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Is Your Gut Leaking Toxins Into Your Body?

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“All disease begins in the gut,” said Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine. While he made this claim over 2,000 years ago, modern science shows that he may have been onto something. Leaky gut is an underlying cause of many diseases. It also contributes to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure

When diagnosing the root cause of chronic illness or heart disease, conventional labs may come back as normal. This can be frustrating for someone suffering from unexplained symptoms. Leaky gut can often look like other conditions, so the only way to diagnose is through proper testing. For your 100 Year Heart, it’s necessary to target and treat leaky gut right away.

What is leaky gut?

In simple terms, leaky gut is when the small intestine becomes damaged and “leaky.” The small intestine acts as an important barrier between your GI tract and the rest of your body. It’s responsible for absorbing nutrients into the body while protecting you from toxins.  A healthy small intestine is made up of cells held together with tight junctions, called Zonulin proteins

With this condition, the small intestine becomes porous and allows harmful substances to enter your bloodstream. Some of these substances include  environmental toxins, pesticides, viruses, bacteria, and more. 

In response, the immune system goes into overdrive to get rid of these substances, leading to chronic inflammation. Damaged intestinal cells cannot produce the enzymes necessary for proper food absorption, which can cause nutrient deficiencies.

Consequences of leaky gut

Leaky gut is linked to many health conditions. Some of these include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease which presents as chronic inflammation of the intestine. This includes Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and microscopic colitis.
  • Autoimmune disease resulting from an overactive immune response, including lupus, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Diabetes and obesity. Gut problems can disrupt metabolism and cause poor blood sugar control.
  • Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The gut-brain axis is responsible for the close link between gut problems and mental health.

Many other conditions may be caused or worsened by a leaky gut, including high blood pressure and related complications. Later in this article, we’ll discuss how a leaky gut directly impacts your cardiovascular health.

What are the causes of leaky gut?

Research on leaky gut is ongoing — we do not have the full picture yet. However, there are several known causes of leaky gut that you can address today to prevent and alleviate this serious condition.

Poor diet 

The traditional Western diet can wreak havoc on your gut. Research shows that processed foods, additives, gluten, and sugar may impact the junctions of the small intestine, leading to leaky gut. Eating the 100 Year Heart Diet can help prevent this. It’s essential to choose organic and grass-fed foods whenever possible.

Toxin exposure

The world we live in is full of toxins, chemicals, and pollutants – there’s no way to avoid them. Exposure to mold, heavy metals, pesticides, and more can cause a leaky gut. Invest in a high-quality air filter to prevent ingestion of indoor airborne pollutants. If you think you may have a high toxic load, testing is often a good idea to target treatment.

Stress and depression

Leaky gut can cause mental health problems, but research shows that the opposite is also true. This can create a negative feedback loop, which is why physical and mental health are so closely linked. It’s crucial to prioritize mental health and keep stress levels low. Consider seeking help from a professional if necessary. 


Certain medications contribute to leaky gut. Antibiotics can be hugely disruptive to the gut microbiome, especially if taken over a long period. Other harmful drugs may include NSAIDs and steroids. With medication, use discretion and only take when absolutely necessary.

Signs and Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Leaky gut can often look like other conditions or present as a vague combination of symptoms. It’s difficult to know the health of your gut without the right testing. But there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Digestive issues, such as constipation, bloating, and diarrhea
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog and confusion
  • Unexplained skin rashes
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
  • Nutritional deficiencies

How does a leaky gut affect cardiovascular disease?

Contrary to what your conventional doctor may have told you, you’re not doomed to cardiovascular disease because of your age or genetics. Leaky gut is a common underlying cause of high blood pressure and related complications. Let’s take a closer look at how leaky gut can have devastating effects on heart health.

Inflammation and immune dysfunction

As discussed, leaky gut allows harmful bacteria to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. Research has shown a possible link between bacteria and atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries. 

Atherosclerosis results from damage to the walls of the blood vessels, allowing for plaque buildup, and increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications. Inflammation, often caused by leaky gut, is also a known cause of atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Oxidative stress

With leaky gut, immune cells infiltrate the small intestine and produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals. To prevent oxidative stress, your body needs enough antioxidants to get rid of these free radicals. As oxidative stress builds, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. This is why antioxidant intake is vital in treating this condition and promoting heart health.

Nitric oxide production

Gut health plays a huge role in producing nitric oxide, a chemical that helps blood vessels relax and keep blood pressure low. Without enough nitric oxide, endothelial dysfunction can occur, which is linked to higher blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular events.

Nutrient deficiencies

To keep your cardiovascular system healthy, you need to get enough vitamins and nutrients. Some of these include vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Leaky gut prevents your intestines from adequately absorbing these nutrients, resulting in deficiencies.

Next steps: get tested

If you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, it’s important to get tested for leaky gut. Conventional blood tests typically won’t pick up on the specific markers for this condition.

We recommend the Wheat Zoomer test, a highly sensitive test that provides a comprehensive analysis of gluten sensitivity and leaky gut. This test detects zonulin proteins and the antibodies released with intestinal damage. The Wheat Zoomer test shows the severity of your gut disruption and can help you restore your health.

At Natural Heart Doctor, we know that treating leaky gut is one of the key factors in promoting heart health and treating chronic illnesses. Fortunately, gut health can improve with good nutrition, detoxification, and low stress levels. 

After making changes to your lifestyle, the Wheat Zoomer test can be done at intervals. This way, you can monitor your progress and ensure that your gut health is headed in the right direction!

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.