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The connection between leaky gut and recurrent miscarriage

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Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is a devastating experience that can leave women seeking answers to identify the cause of their miscarriages. While endocrine factors such as thyroid and progesterone levels are increasingly being recognized as important factors in RPL (as I address in this blog post), intriguing new research has identified another important potential risk factor: leaky gut.

In the endometrial tissues (lining of the uterus) of women with a history of RPL, the researchers observed a higher expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins secreted by immune cells). This discovery leads to the suspicion that leaky gut (abnormal gut permeability from chronic inflammation of the intestines) may result in gaps in the intestinal wall that allow passage of immune triggers into the bloodstream, resulting in an immune response in the endometrium of the uterus that could contribute to (recurrent) miscarriage.

The study observed a higher prevalence of abnormal intestinal permeability in RPL patients compared to the control group. So while it’s still too early in the research to identify whether there is a cause and effect relationship here, and how prevalent and important this risk factor is, it certainly is an interesting and relevant hypothesis about the link between gut health and healthy pregnancy.

Leaky gut can be identified through an intestinal permeability test, which measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules to permeate the intestinal mucosa. The patient drinks a pre-measured amount of lactulose and mannitol. The degree of intestinal permeability or malabsorption is reflected in the levels of the two sugars recovered in a urine sample collected over the next 6 hours. If leaky gut is identified, it can be approached through dietary changes to decrease inflammatory food reactions, as well as gut healing treatment including probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids and demulcent herbs that soothe and protect irritated and inflamed tissues.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your pregnant patients, please get in touch with us at support@myhealthypregnancyplan.com.

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.

References:

Tersigni, C. et al. (2018). Recurrent pregnancy loss is associated to leaky gut: a novel pathogenic model of endometrium inflammation? Journal of Translational Medicine, 16(102).

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