Is Leaky Gut Syndrome A Real Condition An Unbiased Look
A phenomenon called leaky gut has gained quite a bit of attention lately, particularly among natural health enthusiasts.
Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to leak through the intestinal wall.
Mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a real condition.
However, there is quite a bit of scientific evidence that leaky gut does exist and may be associated with multiple health problems.
This article takes a critical look at the evidence on leaky gut syndrome.
Symptoms And Conditions Associated With Leaky Gut
If you suffer from digestive symptoms, brain fog, headaches, depression, joint aches, skin conditions or fatigue, it may be worthwhile trying a modified elimination diet in conjunction with the leaky gut protocol. Consider trying this diet even if you dont go on the entire leaky gut protocol. As a minimum take a good probiotic supplement at the start.
You may feel deprived having to give up some of these foods, but the question you need to ask yourself is-Would I rather be deprived of some of these foods or deprived of my health?
Leaky Gut Diet Sample Menu
Based on the recommendations above regarding the best and worst leaky gut foods, here is what a few days of meals might look like when following a leaky gut diet plan:
- Breakfast: avocado on sprouted grain toast topped with sauerkraut and tomatoes
- Lunch: salad topped with sliced grass-fed steak and cooked or cultured veggies
- Dinner: stir-fry made with mixed veggies and protein of our choice
- Breakfast: yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, chia seeds and berries
- Lunch: cooked fish, such as salmon, with steamed veggies topped with olive oil
- Dinner: seared chicken served with a mixed salad or vegetable soup
- Breakfast: smoothie made with coconut milk, kefir or raw milk, sprouted almond butter and collagen protein powder
- Lunch: chicken salad made with yogurt and avocado, served with veggies or salad
- Dinner: steak or fish served with vegetable soup
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Get Your Lifestyle In Check
Stress, intense exercise and less than 7 hours of sleep all cause leaky gut. So you can be doing all of the above steps, but if youre crossfitting 6 days a week, training for a marathon, are super stressed at home/work or are telling yourself and others that you do fine on 5 hours of sleep you will not heal your gut. So, what do you need to do?
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome
The foods you eat and the way you feel are often connected. Eating too much at dinner can make you feel bloated, while a healthy breakfast provides you with the energy you need to power through the morning. Digestion problems like gas, diarrhea, and constipation affect millions of Americans, and more than 15% of people in Western countries have severe gut sensitivity.
One particular digestive condition affecting general health is leaky gut syndrome, referred to in the medical community as intestinal permeability. Inside your body, there’s an intestinal lining that forms a tight barrier to control what substances your body absorbs. If you have a leaky gut, it means your intestinal lining has large cracks and holes that allow toxins and partially digested food to pass into your bloodstream.
Over time, leaky gut syndrome may damage your gut flora, the healthy bacteria in your stomach. Some research suggests this condition can trigger inflammation and cause problems in your digestive tract and throughout your body, leading to chronic disease.
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What Are The Top Leaky Gut Foods To Avoid
There are a variety of foods that may contribute to leaky gut syndrome for a variety of reasons from impairing digestion, contributing to an imbalance in our good and bad gut bacteria, and more. Below is a leaky gut diet food list that weve found both from research and our personal experience. These are the ones we minimize or eliminate when battling a leaky gut:
What Is A Leaky Gut Or Leaky Bowel
Our digestive system is made up of many organs. Each of these organs work together to break down the food we consume while absorbing all the nutrients and removing waste. The intestinal lining behaves like a barrier to prevent any harmful substances from entering the bloodstream. Leaky gut is the condition where gaps form in the intestinal walls. These gaps or holes make it easier for bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. As a result, this may lead to triggering inflammation and changes to the good bacteria in the gut.
But what causes leaky gut? What you may not be aware of is that everybody has some level of leaky gut. As the intestinal lining is not impenetrable, it is normal for some food particles and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. However, this should be limited amounts.
It is believed that what may be causing leaky bowel in most people is our diet. The modern diet is a world away from how our natural diet should be. We tend to consume foods that are low in fiber, sugary, high in saturated fats, and consume alcohol too frequently. Therefore, our modern diet may be causing leaky gut.
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How To Heal Leaky Gut Naturally
If you suspect you might have increased intestinal permeability, you have a lot of options for healing leaky gut. Some physicians prescribe drugs for the condition, including antibiotics, antidepressants, and immune system suppressors, but pharmaceuticals always come with side effects of their own and fail to address the root cause of the issue. If your gut lining isnt sealed properly, no amount of drugs is going to seal it if you continue eating, drinking, or doing something that causes it to unseal or become permeable. Thankfully, there are many lifestyle-based, side-effect-free ways to heal leaky gut naturally.
Ultimately, the course of action that works for you will depend on the underlying cause of your increased intestinal permeability. But generally, taking steps to improve your overall gut health will support a strong intestinal lining and can help heal leaky gut. To support your gut health and help heal leaky gut naturally, you can:
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.
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But Why Me Why Do I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome
We are all unique and all have a constitution that is different from one another. Some people are simply born with a weaker digestive system.
This can be due to a mineral deficiency passed on from parents, DNA, traumatic birth or simply nature made you this way. Most people have a health weak-spot, maybe you are just unfortunate that your digestive system is your weak-spot. Most people go through their whole life just fine.
Its when one starts to excessively consume drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs there becomes a problem.
Food List For Leaky Gut
You can include any healthy, whole food that you dont react to.
You may have heard of diet templates such as the Paleo diet or the low FODMAP diet, which can both be helpful for leaky gut syndrome. Though there are some differences between these two diets, they are actually both quite similar. If youre not used to eating this way, here is a list of foods that are generally supportive for leaky gut.
Fresh Veggies: Veggies like kale, peppers, and zucchini provide prebiotics for your good bacteria and fiber.
Roots and Tubers: Veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots provide slow burning carbs, as well as prebiotics and fiber.
Fermented Veggies: Sauerkraut and kimchi increase your probiotic diversity and give a small boost to your probiotic community.
Fresh Fruit: Fruits such as blueberries and apples provide vitamins, minerals, and prebiotic fiber.
Gluten-Free Whole Grains: Whole grains like rice, millet, and quinoa provide fiber and minerals, and are slow burning carbs.
Healthy Fats: Foods such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado are good sources of healthy fats to keep your brain, skin, and cells happy.
Nuts and Seeds: Source of protein, healthy fats, prebiotics, and slow burning carbs.
Cultured Dairy Products : Dairy, such as yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, and some cheeses, provides some good bacteria.
Herbs and Spices: Provides flavor and anti-inflammatory plant compounds.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
Know that you need to have the following symptoms over a period of time to indicate leaky gut syndrome most doctors say between three and six months.
Sometimes, your body changes and symptoms arise due to other circumstances, such as a period of intense stress, which can cause intestinal distress. A womans menstrual cycle can also cause digestive issues. Pay attention to what else is going on in your life and try to gain an understanding of how it affects your health. Your body is constantly changing depending upon the normal ups and downs of life.
The following signs, if you continue to experience them over an extended period, may indicate that you have a leaky gut:
How Do You Know If You Have Leaky Gut
One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut I recommend that you take a leaky gut test can be that youre experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing an allergic response.
This allergic response doesnt mean youll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to various symptoms:
If left un-repaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
According to the Journal of Diabetes, there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes.
Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients, including zinc , iron and vitamin B12.
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Leaky Gut Diet Meal Ideas
A common step in improving leaky gut symptoms is to make some changes in your diet. Generally, the goal here is to reduce your intake of foods that may be causing inflammation. Switch these foods for healthy, whole foods, and consume a natural diet. Ultimately, shortly after switching your diet to minimize gut inflammation, you may find that your symptoms of leaky gut are improved.
Moreover, here are some leaky gut diet meal ideas that are packed with foods that promote healthy changes in your gut flora.
In the mornings, start your day off right with a smoothie that has been made with dairy alternative milk, chia seeds, and loaded with your favorite fruits.
Some other breakfast ideas are:
- Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit such as blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, and raspberries
- Oatmeal made with dairy free alternatives and topped with blueberries or your favorite fruit. If you dont want to use dairy free milk, try using water.
- Toasted sourdough bread and scrambled eggs
To help keep you full until dinner time, prep a tuna salad that is loaded with greens. Swap your normal salad dressing for a homemade vinaigrette. However, if you fancy a more filling lunch, enjoy a turkey or ham wraps filled with lettuce, and a side of fruit.
For dinner, enjoy grilled fish such as salmon with a side of green salad. Some other meal ideas include:
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Leaky Gut And Autoimmune Disorders
Several disease states have been associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis, intestinal barrier dysfunction, and microbial translocation. These include Alzheimers disease, ALD, cancer, and multiple autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders are characterized by the generation of autoantibodies against self-antigens that attack the bodys own tissues, resulting in damage. Genetic and environmental triggers have been long known as the major contributors to the development of autoimmunity. Increasing evidence in recent years suggests that microbial translocation and intestinal barrier dysfunction, which may be affected by gut microbiota, are another important causative element for autoimmune disorders . T1D and SLE are examples discussed below that reveal advancements in the understanding of the mechanisms behind the interaction between the leaky gut and autoimmune disorders.
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What Are The Causes Of Leaky Gut Syndrome
A lot of things can result in a leaky gut. These can include anything from stress and eating too much sugar , to antibiotics and hormone treatments. There are some additional factors that may come into play too, such as consuming too much alcohol or not having a properly balanced diet. All of these things can affect your guts permeability. A healthy diet rich in the proper amount of nutrients can help you avoid this condition in the first place.
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Leaky Gut Diet Foods To Eat
If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, youre overdue to consider adopting a leaky gut diet. Such a diet contains foods that support healing because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.
Here are the best foods to include in a leaky gut syndrome diet:
In addition to eating a leaky gut diet, you can help repair your gut with certain supplements.
In a leaky gut treatment plan, there are many supplements that support digestive health as well as protect the gut lining from further damage. I believe the six most beneficial leaky gut supplements are:
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What Foods Should I Avoid With Leaky Gut Syndrome
Foods To Avoid With Leaky GutGrains. Particularly the gluten-containing grains like wheat, spelt, rye, and barley. Sugar. Especially refined white sugar added to foods like desserts and drinks. Milk. Conventional milk can also be problematic for many. Phytochemicals. Bone Broth. Fermented Foods. Healthy Fats. Turmeric.More items
Systemic Disease Infections And Dysbiosis
Diseases and infections can cause the gut lining to loosen, causing leaky gut, which is why we have to keep our immune system healthy and strong and support the gut in many disease states. Infections can cause an imbalance of the healthy and opportunistic bacteria in the gut, which can result in the overgrowth of bacteria, yeast, fungi, and/or parasites. Its been shown that the pathology of disease can be tied to the degree of intestinal permeability.
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Obesity And Metabolic Syndrome
Intestinal hyperpermeability in obese patients has been associated with symptoms of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Researchers suggest that an association between altered gut barrier function and hyperglycemia may be responsible for the inflammatory effects of the metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat, and elevated cholesterol levels. Elevated levels of zonulin were also found to be associated with factors involved in obesity and metabolic syndrome, such as waist to hip ratio, fasting insulin, body mass index, and interleukin-6 , a marker of immune activation.
Leaky Gut: General Recommendations
So, while leaky guy can be a concerning condition to experience, know that one way to treat it is by eating right. A balanced diet, with emphasis on helpful enzymes, probiotics and less sugar, can help you get through each day better and better. Taking care of your body, starting with the proper leaky gut diet plan, goes a long way.
So thats it. No doctor bills. No scary drugs or unpronounceable medications. Just real, whole foods and some supplements. Just 7 natural sources helped my body in its amazing ability to fight for health on its own. You want to help your body kill yeast and avoid gluten. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat, and increase your intake of helpful natural substances like collagen and strong antimicrobial foods like coconut! Any foods that are gut-healthy are also great to implement into your diet, especially foods that are high in fiber.
I hope these tips help you if youre battling leaky gut. Cheers to a happy gut and an even happier you!
overgrowth-and-treated-my-leaky-gut/ Look forward to connecting with you there.
For more gut-friendly recipes and tips by Mollie, check out her blog www.molliemason.space and follow along on instagram
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