Leaky Gut Fix #: Nourish And Repair The Gut
Fixing leaky gut syndrome is not just a matter of getting rid of irritants, we also must use good quality foods and supplements to help heal and seal the gut lining. It is also important that your diet is filled with healthy nutrients that come from whole foods. Sometimes targeted supplementation may be necessary depending on the testing.
What To Include In Your Leaky Gut Diet
Aim for your diet to be rich in a wide range of colorful vegetables , whole grains rich in fiber , colorful fruits, and good quality, organic or grass-fed protein sources. A high fiber diet can help with gut motility, and constipation itself can be irritating to the gut. In addition, supplements can also be beneficial on the road to recovery. One of the most beneficial supplements is L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid in the human body. It helps with tissue repair and has been shown to help heal and seal the gut lining in the case of leaky gut so, is a great addition to a leaky gut diet. Other nutraceuticals such as glutathione, also known as the master antioxidant have been shown to help repair the gut lining, as well.
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.
Speak To Your Doctor About Nsaids Excessive Antibiotics Antacids And Any Other Unnecessary Drugs
From Advil to the pill to corticosteroids, there are so many drugs that can potentially contribute to leaky gut and/or gut flora imbalances58. Obviously, not all of these are entirely optional.
For example, when I had asthma attacks as a young child I couldnt simply say My hyperpermeable intestines and I are not interested in your corticosteroids Doc.
Obviously you should speak with your doctor about what is and isnt necessary for you. And Ill talk below about how to find a doctor that gets leaky gut better than most.
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Feed Your Gut Bacteria With The Right Leaky Gut Diet
Since the problem involves the small intestines, its only right to pay close attention to the types of food you eat. When you have a leaky gut, you can consider:
- Increasing your fiber intake as bacteria love to eat it as well
- Nourishing your body with plenty of greens to reduce inflammation and improve immune function
- Staying away from processed and junk food, which is usually high in sugar and boosts inflammation risks
- Eating healthy or good fats such as avocados, olive oil, and some nuts
- Adding sprouted seeds to introduce essential nutrients such as zinc and reduce the anti-nutrients like lectin
What are Anti-Nutrients? These are compounds present in plants that reduce the ability of the body to absorb nutrients.
Healing a leaky gut may take a while, but its definitely possible. Even better, you can do it naturally since medications may only make the situation worse.
Before you do anything, though, always consult with your doctor. Work with them to find out the best course of action.
You can use this as your guide when you want to ask the right questions or make informed health decisions.
What are your tips on how to treat a leaky gut? Share them in the comments section below.
How I Cook So Simple But Healthy Every Single Day
- Breakfast is usually simply a shake. This is how I start most mornings. Its easy for the digestive system to take, helps the body rapidly absorb much needed nutrition and is so easy to make, which means youll actually do it each day. Plus I always make sure my shakes contain some good fats, eg MCT oil or coconut oil, and protein, eg high quality collagen protein powder, which brings about some remarkable improvements in morning energy .
- Soup and bone broth make up 20-30% of meals. Alternating between these 2 liquid meals throughout the week works a treat. You can batch make and easily freeze both, making them so convenient to take out whenever needed. And if you dont like the taste then just try a scoop of collagen each day.
- Meat/fish + vegetable + vegetable starch . Simple combinations of the 2 paired with some nice flavors especially using herbs is just perfect. These dishes sit so easily in your stomach that they are seriously addictive!
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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.
Meal Planning For Leaky Gut Syndrome
There’s a lot to remember when building a meal plan for clients with leaky gut syndrome, so we are saving you time with our Leaky Gut Diet which includes:
- An evidence-based meal plan that includes essential foods for gut healing while excluding all damaging foods.
- Simple, easy recipes that clients will actually love.
- An itemized grocery list.
- A prep guide to minimize confusion and time spent in the kitchen.
- Evidence to educate your clients on key nutrients like fiber, zinc, and probiotics.
Learn more about our Leaky Gut Diet here.
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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.
How Do You Know If You Have A Leaky Gut
There are tests for leaky gut, which can be useful if you want hard evidence that you need to address your gut health. In other words, having proof that something is going on in your body might help to motivate you to make changes in your lifestyle or stick to a protocol.
For a more detailed rundown of how you can know if you have leaky gut, read our blog How do you know if you have leaky gut? Some quick answers
At Healthpath we use a PEG test to look at leaky gut. Together with your symptom survey, our Registered Nutritional Therapists and Functional Medicine Practitioners use the results to build you a personal diet, lifestyle and supplement protocol to get you great gut health.
For all you need to know about leaky gut testing, read Testing for leaky gut syndrome: the complete guide .
For most people, we recommend a deep-dive into the workings of your gut: a Gut Health Test. Some of our Gut Health Tests look at your zonulin level, which is one marker of leaky gut.
However, theres really no comparison to a stand-alone leaky gut test and a Gut Health Test, which is a fully comprehensive analysis of the goings-on of your gut. It looks at:
- Your microbiomes health: stool consistency, pH levels, microbe diversity, enterotype, and dysbiosis index.
- Bacteria, yeasts , moulds, parasites, worms, H. pylori and pathogenic bacteria.
- Advanced biomarkers: digestive function, immune system and inflammation.
Bonus elements on more advanced tests include:
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How To Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Before the process of healing the gut can begin, the problem must be recognized. To know the exact cause of your condition, your doctor may have to conduct an adequate diagnosis. Share your symptoms with your doctor. Once the necessary information has been analysed, you can start the healing process.
There is no direct form of treatment, as different approaches can be tried to provide a cure. Most health experts offer a combination of proper diet and medication to provide a holistic approach when it comes to how to quickly heal leaky gut syndrome.
Here are some of the ways or techniques used to cure or treat leaky gut:
In Terms Of Taking Digestive Enzymes Heres What I Recommend
- Take 1-2 with each meal. I do this just before my meal.
- If you are still having digestion issues, consider upping the dose to 2-3. You most likely will be fine with 1-2.
- During the early stages of leaky gut recovery make sure you take them before any meal or snack, even a simple protein shake for example. The idea is to really give the digestive system a helping hand at every turn.
Most importantly, look for a digestive enzyme supplement that contains the best enzymes for supporting digestion of all food groups. Heres the list:
Since there are 100s of different digestive enzymes on the market I often get asked, which one is worth taking.
Well, as you might have read in my article on digestive enzymes it is really important to choose a digestive enzyme complex that ticks 3 boxes.
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How I Megadose L
And Heres How I Recommend You Tackle This Diet
- For starters, grab my free leaky gut recovery guide to see my top 7 recipes. During my times of poor gut health Ive simply rotated amongst these 7 meal ideas. Theyre easy to cook, taste amazing and require very few ingredients.
- Fish and meats are your new BFF. This is where the majority of the flavor in the leaky gut diet comes from. Take the advice below in idea #14 seriously, and try to buy high quality meat and fish as much as possible.
- Focus on green and colorful vegetables. Obviously some of you will suffer from leaky gut syndrome so badly that even many vegetables out there will irritate your gut to no end. In which case simply eat what your body responds best to.
- Some* starch is okayin vegetable form that is. Depending on how you react try to eat some starchy vegetables like sweet potato, yam, yucca etc. I find the mouthfeel and way they fill me up to be most satisfying. And they really round of dishes made with the 2 food groups above. *Keep an eye on max serving size recommendations in the image above.
- Everything else. Nuts, eggs, many nightshades , low sugar fruit etc can all have their place in your leaky gut diet too, but theyre not for everyone. And as I explain below in idea #22, some of you may really need to limit serving size significantly and test these to see if they make sense for you.
No matter how good your diet is though, I highly recommend you take 1-2 digestive enzyme capsules before each meal per point #7 above.
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Symptoms Of A Leaky Gut
Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to hormonal imbalances, joint pain, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimotos thyroiditis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, and rosacea, just to name a few.
A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health. Problems in our gastrointestinal tract can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea they can be the root cause of many chronic health problems. If your intestinal wall has been compromised, youll likely experience these symptoms and signs:
If youre experiencing any of these symptoms, leaky gut may be the culprit. Take this quiz to find out!
Do you think you have leaky gut?
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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Taking Medications That Damage Your Gut
Medications are the double-edged sword of our modern world. Some are life-saving and non-negotiable. Yet there are other gut-damaging medications such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and NSAIDs that can do more harm than good and get in the way of fixing leaky gut.
Antibiotics are one of the most over-prescribed medications. Nearly half of all outpatient prescriptions are unnecessary, according to the CDC. They work by blocking bacterial processes by either killing the bacteria or stopping them from multiplying. Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot tell the difference between the bad bacteria causing an infection and the good bacteria that belong in your gut. As the number of good bacteria in your gut decreases, you become susceptible to gut infections including Candida overgrowth and SIBO, which can contribute to leaky gut and interfere with leaky gut treatment.
Oral contraceptives or birth control pills contain synthetic hormones such as ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, which are not recognized or broken down by the body in the same way natural estrogen is. Birth control pills also disrupt your internal balance of Candida by causing something called estrogen dominance meaning too much estrogen in the body. Candida cells have the ability to permeate your gut lining, causing leaky gut. When working to fix leaky gut, talk to your doctor about alternative methods of contraception.