How Can You Heal A Leaky Gut
Doctors are still working on finding the best way to treat the condition, so if you suspect you have it, it’s important to work with a skilled physician who understands the gut. To combat your gut issues naturally, Christie recommends some lifestyle changes. I start people with sleep and stress, she says. When you are getting good quality and quantity of sleep, and your stress is mitigated, not only are you actively healing your body, you are also setting the stage for more challenging lifestyle behavior modification.
Once youve lowered your baseline of stress, you can work on rebuilding the good gut bacteria to support damaged tissue repairs. Christie advises clients to eat a wide variety of plant foods in their diet. Shifting the food you are consuming away from processed and damaging foods to more organic, whole, plant foods is always beneficial, she says. She typically suggests cutting out gluten, dairy, and eggs to begin the healing process, and instead opting for fresh fruits and vegetables. Supplements are also a key lifestyle change. Taking a daily probiotic will introduce good bacteria back into your digestive system and support the healing process.*
Eating More Cooked Foods
Raw foods are packed full of nutrients but they can also be difficult to digest. Cooked foods decrease the amount of work your digestive system needs to do to break down food because some of that has been done for you through the cooking process. Even easier to digest are pureed foods like smoothies and pureed soup. Going easy on your digestion can help reduce bloat and lead to a healthier gut. As you heal, you will be able to tolerate raw foods better.
Heres How I Recommend You Do The Breathing Exercises
- Download the The Breathing App app and do it before and just after each meal. Although it is somewhat annoying to remember or take the time out to do this, all you need to do is try it out for the next 30 days.
- If you really struggle to do it, then at least try to nail it once a day with your biggest meal.
- As insurance, make sure you take a digestive enzyme or two just before each meal.
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What Is The Fastest Way To Heal Leaky Gut
As you can see, many studies have shown that its possible to improve leaky gut in a matter of weeks, or even days.
The fastest way to heal your own leaky gut completely depends on why your gut is leaky. Everyone has their own unique set of reasons.
Its important to remember that leaky gut is only ever just one element of an unhappy gut. Bad diets, stress, dysbiosis and infections are all part of the picture too. Leaky gut is unlikely to exist without some or all of those things.
Leaky gut is involved in an almost infinite number of diseases and gut symptoms, but we dont know what comes first: the disease, the gut symptoms or the leaky gut. What we do know is that looking after your gut health can kill all these birds with one stone.
Thats because your gut health affects the health of your entire body and mind, and vice versa. Its all connected. So rather than trying to heal your leaky gut as fast as you can, we recommend taking a step back and digging deep into your gut health.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Yepeat more fat. No this is not a typo, you heard me right. While many professionals may tell you to do the opposite, I will tell you why eating more fat is actually helpful: fat is slippery and helps things glide right along in your gut.
Those who have problems with constipation can especially benefit from consuming more good fats in their diet.
You should never eat vegetable oils or margarine because they are highly processed, contain GMOs, and are just plain bad for your health.
Fiber is equally as important for your digestion. If you have the opposite problem , you can try eating more foods with fiber such as leafy greens or whole foods in general.
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Avoid Eating Any Foods That Are Processed Or Filled With Preservatives Or Flavoring
I think we all know that saying goodbye to foods high in refined flours and sugars, low in nutrients and filled with chemicals, will help our gut health improve.
But I also understand that saying adios to these and hello to a diet focused on real whole foods is not a cheap exercise. But to be honest, it all comes down to what value you put on your health.
Struggling To Find A Doctor Who Understands Leaky Gut
Then take a moment to checkout our directory of doctors who have written about leaky gut and are knowledgeable on how to fight it from start to finish.
As with everything on this site, the directory is free to both readers and doctors. So there is no bias in recommendations or sponsored doctors and whatnot!
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Signs Your Leaky Gut Is Healing
Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
If youre reading this, there is a good chance you have been following one of my programs because you have an autoimmune disease, thyroid condition, or other chronic illness. Whether its Hashimotos, Graves, lupus, Crohns, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other condition, healing your gut is always the first step to reversing chronic illness and achieving optimal health.
If your gut health is compromised, it can lead to many issues throughout your body such as seasonal allergies, hormonal imbalances, mood imbalances, or even autoimmune disease.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 1/4 of us suffer from digestive issues: gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. In functional medicine, we believe that these symptoms are often a result of a leaky gut.
You can also check out my video on the signs leaky gut is healing below:
Heres How To Make This Happen
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What Are The Dangers Associated With Leaky Gut
These gaps in your intestinal lining cause inflammation and negative changes in your gut bacteria.
The unwelcome intruders that take advantage of these porous portals have been blamed for everything from:
and autoimmune diseases
The list above is not an exaggeration, gut health really is tied to every single one of these.
Correlation Between Gut Health And Mental Health:
Similarly, there is a strong correlation between gut health and mental health. The vagus nerve runs from stomach to brain stem, so if something is wonky with your digestive system, you may also experience anxiety and/or depression.
I wouldnt consider myself to be a Type A individual or to be particularly particular, but when my gut symptoms were at their worst, I felt anxiety daily, had a bleak outlook on life, and also had obsessive compulsive behavior. It took healing my gut to calm my nervous system and to cease the obsessive behaviors to which I had grown accustomed.
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.
Leaky Gut Before And After
Lets go back to thinking of your gut lining as a drawbridge. When you have leaky gut, your drawbridge opens to allow undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, and viruses to escape into your bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout your body.
As soon as you begin healing leaky gut, your drawbridge starts to lower, keeping those inflammatory agents within the safety of your gut where they can be broken down and expelled from your body via pooping, peeing, or sweating.
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Probiotics Will Save Your Life
Probiotics are the live microorganisms that reside in the gut. Probiotics support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. Examples of foods that contain probiotics include kefir, pu erh tea, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, Healthy Chef Gut Collagen and Healthy Chef Everyday Greens.
Limit All Cow Milk Based Dairy
So there are 2 reasons to consider avoiding this bad boy of gastrointestinal health.
For starters, cows milk comes packed with lactose. This is the milk sugar that the majority of us struggle to digest23. It is a high FODMAP ingredient too. So if youre on a low FODMAP diet, it is out as well.
Secondly and less importantly normal cows milk also comes with another potentially troublesome sidekicka protein called A1 Casein24. It often does not play well with our guts, especially in the early healing phases.
In response to both issues above you can consider lactose free milk, but then you have the casein problem, or you can consider A2 Casein milk, but then you still have the lactose problem.
All a bit confusing I know. So my approach in the first 30 days of a gut healing diet is simply no cows milk dairy, eg milk, milk chocolate, ice cream, cheese etc.
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When Should I See A Doctor
Improving your diet may help you feel better, but a leaky gut sometimes can have other causes, like infection or disease.
In some cases, food sensitivities may be causing your symptoms. If you suspect you may have a food sensitivity, Dr. La Vella recommends working with a doctor to determine your sensitivity.
It is very safe for anyone to adopt a whole foods diet and youll likely start feeling better within a few weeks, says Dr. La Vella. If you have ongoing symptoms and are still concerned after making these changes, talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying cause that needs to be treated.
Get medical and nutritional support on your weight loss journey. Attend a free seminar to learn how Samaritan Weight Management Institute can help you feel your best.
Learn more about probiotics and improving gut health.
- Cells that form the lining of the intestines are called enterocytes. Permeability occurs when the junctions between these cells loosen and microorganisms and toxins can leak through.
Signs You Have A Leaky Gut
Since leaky gut is not yet a medically recognized condition, there is no set diagnostic criteria. As Pedre explains it, “Leaky gut is not a diagnosis but a process, a description of the underlying pathology of numerous diseases that we treat yet have failed to find a cure for.”
However, there are some signs and symptoms you can look out for that may indicate a more permeable gut lining.
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Can You Treat Leaky Gut
You can, but the approach is similar to diagnosing a broken car, says Dr. Fasano. “You dont know the exact problem until the mechanic lifts the hood, looks around, and tries different things there is not a simple, direct approach to fixing the problem,” he says. “Its the same with leaky gut. We have to try different strategies to see what helps.”
Your first step is to share your symptoms with your doctor. If leaky gut is a possibility, he or she can try several strategies to help relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation. The most common is to review your diet and eliminate known dietary causes of inflammation, such as excessive consumption of alcohol and processed foods, and to explore whether you have any food sensitivities for instance, to gluten or dairy. “In theory, reducing inflammation from your diet like this also may rebuild the gut lining and stop further leakage,” says Dr. Fasano.
The best way to protect yourself from leaky gut is to invest more in your overall digestive health, he adds. This means being more attentive about following a gut-healthy diet that limits processed foods and high-fat and high-sugar foods, and includes enough fiber. Sticking to a regular exercise program also can strengthen your digestive system. For example, studies have suggested that taking a 15-to 20-minute walk after a meal can aid in digestion. “Your gastrointestinal system is complex, but caring for it doesnt have to be,” says Dr. Fasano.
Underlying Causes Of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is thought to be moreof a side effect of other digestive issues,rather than a specific disease.
A number of diet and lifestyle factors contribute to leaky gut.Understanding what these are can help you take steps to avoid them.
Here are some of the possible underlying causes of leaky gut thatneed to be addressed to resolve it.
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What About Microbiome Testing For Leaky Gut
Although it is not specifically looking at intestinal permeability, it is taking a birds eye view at the state of your gut health and can possibly pinpoint underlying causes of leaky gut as well as hidden food intolerances that are potentially sustaining leaky gut.
Like the above tests, this can be expensive.
But if you want to get an interesting look at the state of your gut health, then consider a microbiome service like Viome they ship the testing kit to you, so the whole test can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Viome is my favorite microbiome company, since they are able to not only pinpoint imbalances, but also give you plain English advice on which foods to eat and which to avoid based on your unique gut bacterial balance.
What Is The Main Cause Of Leaky Gut
There is no one main cause of leaky gut. Here are some of the most common drivers:
Stress and depression contribute to leaky gut .
One study even found that couples in unhappy marriages had leakier guts than couples in happy marriages .
Sugar has been shown to increase intestinal permeability .
Lack of fibre
Your gut bacteria need fibre. When they eat the fibre you eat, they produce a long list of chemicals to keep your gut healthy. Some of the most important of these are short-chain fatty acids . Without enough SCFAs, your gut can become leaky .
Additives in processed foods
If theres an ingredient on your food label you cant pronounce, dont eat it: emulsifiers in particular have been found to increase leaky gut . Plant milk and processed sauces and ready meals often contain emulsifiers.
Too much exercise
High-intensity exercise over a long time contributes to leaky gut . This is because your body releases stress hormones when you exercise. While moderate exercise or intense exercise in short bursts is very good for you, too much isnt.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowthan overgrowth or imbalance of microbes of the small intestineappears to exist hand-in-hand with leaky gut .
SIBO has been found in upto 85% of people with IBS symptoms. To find out more about SIBO, check out our blog SIBO symptoms: what they mean and what to do next.
If you want to find out how to take a SIBO test, read What does a SIBO test show: diagnosis, accuracy and results.
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Leaky Gut Diet Foods To Eat
If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, youre overdue to consider adopting a leaky gut diet. Such a diet contains foods that support healing because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.
Here are the best foods to include in a leaky gut syndrome diet:
In addition to eating a leaky gut diet, you can help repair your gut with certain supplements.
In a leaky gut treatment plan, there are many supplements that support digestive health as well as protect the gut lining from further damage. I believe the six most beneficial leaky gut supplements are: