Eat More Healthy Fats
N-butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, helps feed the cells that line the gut and help them heal. Your gut bacteria can produce more n-butyrate if you feed them soluble fibers in fruits and vegetables. You also can get n-butyrate in the form of Ghee, which is clarified butter. Another source of healthy fat is coconut oil, which contains medium-chain fatty acids that are good for the gut!
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.
Add Gut Detox Binders
These will help your gut repair itself and speed up the elimination of harmful elements. My two favorite gut binders are:
GI Detox contains primarily pyrophyllite healing clay and some activated charcoal, similar to Upgraded Coconut Charcoal. Both of these binders are well-liked for their powerful abilities to adsorb toxins, endotoxins, and harmful bacteria. They also help reduce your overall toxin load, which allows your gut to heal more quickly.
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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.
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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The 7 Core Strategies To Heal The Gut Lining And Manage Leaky Gut
A Simple Health Blueprint to Maintaining the Intestinal Lining Naturally
A strong gut mucosa barrier is critical to a healthy gut.
The mucosal barrier separates our gut lining from the billions of microbes in our gut & protects it from pathogens & harmful proteins.When the mucosa breaks down – it invites gut inflammation, infection and immune activation .
Leaky Gut Time Factors
How seriously you take your diet
Personally speaking, I did not get a healing diet right the first time at all. I cheated a ton on the wrong foods . Treats within reason will likely sabotage you theyll help you keep your sanity, but they need to be within reason! Baked cinnamon apples saved me so many times.
How many healing foods you add.
I also focused all on the food that I should cut out and not at all on the foods that I should be adding in. I would gladly eat a smoothie for every meal just because I thought it was okay since it was all foods I could have. While it was a fine treat, it was not healing whatsoever.
Food is medicine and the foods that we add in are more important than the ones we cut out. Adding in bone broths, healing herbs, tons of veggies, pasture raised meat, healthy fats, and fruit in moderation and focusing on quality, quality, quality is crucial for healing your gut.
How poorly effected your gut is in the first place.
Someone who had one too many rounds on antibiotics is on a whole other level than someone whos had ulcerative colitis for five years. The same goes for those with parasites, gut infections, and more. we cant all expect to have the same healing time!
How much stress youre under.
So, there are a lot of factors.
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Strategy #: Direct Gut Lining Support
Think of the gut as a 3-layered tube.
Gut microbes comprise the inner area of the tube. Here, they interact with the non-sterile slurry delivered from the stomach. The slurry can contain pathogens & harmful proteins.The middle layer is the mucosa – this is the connective cushion that contains immune cells and “food” for gut microbes & fuel for immune cells and our gut lining. The next inner layer of the tube is the cells of intestinal lining . The absorptive folds known as “villi” provide surface area for absorption. Between the cells of the folds are microscopic junctions. These tight junctions comprise the physical “gates” that control what gets into the blood & what stays out. “Leaky gut” refers to the unintended opening of these gates.The intestinal lining is the last layer of defense between the outside environment & the inside world of the bloodstream. It also coordinates cross-talk between the mucosa, the immune system, & bacteria .
Mucosal Lining Support
I use L-Glutamine Powder by Pure Encapsulations and often use more affordable L-Glutamine by Progressive Labs in a bulk size.
Zinc carnosine deserves a strong mention for direct lining support. It is one of the more underrated supplements & one of my favorites.
Immunoglobulins & Amino Acid Building Blocks for Mucosal Repair
L-glutamine & zinc carnosine are only part of the story.
Here’s a summary of how these nutrients work to support mucosal repair:
I Often Hear People Say L
But the minute they mention the amount they are taking, I straight away know why.
You see, when it comes to leaky gut in order to get the positive effects from L-Glutamine you cant simply take 1-2g a day. Instead, you may need to consider taking a high dosage and then a significant maintenance dosage.
Of course, it is worth saying that some peoples bodies just dont agree with L-Glutamine. And so as with everything on this site, it is worth talking about to your doctor first.
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Abstain From All Alcohol For 30 Days And Say Goodbye To Beer Forever
Your gut is not a huge fan of alcohol. And that shouldnt be a surprise given alcohol itself is the natural result of yeast overgrowth and sugar37!
I go through a detailed explanation here in my article on alcohol and leaky gut syndrome, where I explain how alcohol messes with your digestion , reduces your ability to control inflammation39 , and it makes the openings in your gut lining larger .
Oh yeah, and alcohol is fantastic at depleting your levels of mucosal-supporting zinc too42!
These effects are magnified if you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, which is so often the case when people go for after work or pre-dinner drinks.
So heres my guide to alcohol and leaky gut
Consider A Megadose Of L
First of all, its worth explaining that L-Glutamine is just an amino acid . And in fact, it is the most abundant amino acid naturally found in our blood!14
But heres the cool thing about it
you see, just like protein powder feeds your muscles so they can repair and grow stronger, L-Glutamine can fuel your gut lining15 so it too can repair damaged cells and come back healthier.
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A Diet That Helps In Healing Leaky Gut:
The key to repairing a leaky gut syndrome is changing your diet and avoiding things that your body considers toxic. Your doctor may advise you to change your diet to exclude inflammatory items that can harm your gut flora, such as processed meals, high sugar food, high-fat foods, foods that can cause allergies, or sensitivities, like gluten or dairy, and alcohol.
They might also suggest a low-FODMAP diet. This diet is frequently recommended for people suffering from IBS, but it may also help reduce some of your leaky gut symptoms. You might also wish to include foods with probiotics and prebiotics. They can aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria in your stomach. Probiotic yogurt, berries, banana, kefir, kimchi are few examples.
The Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What To Eat What To Avoid
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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.
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How Vitamin D Contributes To Leaky Gut Syndrome
Powerful research has shown Vitamin D to be protective of the gut lining and has actually been coined an intestinal permeability protector. Through stimulating expression of tight-junction proteins , vitamin D helps keep the walls of the gut lining the way they were meant to be-tight junctions that only allow small, select items being able to pass through.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, further research has proven that a diet deficient in vitamin D leads to the up-regulation of claudin-2, a protein that loosens the tight junctions of the intestine thus making the gut epithelium more porous and leaky. This is similar to what is seen in other gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohns disease. So, a diet deficient in vitamin D may contribute to leaky gut through a lack of proper stimulation of tight junction proteins.
Have The Right Combinations Of Medicines:
In addition to your healthy diet, you should have the right combination of medication and supplements. Various anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and supplements like probiotics, calcium, vitamin D, and iron may help with leaky gut. It would help if you also had a healthy combination of zinc, l-glutamine, collagen peptides, and probiotics. Zinc is an important element in the metabolism processes, and it is known mainly for its ability to boost and support the immune system. It plays a role in modifying the tight junctions of the linings in the intestine and helping to limit gut permeability.
L-glutamine is an essential amino acid, which also helps repair the intestinal lining in the digestive tract. It can be taken orally as a supplement in small doses to help intestinal permeability, especially after a strenuous exercise. Collagen peptides are available in almost every tissue in the body in the form of protein. They also play an important role in the health of the gut, as they can prevent further breakdown of the intestinal lining. Collagen peptides also have anti-inflammatory properties needed in the gut. We have already mentioned the importance of probiotics. They are well-known for their therapeutic use when it comes to the treatment and management of gastrointestinal issues. Probiotics help improve the guts microbiome, which can positively affect the entire digestive system.
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Increase Your Collagen Consumption
Collagen contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline that are needed to repair and rebuild your gut lining. Regular consumption of collagen containing foods like bone broth, gelatin, and collagen powders can be therapeutic additions to the diet that may help mend and prevent leaky gut. Studies show that supplemental collagen peptides can help to strengthen the gut barrier, making it less permeable and more likely to retain nutrients from food. Eating foods that boost your bodys collagen production like eggs, citrus fruits, broccoli, sunflower seeds, and mushrooms can also help increase your bodys natural collagen production.
The 2 Best Tests For Leaky Gut
These tests are definitely interesting, but can be quite expensive and sometimes inconclusive. So as with everything, speak to your doctor to see if they make sense for you.
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Consider Eating Smaller Meals And Matching Food Groups Better
When trying to repair your leaky gut, attention to detail matters. Thats why even the more trivial ideas are worth trying out.
So with this idea Im basically suggesting
- Eat 4-5 small meals a day, as opposed to 3 big ones. A day of eating would then look something like: green hulk shake , snack , small lunch , afternoon snack and dinner .
- Combine food groups smartly. This is pretty easy when youre eating a leaky gut diet. i.e. the foods that are hard to combine are pretty much out. But just in case you are eating fruits , make sure they are eaten as much as possible by themselves or at least away from heavy protein meals.
Now with all of that said, it is worth noting that I am not completely sold on eating smaller meals and more often.
Thats because I do like the thinking behind 2-3 meals a day only, since this gives the digestive system plenty of time for breaks.
So like with all ideas on this list, it really comes down to personal experimentation and seeing what works best for your digestive system.
Why Coconut Products Can Actually Be Good For Gut Health
The science has jumped ahead as we now know that the caprylic acid / medium chain fatty acids in coconut products are rich in antimicrobial properties89 that work fantastically well to decrease levels of bad yeast and bacteria in the gut .
I should note that you can also get isolated caprylic acid90 , which might be more helpful if you are tackling something like candida / yeast overgrowth head on.
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Strategy #: Kill Overgrowth Of Bacteria Fungi Or Viruses
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
The concept applies to infections and the gut. Infections can cause gut dysfunction. Gut dysfunction also creates an immune environment that invites infection. In either case, when an infection is present, it must be dealt with appropriately. A lingering infection delays & blocks healing from occurring.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to rebuild something that is still smoldering. A hidden infection can be a cause of the smoldering.
Here are a number of infections worth discussion when it comes to mucosal health in the gut.
Epstein-Barr Virus :
EBV infection can linger & reactivate chronically years after acute infection or exposure.
EBV is in the same family of viruses as Herpes Simplex Virus , Herpes zoster , Cytomegalovirus & others. All of these viruses share an “envelope” or “lipid capsule” as part of their viral structure.Lipid-coated viruses such as EBV are implicated in chronic disease, fatigue, & inflammation throughout the body – including the gut mucosa.
EBV lives in your lymphocytes which are highly present in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue . It turns lymphocytes into a “zombie” like state where they stick around in the body much longer than intended.
In my practice, I use Ultimate Monolaurin by Inspired Nutrition.
Helicobacter pylori :
H. pylori is prevalent in the Western world. High antibiotic use the US population may increase its incidence compared to other parts of the world.
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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