Leaky Gut Syndrome and Obesity

It should surprise no one that some of what we put into our intestines can have harmful effects. Apparently, some things make tiny holes in the intestinal lining. Then, when other things come along, they can slip through those holes and gain access to the bloodstream, and from there spread throughout the body and affect various organs.

According to this worldview, when presented with foreign materials, the body recognizes a dangerous invader that cannot be assimilated. The only other option is to attack. Attack mode includes inflammation and other harmful results, some of which lead indirectly to obesity. Science is teasing out the strange and mysterious ways in which various substances, when acted upon by diverse bodily processes, contribute to the obesity epidemic.

Researchers wonder if interfering with the basic construction of food can somehow made it more addictive. There has been speculation about whether GMOs (genetically modified organisms) facilitate obesity, particularly the corn that makes high fructose corn syrup. It has also been noted that about 70% of processed grocery products are made from genetically modified foods, and that their consumption has increased over the same time period when the obesity epidemic has really taken hold.

Do killers discriminate?

Genetically modified foods and pesticides may be seen as a package deal, because the main reason for modifying a plant is to make it insect-resistant. According to one theory, LGS in humans can be caused by a bacterium that does not seem likely to be a good neighbor in the gut microbiome.

Bacillus thuringiensis sounds like a creature we might wish to avoid. The folks at Sunrise Natural Medicine offer this alarming description:

One of the most common genetic modifications is the addition of a gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that produces a toxin which, essentially, causes insects stomachs to explode by making the gut hyperpermeable…

The Bt toxin is also isolated and used as a pesticide spray…

It was initially determined that Bt toxin is not harmful to humans, but more recent evidence says otherwise, suggesting that the Bt toxin adversely affects human membrane integrity as well…

Stated another way, GMO food contains a poison that blows holes in the stomachs of insects. Yet the possibility that Bt toxin might drill exit wounds through the human gastrointestinal tract has been cavalierly discarded. GMO products are the basis of the large majority of processed foods on the market. Also, they are eaten by the animals that we eat.

Since this has become the norm, there has been a worldwide increase in food allergies, gastrointestinal inflammation, and obesity. Food sensitivities and allergies are linked to addiction, or at least to an increased vulnerability to addiction. Some force or forces have caused increased gut permeability.

Meanwhile, Bt protein shows up in the blood of pregnant women and of newborn babies. The Institute of Science in Society reports on French research:

This study indicates that Bt toxins are not inert on human cells, and may indeed be toxic. As Bt toxins are produced by bacterial species existing naturally in the wild, and are used for organic agriculture, inadequate safety assessments were involved in the approval of Bt crops.

Bt crops have previously been shown to induce hepatorenal abnormalities in rat feeding studies as well as immune responses that may be responsible for allergies observed in farmers and factory workers handling Bt crops, affecting the eyes, skin and the respiratory tract.

Allergies correlate with obesity. Also, while a connection may not be direct or easily identified, if Bt toxin kills kidney cells, it quite probably can do other things that we don’t happen to know about yet.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “‘Leaky Gut,’ GMOs, and Why You Should Care,” SunriseNaturalMedicine.com, 10/18/2012
Source: “Genetically Engineered Food Alters Our Digestive Systems!,” ANH-USA.org, May 31, 2011
Source: “Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells,” I-sis.org, 03/14/12
Photo via Visualhunt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources