Leaky gut diet, story in a nutshell
- Diet is the most important parts of the leaky gut treatment.
- Many common foods are linked to leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.
- Leaky gut treatment: avoid these foods, eat gut healing foods, support with gut health supplements.
Leaky gut treatment plan
|LEAKY GUT DIET: leaky gut diet food list|
|Leaky gut elimination diet.|
Leaky gut foods to avoid
Leaky gut foods to eat
|LEAKY GUT SUPPLEMENTS|
|Leaky gut treatment supplements.|
|LEAKY GUT SYNDROME|
Leaky gut & the elimination diet
The idea behind the elimination diet is simple. You eliminate foods you suspect you may be sensitive to for a few weeks (usually 4 weeks), and see if eliminating them improved your symptoms. If you are not sure which foods, you can start with the top four “offenders” known to cause sensitivities: dairy, gluten, eggs, and soy. Many practitioners also recommend to remove coffee, alcohol, grains, legumes and beans during the time of the elimination diet.
During the elimination phase, it is very common to feel much better. Especially if you already have leaky gut issues or other digestive problems. After the 4 weeks, you start to reintroduce these foods back, one food group at a time for a few days:
- Notice any negative symptoms? You may be sensitive to this food. Eliminate this food for a few days, see if the symptoms are cleared, and then reintroduce it one more time to see if you get a reaction again.
- No symptoms? great. Eliminate this food, and keep repeating the process with the other food groups you eliminated, always one food group at the time.
The elimination diet is widely used among functional medicine doctors, who use it as a tool to identify food sensitivities, especially considering that food sensitivity tests are not always accurate. This type of diet can be very beneficial and should be tailored to each individual for best results. The entire process of the elimination diet and the plan guidelines are covered in much more details in The Elimination Diet Explained by Dr. Karen Johnson.
Leaky gut foods to eat
Probiotics for leaky gut
Using probiotics for leaky gut has been a part of most leaky gut treatment plans and is also supported by many studies. According to research, probiotics can enhance tight junction integrity and prevent its disruption caused by injurious factors (source).
When it comes to the best probiotic for leaky gut however, probiotics supplements are usually prefered as the primary source of probiotics for the leaky gut treatment.
Many leaky gut diets encourage the consumption of fermented vegetables and probiotic foods. Fermented foods can be very beneficial for leaky gut. They can also cause a negative reaction and sensitivities to many people.
If you consider to eat fermented foods as a part of your leaky gut diet, here are a guidelines and best practices to help you enjoy their health benefits while minimizing the risks:
- Probiotic foods: It is possible to get probiotics from natural fermented foods and probiotic drinks such as sauerkraut, kimchi,raw cultured dairy, yogurt, amasai milk, unsweetened coconut milk, coconut milk kefir and other raw fermented vegetables. You have to make sure however, that they agree with your body. Start with the lowest serving size and test how it made you feel.
- Dairy: The concern with cultured dairy, yogurt and other dairy based fermented foods is usually sensitivity to dairy. Allergy to dairy products and lactose intolerance are well known leaky gut issues. Most people notice improvements with many digestive issues once they eliminate dairy products from their leaky gut diet.
For these reasons, all dairy products should be eliminated while on the leaky gut diet, including fermented or probiotic ones. You can get the same probiotic benefits from non dairy sources.
- Safety: A very important fact to consider in probiotic foods is their stability, quality, and contamination risks. This is especially important in store-bought probiotic foods. Fermented foods contain live bacteria that need to be well handled in order to stay potent and also to prevent contamination issues. This may get risky when you already have a compromised leaky gut issue.
The bottom line: unless you make your own homemade fermented foods and know for a fact they have worked for you personally in the past, counting on fermented foods as a good and safe source of probiotics for leaky gut may not provide the best results and can even cause more digestive issues such as gas and bloating.
Vegetables for leaky gut
Fresh non-starchy vegetables are universally recommended as a part of the leaky gut syndrome diet due to their high content of nutrients, good fiber and positive impact on the healthy good bacteria growth in the gut.
The best vegetables for leaky gut are the ones that your body responds best to. Many people experience digestive issues such as bloating and gas after eating raw non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage. Lightly steaming the vegetables usually solve these issues and also improve the taste of many vegetables. For this reason, only include those vegetables that make you feel good. The objectives of eating non-starchy vegetables as a part of your leaky gut diet is to get all their gut health benefits without any digestive issues.
Leafy greens are also considered safe for leaky gut diet. Ideally you want to eat leafy greens on their raw fresh state. You may find that some greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens taste better when they are lightly steamed.
The bottom line: non-starchy vegetables and greens should always be a part of your leaky gut diet and the first foods to be included as a part of your leaky gut diet shopping list.
It is very important however, to only eat the ones that do not cause a reaction and make you feel good.
Healthy fats for the leaky gut diet
When it comes to fats for leaky gut diet, the preference is to consume healthy fats from whole foods and keep a healthy balance between omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids.
The omega 3 to 6 balance is considered as one of the keys in controlling inflammation in the leaky gut diet. Both omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids that are required for optimal health:
- Omega 3 plays a key role in naturally balancing the inflammation in the body.
- Omega 6 is essential for many body functions as well. High amount of omega 6 however, especially from oils, are suggested by many studies to cause inflammation.
It is believed by most health experts that the ideal omega 3 : 6 ratio should be between 1:1 to 1:3 (meaning no more than 3 times omega 6 to omega 3). In the typical western diet however, the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is much higher. This is believed to be a leading cause of chronic inflammation and many related health conditions (source).
Good sources of omega 3 for the leaky gut diet include: sprouted or soaked flaxseeds or chia seeds, hemp seeds and wild caught fatty fish such as salmon. When it comes to fish, watch for the mercury content.
Farm raised fish are not recommended as a part of the leaky gut diet as the fish are often fed so poorly that they are considered inflammatory food sources. If the only option for fish you have is farm raised fish, it is probably safer to not eat them at all and get a high quality of fish oil for leaky gut instead.
Good sources of omega 6 for the leaky gut diet include fresh ripe avocados, and sprouted nuts and seeds that are low in omega 6, such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds and cashews.
Seeds, Nuts and leaky gut
An important note about seeds, nuts and leaky gut. Some people have allergies to nuts. Other may find digesting nuts or seeds problematic even after soaking or sprouting them. When it comes to leaky gut and autoimmune diseases, the individual response is the key. Nuts and seeds are known to provide many health benefits, so limiting them all together is not something you want to do unless you know they cause you issues. For this reason, the recommendation is to allow moderate consumption of the nuts and seeds mentioned above, and see how eating these make you feel.
This is of course not relevant if you already know that you have an allergy or sensitivity to these nuts and seeds.
Coconut oil leaky gut
Including coconut oil as a part of your leaky gut diet can be very beneficial and it is commonly used. Unlike most plant based oils that are high in omega 6, coconut oil has a unique fatty acids profile that can be very beneficial for the leaky gut diet. Coconut oil is one of the best natural sources of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are fatty acids that are easily assimilated by the body, providing a quick non-jittery energy that can last for long hours. This makes coconut oil an excellent choice for the leaky gut diet, as an easy to digest energy source that can be an effective substitute to many high carb foods. In fact, replacing carbs with coconut oil or coconut butter is a very popular strategy among athletes that need to lose weight before a competition, but still need to maintain high energy levels. If you are lucky enough and can get a real fresh organic coconut at your local store, you may want to consider getting all these benefits straight from the source. With practice, cracking coconuts may not be as hard as you may think.
Another great option is coconut butter. Coconut butter is simply the meat of the coconut that went through a grinding process and turned into butter consistency. This means that in addition to all the benefits of coconut oil, coconut butter also has the other nutrients found in whole coconuts such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
When getting coconut butter, it is important to look the label and make sure there is only one ingredient: raw organic coconut! Our favorite brand is Sacred Foods coconut butter which is raw, organic and also stone-ground. The stone-ground process preserves the nutrients and provides a smooth texture with a very sweet pleasant taste. Sacred Foods coconut butter is also very easy to digest, which is another reason to include it as a part of the leaky gut diet.
Low sugar fruits for leaky gut
Eating low sugar fresh fruits such as berries, kiwis, grapefruit and others can be very beneficial for the leaky gut diet. Fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and are known to promote healthy gut function. Eating fruits however, can cause many digestive issues when not consumed properly.
To enjoy fruits for leaky gut diet:
- Only consume fresh ripe low sugar fruits.
- Eat Fruits on an empty stomach. Do NOT mix fruits with other foods.
- Fruits pass the stomach very quickly compared to other foods and they only break down in the small intestine. This means that if the stomach isn’t empty, the fruits can stay trapped in the stomach by the previous meal and start to rot very quickly. This is likely to cause a negative reaction.
- Do not mix different type of fruits. Eating different fruits at the same time can interfere which each other digestion and cause digestive issues.
The fruits topic and how to consume them properly is covered extensively in our Candida book, under the fruits section.
When consumed properly fruits can make the perfect easy and satisfying leaky gut diet breakfast.
A good example is the apples cinnamon recipe that many have found beneficial and enjoyable as a part of our candida diet plan.
Protein foods for leaky gut
The importance of protein in the leaky gut diet comes from two main reasons:
- Many protein sources such as processed meat and farm raised fish are known to cause inflammation and may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
- Protein and amino acids are needed in order to repair the intestinal permeability and leaky gut problem.
In other words, you want to get enough protein on your leaky gut diet. You just need to make sure to get it from clean sources that agree with your body and that will not cause more damage or inflammation to your gut.
Meat,fish and leaky gut
High quality fish and meat are considered good sources of protein for the leaky gut diet and are usually prefered over eggs due to potential allergies and sensitivities to the egg protein. Here are a few guidelines when choosing meat and fish for your leaky gut diet:
- Meat: organic only, 100% antibiotics free, 100% grass fed, preferably leaner cuts. Good examples include: beef, bison or buffalo, pasture-raised chicken or turkey.
- Fish: wild small fish only such as Wild Alaskan salmon (sockeye), flounder and others. Fatty fish such as wild salmon are also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. When it comes to fish, watch for the mercury content.
Vegan diet for leaky gut
Healing leaky gut on a vegan diet can be a great option as long as you consume enough protein that is easy to digest that comes from different sources. When it comes to protein on a vegan diet, variety is critical as you want your protein to come from different sources so you get all the needed amino acids.
Adding hemp seeds to your salads is a great way to boost both protein content and healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Eating a moderate amount of organic tempeh (fermented soybeans) may be very beneficial as well.
Soy is a known leaky gut food to avoid. The fermentation process of organic tempeh however, makes its digestion much better and it is considered a very good source of easy to digest protein. So if you are vegan, you may want to consider including moderate amount of organic tempeh to your leaky gut diet, and see how it makes you feel.
Spices and herbs for leaky gut
Using spices and herbs can turn a boring dull leaky gut diet into an exciting culinary experience with many options to choose from. Some herbs and spices such as ginger can also help with digestion. Others may cause a negative reaction though. For this reason, when adding new spices or herbs, always introduce them one at a time, and see how your body responds.
To make the most our of your spices and herbs, use organic and fresh when possible. Get whole spices and grind them before use.
Popular spices and herbs for leaky gut include:
- Salt (natural sea salt, himalayan salt).
Foods that cause leaky gut
The list of foods below contain foods that cause leaky gut. These foods should be the first foods to avoid as a part of the leaky gut syndrome diet recommendations. Stopping the damage to the gut from the foods you eat is one of the most important steps to heal your gut with the help of your new gut healing diet.
Wheat, grains, gluten and leaky gut
The connection between wheat, grains, gluten and leaky gut has been documented in the medical literature as a significant health concern that should be taken into consideration and further studied. A growing number of evidence suggests that daily consumption of wheat, grains and gluten can contribute to chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Many studies have demonstrated that gliadin (proteins found in wheat and other type of cereal grains and lectin wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) can increase intestinal permeability and leaky gut (source).
Another reason to avoid wheat, grains and gluten foods while on the leaky gut diet is that they are usually considered hard to digest foods for most people.
Common foods that contain gluten include: wheat, couscous, breads, pastas, noodles (unless specifically mentioned gluten-wheat free), most breakfast cereals, regular oats (source).
Dairy and leaky gut
The dairy leaky gut diet recommendation is usually very clear and agreed by most health experts. Dairy is one of the first leaky gut foods to avoid. Here is why:
- Lactose intolerant – Most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, the major carbohydrate in dairy. Approximately 75% of the world’s population loses this ability at some point. This means that 3 out of 4 adults can’t properly digest lactose (source).
- If lactose intolerance is not enough reason to give up dairy products, here’s another reason. A1 β-casein, the protein found in milk was associated with increased gastrointestinal inflammation (source).
- Casein has a super sticky consistency and is condiered a very hard to digest food. These casein stickiness properties make it an excellent glue though, with many uses of casein glue documented throughout history.
Sugar and leaky gut
Limiting sugar consumption, especially refined sugars is commonly recommended as a part of the leaky gut diet.
The first reason is that high intake of sugars is linked to conditions that are known to cause systemic inflammation in the body: metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat particles in the blood) and type II diabetes are common examples (source, source).
The second reason is that sugars can feed candida, yeast and other pathogens. A high sugar diet is one of the known risk factors of candida overgrowth syndrome. Candida overgrowth is a condition where the candida yeast grows out of control in the gut and entire body. Candida leaky gut connection was suggested by many studies. According to the research data, not only that candida damage the intestinal wall, it also takes advantage of the injured intestinal wall as it spreads and grows (source).
Beans and leaky gut
There are two main reasons beans are considered as foods to avoid on the leaky gut diet. The first is that beans are hard to digest. Consuming hard to digest foods such as beans or legumes when you have leaky gut can cause more digestive issues, stress and may delay the leaky gut healing.
The second reason, is that beans are very high in Lectins. Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins that are found in many plants. High consumption of Lectins has been suggested by research to be toxic and has shown to be linked to high inflammation (source).
For similar concerns, legumes are also avoided while on the leaky gut diet.
Common food allergens and leaky gut diet
The reasoning for limiting the consumption of common food allergens while on the leaky gut syndrome diet plan is simple. These foods contain allergens and components that can cause allergic reaction during the digestion process. Consuming these foods when you have leaky gut or autoimmune issues increase that the risk that they will leak out and cause a reaction.
The list of these foods include peanuts, soy, dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten and shellfish. Wild caught fish and some moderate nuts are usually allowed as long as they do not cause a reaction.
Alcohol and leaky gut
The connection between consumption of alcohol and leaky gut was suggested by many studies and was contributing to the activity of acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism in the body. According to research, consuming alcohol can cause increased intestinal permeability to various compounds including endotoxins (source).
Another reason why consuming alcohol may not be the best idea when you have leaky gut, is that research data suggests that chronic alcohol use impairs not only gut and liver functions, but also other organ interactions, leading to systemic inflammation and organ damage (source).
GMOs and leaky gut
Consuming GMO foods (genetically modified organisms) have been suggested by many studies to cause gut damage. One study showed that pigs fed GMO corn and soy developed widespread intestinal inflammation that were associated with glyphosate exposure in the GMO foods (source).
Glyphosate, an herbicide used in GMOs crops, has been shown to disturb intestinal microflora balance causing the reduction of good bacteria in the gut and increasing the growth of harmful bacterial strains (source).
Oils for leaky gut diet
When it comes to oils for leaky gut diet, the recommendation is to avoid all refined processed oils as well as plant oils that are high in omega 6 fatty acids. These refined oils are usually unstable, and are well known to cause inflammation in the body. It is much safer to get your essential fats from whole foods, just as nature intended. This way you are also getting other nutrients as well, not just fats.
Healthier oils for the leaky gut diet:
- Coconut oil is of the best oils for the leaky gut diet. On its extra virgin organic unrefined form, coconut oil is highly stable, very easy to digest and may also be used in cooking.
- Olive oil is also allowed on the leaky gut. On its unrefined organic cold pressed extra virgin form, olive oil have many health benefits including a soothing effect on the body. It also makes an excellent oil for salad dressing. Using olive oil for cooking however, is not ideal as it is not considered stable when heated.
- 1-4 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil a day (15 mg – 60 mg) should be safe for most people.
Start with 1 teaspoon (5 mg) added to your meals and see how it makes you feel.
Nightshade vegetables and leaky gut diet
The connection between nightshade vegetables to the leaky gut diet surprises many people. Aren’t all vegetables healthy? The reason you may want to avoid or limit nightshade vegetables however, has to do with the way they affect digestion.
Nightshade vegetables contain toxic steroidal alkaloids that serve as a chemical barrier against a broad range of pest and pathogens. While this may be beneficial for the plant as a defense mechanism, in humans and animals steroidal alkaloids are considered anti-nutritional factors because they affect the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food (source).
This means that many people can eat nightshades without any issues and enjoy their healthy benefits. When you have leaky gut or autoimmune diseases however, you want to pay attention when eating the nightshade vegetables to see how they make you feel.
Common nightshade vegetables include: ground cherries, tobacco, tomatillos, eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers.
Leaky gut supplements
Leaky gut supplements are well known for their importance to the leaky gut treatment. It is important to remember that the best supplements for leaky gut are the ones that complement your individual leaky gut diet and that your body agrees with.
Here are the most common used leaky gut treatment supplements:
(All covered in the next sections).
|Supplement||Recommended product & protocol|
|Aloe vera.||Aloe Fuzion: 1 capsule twice a day.|
|Curcumin.||Dr. Group’s liquid organic turmeric extract: 2 droppers in the morning and evening.|
|Digestive enzymes.||VeganZyme: 2 capsules twice a day with biggests meals.|
|Glutamine.||Vegan glutamine: 1 grams a day and up, based on individual diet and lifestyle needs.|
|Oxygen colon cleanse.||Oxy-Powder: 4 capsules on an empty stomach before bedtime for 1 week.|
|Probiotics & Prebiotics.||Floratrex (50 CFU): 2 capsules before breakfast.|
Oxygen colon cleanse for leaky gut
Oxygen colon cleanse (oxy-powder) as its name suggests, uses oxygen in the colon to detoxify and loosen toxins, allergens, undigested food particles and accumulated waste buildup so they can be flushed out naturally by the body throughout normal bowel movements. Removing this toxic waste from your intestines when have leaky gut can significantly help with many digestive issues such as occasional constipation, bloating and gas.
In many cases this toxic waste weight may be 10-20 pounds and sometimes even more. When the body gets rid of such a burden, it has more energy and resources to perform better and to heal and repair other areas which were neglected before.
Best probiotic for leaky gut
Using probiotics supplements for leaky gut has been commonly used and also supported by research. A growing body of evidence indicates that probiotics can enhance tight junction integrity and prevent its disruption caused by injurious factors (source).
To choose the best probiotic for leaky gut, it is important to use the right probiotic strains. Different probiotic strains have different properties and as such, they have different uses, benefits and side effects. Taking the wrong probiotics can cause side effects such as bloating, gas and other digestive issues. In some cases, it can even make the leaky gut problem become worse.
For the best probiotic for leaky gut, look for the following:
- Lactobacilli probiotic strains with prebiotics: Consuming lactobacilli probiotic strains with prebiotics were shown in published studies to decrease bacterial overgrowth, restore mucosal integrity of the intestine, and suppress microbial translocation (source, source).
- Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients known to promote the growth of probiotics by serving as a food source for the probiotics. Supplementing with probiotics may help to initially populate your intestines with good bacteria; prebiotics can help this new population of good bacteria to better grow in your intestines.
- Dairy, gluten and wheat free probiotic: This is where many probiotic supplements fail, and one of the reasons of the digestive issues such as gas and bloating people experience when using dairy based probiotics. Go for 100% vegan probiotic strains, so there are no dairy, soy, wheat, or gluten or other allergens.
A good example of a probiotic & prebiotic complex for leaky gut is FloraTrex (50 Billion CFU) which we use in many of our gut health and candida protocols.
Digestive enzymes for leaky gut
Taking digestive enzymes for leaky gut is widely recommended and is shown to be very helpful when properly used. There are a few reasons why taking digestive enzymes for leaky gut can be very helpful:
- Digestive enzymes can help your body to better digest the foods you eat. Combining digestive enzymes with the right diet can significantly minimizing problematic scenarios such as undigested foods particles in your digestive tract.
- Adjusting to the leaky gut diet usually takes time, especially with foods your body may not be used to. Taking full spectrum digestive enzyme can help with this transition and improve the digestion and nutrients absorption from the foods you eat.
Best digestive enzymes for leaky gut
The best digestive enzymes for leaky gut are the enzymes that support the digestion of the foods in your own leaky gut diet. Since different enzymes are required to digest different type of foods, you want to make sure the enzymes included in the formula match the foods you eat.
To get the most of your digestive enzymes supplement:
- The product label should clearly describes which digestive enzymes are included in the formula and which foods they help to digest.
- The formula should only contain plant based enzymes with no animal/animal by-products ingredients. Plant based enzymes are a much better choice in terms of potency, stability in the body and purity.
- All enzymes should be wide pH range, which means they are designed to work throughout the entire digestive tract.
- VeganZyme ® is our preferred choice as a multi-enzymes supplement for the leaky gut treatment, and it has been a very important part of our protocol for candida as well. The biggest advantage we see in VeganZyme has to do with its versatile formula. With a total of 20 digestive and systemic enzymes, it can support the digestion of a wide variety of foods making it ideal for many different diets, cuisines, and health conditions.
VegamZyme systemic enzymes profile is highly diverse as well, and can effectively break down allergens, excess yeast, candida, mucus and other toxins.
Aloe vera for leaky gut
Using aloe vera for leaky gut syndrome is very common and is mainly due to Aloe vera’s known gut soothing properties. Aloe vera has a long history of traditional use for gastrointestinal disorders and inflammatory conditions, that is also backed up by science (source). As research suggests, the anti-inflammatory actions of aloe vera may be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease (source).
Another reason that aloe vera may be useful for leaky gut syndrome, is that aloe vera can help to enhance the absorption of nutrients in your gut. One study showed that taking aloe vera with vitamin C and vitamin E, improved the absorption of both vitamins (source).
If you consider taking aloe vera for leaky gut, we recommend to only use the inner leaf from organic aloe vera. This is very important since the other parts of the leaf contain latex material (aloin) that can cause a reaction.
A good example is Aloe Fuzion which has 100% concentrated organic inner leaf aloe vera.
Glutamine for leaky gut
Using glutamine for leaky gut syndrome is widely recommended and is backed up by science. Many studies have suggested that glutamine may have a positive impact on the intestinal barrier by reducing permeability and bacterial translocation and preserving mucosal integrity (source, source).
According to research, glutamine has a unique nutrient properties that can help the body to repair and maintain the gut barrier functions in the small bowel mucosa (source).
To choose the best l glutamine for leaky gut, only use a 100% vegan non-GMO source glutamine with its potency and stability guaranteed by the manufacturer. Many amino acids are manufactured from animal by-products such as feathers or even from human hair! Vegan glutamine is usually created via fermentation from plants.
Curcumin for leaky gut
Using curcumin for leaky gut was suggested by research to be very beneficial, and it is believed to be a result of curcmin anti-inflammtnatory and antioxidant properties. According to research, oral supplementation with curcumin may improve intestinal barrier function and prevent the development of metabolic diseases (source).
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is well known for its anti inflammatory properties. A known issue with curcumin however, is its low absorption and bioavailability in the body.
When choosing curcemin supplements, the preference is organic turmeric extract that is derived using an extraction process that preserves curcumin properties and enhances its absorption in the body.
A good example is Dr. Group’s liquid organic turmeric extract.
Leaky gut syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the permeability of the membranes in the intestinal gut wall is impaired. The intestinal wall serves as a first-line barrier, preventing many potentially harmful components from entering into the bloodstream (source).
In leaky gut syndrome, the intestinal gut wall integrity is damaged. As a result, undesirable substances such as antigens, toxins, harmful microorganisms and undigested food particles leak from the gut into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the leaked undigested food or toxins create an immune response, causing systemic inflammation and many issues such as food sensitivities, allergies, a weakened immune system and more health complications.
Also known as increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut syndrome has been identified by research as a key factor that may contribute to autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, autoimmune hepatitis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (source).
What is leaky gut
When you have leaky gut syndrome, your small intestine function is impaired. Also known as small bowel, the primary function of the small intestine is the absorption of nutrients and minerals from food.
In order for these nutrients to be absorbed, the small intestine acts as a barrier, letting certain nutrients to pass into the bloodstream, while blocking undesired compounds such as toxins or undigested food particles from entering into the bloodstream.
On a healthy state, the intestinal wall is sealed by tight junctions, which regulate the permeability of the intestinal barrier. Leaky gut is a condition where these tight junctions become too wide, allowing undesired compounds to leak into the bloodstream.
Leaky gut symptoms
Don’t treat the symptoms. Learn from them about the treatment you need.
Leaky gut symptoms often present a challenge to many people and health practitioners. Leaky gut syndrome symptoms can affect both external body parts and internal body systems. Seeing the connection between the different signs of leaky gut and connecting the dots is critical, as in many cases the needed leaky gut treatment can be completely different.
Leaky gut symptoms may include:
- Digestive Issues: bloating, chronic diarrhea, cramps, gas.
- Food sensitivities and increased signs of food allergies.
- Skin conditions: rosacea, acne, rash especially after eating.
- Energy: excessive chronic fatigue.
- Cognitive function: brain fog, memory loss.
- Systemic inflammation: joint pain. headaches. body aches and pains.
- Health conditions: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), asthma, allergies, diabetes, thyroid conditions, autoimmune diseases, nutritional deficiencies, weakened immune system.
What causes leaky gut
Knowing what causes leaky gut in your body is one of the most important parts of the treatment. In many cases, people are unaware of these causes. Before the repair process begins, the reasons that caused the leaky gut in your body need to be stopped. Common causes of leaky gut include:
- Diet: consuming inflammatory foods such as processed foods, gluten, wheat, dairy, refined sugars, preservatives, artificial ingredients and others are known to put a lot of stress on your body. In many cases, the body is not designed to effectively digest and eliminate the toxins from these unnatural foods. The result is gut inflammation that overtime turn into a leaky gut.
- Candida overgrowth syndrome is a common fungal infection caused by candida yeast fungi. Overtime the overgrowth of candida can damage the intestinal wall and tight junctions as the candida infection spreads in the gut. According to the medical literature, not only that candida damages the intestinal wall, it also takes advantage of the injured intestinal wall as it spreads and grows (source).
- Antibiotics and other medications are known to have a negative impact on the healthy gut bacteria. Studies have shown that antibiotic use reduced good bacteria such as Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium and led to the growth of harmful pathogens and candida yeast (source).
- Chronic stress: According to research, chronic stress can make the gut leaky by increasing circulating levels of Lipopolysaccharides LPS (source). Lipopolysaccharides are endotoxins derived from gram-negative bacteria in the body. Multiple studies have suggested that LPS can increase the intestinal permeability which may contribute to leaky gut (source, source).
- Zinc deficiency: Zinc deficiency shown in studies to cause membrane barrier damage (source). Zinc supplementation was able to resolve permeability issues and improved intestinal barrier function (source).
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