If A Functional Doctor Diagnoses It Also Fight Other Conditions Related To Leaky Gut
Very few people just suffer from leaky gut.
Thats because intestinal hyperpermeability often causes further conditions or is caused or exacerbated/maintained by other conditions 105.
So you should be working very carefully with your doctor, or other health professional, to hunt out related conditions and then fight them head on as well.
If Bored Only Eat Super Tasty Gut
Most people fall off the leaky gut diet and into a donut/pizza/bread-filled abyss, because they find the flavors bland.
And hey, Im not suggesting for a minute that chicken and broccoli tastes as good as a pepperoni pizza, but
if you stick to paleo-esque meals with big flavors, youll find it easy to stick to a clean diet.
For example, when Im craving pasta, especially a nice bowl of rigatoni with rich lamb shank ragu, I simply cook my pasta sauce as normal, but then instead of using spaghetti with it, I will shred 2 courgettes into thin strips and then pan fry them till they have some color.
How Does The Lactulose And Mannitol Test Work
Well, you simply consume 2 types of non-metabolized sugar, one with large molecules and one with small molecules , and then your urine is analyzed to see which sugars passed through your system1.
If the lactulose find their way into your urine, your gut may be considered overly permeable, ie leaky.
Given its specialist focus it is considered the #1 test for leaky gut.
If you are interested in getting this test, its quick and easy to order and as you can see non-invasive and very simple to do. Even more conveniently, it can be ordered straight to your home and is very affordable in terms of testing, with prices starting from around $179.
True Health Labs offers the lactulose mannitol test at this price .
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Ditch All Sugars And Dairy Except For Some Gut
First I asked you to ransack your house and bin all the grains and legumes.
Now Im asking you to find anything with sugar or dairy in it, and add that to the scrapheap as well! By the end of today youll probably have no food left in the house
But thats alright.
In fact, the process of elimination is without doubt the most important step towards healing your leaky gut and feeling great again.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Explained
If youve been struggling with GI issues or have noticed some systemic symptoms that negatively impact your life it could be leaky gut syndrome. Its very possible that this condition will be affecting many individuals each year, and with the proper treatment, they could restore a better quality of life.
For now, you can take steps to improve your gut health and decrease the risk of leaky gut syndrome by following some of the steps mentioned. By reducing inflammation, transforming your diet, and adding a wide range of beneficial supplements you could eradicate your symptoms and feel like your best self. If you feel you need help on that journey, our Integrative Nutrition Team treats both local and virtual patients. Wherever you are, were there too. Just or, you can start by filling out the form below.
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Underlying Causes Of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is thought to be more of a side effect of other digestive issues, rather than a specific disease.
A number of diet and lifestyle factors contribute to leaky gut. Understanding what these are can help you take steps to avoid them.
Here are some of the possible underlying causes of leaky gut that need to be addressed to resolve it.
How To Get Your Kraut In
- You can ferment your own vegetables. But this is going to take some work. Ive tried to make the simplest possible recipe for you, which you can see in the graphic just below.
- Alternatively you can buy it ready made. The key is to avoid the canned stuff in the supermarket dry aisles, as it is pasteurized and thus devoid of live probiotics. To buy the good stuff youll need to hit your local health store and look for glass jars sitting in fridges. Youll know youve found high quality products when you see the price tag! But trust me, its worth it. One large jar should easily last a week for 1 person, ie 3-6 servings.
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What Are Some Ways I Can Treat Leaky Gut
Theres a wide range of things you can do to help get your gut its strength back. A firm sugar detox along with a low-starch, nutrient-rich diet is a great way to begin. Incorporating key gut-healthy foods into your diet can be very beneficial foods include collagen, apple cider vinegar, probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and coconut. These foods are able to promote good bacteria, kill yeast, and strengthen the production of your gut tissue.
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.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Leaky Gut
Now that weve been talked about leaky gut symptoms, causes and opinions, lets talk about how to test for and repair leaky gut.
How do you test for leaky gut?
Several leaky gut syndrome tests are available that can help confirm a diagnosis and point you in the right treatment direction. Tests are helpful for identifying specific sensitivities and uncovering which types of toxins or deficiencies are contributing to your symptoms. Leaky gut tests include:
- Zonulin or Lactulose Tests
- Organic Acid Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Tests
- Lactulose Mannitol Test
What leaky gut treatments are available?
After years of research and patient care, I developed a four-step process for helping to heal leaky gut. I cover this process in my article entitled the Leaky Gut Diet and Treatment Plan. If youre concerned that you or a loved one may have leaky gut symptoms, I encourage you to read the detailed instructions, food suggestions and recommended leaky gut supplements listed in this article.
The basic steps to healing leaky gut are as follows:
Two of the most common questions people ask are: What can I eat if I have leaky gut syndrome? And what should I NOT eat when I have leaky gut?
How Is Leaky Gut Diagnosed
Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is common. Its hard to know exactly how many people have it because few doctors test for it. Parsley Health doctors usually diagnose leaky gut through a combination of specific specialty testing such as comprehensive stool cultures and detailed assessment of your symptoms and medical history. If you are diagnosed with intestinal permeability, the good news is, there are ways to heal a leaky gut.
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What Causes Leaky Gut
The exact cause of leaky gut is a mystery.
However, increased intestinal permeability is well known and occurs alongside several chronic diseases, including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes .
Zonulin is a protein that regulates tight junctions. Research has shown that higher levels of this protein may loosen tight junctions and increase intestinal permeability (
Furthermore, low levels of healthy gut bacteria may have the same effect. This is called gut dysbiosis .
The exact cause of leaky gut remains a mystery, but certain proteins like zonulin and markers of inflammation provide some clues. Other potential causes include long-term NSAID use and an imbalance of gut bacteria known as gut dysbiosis.
As leaky gut syndrome isnt an official medical diagnosis, there is no recommended treatment.
Yet, you can do plenty of things to improve your general digestive health.
One is to eat a diet rich in foods that aid the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. An unhealthy collection of gut bacteria has been linked to poor health outcomes, including chronic inflammation, cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes .
The following foods are great options for improving your digestive health:
A diet that promotes digestive health should focus on fibrous vegetables, fruits, fermented vegetables, cultured dairy products, healthy fats, and lean, unprocessed meats.
Vitamin D Keeps Your Gut Healthy
Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that you sit and wonder What cant Vitamin D help with?!
From bone health to the immune system, Vitamin D plays a role in almost every facet of our being and that includes preventing and healing leaky gut.
You see, Vitamin D deficiency makes you more likely to have leaky gut. The good news, however, is that supplementing with Vitamin D can keep your gut barrier in good condition.
You can get Vitamin D from sun exposure, food, and supplementation. Getting proper sun exposure is the best way to get your Vitamin D, of course! There are very few foods that contain a lot of Vitamin D, so its somewhat difficult to get your D from your diet.
If youre not getting enough sun exposure to get adequate Vitamin D, your next best bet is to supplement.
I recommend taking a Vitamin D3 supplement. Depending on your current blood levels, taking anywhere from 2000 5000 IU per day is a good idea.
And because fat-soluble vitamins work synergistically, I recommend taking a combination supplement that also includes Vitamin K2, like Thornes Vitamin D/K2 Liquid.
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A Hint Of Truth Intestinal Permeability
In some individuals, for a variety of reasons, the physical structure of their intestines is compromised. The tight junctions, which control what materials the intestine absorbs, dont work properly, allowing larger substances to cross over into the bloodstream. This is known as intestinal permeability.
Physicians sometimes find increased intestinal permeability in those who have Crohns disease, celiac disease, in individuals receiving chemotherapy, and those who have a high intake of bowel-damaging substances such as aspirin and alcohol. However, intestinal permeability is a symptom of these ailments, not a cause it does not lead to anything more than inflammation of the bowel walls, and it is not leaky gut syndrome. Furthermore, research shows that increased intestinal permeability sometimes has beneficial effects, such as improving water and nutrient absorption as well as activating the immune system.1
The Myth: According to the proponents of leaky gut syndrome, bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream through these defective tight junctions and wreak havoc throughout the body, causing bloating, gas, cramps, inflammatory bowel disease , as well as fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, moodiness, irritability, sleeplessness, autism, and skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
If You Like Spirits Then Make Sure You Drink Them Heavily Diluted
Spirits are not as bad as many think, especially if you drink them like I do i.e. heavily diluted.
For example, I typically order a tall glass with 400ml soda water, a shot of vodka and a fresh wedge of lime. Plus minimal ice. That combination is so diluted you can barely taste the vodka. And thats how you know youve nailed it.
Importantly, I never use pop/soda/soft drinks as a mixer due to the sugar content.
But if I get sick of mixing with soda water, then I will mix with something like kombucha43. This can be pleasantly delicious, especially if you get a little naughty and choose kombucha with natural flavoring in it!
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Suggested Treatments Range From Bogus To Dangerous
The Myth: Many solutions that leaky gut syndrome proponents recommend are based in fad diets, which declare that normal foods cause serious problems in most people. For instance, proponents of leaky gut syndrome recommend that patients avoid any foods with high sugar content , claiming that the excess sugar causes an overgrowth of a certain strain of yeast in the GI tract that is responsible for the damage to the intestinal wall. In addition, they say that sensitivities to gluten or lactose damage the intestine, and they recommend avoiding all dairy products and anything containing gluten.
Debunked: Fruit will not cause yeast to attack your intestines. While a small percentage of the population have symptoms related to gluten and lactose intake, these foods cause no problems for most individuals. Following these practitioners instructions is more likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies rather than reduced symptoms.
Another issue in this field is that many people in the popular media who support this unverified condition try to sell special products as a treatment for leaky gut syndrome. They offer unproven treatments for a condition that has no medical basis. Additionally, since many of these supplements havent been well researched, taking them could cost you a lot of money, do little to reduce your symptoms, and could even be dangerous.
How Is Leaky Gut Syndrome Treated
The treatment of leaky gut syndrome is centered on decreasing intestinal inflammation to restore the barrier function of the intestines. In many cases, the diagnosis of the underlying cause determines the treatment that is required. In the absence of a definitive diagnosis, however, there are some treatments that may be recommended.
“The treatment of leaky gut syndrome is centered on decreasing intestinal inflammation to restore the barrier function of the intestines.”
First, any allergens or potential toxins should be removed from your dogs diet. Your pet should be transitioned to a hypoallergenic diet, unless a food allergy has been definitively ruled out using a veterinarian-directed food trial in the past.
Medications with the potential to cause intestinal inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, should be discontinued if possible. If your pet has pain from arthritis or another condition, talk to your veterinarian about other options for managing your pets discomfort.
Probiotics may be recommended to restore your dogs normal intestinal bacterial flora. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best probiotic for your pet.
Finally, additional medications may be given to treat intestinal damage. Antioxidants, fatty acid supplements, fiber supplements, and other medications may be used to promote intestinal health and help restore normal intestinal function.
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Food Allergies / Intolerances
As we know food sensitivities may arise when undigested food particles or toxins in general cross the gut barrier and into your bloodstream.
So what were saying is that to develop a food intolerance, having an overly permeable gut lining may just be a prerequisite11.
Basically heres what happens: whole food particles arent meant to cross the gut barrier into your bloodstream. When they do, the body doesnt recognize them so, the immune system flares up in an attempt to defend your body against what it perceives as foreign invaders.
Well, we all know what it means when the immune system flares up inflammation, inflammation, inflammation! And thats accompanied by a large side of symptoms.
Unfortunately, it might continue doing this every time you eat certain foods, especially gluten and dairy12 .
And thats the thing foods you may have previously tolerated, can all of the sudden become intolerable, as the body is now fighting against them every time they show up.
Although you can do the elimination diet, like me, to see what foods cause you grief, there are certain foods that might only cause you subtle pain.
Thats where a food intolerance test comes into play. Without this test it can be quite difficult to identify exactly which foods are causing a reaction and, you may very well keep eating them without even knowing theyre harming you!
This can lead to ongoing, low level systemic inflammation. i.e. your leaky gut will never completely heal.
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:
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Can You Treat Leaky Gut
You can, but the approach is similar to diagnosing a broken car, says Dr. Fasano. You dont know the exact problem until the mechanic lifts the hood, looks around, and tries different things there is not a simple, direct approach to fixing the problem, he says. Its the same with leaky gut. We have to try different strategies to see what helps.
Your first step is to share your symptoms with your doctor. If leaky gut is a possibility, he or she can try several strategies to help relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation. The most common is to review your diet and eliminate known dietary causes of inflammation, such as excessive consumption of alcohol and processed foods, and to explore whether you have any food sensitivities for instance, to gluten or dairy. In theory, reducing inflammation from your diet like this also may rebuild the gut lining and stop further leakage, says Dr. Fasano.
The best way to protect yourself from leaky gut is to invest more in your overall digestive health, he adds. This means being more attentive about following a gut-healthy diet that limits processed foods and high-fat and high-sugar foods, and includes enough fiber. Sticking to a regular exercise program also can strengthen your digestive system. For example, studies have suggested that taking a 15-to 20-minute walk after a meal can aid in digestion. Your gastrointestinal system is complex, but caring for it doesnt have to be, says Dr. Fasano.