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Head Trauma and the Connection to Leaky Gut

Well, my goal was to make it one year without missing a monthly blog, and then there was June... I hate to make excuses, but I have a really good one, actually 12 good ones. Both of our mama pigs gave birth and I am now the proud farmer grama of 12 beautiful, healthy little piglets! It has increased my workload on the farm a bit, but I love it and honestly get caught up sitting out there giving piggy belly rubs instead of writing my monthly articles. I bring this up, because it is actually a pathetic excuse to show off yet another photo of my pigs.

I mean, come on. Could you get any work done with little piggy kisses like that going on right outside your window?

All baby crazy farmer nonsense aside, I apologize for leaving you guys hanging for a month, however, I think it was worth the wait. This next article was actually given to me by a friend a few years ago. Although this research isn't super new (published in 2009 - see link below) it is still poorly understood and definitely not a common topic around the water cooler.

Researchers from the University of California - San Diego found a huge increase (80 points) in gut permeability following traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice within six hours of injury compared to mice in sham groups. This study focused on the proteins found in the tight junctions of the intestinal cells. In good health, these tight junctions regulate the flow of fluids from the intestines and into the extracellular fluid/bloodstream; thus keeping us adequately hydrated and allowing nutrients from dissolved food to get where they need to go in the body. They also prevent solutes that are too large/undigested from getting out. If stuff starts getting out of these junctions when it isn't supposed to we get leaky gut syndrome and dysfunctional tight junction protein has also been noted in biopsy of intestinal tissues in patients with active Crohn's disease.

This research shows that the gut-brain connection is very complex and closely intertwined. Many patients with digestive issues may be missing a critical step to better health if they don't treat the brain tissues while they work on altering their diet and improving their gut flora. It is also very important for people who have had a brain injury to take care of their tummies in hopes of preventing the sequela of tight junction dysfunction after TBI.

There is so much we don't understand about our bodies but this article helps show that it is definitely all connected.

Take home message: wear a helmet! But maybe upgrade from the watermelon version in the picture above ;-)

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