Food, gut barrier dysfunction, and related diseases: A new target for future individualized disease prevention and management

Food Sci Nutr. 2023 Mar 7;11(4):1671-1704. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.3229. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Dysfunction of gut barrier is known as "leaky gut" or increased intestinal permeability. Numerous recent scientific evidences showed the association between gut dysfunction and multiple gastrointestinal tract (GI) and non-GI diseases. Research also demonstrated that food plays a crucial role to cause or remedy gut dysfunction related to diseases. We reviewed recent articles from electronic databases, mainly PubMed. The data were based on animal models, cell models, and human research in vivo and in vitro models. In this comprehensive review, our aim focused on the relationship between dietary factors, intestinal permeability dysfunction, and related diseases. This review synthesizes currently available literature and is discussed in three parts: (a) the mechanism of gut barrier and function, (b) food and dietary supplements that may promote gut health, and food or medication that may alter gut function, and (c) a table that organizes the synthesized information by general mechanisms for diseases related to leaky gut/intestinal permeability and associated dietary influences. With future research, dietary intervention could be a new target for individualized disease prevention and management.

Keywords: diet; intestinal permeability; leaky gut; microbiota; tight junction.

Publication types

  • Review