The term “leaky gut” is loosely used to describe a condition that many in the healthcare field are still debating and researching. It is typically used to refer to a disorder where substances, including food and toxins, pass through the lining of the small intestine into the bloodstream. This can cause severe problems and eventually lead to issues like diabetes, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
What causes leaky gut syndrome?
Researchers and medical professionals have found that those who suffer from Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease can suffer from this issue. However, they are unsure if it is a contributing factor or simply a side effect. It also does not explain why people who do not suffer from these diseases can get a leaky gut. Unfortunately, there are no specific known causes for leaky gut. However, doctors have concluded that there are several potential causes:
- Poor Diet
- Chronic Stress
- Toxin Overload
- Bacterial Imbalance
- Some Medications
Research has shown that the most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are sugar, proteins found in un-sprouted grains, wheat, soy, GMO’s and even conventional dairy. GMO and hybridized foods tend to have the highest lectins since they have been modified to deter insects from eating them.
Sugar will also wreak havoc on your digestive system by feeding and fueling the growth of yeast which the body sees as an unfriendly invader and will further damage the gut. Bad bacteria in your gut create exotoxins that damage healthy cells and further exacerbate leaky gut syndrome.
What are symptoms of leaky gut syndrome?
Because leaky guy syndrome is not fully understood, the symptoms can be difficult to fully identify. Known leaky gut symptoms include:
- Food sensitivities
- Thyroid conditions
- Joint pain
- Skin issues like rosacea and acne
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
- Frequent colds
The problem is that these symptoms are not unique to leaky gut syndrome. Rather, they are shared with other health issues, leading doctors to be unable to identify the cause of the problem. This leaves many victims undiagnosed and untreated.
However, there is some hope. One major sign of leaky guy syndrome is multiple food allergies. Remember, GMO’s contain the highest levels of lectins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system that protect the plants from outside invaders like mold and parasites. The issue is our digestive lining is covered with sugar containing cells that help break down our foods. For example, partially digested protein and fat that seeps into your bloodstream can cause an allergic response which leads to one or more of the symptoms above. If not treated, it can lead to even more severe health issues including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Chronic Fatigue
- Muscle Pain
Is there a special diet for people with leaky gut syndrome?
If you have an underlying condition, like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, treatment of these will often resolve the symptoms associated with leaky gut. However, if you do not suffer from these diseases it is likely that your diet is playing a major role in your leaky gut. Improve your diet by eliminating trigger foods like processed sugars, conventional dairy and GMO foods. Replace these “bad” foods with foods that are good for the stomach. Certain foods are thought the help relieve the symptoms and heal a leaky gut, including:
- Bone Broth – This special broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine. These can help heal damaged cell walls
- Raw Cultured Dairy – Conventional dairy is thought to irritate or contribute to a leaky gut. Raw cultured dairy, however, contains probiotics and SCFA’s which can help heal your gut. Some of the best options include pastured kefir, yogurt, butter, raw cheese and amasai
- Fermented Vegetables – These special veggies contain organic acids that will balance intestinal pH as well as probiotics that support a healthy gut. Consider foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kvass
- Coconut raw unfiltered oil – This type of oil is especially good for your gut. This is because the MCFAs in coconut are easier for your gut to digest than other fats. MCFAs also inhibit the growth of viruses and yeast. Coconut kefir is a great example as it also contains probiotics
You can also rebalance your stomach with the addition of a probiotic and supplements. There are a range of supplements that are recommended for healing a leaky gut including:
- Probiotics – Probiotics are one of the most important supplements to replenish good bacteria and that will crowd out bad bacteria. Probiotics also assist in healing the lining of the gut and reducing inflammation
- Digestive enzymes – Taking these at the beginning of a meal will ensure that foods are fully digested and therefore keep partially digested food particles and proteins from damaging the gut wall
- L-Glutamine – This is essential to help heal leaky gut. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. Glutamine coats your intestinal wall and protects the intestinal wall from irritants to speed up healing of the gut wall.
- Quercetin – This has also been shown to improve gut barrier by supporting the creation of tight junction proteins which helps seal the gut lining and regulates our gut permeability by connecting intestinal cells, and only allowing the nutrients that we need to stay in the gut and promote healing. It also helps reduce the release of histamine, which is an irritant that promotes inflammation
By utilizing a special leaky gut diet and supplements, you will likely find your symptoms quickly disappear and your system functions much better. If you are chronically stressed, do something to ease it such as exercising or meditating. This can help relieve some if not all of your symptoms.
Can Living Nutrilicious help?
It is important to realize that our digestive system influences every part of our bodies. About 80 percent of our immune system is in our gut. The gut is a crucial area of our body to keep in balance for overall wellness. The digestive system obviously controls the digestion of food and spread of nutrients to the body, but it also protects us from hostile bacteria and helps keep our immune system in balance. It will also communicate with the brain by sending physical signals, including gas or hunger, to let it know nutrients are needed. The digestive system can also influence our feelings including anxiety, stress and sometimes even love. Some people have gone so far as to nickname our gut as our body’s “second brain” because it affects our health both physically and psychologically.
With this understanding, you can see why addressing any gut issues, including leaky gut syndrome, is extremely important. Gina Eubank has been aiding those suffering from leaky gut syndrome or other health problems for more than two decades. She is a Pharmacist an integrated health expert who combines scientific knowledge from Western medicine with functional medicine approaches which are designed to heal both the mind and the body.