Replace Your Morning Cup O Joe With Some Herbal Teas
This need not be forever, but it should definitely be your approach for the next 1-3 months whilst you are recovering from leaky gut.
You see coffee, including decaf, is not good for your intestinal lining79. .
You can read my in-depth article here on coffee and leaky gut, but the exec summary version is that coffee irritates the gut , causes inflammation , gets confused by our bodies as gluten 80 and the caffeine itself spurs on adrenal fatigue.
Healing Leaky Gut Naturally
At this point, we have discussed the symptoms, causes, and consequences of leaky gut syndrome. If it is not taken care of, leaky gut will eventually lead to chronic inflammation, autoimmune conditions, cognitive impairment, and all around poor health.
The following are some of the most effective strategies for healing leaky gut once and for all.
Changes In Gut Permeabilityy Are Now Validated By Research
The existence of a leaky gut used to be controversial. That all changed with the discovery of a molecule called zonulin.
In 2000, Dr. Alessio Fasano and his team discovered zonulin, a protein our body makes that opens and closes those doors in our gut called tight junctions . His research was initially done on celiac disease patients, but its significance reaches far beyond the world of celiac disease and gluten-related disorders. Zonulin has become a marker for intestinal permeability or leakiness.
As research has unfolded since 2001, we now know that a leaky gut correlates with inflammation and is seen in many other diseases such as IBS, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune diseases . The discovery of zonulin and the explosion of interest in gut health, leaky gut, and the microbiome are being investigated as significant, modifiable risk factors in our long-term health .
It must be noted that the topic of leaky gut is still not completely free of controversy. There is currently no universally accepted way to measure gut permeability. This means the diagnosis is made based on a persons symptoms. That is never ideal.
There are valid methods to study permeability, and commercial labs have created tests claiming to measure it. Still, in reality, the best way to measure gut permeability has not been determined.
All this being said, there is no debate that inflammation is bad, and decreasing inflammation will only be of benefit.
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Can You Completely Heal A Leaky Gut
While its impossible to say whether or not you can completely heal leaky gut, you can certainly make it better.
Everyones guts are leaky to some extent: our small intestine is supposed to let out certain particles into the rest of the body. Its only a problem when it starts to let out the wrong types.
You need your gut to remember what to let out and what to keep in. The good news is, theres a lot of evidence that you can help it do that.
Tips On How To Heal A Leaky Gut Faster
To heal faster, you need to give yourself the opportunity to do so. The following tips will give you a solid foundation to promote intestinal healing.
Tip #1. Lower, or at least manage, your stress
Research shows stress is a cause of leaky gut.
Reducing stress, then, helps to remove a cause of leaky gut, positioning you for better healing. Finding ways to reduce stress whether you prefer meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, exercise, or a hobby is a must.
Tip #2. Exercise
Not only does exercise help to ease stress, but research also shows it helps to restore your guts microbiota, the probiotic bacteria that live in your gut and promote great overall health .
Tip #3. Get more sleep
Fail to get enough sleep, and youll disrupt the balance of those good probiotic bacteria in your gut. And it turns out, an imbalance in the balance of healthy probiotic bacteria in your gut impacts the quality of your sleep.
This means it may be hard at first to sleep well with a leaky gut. Its vital that you make the effort. By getting more sleep, youll be helping both your body to relax and the good bacteria that help keep your intestines healthy to thrive.
Tip #4. Eliminate junk and processed foods from your diet
You wont get better if you consume chemicals and artificial ingredients your body does not recognize. Starchy foods and those loaded with fats also stress your digestive tract. This is a must for healing.
Tip #5. Limit or cut out alcohol consumption
Tip #6. Stop smoking
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Whats The Quick Fix Or Magic Potion To Heal Leaky Gut
Is that the sound of crickets chirping?
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes or magic cures to healing leaky gut. As much as gluten is vilified and probiotics are heralded, those simple answers arent the real path to healing for most people with increased intestinal permeability.
Healing the gut is like peeling back layers of onion: you address one aspect and it can bring to light something else. And if that sounds negative, I like to see this as an opportunity to further help your body to achieve homeostasis.
How Is Leaky Gut Diagnosed
Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is common. Its hard to know exactly how many people have it because few doctors test for it. Parsley Health doctors usually diagnose leaky gut through a combination of specific specialty testing such as comprehensive stool cultures and detailed assessment of your symptoms and medical history. If you are diagnosed with intestinal permeability, the good news is, there are ways to heal a leaky gut.
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Using The Wrong Diagnostic Tests
There is a test available that shows whether an individual has intestinal permeability. It works by measuring levels of two indigestible sugars, mannitol and lactulose, in the urine. Most physicians do not use this test and research shows that it is not very reliable. As we mentioned earlier, there is no evidence that intestinal permeability causes any disease be wary of anyone who claims that it does. Some unscrupulous individuals are even selling these tests to consumers online. Using this test to diagnose leaky gut syndrome would be like ordering a test to look for blood in the stool of someone with IBD and using a positive test result to prove that the bloody stools caused some other mysterious disease that in turn caused the IBD. We already know that bloody stools are a symptom of Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, just as we know that intestinal permeability is a symptom of some diseases such as Crohns disease and celiac disease.
Proponents of leaky gut syndrome might also misuse tests that look for bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, or tests that measure immune function, to diagnose the disorder, when there is no evidence that the results are in any way related to this baseless syndrome.
Which Oils To Use For Leaky Gut Instead
Best of all, you can easily replace the bad fats with quality fats, including fats that are just as suited to cooking.
For example, coconut oil, ghee and lard hold a very high smoke point .
Whilst you can use the other healthy fats listed in the graphic to the right, eg extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil etc, for cold dishes or to finish on top of heated dishes.
In many ways, your lovely plate of veggies and meat/fish, is really just a delivery vehicle for these healthy fats. So apply your EVOO liberally to a finished dish!
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My Best Advice For Making This Easy
- For the next 4 weeks consider avoiding any occasions where youll be tempted to have a drink. i.e. Take yourself out of the drinking environments and make this month of saying no as easy as possible. Its just a month after all!
- If you cant or dont want to avoid these situations, then make sure you have your reason for not drinking ready to go. As it can be a real pain to have to explain some long winded story about intestinal hyperpermeability to every single person who asks and they do ask!
- Use other state-changing techniques to replace alcohols role. You see, many of us like alcohol because of how it changes our emotional state. Whether its blowing off a hard week at work or wanting to relax on the weekend with friends, it is a state change were after. Thankfully you can get as good a change from exercise, meditation, breathing, yoga etc.
Supplements That Help Heal
The goal is to heal leaky gut fast. These 3 supplements support overall digestive health but also address specific concerns with leaky gut.
This essential trace element is necessary every day for numerous body functions. Because it does not store up in the body, a deficiency can happen very easily. These naturally zinc-rich foods are helpful: spinach, chicken, oysters, beef, lamb, and pumpkin seeds.
In the case of leaky gut, supplementation may be necessary for a time because there is evidence that zinc can resolve the permeability issues of the intestines.
Women over 19 years of age should get about 8mg/day and men over 19 years should get about 11 mg/day.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body and is the most abundant. It is produced in the muscles and distributed to the organs via the bloodstream.
Studies have shown that L-glutamine can help preserve the mucous lining of the intestines and also improves the permeability of the lining. In addition, it is the number one nutrient you need to build and repair the intestinal damage caused by leaky gut.
Take 2 5 grams a day, twice a day for best results. If you end up taking it long term, be sure that you have adequate vitamin B12, since it controls the buildup of glutamine in your body.
Strive to eat probiotic-rich foods daily. In addition to the previously mentioned kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut, add some of these:
- Lactobacillus helveticus
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How Candida Can Impact Leaky Gut
And eventually they may even end up finding their way into our organs and tissue , which can lead to chronic conditions developing over time.
Plus, under this kind of constant attack the gut lining is never going to be able to heal. Instead it will remain hyper-permeable, i.e. leaky.
So for us leaky gutters, chronic candida overgrowth is thus something to take seriously and to watch out for.
This Diet Has Been Shown To Decrease Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fresh food, healthy oils, and fats, low sugar, more fish than meat, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. In addition to being a healthy eating plan, it is relatively easy to stick to long term.
Its direct effect on gut permeability has not been studied but the diet includes foods shown to decrease inflammation .
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What Causes Leaky Gut
The exact cause of leaky gut is a mystery.
However, increased intestinal permeability is well known and occurs alongside several chronic diseases, including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes .
Zonulin is a protein that regulates tight junctions. Research has shown that higher levels of this protein may loosen tight junctions and increase intestinal permeability (
Furthermore, low levels of healthy gut bacteria may have the same effect. This is called gut dysbiosis .
The exact cause of leaky gut remains a mystery, but certain proteins like zonulin and markers of inflammation provide some clues. Other potential causes include long-term NSAID use and an imbalance of gut bacteria known as gut dysbiosis.
As leaky gut syndrome isnt an official medical diagnosis, there is no recommended treatment.
Yet, you can do plenty of things to improve your general digestive health.
One is to eat a diet rich in foods that aid the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. An unhealthy collection of gut bacteria has been linked to poor health outcomes, including chronic inflammation, cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes .
The following foods are great options for improving your digestive health:
A diet that promotes digestive health should focus on fibrous vegetables, fruits, fermented vegetables, cultured dairy products, healthy fats, and lean, unprocessed meats.
Many Of Us Have Been Here Before
Here is an example: A 34 year old ambitious marathon runner works full-time as a medical professional, runs a side business, and tries his best to be a good father to an infant, and a good husband to a wife who also works full time.
To get workouts in, his sleep is limited to 6 hours as he gets up at 4:45 AM to workout before sprinting to work, then sprints through work so he can get to daycare in time. Once home, he rushes home to help with dinner, home chores, and then puts the little one to bed before starting work on the side business. Around 9:30 its time to wrap up work, make smoothies for the next days breakfast and lunch, then hustle to bed by 10 or 10:30.
For this individual, the weekends arent restful either as he hammers long runs, take care of home projects, and catches up on work on the side business.
Does this lifestyle sound familiar to you? Im sure it resonates with many. It sure sounds familiar to me because it is my life. This story is me!
Because of this lifestyle, I developed a significant case of leaky gut and thus have battled, learned a lot, and have made some lifestyle changes to get things back on track. Its been a tough change but we cant keep doing the same thing and expect different results!
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Major Contributors Of Leaky Gut
In my experience, there are many common factors that provoke gut inflammation and damage. Addressing these factors is critical for healing leaky gut.
Essentially, we must remove as many stressors as possible in order to allow healing to occur. The following are major stressors that must be addressed to get well in this regard.
How To Heal Leaky Gut
Exercise is also beneficial in repairing the digestive system. Many studies have suggested that walking for 15-20 minutes after a meal can help strengthen this system. Another important lifestyle goal to heal leaky gut is incorporating fiber everyday. According to the USDA, men under 50 years of age should consume 38 grams and women under 50 should consume 25 grams daily.
In order to heal leaky gut, it is important to try and remove the offending stressor at the gut level. Once this has been removed, it is important to repair and replenish the complexity of the microbiome. The microbiome can be repaired through diet, but sometimes it takes additional supplements to help correct. If one is trying to repair through diet, it is recommended to add fermented foods such as tempeh, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and roughage such as Jerusalem artichoke, flaxseed, and jicama. Add in some probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kombucha, and coconut yogurt.
When diet does not improve the microbiome, there are a range of different supplements that can be added such as L-glutamine, probiotics of certain strains, and medical foods. It is best to visit your healthcare practitioner before starting these supplements to make sure you are taking the correct dosage and the proper form.
At CentreSpringMD, all of our providers are well versed on leaky gut syndrome and can assist you in making these choices to help heal your microbiome.
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After The Starve & Kill Phases Reinoculate Your Gut
This is such an important step, because if we mess up here or simply avoid step 3 altogether then all the hard work weve done up until this point may end up being for nothing.
You see, in order to support healthy candida levels , we need to reinoculate our gut with good bacteria. This ensures the good bacteria, just like bouncers at a club, will be strong enough in numbers to support a healthy balance of the candida population going forward78. Meaning we will have no need to constantly be fighting candida with antifungals.
To reinoculate your gut all you need to do is
1) eat probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables several times a week and
2) consider taking a 40-50 billion CFUs probiotic supplement with 10+ different strains, like this probiotic my research team at Essential Stacks and I developed.
Low Stomach Acid Production
At this point in the article, you likely understand the importance of proper stomach acid production when it comes to healing leaky gut. Just to reinforce this idea, stomach acid is important for digestion and sterilization of food we consume.
If you have low stomach acid, this opens the doors to malnourishment and different types of infections in the gut. This ultimately contributes to leaky gut and the many branching health effects we have covered so far.
If you chronically deal with indigestion and heartburn, this is likely a sign that you have poor stomach acid production.
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