Introduction and objective:
Intestinal barrier dysfunction may promote increased migration of antigens, bacteria and toxins from the intestinal lumen into the bloodstream. This condition is observed in the course of various diseases, both acute and chronic. Modifying the intestinal barrier function could potentially affect the course of these diseases and patient prognosis. The aim of this article was to assess the role of selected nutritional components and lifestyle on human intestinal barrier function.

Review methods:
A literature review was conducted using information from the PubMed/MEDLINE and ScienceDirect databases published before January 2021.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
Diet and lifestyle are basic environmental factors that affect the intestinal barrier function. Adequate intake of dietary fibre and zinc is necessary to maintain proper barrier function. Glutamine is a particularly important amino acid in the maintenance of the epithelial barrier of the gastrointestinal tract, and the demand for it significantly increases in the course of various clinical conditions. A high-fat diet and alcohol can disrupt the structure of the intestinal barrier, which can have negative health effects. Gluten has a specific effect on the intestinal barrier permeability through the ability to release zonulin; however, under physiological conditions this process is strictly controlled and probably not clinically significant in healthy people. Lifestyle factors, such as mental stress and intense exercise, may disrupt the intestinal barrier function, contributing to an increase in intestinal permeability.

The available literature undoubtedly suggests a significant influence of many nutrients and lifestyle on the intestinal barrier function.

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