Leaky Gut: How & Why To Fix this Important Problem
Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability has been linked to many health problems.
There are about 100 trillion bacteria (good and bad) in our gut, which affect our entire body, from how we feel mentally and emotionally, to metabolism and sleep quality.They can be knocked out of kilter with poor diet, antibiotics, and stress.
When this happens, you can start to feel really quite unwell, with a whole host of symptoms from migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, and even more serious issues.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Your digestive system has a vital function within your body. It is the barrier that keeps nutrients in and toxins/pathogens out. Keeping the gut lining healthy is important, and this is where healthy gut bacteria play their role.
If the gut microbe is unhealthy, leaky gut can start to develop. What this really means is that toxins can leak back through the lining of the gut and into the bloodstream.
How can you tell if you have ‘Leaky Gut?’
Leaky gut presents itself in many ways, but common symptoms include:
- Migraines and headaches
- Sinus problems
- Food sensitivities
- Acne, rosacea and other skin problems
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Autoimmune disorders
- Weight problems
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Anxiety and depression
- Joint pain and inflammation
Leaky gut has also been linked with coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis and even autism, among other conditions.
HOW TO FIX LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
There is a lot you can do with diet to support your gut lining.
Diet is by far the most important factor in making your gut work. By keeping your gut microbiota in healthy balance, you can boost your immune system, support your digestion, remove environmental toxins from your body, and prevent leaky gut.
1) Include anti-inflammatory foods that are nutrient dense
To help get a handle on chronic inflammation, dietary changes can make a big difference.
- This includes eliminating or greatly reducing added-sugar and alcohol from your diet. Candida and yeast thrive on sugar, and yeast overgrowth is one of the things that causes problems with the gut lining.
- Stick with a varied diet of whole and unprocessed foods. This will bring a diversity of good bacteria into your gut to support the lining and gut integrity. It is worth noting that gut bacteria are related to the bacteria found in the soil – so my recommendation is to shop at your local market if you can, rather than your supermarket, so that foods are fresher and more in their natural state.
- There are some foods that contribute to leaky gut. Wheat and gluten – which includes breads, pizza, pastries, pasta, some cereals, crackers, couscous, and gluten products, from cakes and muffins to biscuits and cookies. Following a gluten free diet is more manageable these days than in was previously, with many substitutes available. Processed meats – from deli meats to bacon and sausages. Junk food – from crisps, sugary cereals and confectionery, etc. Pasteurized dairy – including milk, cheese, cream, ice cream. Refined oils – all refined oils, often vegetable oils, including canola, sunflower and rapeseed. Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose and saccharin – try stevia as a replacement. Drinks – avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks and other sugary drinks.
- Include prebiotic foods that encourage good bacteria in the gut: examples are sweet potato, carrots, asparagus.
- Include probiotic foods: these include sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, pickles. In fact fermented food like raw sauerkraut can often be a better source of probiotics than supplements found in health food stores.
- Find out if you have a food allergy or allergies. This can be done with Kinesiology testing or other forms of testing. Then I recommend keeping away from these foods as they will contribute to irritation in the gut.
- Bone broth is a a great way to get vital amino acids which help with tissue repair and gut healing and healthy digestion.
2) Supplement to support the gut
- Prebiotics: Prebiotics feed intestinal bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, which are important for the mucosal cells that create a healthy gut lining.
- Probiotics: If you don’t want to add fermented food to your daily diet, you can supplement with a good quality probiotic from your local health food store.
- Digestive enzymes: These are often compromised when leaky gut is present. Things like grains and legumes can be problematic and you can try avoiding these and at the same time add a good quality digestive supplement to your diet can help improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients and vitamins.
- L-glutamine: An anti-inflammatory amino acid that is a priority when fixing and health leaky gut. It helps to cover cell walls and eliminate unwanted pests.
3) Tackle stress levels
The body works in mysterious ways sometimes, and you might be surprised to hear that studies have shown that stress affects the gut-brain axis, the pathway between your brain and your gut.
4) Too much sugar and a history of medications
Clearing out of your body a history of too much sugar or medications, such as antibiotics, contraceptive pill, anti-inflammatories is important too. This is because these drugs can continue to cause damage in the cells of your digestive system, despite you having stopped them. Homeopathy is excellent at clearing out the damage that such things as antibiotics and sugar can cause.
Taking care of your gut is a great way to feeling better in so many ways, from vitality and energy, depression and anxiety to pain and memory problems.
On this site, I aim is to provide well-researched information, in order to empower readers to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing. In both alternative and allopathic medicine new discoveries are being made and there are vast choices available to people, something to be mindful of. Nicholas Dale, Naturopath is not seeking to impose his views on readers, but rather encourage them to seek out any professional help they may need (in whatever form that may take) and discover what is best for them.
Information on this site should not be taken as medical guidance or advice. Readers should always consult personally with their healthcare provider. Information published on this site is not intended to act as a substitute for advice of medical professionals, and should not be taken as such.