Engage In Cardiovascular Exercise
Finally, move your body! It has been proven that cardiovascular exercise helps with the transportation of oxygen throughout your body and digestive system.
This supports the bacteria in your digestive system especially the n-butyrate generating beneficial bacteria. 150 minutes of heart rate increasing exercise is recommended.
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.*
Is Leaky Gut A Real Condition A Look At The Evidence
Its safe to say you are interested in gut health. Thats why you are here, right?
I suspect you want to find out more about leaky gut. Well, lets try and decipher the evidence that is currently out there without getting too technical.
Leaky gutyou hear it being bantered about a lot. Its the new buzzword in gut health, particularly in the wellbeing niche. The truth is the average medical professional doesnt generally recognise leaky gut as a legitimate ailment.
Lets look at the evidence and see who is right and who is wrong its not strictly black and white.
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The Solution For Repairing Your Gut
There is a bright side, however. The symptoms of a leaky gut are manageable when you implement a few lifestyle changes to bring balance to your microbiome and improve your gut health. The below-listed tips should help improve your symptoms and lower your risk of developing other health problems.
Changes in your diet9 are the first line of action when it comes to repairing and healing your gut.
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners6
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption
- Increase prebiotic foods rich in fiber6 like vegetables and whole grains
- Add probiotics to help feed good gut bacteria7
- Drink OWL Broth Elixirs, infused with healing herbs and nourishing veggies
You might even consider a full gut Reset to give the lining of your stomach a break so it can recover from the heavy lifting it does on a regular basis. The OWL Reset Cleanse is designed to heal your gut while nourishing your body so that you can get back to feeling your best self without feeling hungry or deprived of food.
More options to consider, along with diet changes, are certain lifestyle changes9 that support gut health.
- Regular exercise
Development And Validation Of Test For Leaky Gut Small Intestinal And Colonic Permeability Using Sugars In Healthy Adults
- Katayoun KhoshbinAffiliations
- Lehar KhannaAffiliations
- Daniel MaselliAffiliations
- Jessica AtiehAffiliations
- Kayla ArndtAffiliations
- Deborah RhotenAffiliations
- Irene BusciglioAffiliations
- Michael CamilleriCorrespondenceCorrespondence Address correspondence to: Michael Camilleri, MD, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Charlton Building, Room 8-110, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.
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Check For Food Intolerances
If you have symptoms such as cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rashes, nausea, fatigue, and acid reflux, you may be suffering from a food intolerance. You can try eliminating common trigger foods to see if your symptoms improve. If you are able to identify a food or foods that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health by changing your eating habits.
Other Tests For Leaky Gut Include
Organic Acids test
The Organic Acids Test is one of my favourite tests because it looks at so many different metabolic processes in the body from energy production, fat metabolism, gut infections, nutrient deficiencies and neurotransmitter levels.
The OAT is not as specific for leaky gut and the exact cause of leaky gut which is why I recommend the G.I map test, but this is a good test to do in addition to the G.I Map test especially if you have symptoms like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or a lot of neurological or mood issues.
Food Intolerance Testing for Leaky Gut
The IgG food intolerance testing can not only give you an indicator of the foods that you are sensitive too, but if it shows up that you are sensitive to a wide range of foods then this is most likely leaky gut. If you fix the leaky gut then the food intolerances will go away.
I dont normally do this test as it is not cheap and the money is better spent doing the G.I Map test, but for some people who need extra motivation to cut out foods like gluten and dairy a positive test result can give them that motivation.
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Eat Sleep And Be Healthy
The human gut is more complex than previously thought and has a huge impact on whole-body health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to positively affect your gut health and your overall health as a result.
Test #2 The Blood Zonulin Test For Leaky Gut
This is the only real blood test for leaky gut syndrome and heres how it works.
So, the main thing to know is that the cells of your intestinal lining are held together by tight junctions. Tight junctions can be thought of as gatekeepers, keeping the cells close together so that only the good stuff gets let in, and all of the larger particles and bad stuff, stays out.
The main thing to know here is that zonulin effects the gatekeepers of your gut lining in a negative way2.
Specifically, zonulin can work with other molecules to pry apart these tight junctions and change the size of the openings in your gut lining3. As such more zonulin means openings increase in size and the lining becomes more permeable / leaky.
Obviously we want some zonulin to ensure nutrients get through . But too much and you can say hello to leaky gut!
This test is thus designed to see whether you have too much zonulin in your system and thus may have leaky gut4.
But arguably a more interesting question is: What causes zonulin levels to rise in the first place?. Because if we can answer that, we can fix the problem itself.
But in certain people, eg celiacs, zonulin is released at higher levels in the presence of gluten compared to healthy people7.
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What Can We Do About Leaky Gut
Research into intestinal hyperpermeability is in the early years, and most of what is known is speculated from animal studies. There is evidence emerging to suggest that preventing intestinal hyperpermeability involves doing the same things that promote good health overall eating a diet full of healthy foods and exercising . Take a look here if you would like to find out more about how exercise improves your gut health.
Although leaky gut syndrome is not an official medical diagnosis, there are actions you implement to improve your gut health and decrease your chances of having the consequences of intestinal hyperpermeability.
The main aim of the interventions is to increase the number of beneficial bacteria.
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:
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The Link Between Leaky Gut And Diseases
Many digestive and autoimmune disorders are associated with a leaky gut, but it is not yet clear whether leaky gut causes all autoimmune disease, as some claim.
Symptoms of a general digestive disorderlike irritable bowel syndrome, for exampleare also symptoms of leaky gut.
There is clear evidence linking celiac disease and Crohns disease with increased intestinal permeability. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, there is a very immediate and clear increase in leaky gut along with digestive symptoms. Likewise, when a Crohns disease patient is having a flare, their intestinal permeability clearly increases, and appears to decrease as their symptom flare resolves. [28
In fact, its been suggested that intestinal permeability may be associated with the onset of Type 1 diabetes , and that even the arterial inflammation of cardiovascular disease may be caused by leaky gut. Research is still in the early phases, and it is difficult at this stage to make generalizations.
Some in the alternative medical community claim that all autoimmune disease is caused by leaky gut. The research data do not yet support this claim. At this time, its not clear whether autoimmune disease is preceded by leaky gut, or if leaky gut is a consequence of the disease. There is an association, but not clear causation.
Create A Diet You Can Follow:
You should create a healthy diet based on the recommended foods while staying away from the kinds of foods you need to avoid. Start by creating a healthy menu with the sole purpose of improving your digestive health. Your diet should focus on incorporating the kinds of food that support the growth of healthy gut bacteria while getting rid of foods that are notorious for triggering uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
A healthy gut diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein, as they are a great source of healthy gut bacteria. It is also essential to ensure that your diet is always gluten-free while adjusting or making modifications to accommodate particular food allergies, special dietary needs, and other underlying conditions. Some of the changes you make to your diet may only be temporary, aimed at addressing increased nutritional needs, for example, during pregnancy or allowing your body to heal after a surgery or illness. However, if you need to make drastic long-term changes to your diet, it is important to first speak with your doctor or nutritionist. Doing this will help ensure that your diet does not end up depriving your body of certain essential nutrients it needs. Your leaky gut diet can be very nutritious and satisfying as long as it is not too restrictive. If you end up cutting out entire food groups from your diet, you may find your body deficient in essential nutrients as well as motivation.
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Who Gets Leaky Gut
All these contributing factors effectively amount to the modern lifestyle. So everyone is at risk.
We all have some degree of leaky gut, as this barrier is not entirely impenetrable. It shouldnt be we need it for our survival.
But, hyperpermeability does not automatically equal disease. The liver and kidneys are also protective mechanisms that defend us against harmful toxins. If these two organs are in perfect working condition, the leaky gut symptoms wont be present. Genes also play a role. But there is a lot more to understand.
Testing For Leaky Gut Syndrome
To find out if youre experiencing leaky gut symptoms or signs of something else, Dr. Larson administers a mannitol and lactulose test.
Because both of these substances contain water-soluble molecules that your body doesnt use, Dr. Larson can monitor what your body does with them when they enter your intestines, giving us valuable information about whats going on in your gut.
To take the test, you simply drink a solution containing lactulose and mannitol. After about six hours, Dr. Larson analyzes your urine. If your gut is healthy, it will have completely absorbed the tiny mannitol molecules and only slightly absorbed the larger lactulose molecules.
If we discover high levels of either or both molecules, it means you have a leaky gut.
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How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome
Because Leaky Gut Syndrome isnt officially recognized as a real condition, it can be hard to identify if thats whats bringing you down. Especially considering that Leaky Gut is often associated with and can lead to1,4,5:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
Once these factors give way to a leaky gut, you then become at risk of developing the associated conditions listed above.
Sleep Disturbances Or Constant Fatigue
An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the bodys serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well. Some sleep disturbances have also been linked to risk for fibromyalgia.
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How To Get Leaky Gut Syndrome Testing
The first step to a diagnosis is often finding a doctor who is up to date on the latest medical research surrounding leaky gut syndrome. Since the symptoms are so varied and vague, a basic physical examination and medical history are not enough to diagnose the condition. Instead, you need to get leaky gut syndrome testing.
The least invasive way is a stool test that looks for bad bacteria, yeast, and the presence of good bacteria. Other markers for inflammation can also be tested. Pancreatic enzyme activity is also included.
Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
The immune response that results from leaky gut can lead to a wide variety of digestive and non-digestive symptoms.
Because leaky gut is often caused by digestive issues, the most common are gut symptoms. These include:
- Gas and bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Heartburn or reflux
- Symptoms from digestive disorders like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease , irritable bowel syndrome , colitis, and Crohns disease.
Many of these symptoms and digestive disorders are associated with an overgrowth of bacteria or other microorganisms, and the gut inflammation that they cause. This irritation of the gut lining can be a main cause of leaky gut symptoms.
However, because leaky gut allows unwelcome undigested food particles and bacterial fragments to enter your bloodstream, symptoms can also occur elsewhere in the body as your immune system tries to get rid of these intruders. As the immune system responds, it releases compounds called inflammatory cytokines, which create inflammation. Depending on where in your body this battle is happening, it can lead to a variety of inflammatory symptoms.
Here are some of the non-gut symptoms that are associated with leaky gut:
|Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source|
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How Leaky Gut Is Linked To Food Sensitivity
Food sensitivities are the main cause of symptoms associated with leaky gut. Food sensitivities create a vicious cycle in that they help maintain the reason for their development while being the direct cause of the various symptoms suffered. This vicious cycle can only end after carefully removing all sources of reactive foods and chemicals, which not only eliminates symptoms, but also allows the gut to finally heal.
But this is easier said than done for a number of reasons: Food sensitivities are often dose-dependent, with symptom onset delayed by many hours, and there are usually many reactive foods, not just 1 or 2 as in food allergy. And just like each person has a unique fingerprint, both food sensitivity symptoms and trigger foods are different from one person to another. In other words, in two gluten sensitive people, gluten may cause digestive problems in one person and migraines in another. And in 10 migraine patients, there could be 10 different sets of trigger foods. Because of this, obviously there is no one-size-fits-all diet.
What Do The Latest Studies Show About Leaky Gut
Many animal studies associate leaky gut with different health conditions. And some newer studies in people show that leaky gut may be associated with health conditions outside of the gut. Here are a few notable studies:
Some children with food allergies or food hypersensitivity have increased intestinal permeability compared to kids who dont have any food allergies. The more severe the reaction to certain foods, the worse the leaky gut was.
A recent study showed that people with anxiety or depression could have changes in their blood and stool associated with a leaky gut even though they dont have any GI symptoms.
Leaky gut syndrome may be associated with some types of autoimmune diseases. For example, one study showed that people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis had signs of a leaky gut when compared to people without the condition.
Other conditions that researchers have linked to leaky gut include:
So far, these studies on leaky gut provide interesting information. But its important to note that we cant draw too many conclusions from them.
First of all, many of the studies are pretty small. We also dont know if leaky gut caused these conditions, is a symptom of them, or is just associated with them. Also, just because this process occurs does not mean you will have symptoms. Exercise can cause leaky gut to occur, but this does not mean you should not exercise.
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