What is Leaky Gut?
“Leaky Gut” is a condition that has become increasingly recognized and treated by natural health care practitioners and mainstream medicine over the last few years.
Also known as “Intestinal Permeability,” Leaky Gut occurs when the lining of the gut loses its integrity and becomes leaky. Once leaky, particles of food, bacteria and toxins that should normally stay in the intestine, to be absorbed or eliminated, make their way through the holes in the lining of the gut and into the bloodstream. Once circulating through the blood, these food particles excite the immune cells, triggering an immune response and contributing to a wide variety of symptoms.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut include but are not limited to:
· Food sensitivities
· Brain fog
· Joint pain
· Skin problems such as Eczema, Rashes, Hives and Acne
· Nutritional Deficiencies
· Autoimmune Conditions
Leaky Gut can be caused by a number of different factors such as food sensitivities, disrupted microbiome, candidiasis, antibiotic use, parasites, overeating and stress. Whatever the cause, Leaky Gut can have a big impact on our overall health. Fortunately, gut integrity can be restored with a few dietary, supplement and lifestyle changes.
Here are a few things to consider when looking to improve the integrity of a leaky gut:
Consider going on an elimination diet for 4 to 6 weeks. This typically includes removing the most common allergens such as gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and corn but may also include grains, nightshades, sugar, and unhealthy fats (refined oils). Eliminating these foods for a period of time gives the gut an opportunity to heal. Also, once finished the diet, slowly reintroducing foods one at a time while paying close attention to symptoms can give you an idea of which foods may be problematic for you.
Start drinking bone broth. Bone broth is exactly what it sounds like; bones that have been cooked for a long time until their nutrients are extracted into a healing broth. Bone broth is rich in amino acids and collagen, both of which are extremely healing to the damaged lining of the gut.
Consider supplementing with L-Glutamine. This amino acid supplement is incredibly important in any gut healing regime. When it comes to growth and repair of the intestinal walls, you can’t beat L-Glutamine. Not only does it provide the amino acids necessary for rebuilding the cellular lining of the gut, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Supplement with Marshmallow Root. This mucilaginous (having a viscous or gelatinous consistency) herb is particularly soothing for the lining of the digestive tract, including the intestinal walls. It provides a soothing physical barrier and has anti-inflammatory properties which support gut healing.
Practice long deep breathing. An often-overlooked contributor to digestive issues, stress must be addressed in improving the health of the gut. Studies have shown that stress and depression can increase gut barrier permeability. One way to take the body out of fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) and put it into the rest and digest mode (parasympathetic nervous system) is by practicing long, deep breathing. Make it a point to set aside 5 minutes, three times a day to close your eyes and focus on slowly inhaling and exhaling out of the nose. This practice is particularly potent right before mealtimes because it supports the digestive process!
Not all of these suggestions might be right for you. It is important to check with your healthcare provider or holistic nutritionist before incorporating any of these dietary, supplement and lifestyle changes.