Although conventional physicians don’t fully recognize leaky gut syndrome, the evidence is expanding and proving that leaky gut is a real condition. Another name you may hear for this is “Intestinal Permeability”.
This syndrome develops because of intestinal lining damage. When damage occurs in the intestinal lining, there’s not enough protection for the internal environment to filter the nutrients and biological substances.
Due to the lack of prevention, bacteria, toxins, undigested fats and proteins, and waste can’t normally be absorbed, so it will “leak” out of the intestines and flow into the bloodstream. This process will trigger an autoimmune reaction, leading to several uncomfortable symptoms.
Leaky Gut Symptoms And Causes
Because of the autoimmune reaction and waste leaking into your blood stream, leaky gut comes with several symptoms that you should look out for:
- Digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Hormonal imbalances i.e. PCOS or PMS
- Seasonal allergies
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, psoriasis, and lupus
- Skin issues including acne, eczema
- Type 1 diabetes
- Food sensitivities
The ultimate cause of leaky gut is still under debate. However, from current research, there are several contributors to leaky gut.
Yeast: Yeast is present in normal gut flora. However, it can quickly get out of hand. Once yeast grows abnormally, it mutates into a multi-celled fungus, known as Candida, and grows tentacles so it can hold onto the intestinal lining. Once attached, Candida can create holes in the intestinal lining. Read how to treat Candida infections.
Diet: If your diet consists of heavy refined sugars, refined flours, preservatives, and processed foods; you are introducing significant toxic chemicals into your body. Your digestive system and detox organs will have a hard time dealing with the toxin build-up, resulting in excessive inflammation.
Chronic Stress: Being chronically stressed affects gut health. Stress can result in alterations of your brain-gut connection, which in turn contributes to or directly cause numerous gastrointestinal disorders
Medications: Medications that are over-the-counter or prescriptions with Acetaminophen or Aspirin cause irritation to the intestinal lining and reduce mucosal levels, which is a membrane that creates mucus on the intestinal lining as a protective barrier.
Remove Gut-Damaging Foods
Some foods are known to cause leaky gut and create intestinal inflammation. It’s ideal to cut the following foods out of your diet completely, especially if you’re already experiencing some symptoms of a leaky gut.
Gluten: Following a gluten-free diet can help improve any symptoms you’re dealing with from leaky gut. Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. Gluten is basically the “sticky protein” in most wheat and grain foods. Unless gluten has gone through a sprouting sourdough process, it’s hard to digest.
Cow’s Dairy: The protein found in cow’s dairy, known as A1 casein, can trigger a reaction just like gluten does in the body. Fact: A1 casein may even be 26 times more inflammatory than gluten!
GMO: Genetically modified organisms contain pesticides and herbicides, which can damage the gut lining. According to studies from the Journal of Environmental Sciences, GMO foods have the potential to destroy the probiotics in the gut, causing organ inflammation.
Introduce Healing Foods
In order for these healing foods to start their healing work in your body, be sure to avoid the list of gut-damaging foods as mentioned above. Eat as much of these healing foods as you like.
Bone Broth: As a staple in several recipes, bone broth is a healing food as it’s full of easy-to-absorb minerals. Go here for an easy bone broth recipe that must include apple cider vinegar, to heal leaky gut.
Fermented Vegetables: Fermented vegetables have a balance intestinal pH with organic acids. Another benefit is that that have antibiotics that support the gut. Read more about fermented foods to be included in your diet.
Green Vegetable Juices: Freshly-extracted juices are very healing for the immune system. Drinking one or two glasses of green vegetable juices daily heals the digestive system. Cabbage juice is known to be very healing for ulcers and other digestive-related problems. Here’s how to make cabbage juice.
Pasture-raised Meats: Meats that come from pasture-raised animals are more nutrient-dense and are essential for healing the gut, especially when the cuts include fat and bone and are braised or slow-cooked. Here are a few other reasons why you should eat only grass-fed animal meats.
Coconut Products: Coconut is a favorable food item that can help heal the gut. The MCFA’s in coconut make it easy to digest, more than other fats. Use coconut oil in this 101 ways to improve your life and health!
Supplements For Healing Leaky Gut
Certain supplements can help speed up the healing of leaky gut syndrome.
Probiotics: Ideally, your body should have more friendly bacteria than harmful ones. Friendly bacteria helps break down and digest food. A probiotics supplement helps increase the number of friendly bacteria in the gut and prevent an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Unfortunately, these beneficial bacteria can be depleted by taking certain medications, eating poorly, and other factors as mentioned above. By taking a highly concentrated dose of probiotics daily, you can be sure that you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut always.
Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are microbial-based or plant supplements that provide support to the utilization, absorption, and breakdown of macronutrients. By taking digestive enzymes with meals, they can work with the body’s reduced supply of enzymes for increased digestion, and support intestinal repair.
L-Glutamine: This supplement is essential for repairing damage to the gut and helping the lining to repair and grow. Because this amino acid is so effective, it can undo the damage that was caused by leaky gut and even reduces sugar cravings.
Slippery Elm: As a supplement that has been widely used in the United States, it contains mucilage which stimulates nerve endings within the intestinal tract to improve natural mucus secretion. This supplement helps protect the lining and even fights against excess acid and ulcers.
Marshmallow Root: As a multipurpose supplement, marshmallow root can be used for digestive or respiratory relief. Just like slippery elm, marshmallow root contains a high mucilage content. Marshmallow root reduces inflammation in the stomach lining, treats constipation and diarrhea, and heals ulcers by creating a protective lining within the digestive tract.