Debunking The Myth Of Leaky Gut Syndrome
A proposed gastrointestinal disorder dubbed leaky gut syndrome is currently the topic of numerous debates throughout the medical and natural health communities. Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that leaky gut syndrome is a prevalent problem responsible for ill health in many people. However, most physicians maintain that there is not enough research to prove that it is a legitimate issue. In this article, we will answer some questions you may have about leaky gut syndrome and reveal some of the dangers of diagnosing and treating a condition for which there is no medical evidence.
In Summary Leaky Gut Is The Root Of Many Health Issues
Now that you are familiar with all the health issues associated with leaky gut, including common syndromes like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS, and multiple food and chemical sensitivities, as well as asthma, anxiety, autoimmunity, diabetes, and arthritis, you can probably see why I have included it as one of the three problem networks that affect our health and wellbeing.
Once we understand these problem networks and the wide-ranging effects they can have on our health it means that, instead of feeling stuck by a diagnosis, you can actually take action that can help your body heal.
Because this is such an important issue, I devoted an entire series to Leaky Gut. I cover everything from how to test for it, how to treat it, and how it relates to other common conditions such as IBS, heartburn, depression, weight gain, acid reflux, and autoimmune diseases. You can find the entire series here:
Dr. Donis Series on Leaky Gut: .
Please share your thoughts and questions below or on my social media pages. I love to hear from you and how this information benefits your health. And if youd like to receive my weekly Wellness Wisdom newsletter, with more articles like this, feel free to sign up below.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome
1). Lectins in certain foods damage the gut wall, especially grains, gluten, dairy and processed foods. Eating anything you are intolerant to causes more inflammation and more intolerances.
2). Gut infections break down the mucosal wall. Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria that help protect the wall. NSAIDs and acid blockers damage the gut barrier.
3). Leaky Gut causes autoimmune disorders but autoimmune disorders can themselves cause Leaky Gut.
4). Disrupted gut flora from many causes including GMO foods, hybridized foods, pesticides, antibiotics, sugar and Candida. Two herbal products in my online store are very helpful for treating Candida: Morinda Supreme and #4 FungDX.
5). Stress. Chronic life stress from deadlines, traffic, money and loneliness releases damaging stress hormones and stomach acids too. These suppress the immune system and inhibit blood flow to the organs and gut, making it harder to heal or oxygenate. Read some of my articles on sleep or anxiety for help with sleep and several helpful herbs in my online store, including my favorite Passion Flower.
6). I cant say it too often: eating gluten and dairy can be the main reason for Leaky Gut symptoms, along with high sugar and starch diets causing dysbiosis. I ask clients to stop eating all grains, and all dairy except ghee. Heres my DVD/Video on The Diet For Human Beings which explains what to eat and why.
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How Bone Broth Helps Leaky Gut
Not only will the fast give your digestive system a much needed break, it will also ensure no more big food particles are making their way through your leaky gut and into your bloodstream.
That means inflammation can cool down and your immune system will also get a chance to regroup.
Meanwhile, the bone broth itself has a huge benefit for our gut, because the collagen in it delivers a huge serving of the types of amino acids our GI tract feeds on in order to repair itself eg glycine, proline and hydroxyproline4,5.
These amino acids work great together to mend the damaged cells lining the wall of our gut. Amazing!
A Golden Ratio For Gut Disorders
Could the permeability ratio be used to diagnose and monitor gut disorders less invasively than traditional colonoscopy?
Luke Turner | | Quick Read
Inflammatory bowel disease is on the rise across the globe especially in industrialized countries. By 2015, an estimated three million people in the US had received a diagnosis of either Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, the two conditions collectively known as IBD . Characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, symptoms of the disease include stomach pain and swelling, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss. Typically, IBD is diagnosed and monitored through colonoscopy, which assesses structural damage to the intestines gut-blood barrier. But colonoscopy is invasive and requires anesthesia and Marcin Ufnal of the Medical University of Warsaw might have found a better alternative.
Patients with IBD suffer from an impaired gut-blood barrier, which Ufnal and his team have harnessed to develop a novel test that compares the ratio of bacterial products in the patients blood and stool . We initially wanted to use the concentration of gut bacterial products in the blood, but this didnt work because there were significant inter-individual differences in bacterial composition, including geographic, dietary, and drug-related factors, says Ufnal.
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Can You See Leaky Gut In A Colonoscopy Or Endoscopy
No, this damage to the gut wall is not visible except by extreme microscopy. Your doctor may have never heard of this condition, although there are a variety of tests that could indicate it.
Damage to the intestinal villi can be seen during a colonoscopy, but not damage to the mucosal surface unless its an active lesion of some type.
Heres How I Incorporate Coconut Products Into My Daily Life
- I use 1 tablespoon of non-hydrogenated organic coconut oil in my daily shake/juice. Tastes insanely good and as weird as this sounds, gives a lovely mouth feel to the shake. Just make sure you get quality coconut oil that is not rancid and not filled with all kinds of crazy chemicals.
- Now and then I will have half a can of coconut milk in my shake instead of the oil . Probably 2 times a week. This is the taste of island holidays in food form!
- Since my gut is now in good health and able to handle oats these days, I will cook up some gluten-free oats with coconut milk on gym days. Of course, theres a lot of energy in this sort of concoction, so best to pair with commensurate training.
- Coconut oil is my go to cooking oil for many dishes, eg a mild Thai-style chicken & broccoli stir fry.
- You might even enjoy coconut kefir91 fermented coconut milk/yogurt.
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So You Might Also Want To Consider Temporarily Cutting
- All nightshades. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers etc. These guys come packed with their own form of bug repellent, alkaloids. Suffice to say, not everyone responds well to them and they can cause inflammation and digestive issues93.
- Eggs. These can spike a high allergy response in a lot of people, and the lysozyme in egg white especially may be troublesome94.
- Nuts. Like eggs, these may not react well with your body95.
- Seeds. Seeds are meant to survive dormant for long periods of time and through varying conditions so, due to being constructed of natures tough-to-crack materials, even the sprouted ones can cause issues for some people.
- All vegetable starches. If youre still struggling 30 days into the diet, well then sadly, even that innocent looking sweet potato has to go96.
- All fruits. That low sugar berry shake you started loving on the leaky gut dietwell, that is out!
- All dairy. If you were eating raw unpasteurized yogurt for the probiotics or sheep cheese, stop. Its out as well97.
Of course the best news is that these eliminations arent necessarily permanent.
In idea #36 below, well look specifically at how to reintroduce these borderline foods in later to see if they still cause issues or whether some can be permanently added back into your diet.
Is Leaky Gut A Cause Or Symptom Of Disease
There is still a lot that science and doctors need to learn and understand about leaky gut. This includes whether leaky gut is the cause or symptom of certain diseases. While there is still much research to be done, there is some evidence that leaky gut is at least a precursor, if not a cause, to certain diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.
There is also evidence of the importance of gut health for maintaining health in other areas of the body besides the digestive tract. When the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted, it can lead to increased intestinal permeability which can release substances into the bloodstream which travel throughout the body. Again, the specific cause is not known, but some risk factors like autoimmune disorders, stress, poor nutrition, and excess consumption of alcohol have been identified.
Another fascinating area of research is the connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. This is called the gut-brain axis. While much more research still needs to take place, some research indicates that leaky gut may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. This has the potential to create a new understanding of mental health issues, and revolutionary approaches to treatment.
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Who Gets A Leaky Gut
We all have some degree of leaky gut, as this barrier is not completely impenetrable . Some of us may have a genetic predisposition and may be more sensitive to changes in the digestive system, but our DNA is not the only one to blame. Modern life may actually be the main driver of gut inflammation. There is emerging evidence that the standard American diet, which is low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats, may initiate this process. Heavy alcohol use and stress also seem to disrupt this balance.
We already know that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in certain gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. The biggest question is whether or not a leaky gut may cause problems elsewhere in the body. Some studies show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases , chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even mental illness. However, we do not yet have clinical studies in humans showing such a cause and effect.
What About Old Fashioned Food Intolerance Tests
My big problem with them is that they often come back positive for just about everything Ive already listed under the banned foods list above, as well as countless other good foods, and are often temporary intolerances resulting from the fact that your gut is hyperpermeable .
So instead of getting old fashioned food intolerance tests, I personally believe youre better off doing an elimination diet per the above ideas, healing your gut and then gradually and one by one reintroducing foods to see how your now-healed gut deals with them.
i.e. doing an elimination & reintroduction diet .
No doubt you will find it far more tolerant!
If you really do want to get tested for intolerances/allergies, then my best advice is to speak with a functional doctor.
They can work 1-1 with you to piece together your overall health history and current state of affairs, and from there decide what is the best leaky gut syndrome treatment plan.
But that said, always keep an eye on the economics of testing, because getting a battery of tests done, followed by a $1000+ bill is sure to cause stressand ironically more leaky gut.
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How Did I Get A Parasite
You may think you have to travel to faraway destinations to contract a parasite, but thats a myth. It is estimated that close to 37 percent of people worldwide have some sort of helminth parasite, and there are many ways this happens.
One of the most common ways of contracting a parasite is through contaminated food, like undercooked meat, or from drinking water. You can also get parasites through contact with contaminated feces .
But parasites dont have to be a problem. Because they feed off of what you eat and thrive on junk foodsugar, in particularupgrading your diet could help solve your parasite problem. Parasites are also more likely to multiply in people with microbiome imbalances or compromised immune systems. Being in poor health is basically throwing open the door for these invaders to establish themselves in your body, taking up residence and slowly feeding off your inner resources. This can cause nutrient deficiencies a suppressed immune system, which can further perpetuate disease and severe gut dysfunction. Perhaps you can see how this is a vicious cyclepoor health weakens the immune system, thus attracting parasites, and an overgrowth of parasites weakens your health even more.
Best Of All You Can Eat Quality Foods If You Practice The Art Of Purchasing Which Means Sticking To
- Farmers markets. Particularly if you go towards the end of the day. Hint: everything is negotiable by this point! And slightly bruised and deformed produce is your friend.
- Box deliveries. I dont always have time to go to farmers markets, so I make use of an online food delivery service as well to get a weekly box of organic vegetables. So easy. All I do is simply pick them up from a neighborhood collection point every Wednesday. Bonus: every week the box contains a surprise of what is in season and tastes great.
- Bulk purchases and freeze. You can find great deals on everything from bison to wild Pacific salmon throughout the year. They key is to keep an eye out for them and have the freezer space ready to go when theyre available. Whilst for vegetables bought in bulk, learning how to pickle/ferment them is a great idea.
- Quality online food stores. Since they usually dont have the cost of a retail operation, they can pass on the savings to you. Plus, with national delivery available from many of them, they are a super convenient solution for those of us that dont live in big cities. This is my favorite option, so we made a directory of the best online food suppliers in the USA here.
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Do Breathing Exercises Before And After Each Meal
100% natural solutions to health problems are the best. They cost nothing and theyre always available to you. And this probably rates up there with the most effective.
The benefit to your leaky gut from this idea is that deep breathing before and after a meal will reduce stress on the body so it can focus on digestion. And as a side effect it will get you in the zone to eat mindfully, eg chew more, eat slower etc.
How To Cure Ibs In One Day
For some, what triggers IBS can be resolved in a single day. If your IBS is triggered by something simple, this checklist may help cure your IBS in one day.
Dont be fooled by anyone telling you to take honey for IBS. We debunked that remedy in this handy article.
Unfortunately, most peoples IBS symptoms wont resolve in one day. But these are easy first steps to determine whether you need to see a doctor.
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Regaining Your Gut Health After A Colonoscopy
How do you restore your gut function, especially your colonic function, after having a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies have come a long way. Theyre nothing like there were back in the 70s and 80s. Theyve become a lot less invasive, much more technologically advanced, and they use much smaller equipment.
Still, I recommend that you take it nice and easy after a colonoscopy. Try not to have a lot of food. Have smaller portions and dont eat high fiber fruits or vegetables that could irritate the gut. An essential step is to completely avoid alcohol for at least two weeks after the colonoscopy.
Light soups like chicken broth and steamed vegetables would be good options after a colonoscopy. Nice, soft, white fish filets are also suitable. Steamed fish and chicken breast are quite tender and easy on your gut. Some fruit is okay but not too much and avoid fruit that is particularly high in sugar.
Im not keen on the fruit juices and gelatin desserts that some medical websites recommend. I dont think that amount of sugar is what your gut needs. I suggest keeping sugar to minimal levels when trying to get your gut back to a good state after a colonoscopy.
Avoid All Grains And Legumes For The Next Month
Life without any grains or legumes whatsoever can be tough. Whenever you plan a meal that is just meat/fish and vegetables it can feel like something is missing.
But if youre suffering from leaky gut and are really motivated to repair it fast, then leaving grains and legumes off the table, at least temporarily, is a no brainer. Especially GMO grains, which by design are the highest in anti-nutrients like lectins7,8.
Now, I will say, most grains & legumes dont quite irritate the gut lining as bad as those with gluten , but they are still loaded with anti-nutrients like lectins and phytates9,10, which your digestive system simply cant necessarily handle when it is in already poor shape.
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