additionally drain the body of valuable nutrients it needs for other purposes.
  • Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols – produce short-chain fatty acids that promote inflammation in the lining of the gut.
  • Alcohol & Caffeine – irritate the gut wall and decrease the number of friendly bacteria needed for a healthy gut (ethanol in alcohol has a particularly damaging effect on lining of the small intestine).
  • Anti-nutrients in foods – anti-nutrients such as lectins and phytates prevent or disrupt proper digestion and absorption of nutrients when foods containing them are consumed. Lectins are proteins found primarily in grains and legumes that attach to antigens of certain blood types and cause cells to stick together. This reduces their self-repair ability and can create damage to intestinal villi. Phytates that are found in the hulls of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, make the food more difficult to digest since they bind with minerals within those foods and prevent their absorption (minerals are needed for the functioning of enzymes needed to break down food). Soaking and/or sprouting these types of grains, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts greatly offset the effects of the enzyme inhibitors within them.
  • Chlorinated tap water – chlorine and other chemicals in tap water destroy good bacteria



Food allergens – Food allergies and leaky gut go hand in hand. Even though food allergies often develop due to a leaky gut, continuing to eat reactive foods only increases inflammation and worsen the condition of the gut wall over time. Protein fragments such as gliadin (protein in wheat gluten), zonulin (protein activated by gliadin known to widen gaps between cells and increase permeability), and casein (protein in milk) are among the worst offenders known to trigger immune system reactions. Because diets high in grain and dairy are so typical in this country, people tend to eat more of them than their body is able to handle, which is a primary reason food allergies and intolerances are a growing problem today.


Imbalanced Intestinal Flora – Chronic bacterial or viral infections, parasites and yeast/fungal overgrowth such as Candida upset the balance of intestinal flora within the intestinal tract. As these microorganisms feed on undigested food molecules, they flourish and outnumber the population of friendly bacteria. Toxins emitted by these organisms contribute to the inflammatory damage leading to leaky gut. In the case of Candida, root-like structures literally penetrate and form holes in the intestinal lining. As I previously covered, antibiotics and other drugs upset the balance of intestinal flora by destroying beneficial bacteria.


Poor Digestion and Overeating – Normal gastrointestinal function cannot occur without adequate digestion. Deficiencies in digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and an imbalanced gastrointestinal pH can cause impaired digestion that contributes to malabsorption, food allergies, bacterial overgrowth and other factors tied in with the development of leaky gut syndrome. Since overeating burdens the digestive system with more food than it can process at one time, excess undigested food molecules can further contribute to poor intestinal health.


Toxins & Chemicals – The cumulative toxic burden from daily exposure to household and environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins overwhelms the immune system and depletes nutrients, removing resources needed for repair and replacement of intestinal cells.


Trauma or Prolonged Stress – High levels of cortisol and other chemicals produced during periods of stress can contribute to intestinal inflammation. Stress robs the body of glutamine, the primary fuel for the cells that make up the intestinal lining. Since stress affects our immune system’s ability to respond and reduces blood flow to digestive organs, it slows down the healing process. Besides mental and emotional stress, surgery, injuries, high fever, infections, and overly rigorous exercise are additional stressors to the body.


Steps to Healing a Leaky Gut


As long as the immune system, digestion and detoxification processes of the liver work well, the small intestine lining is able to repair and replace itself in a matter of days. However, healing can be difficult and take much longer if any of these systems are impaired and/or overtaxed for any length of time. Following the recommendations for healing leaky gut can improve symptoms in some people in a matter of weeks whereas others with more advanced cases may take six months or longer. A number of steps are involved in healing a “leaky” gut. The first is really a two-step process that is of utmost importance, though it can be the most challenging to implement.


Remove Irritants Long Enough for the Gut to Recover


In spite of other measures taken to heal a leaky gut, full healing is difficult to achieve when any of the causal factors cited above are ongoing. In order to successfully remove these irritants, it is recommended that you:



  • Detect Reactive Foods - follow an elimination diet and/or obtain a food allergy blood test that tests for IgG antibodies in order to determine possible food allergens. If your doctor will not order this type of testing for you, you can order the test online yourself and a full lab report with interpretation and recommendations will be sent to you.
  • Eat a gut-healing diet - this step involves avoiding any foods to which you are allergic or intolerant as well as other foods known to irritate the intestinal wall. How long you must adhere to this diet in order for the gut to rest and heal depends upon the extent of the damage. During the time period, the body’s nutritional requirements should be met by consuming easy-to-digest proteins, fruits, non-starchy vegetables and olive oil while avoiding grains, milk products, legumes, starchy vegetables, high glycemic fruits, sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcoholic beverages and caffeine. Starches and complex sugars such as sucrose (found in most forms of sugar), maltose (found in grains) and lactose (found in milk products) are particularly problematic in that they require further breakdown by enzymes produced in the small intestine lining. When the gut wall is damaged and cannot sufficiently produce these enzymes, incompletely digested sugars and starches ferment and provide food for bacteria, Candida and other microbes that produce further damage. Fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit and honey, is absorbed without further action from these digestive enzymes and is better tolerated as a sweetener. People with more advanced cases of leaky gut syndrome that involve severe intestinal damage and inflammation may need to follow specialized diets such as the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) or Paleo diet, which are designed to eliminate the kinds of foods that irritate the gut and otherwise contribute to poor intestinal health.
  • Take measures to remove yeast, parasites and other harmful microbes - this includes eating a diet free of the sugars and starches (that quickly turn into sugar) that feed these microorganisms and using antifungal agents (such as pau d’arco, caprylic acid, oregano, garlic, or a blend of herbs) or antibacterial agents (such as garlic, goldenseal, una d’gato) or antiparasitic agents (such as black walnut, garlic, wormwood, artemisia) to reduce their population, depending on which microorganism is the problem.



Optimize Digestion


Since poorly digested food plays a major role in leaky gut syndrome, improving digestion is essential to restoring gastrointestinal health. The more food is broken down into the smallest molecules possible, the less it will lead to malabsorption in the small intestine. The best ways to optimize digestion are to:



  • Eat slowly and chew foods well.
  • Take broad-spectrum plant-based enzymes – plant-based enzymes replace living enzymes destroyed in foods by cooking and other means and help with the breakdown of all types of food components.
  • Combine foods properly - eat fruits alone and avoid mixing proteins with starchy carbohydrates.
  • Minimize drinking liquids with meals (especially cold liquids) that dilute gastric secretions and prolong the digestive process.
  • Avoid overeating and eating when stressed.
  • Avoid the use of antacids and acid-blocking drugs - these drugs neutralize stomach acid needed to break down proteins, the primary food molecules that overactivate the immune system and leads to the development of food allergies and intolerances.



For more information on improving digestive health, I would refer you to my articles "The Key to Good Digestion" , "Stomach Acid - Too Much or Too Little" and "The Key to Health and Longevity".


Support Organs and Pathways of Elimination and Detoxification


Waste that is not rapidly eliminated can irritate and inflame the intestines as well as increase the likelihood that toxins reabsorb and circulate back to the liver, increasing systemic toxicity. The use of extra fiber helps reduce intestinal inflammation, binds toxins and irritating substances, and improves colon transit time by holding moisture in the intestines to remove them more quickly. In addition, fiber acts as food to help boost the growth of friendly flora in the intestinal tract*. Supporting the liver involves supplying key nutrients and herbs that protect it as well as fuel the detoxification process it uses to convert harmful fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble forms the body can easily excrete. Milk thistle, N-acetylcysteine (a precursor to glutathione production), lipoic acid, Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants are used for this purpose. To cleanse and stimulate overall liver function and bile production, herbs such as dandelion root, fringe tree, Oregon grape root and beet leaf are recommended. Consuming vegetables such as dark, leafy greens, beets, artichokes and young dandelion greens will further help to cleanse and support the liver. For more information on supporting the organs of the body involved in detoxification and elimination, I would refer you to my five-part series on "Detoxifying for Better Health", particularly Part 2 and Part 3 which covers colon cleansing and liver detoxification.


* Special Note: those people with leaky gut who also have SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) may need to avoid certain types of fiber since it may accelerate the growth of harmful bacteria and worsen SIBO symptoms.


Recreate a Healthy Balance of Intestinal Flora


Repopulating the intestine with friendly bacteria by eating fermented foods and/or taking a high quality multi-strain probiotic supplement is often necessary to restore the balance of gut flora needed to strengthen the immune system, protect against yeast and bacterial overgrowth, and help breakdown food as well as neutralize toxins.


Repair and Restore the Integrity of the Gut Wall


The “holes” in the gut wall need to be toned and tightened which may be accomplished through supporting the healing process with the use of various nutrients and herbs. Supplements are especially necessary with people who have leaky gut since they often have difficulty absorbing sufficient nutrients from foods. The following are nutrients and herbs that are commonly recommended:



  • Nutrients: vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, zinc, selenium, magnesium, essential fatty acids GLA (gamma linoleic acid such as borage oil) and Omega-3, NAC (besides a detoxifier, this nutrient acts as an anti-oxidant to counteract free radicals that contribute to oxidative damage of the intestinal mucosa) and L-glutamine, the latter of which is the preferred fuel for intestinal cells and is the most highly recommended nutrient for healing the cells that line the small intestine (this supplement works most effectively when taken in-between meals on an empty stomach).
  • Herbs: herbs aid repair by acting as anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants as well as astringents, the latter of which work to tone and tighten the tissues and reduce gaps between cells in the brush border. Herbs commonly recommended in these categories are quercetin, kudzu, licorice (deglycyrrhizinated form known as DGL), turmeric, chamomile (can be taken in tea form), and una de gato. Herbs that work to cool and soothe damaged tissues and absorb irritating substances are aloe vera (juice is best vs. whole leaf), slippery elm, marshmallow root, calendula and plantain.
  • Bone broth – is loaded with easily assimilated and vital nutrients, such as glutamine, collagen and glycine that help repair the gut and restore a healthy mucosal lining. Adding a little vinegar while cooking the broth for long periods of time helps extract minerals from the bones as well. Broth made from real bones is also rich in gelatin that acts as “spackle” to plaster holes in the gut. Recipes for making bone broth can easily be found online.



If steps are not taken to heal a porous gut wall, health may decline due to two primary factors: nutritional deficiencies from a growing inability to adequately absorb them and an overworked immune system with limited ability to protect the body against infections and disease. Keep in mind that good health is dependent upon a well functioning immune system and the body cannot regenerate healthy new cells and tissues if it is nutrient-deficient.


A Test to Learn for Certain


If you suspect you may have leaky gut syndrome but are unsure and wish to be tested, a test by Genova Diagnostics is available that directly measures gut leakiness in addition to nutrient absorption capacity. It is called the “Intestinal Permeability Assessment” and can be ordered by your doctor or online at Lab Testing or through other sites for approximately $100. This assessment simply involves drinking a solution with two non-metabolized sugar molecules (lactulose and mannitol) and collecting urine samples at designated intervals over a six hour period, which are then sent to a lab for analysis.


However, it is not necessary to be tested to begin to work on improving your digestive health. Many of the guidelines in this article can benefit anyone, whether they already have leaky gut syndrome or simply wish to prevent it by taking better care of their intestinal health in order to enhance the overall health of their body.