Intestinal hyper-permeability syndrome is a clinical entity that affects the lining of the intestines. Leaky gut syndrome (also called intestinal hyperpermeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less viable and less able to filter only needed nutrients and other biological substances.
As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, parasites, drugs such as antibiotics and NSAIDS, partially digested proteins and fats, and waste that is normally blocked from intestinal absorption may "leak" through the intestines into the blood stream.
A simple way to describe intestinal hyper-permeability - Think of the intestines as a screen door that is so tightly meshed that it is capable of keeping tiny insects out. Now imagine that same screen door with huge holes in it...not a very effective barrier to keeping out unwanted pests.
This onslaught of substances through the intestines and into the blood stream can act as a trigger to the immune system. The normal immune system would attack only those substances that had snuck through the intestinal lining. Some of those bits of undigested proteins can resemble the same proteins in our bodies. So our immune system starts attacking those as well. This is called an autoimmune reaction.
The three most common organs that are affected with leaky gut syndrome and autoimmunity are the pancreas, the thyroid, and the cerebellum (brain). One point: The number of thyroid cases with an autoimmune component has skyrocketed. In fact, the most common thyroid condition in the U.S. is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Intestinal hyper-permeability can also lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and ataxia. The cause of this syndrome is chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.