Leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that millions of people are struggling with and don’t even know it. From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut syndrome only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can lead to many other health conditions.
According to research, the cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism could be leaky gut symptoms progression.
In this article, I will outline specifically how you can heal leaky gut syndrome and break through the health problems you’ve been struggling with.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system.
When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to.
Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
The cause of Leaky Gut is widely debated in the medical community. However, there is some level of consensus that the following are the basic contributors:
- Poor diet
Consuming high amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, alcohol and flavorings introduces massive amounts of chemicals into the body that is seen as toxic. If your body has a hard time keeping up, the toxins start to build up and cause inflammation that can damage your intestinal lining as well.
- Chronic stress
Chronic stress almost always weakens your immune system over time, which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut. To reduce stress, it is recommended to get more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive, uplifting people.
- Toxin overload
We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS. I recommend buying a high-quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant-based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.
Any medication prescriptions or even over-the-counter pain relievers with Aspirin or Acetaminophen irritate the intestinal lining and decrease the mucosal levels (a membrane produces mucus on the intestinal lining as a natural protective measure). This can start or help to continue the inflammation cycle (more bacteria, yeast, and digestion issues) and promotes an increase in permeability.
The Hidden Effects of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut has a widespread of effects led by inflammation throughout your system. If your leaky gut is not taken care of, it can cause symptoms and lead to severe health complications such as:
- Digestive problems such as bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, gerd or ibs
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Food sensitivities and intolerance
- Thyroid conditions
- Chronic Fatigue
- Severe aches and pains such as arthritis, abdominal pain, headaches, joint or muscle pains
- Sinus or nasal congestion
- Skin issues like itchy skin, rashes, eczema, rosacea, acne, hives or psoriasis
- Brain fog such as irritable mood swings, lack of focus, confusion, anxiety, depression or poor memory
- Weight gain
- Syndrome X (risk factors including glucose intolerance, high triglycerides, obesity, and hypertension) that indicate predisposition to diabetes
The Brain and Gut Connection
Leaky gut can also affect the brain in many ways. If you’ve ever seen a child with autism experience a mood swing, this can be caused by intestinal permeability. Gluten-free and casein-free diets have proven effective for many children with autism because these proteins can leak through the gut and then recirculate and act on the brain.
This is also why leaky gut syndrome has been linked to other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. So, in many cases, if you can heal the gut, you can heal the brain.
The 3-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut
The good news is there’s a solution to successfully healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:
Step #1: Remove Foods and Factors that Damage the Gut
Eliminate the following foods that causes leaky gut:
- Sugars or Artificial Sweeteners
- Starches and Grains
- Processed or Packaged Foods
- Conventional Dairy
- GMO (genetically modified) Foods
This will starve out the yeast overgrowth in your gut that causes the inflammation.
Step #2: Restore with Healing Foods
Here are five foods to start eating to heal your leak gut.
- Bone Broth – broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for three days to help heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease.
- Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut. Kefir, natural home-made yogurt, amasai, butter and raw cheese are some of the best.
- Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are excellent sources.
- Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.
- Sprouted Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.
Step #3: Repair and Rebalance with Digestive Supplements
There are many supplements that support your digestive health. The most beneficial leaky gut supplements are probiotics, digestive enzymes and multi-vitamin.
- Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. Good bacteria stop the inhabitance of bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, help nutrients get absorbed, and keep the vicious cycle in check. Studies suggest that keeping a ratio of 80% good to bad bacteria in the gut will stop the cycle from starting back up. Daily probiotics should contain at least 10 billion CFU and 7 different strains that’s packaged in a capsule from a high-quality brand. Click here for the #1 recommended probiotics supplement.
- Digestive enzymes are critical to properly breaking down the foods we eat. They also work through your intestines acting as garbage collectors by removing toxins, bacteria, and damaged cells of the mucosal lining. The whole process gives the gut a clean slate of healthy cells to rebuild with. So take at least one or two capsules of digestive enzymes at the beginning of each meal.
- Multi-Vitamins with large amounts of vitamin D and Zinc will help the intestinal lining return to normal (assuming the irritants from correcting your diet are removed). Essential fish oils have also been shown to really help improve the condition of the intestinal mucosal lining. Omega 3 greatly reduce inflammation among a host of other benefits.
Once you start following the above protocol, you are well on your way to successfully treating your gut for good.
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