Alcohol in general, and binge drinking specifically, is linked with leaky gut and absorption of bacterial endotoxin. This pro-inflammatory bacterial appendage is present on the cell surface of gram-negative bacteria living in our GI tract.
Imbalances in gut bacteria from excessive alcohol, stress, medications, and consumption of processed foods increases gut permeability (leaky gut) and allow this immunologically stimulating particle (i.e. endotoxin) to be absorbed. Once absorbed, endotoxin (also known as lipopolysaccharide) stimulates the immune system, creating metabolic inflammation, insulin resistance and feelings of malaise.
Dysbiosis of the intestine created by drinking excessive alcohol, eating processed foods, poor chewing and digestion, antibiotics, and antacid medications leads to a double whammy of leaky gut and increased endotoxin absorption. The end result is whole-body inflammation, insulin resistance, fat gain, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Since we all have 5 grams of bacterial endotoxin in our gut at any given time, and because there is only one epithelial cell layer preventing these inflammatory particles from stimulating our immune system, we need to constantly make food choices to keep our gut barrier intact and to prevent endotoxin from leaking in.
Here are a few tips to prevent bacterial endotoxin from leaking out of your gut and into your blood stream:
Avoid consuming refined fructose and sugars.
Fructose increases the porousness of the gastrointestinal tract lining, promoting absorption of bacterial endotoxin, which then prompts inflammation
Consume extra inulin
8–12 grams of inulin daily can prevent the burden of endotoxin in the gut.
Drinking extra inulin is especially protective before consuming high-fat foods when you dine out or when you drink alcohol.
Consume more color
Polyphenolic compounds from berries, coffee, chocolate, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and even orange juice can help to offset endotoxin absorption; especially if taken prior to consuming alcohol.
If you’re going to drink, drink slowly.
Binge drinking is pretty harsh on the gut. Read this post to learn more about this connection.