Restore Gut Health With 6 Herbs And Nutrients
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 experiencing symptoms such as seasonal allergies, brain fog, skin issues, or hormonal imbalances, the root cause could your digestive system specifically, leaky gut. Fortunately, you can restore gut health with 6 herbs and nutrients.
Your gut is the gateway to health. Nearly 80% of your immune system lives within it! Yet, every day, millions of people are struggling with leaky gut and other GI issues without even realizing it! Restoring gut health can considerably improve every area of your health, particularly digestive issues and autoimmunity. I say it all the time the key to optimal health is to heal your gut.
One of the most effective ways I have found to do this is by adding specific herbs and nutrients that have powerful gut-repairing properties to your regime. If you havent heard of slippery elm and marshmallow root, make sure to read this article!
S To Reverse Low Stomach Acid
1. Ingest Apple Cider Vinegar
The No. 1 thing you can do to start to balance this pH in your stomach is use apple cider vinegar right before your meals. I would take one tablespoon and just a very small amount of water. Apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy because apple cider vinegar has a very low pH in balance with your stomach.
2. Take Digestive Enzymes
The No. 2 step you want to start taking to improve your stomach acid are digestive enzymes. I would get a good digestive enzyme blend and take one to two caps right before your meal. You could even take that with the apple cider vinegar.
Digestive enzymes will help you fully break down those nutrients you ingest. If your stomach acid is too high, that will actually not allow you to break down the food youre eating, so you must get plenty of enzymes. Thats not something you should have to take the rest of your life, but it is something you should take for a time until your stomach acid balances out.
3. Add HCL with Pepsin to Your Diet
The No. 3 thing you may consider if you have low stomach acid is HCL with pepsin hydrochloric acid with pepsin. Now, hydrochloric acid is naturally created in your stomach. That is really the main thing that creates that very acidic environment to break down food. But if youre deficient in hydrochloric acid, and stomach acid itself, thats not going to allow you to fully digest and break down things like protein, which, over time, can also cause a condition called leaky gut.
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.*
Read Also: Do Bananas Help With Bloating
How To Take Probiotics
When it comes to taking probiotics, besides looking to a product that contains a good mix of different strains to help cultivate a well-rounded gut microbiome, you should aim to follow the instructions. Some are best taken first thing on an empty stomach, while others are better consumed with food. There are probiotics that have to live in the fridge to survive, while others get along just fine at room temperature. Make sure youre taking note of all of these things to ensure youre helping your probiotics work to their full potential.
Read Also: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea
The Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What To Eat What To Avoid
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
The term leaky gut has gained a lot of attention in recent years.
Also known as increased intestinal permeability, its a condition in which gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen. This makes it easier for larger substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles, to pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream.
Studies have associated increased intestinal permeability with several chronic and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.
This article takes a close look at leaky gut and its causes. It also includes a list of foods that aid digestive health and a 1-week sample meal plan.
Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean When You Keep Having Heartburn
Signs And Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
Do you have mysterious symptoms that doctors seem confounded by? If the symptoms below sound familiar, your may have a leaky gut:
- Food intolerances and allergies
As you can see, the symptoms vary widely and may not easily be pinpointed as indicating an intestinal issue. This can be problematic for both patients and diagnosing physicians.
The Importance Of Seeking Medical Attention:
Simply put, you can live your whole life uncomfortably, but you dont have to.
Based on my story, you can see it is easy to make the healing process longer than it needs to be when the right medical professional isnt sought out from the beginning. I troubleshooted on my own for too long and once I did begin seeking help, I was unsure exactly where to go. I feel I lucked out in coming across Dena.
Without the GI Map, I never would have known the root cause of my gut symptoms as standardized methods for testing did not reveal any answers. Knowing exactly where my infection was coming from enabled me to address it and thereby heal from it.
When I consulted my gastroenterologist about my parasitic infection and leaky gut, he said they dont treat parasites and they dont believe in leaky gut. Suffice it to say, I stopped seeing that GI doctor. You can surmise there are large differences in the way professionals in various sectors of the medical field deal with things, and for me not dealing with my situation wasnt an option.
My gut healing protocol of kill and heal worked to resolve my symptoms and gave me a far better standard of living. Had I continued relying on western medicine, Im certain I would be exactly where I was, if not worse. This isnt to suggest you should not seek attention from a GI doctorit just happened to be that mine was not a part of my solution.
You May Like: How Long Can An Ibs Flare Last
Symptoms And Associated Conditions Of Leaky Gut
Problems and imbalances in our gut can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating or diarrhea, they can be the root cause of many chronic health problems. Leaky gut has even been associated with hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hashimotos thyroiditis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, and skin conditions, just to name a few.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you could have leaky gut.
Symptoms of leaky gut include:
- Bloating and fluid retention
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.
Also Check: Can Magnesium Citrate Cause Heartburn
Do I Need To Refrigerate My Ds
The short answer is no. No refrigeration necessary.
Its a question we receive often, since many probiotics are sold in the refrigerated section at grocery stores and retailers. However, contrary to perishable food products, refrigeration doesnt mean freshness or superiority. In fact, if a probiotic does not survive at ambient temperature outside of the refrigerator, it can reflect weak stability of the product, low viable organism count, or inadequate overages in formulation.
Our probiotic strains are stable for 18 months at ambient temperature . If your home is consistently warmer for extended periods, consider refrigerating in an oxygen tight container to avoid exposure to moisture.
So What Actually Is Leaky Gut
To understand leaky gut, you first need to have a bit of background on how the digestive tract works. Your digestive tract includes over 4,000 square feet of lining, all of which is just one cell layer thick. These cells, called enterocytes, are like security guards, forming a secure barrier between your body and the outside world. The digestive tract isnt just responsible for getting the good stuff from the food you eat its also responsible for keeping the bad stuff out.
As foreign items food, drink, medications, air particulates, etc enter your digestive tract through your nose and mouth, theyre broken down and digested as they pass through your gut. The enterocytes maintain a tight barrier, ensuring that only fully digested nutrients that your body can properly absorb pass through the gut lining and into your bloodstream and organs. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily substances pass from your gut into your bloodstream. In a healthy gut, intestinal permeability is low. But when the gut isnt functioning as it should, the gaps between the enterocytes loosen, resulting in increased intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut. These bigger holes allow substances that are only partially digested to get into your bloodstream, which has a cascade of negative health effects.
- Digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, gas, and cramps
Also Check: Constipation Causes Dizziness
How Does The Gut Barrier Impact Our Health
As I mentioned earlier, two variables influence gut health: the gut microbiota and the gut barrier. But what exactly is the gut barrier and why is it essential for our health?
The gut is a hollow tube stretching from the mouth to the anus that passes out anything that is not digested. The gut barrier, a multilayer system made up of intestinal epithelial cells and proteins, prevents the escape of non-nutritive substances from the intestine into the bloodstream. When the structural integrity of the gut barrier is compromised, large proteins and other molecules escape from the gut into the blood this phenomenon is referred to as leaky gut.
Getting The Right Mix For Your Microbiome
Heres the thing: Theres no one-size-fits-all approach and no perfect probiotic profile guaranteed to work for everyone. The best thing you can do is eat a balanced diet and probiotic-rich fermented foods , explains Oates.
Generally speaking, taking a probiotic supplement with high numbers of only one strain is arguably the opposite of taking care of our microbiome from your microbes perspectiveit is a forced immigration program that they didnt get a say in, she says. Generally speaking, the best thing you can do is eat a balanced whole-food diet and probiotic-rich fermented foods, as well as taking a supplement containing a broad-spectrum probiotic like The Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Powders. She recommends filling up on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and lacto-fermented wholefoods to promote microbial diversity and feed your microbiome.
Having said that, at The Beauty Chef we supercharge organic and biodynamic wholefoods by bio-fermenting them with our exclusive Flora Cultura mother culture,: she explains. This increases their bioavailability, making nutrients easier to absorb while creating a natural, broad-spectrum probiotic. We also boost our fermented bases with medicinal herbs and nutrients for accelerated results.
Recommended Reading: Medications That Cause Gastrointestinal Irritation
Recommended Reading: Why Does Lettuce Give Me Diarrhea
Leaky Gut Syndrome Triggers
These are some common culprits that, over time, can be a causative factor in triggering leaky gut syndrome:
- A diet that is high in refined sugar and flour, processed foods, chemical food additives, caffeine, soda, or alcohol. These all can irritate the intestinal lining as well as overburden the liver and immune system.
Microorganisms & Free Radicals:
- Various parasites, bacteria, mold and mycotoxins can damage the intestinal lining. The toxic byproducts set off immune responses which can further increase inflammation.
- Zinc and vitamin B6 are needed to maintain intestinal wall integrity as well as produce hydrochloric acid.
- Vitamin A is needed to build healthy mucosal linings, including those of the intestines.
- The amino acid l-glutamine plays a part in the normal repair process of the intestines.
- Enzyme deficiencies to properly absorb and digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Lack of beneficial bacteria needed to restore proper microbial balance.
Various Diseases and Disorders:
Why Should I Take Ds
You are home to a community of trillions of microorganisms, including 38,000,000,000,000 bacteria that live in and on you. They perform critical functions like digesting food, managing inflammation, and synthesizing key vitamins, metabolites and neurotransmitters. This is the microbiome.
However, modern living disturbed the balance of this ecosystem. Antibiotic overuse combined with alcohol, sugar, tobacco, disrupted sleep, city-living, decreased breastfeeding, stress, poor diet, and other environmental factors, have depleted the diversity and richness of our microbiomes and impacted our health.
This goes beyond simple digestive issues. The first of its kind, our DS-01 includes clinically and scientifically studied probiotic strains that deliver core benefits to the gastrointestinal system which, in turn, influence systemic health.
Recommended Reading: Why Does Lettuce Give Me Diarrhea
How To Eat For Leaky Gut
Cleaning up your diet can really help heal your leaky gut because some foods youre eating may inflame your gut.
Though there are many possible healing diet options, the most important strategy for using diet as a therapy is to focus on real foods and to listen to your body, not what everyone else is saying.
That said, the following diets may be supportive for you while healing leaky gut:
How To Heal Your Leaky Gut
Healing leaky gut syndrome is not hard to do, and it is the most important first step in treating most chronic conditions.
To simplify the process of healing the gut, I teach my patients the 4R program. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, it can take from about 4-6 weeks to 6 months to fully heal your gut. Symptom improvement is your best guide to resolution.
Take out what ails you. Start with an Elimination Diet for 2 weeks. Remove all of the triggers that irritate your gut including foods, medications , and ideally, stress, too! If you have been diagnosed with Candida in the past, or have a lot of gas, bloating, and either loose stools or constipation, you might want to do this phase in conjunction with a functional medicine doctor who can provide comprehensive stool testing to see if this is still a problem and who can work with you on supplements , to eliminate the yeast overgrowth.
Your gut lining and your gut flora go hand in hand when it comes to gut health. So many of us are low in the building blocks needed for both that our ancestors naturally got in their diets, especially ample fiber and good quality fats. Make sure to add 6 to 8 servings of veggies and fruits to your daily diet, at least 1 serving of whole grains, and 2 to 4 TBS of olive oil daily, nuts and seeds, and optimally, 1/2 and avocado to replace what’s missing from most of our diets.
Read Also: Do Bananas Help With Bloating
Poor Diet And Inflammatory Foods
Sugar, alcohol, and some processed foods generally increase inflammation and intestinal damage, or may feed existing dysbiosis, which can lead to increased gut damage and leaky gut. And though these foods are often inflammatory, any food that you have a food sensitivity or food allergy to can continue to encourage leaky gut.
Gluten and gliadin, the proteins in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut have been shown to increase zonulin in celiac and non-celiac people alike [43