Endotoxemia, Leaky Gut, and Lipopolysaccharides
Your gut has a rather tricky job. It’s responsible for both absorbing essential nutrients from the food you eat while simultaneously shielding you from the harmful compounds that make their way into your body alongside that food. To perform this delicate job, your gut has a complex and highly efficient system in place.
But sometimes, this intricate system can get thrown out of whack – hindering your gut’s ability to properly absorb nutrients and exposing you to potentially harmful invading toxins and microbes. This breakdown of your gut’s defenses – better known as leaky gut syndrome – can have a domino effect that can throw your entire body off-kilter.
In this post, we’re going to explore exactly what leaky gut syndrome is, how tiny molecules known as lipopolysaccharides can cause it, and some of the negative effects leaky gut can have on your overall health. And most importantly, we’ll cover some steps you can take to heal leaky gut syndrome and keep your digestive tract firing on all cylinders. Let’s start with defining exactly what lipopolysaccharides are and how they impact your gut.
What Are Lipopolysaccharides?
The terms lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and endotoxins can be used interchangeably and refer to a specific type of molecule found on the surface of certain strains of bacteria. A class of bacteria known as gram-negative bacteria are encased in a double membrane that separates the bacteria from the external world – serving as its first line of defense against any outside threats.
Lipopolysaccharides or endotoxins serve as an essential structural component to these gram-negative bacterial cells’ outer envelope and play an important role in:1
- Bacterial cell wall permeability: LPS help modulate what molecules can enter and exit through the bacterial outer membrane – protecting the bacteria from harmful molecules like antibiotics and bile salts
- Bacterial pathogenicity: Because LPS is found on the external surface of the bacteria, it is the main component that your immune system encounters. LPS’ interaction with your own cells dictates just how pathogenic or damaging the bacteria are to you and how dramatically your immune system responds
LPS are not necessarily a problem in and of themselves. It’s normal and even essential to have a bacterial population in your gut that contains some levels of endotoxins. But if the balance shifts and LPS levels get out of hand, it can create a ripple effect and have a serious impact on your health.
Leaky Gut and Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)
Similar to the membrane that encases certain strains of gram-negative bacteria, your digestive tract also has a semi-permeable membrane that protects your tissues from harmful compounds – selectively allowing certain molecules to pass from your intestines into your bloodstream. To do this your gut has a multi-layered protective mechanism to keep harmful toxins and microbes like LPS from sneaking through.
This multi-layered protective barrier includes:2
- Alkaline phosphatase: A compound secreted by your intestinal cells that works to inactivate LPS as the first line of defense
- Mucus layer: Your digestive tract is lined with a thick layer of intestinal mucus to act as a physical barrier
- Epithelium: Your intestinal cells are linked together by proteins known as tight junctions that selectively “open” and allow nutrients to pass through into your bloodstream while keeping potentially harmful compounds sealed up tight in your intestines to be excreted
- Antibacterial peptides: Your intestines contain specialized cells known as Paneth cells that secrete peptides designed to neutralize invading bacteria
This barrier system is designed to protect you. But sometimes, compounds like LPS can activate your immune response and trigger a spike in inflammation – disrupting your intestinal barrier and allowing these harmful molecules to sneak their way out of your gut. This inadvertent leakage and malfunction of defenses is commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome and can allow LPS to invade the bloodstream – subsequently creating a condition known as metabolic endotoxemia.
Watch the video below for a full animation on Leaky Gut, narrated by microbiologist Kiran Krishnan!
Metabolic endotoxemia occurs when your intestinal barrier is damaged – allowing an influx of LPS into your bloodstream. Some conditions that have been associated with elevated LPS levels include: 3,4
- Metabolic conditions like obesity and Type 2 diabetes
- Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and lupus
- Certain types of cancer like hepatocellular carcinoma
Clearly leaky gut syndrome and subsequently elevated levels of LPS can have serious consequences for your health. So what can we do to heal leaky gut and reverse the effects seen in metabolic endotoxemia?
Healing Leaky Gut Naturally
When it comes to healing leaky gut naturally, the primary goal is to minimize inflammation while giving your gut the nutrients and support it needs to recover. It requires a big-picture approach and some lifestyle tweaks such as:
- Eating a well-rounded, healthy diet that’s full of nutrient-dense, non-inflammatory foods
- Minimizing and managing stress
- Getting plenty of high-quality sleep
- Being mindful of exposure to gut-disrupting toxins like heavy metals, pesticides found on produce, and chemicals that can leach out of plastic containers
- Incorporating digestion-boosting leaky gut supplements like digestive enzymes
While all of these factors play an important role in reversing the effects of leaky gut syndrome and metabolic endotoxemia, addressing them won’t be nearly effective if you don’t also address another important factor – your microbiome.
The microorganisms that make up the delicate ecosystem of your gut microbiome play a monumental role in both regulating inflammation and maintaining the integrity of your gut lining. And there are some specific strains of probiotics that are particularly well-suited to address endotoxemia and leaky gut symptoms.
Benefits of Spore-Based Probiotics for Leaky Gut and Endotoxemia
Re-inoculating your gut with probiotics is hands down one of the most potent ways to rebalance your microbiome in a way that can supercharge your ability to recover from leaky gut and endotoxemia. But not all probiotics are created equally. Harnessing the benefits of probiotics to heal leaky gut and endotoxemia requires the right strains of probiotics.
Research has found that specialized strains of a specific type of probiotics known as spore-based probiotics can have a remarkable impact on halting the progression of leaky gut syndrome and healing the lining of your gut. In fact, one study found that supplementation with spore-based probiotics was able to reduce metabolic endotoxemia by a whopping 42% without any other lifestyle changes.5
So, how do you go about choosing the right spore-based probiotics to begin healing these imbalances?
MegaSporeBiotic for Leaky Gut and Endotoxemia
Remember the study that found an impressive 42% decrease in endotoxemia after supplementing with spore-based probiotics? Subjects in that study were given a specific blend of 5 spore-based probiotic strains which were:5
- Bacillus indicus (HU36)
- Bacillus subtilis (HU58)
- Bacillus coagulans
- Bacillus licheniformis
- Bacillus clausii
These 5 strains are the exact combination found in Microbiome Labs Megaspore Probiotic – with each strain of Bacillus exerting its own unique and powerful impact on your microbiome.
To learn more about exactly what each strain of Bacillus does, the science behind what makes spore-based probiotics so powerful, and what makes MegaSporeBiotic the world’s best probiotic supplement, you can check out these resources:
- The Science Behind MegaSporeBiotic Spore-Based Probiotics
- MegasporeBiotic: Learn About Benefits of the World’s Best Probiotic Supplement
- Webinar replay with Kiran Krishnan, the Chief Science Officer at Microbiome Labs
Your gut is truly the gateway to health. And the strains of spore-based bacteria found in MegaSporeBiotic probiotic blend are garnering quite the reputation as more and more studies reveal their incredible ability to recondition the gut microbiome and create a ripple effect of healing throughout the body.
Are You Worried About Leaky Gut Syndrome and Endotoxemia?
The more we learn about the gut and the microbiota that call our gut home, the more evident it is that a happy healthy gut truly is the secret to a vibrantly healthy life. If you’re concerned that you may be struggling with leaky gut symptoms, are in the trenches of battling a chronic condition, or simply want to optimize your health, you may benefit from re-inoculating your gut with the right probiotics.
The strains of spore-based probiotics found in MegaSporeBiotic are scientifically proven to help heal leaky gut and reverse endotoxemia – which in the long-term drastically reduces your risk of developing a number of chronic life-altering diagnoses. If you’re ready to experience the power of MegaSporeBiotic probiotics for yourself, you can visit our online shop and grab your own bottle right here. Or, if your gut health could really use a tune-up, you might benefit from combining MegaSporeBiotic probiotics with MegaPreBiotic Capsules to fuel your microbiome and MegaMucosa to help rebuild your mucosal barrier in the Total Gut Restoration bundle.
While these unique gut-boosting supplements are the most powerful and most trusted probiotics out there, they work much better when combined with a big-picture, holistic approach. That’s why we’re dedicated to bringing you up-to-date and easy-to-understand resources via the blog and Wellness Vault to empower you with actionable knowledge to create the abundant health and happiness you deserve.