My Advice On Taking Probiotics For Leaky Gut Is Simple
- Take a high strength probiotic supplement with 30-50 billion CFUs.
- Make sure your probiotic contains multiple strains / species of bacteria , so that you are feeding your gut a healthy balance of bacteria and not drowning it with just one type. Importantly, look for a probiotic containing my 7 favorite strains: L Plantarum50, L Rhamnosus51, L Acidophilus52, B Bifidum53, B Longum54, B Lactis55 and B Coagulans56.
- Look for probiotics that include 100-300mg of prebiotics per serve, as they will support the probiotic, since prebiotics are like fuel for probiotics57. Also eat prebiotic-rich foods .
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This combination means you get your probiotics delivered to the place where theyre actually required . And this optimal delivery process makes all the difference.
You can learn more about Smart Probiotic .
What Are The Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
As mentioned, leaky gut, or increased permeability is not fully recognized by the medical community at large, which makes finding symptoms a tough task. Many of the symptoms are shared with other health conditions, making the disorder difficult for doctors to identify. Leaky gut may cause or contribute to the following possible symptoms:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Skin problems, such as acne, rashes, or eczema
- Joint pain
- Widespread inflammation
These symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, leading experts to believe that leaky gut may actually contribute to their manifestation. While it is not clear if LGS is a cause or a symptom, it has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome, Crohns disease, celiac disease, diabetes, and food allergies, among others. A peer-reviewed study suggested that increased intestinal permeability may actually contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease . However, more peer-reviewed studies need to be conducted before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
Furthermore, scientists have closely looked at the gut-brain axis, which is the relationship between the GI tract and the brain. Some research has shown that leaky gut may be a factor for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
Pay The Premium And Eat Organic Veg Grass
Yes, I know. This can get expensive. Especially if you are hitting up Wholefoods weekly and going all raging bull in there! Unfortunately, there is just such a wide gap between conventionally farmed food and the organic stuff.
For starters, organic meats and fish will come packed with more omega-3s, vital for taming the inflammation being caused by your leaky gut83.
And these foods, devoid of the toxins from conventional farming , will ensure fewer poisons make their way into your gut and through to your blood stream.
Thats a double win for leaky gut syndrome.
One other advantage is that these products dont suffer from the omega imbalance84 found in conventional meats and fish ie the overload of omega 6 that is so pervasive throughout the Western world.
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So Is Microbiome Testing Really Worth It
I would say it is NOT worth getting if you are feeling pretty good these days thanks to eating the leaky gut diet and living the clean lifestyle. i.e. if it aint broke, theres nothing to fix!
So if youre one of my many readers who has managed to turn things around, then forget about it.
- Have done the leaky gut diet for 30 days, but still arent feeling better. i.e. the test could help you pinpoint some specific-to-you food sensitivities that may be holding you back.
- Dont have the time to do a 3-month elimination-reintroduction diet.
- Want to find out what foods you can eat more of and which ones to hold off on. e.g. maybe legumes are fine for you.
- Are interested to find out whether you have a specific bacteria or yeast overgrowth issue.
- Already have a condition and want more info / data points to help you and your doctor manage it better.
If any of those points sound about right, then try this microbiome test by Viome. It is not cheap, but by far the best consumer test you can do.
And, theyre always updating their research to ensure youre always on top of things when it comes to the health of your gut and microbiome.
Even the microbiome-obsessed Dr Hyman recently said
Viome uncovered information I wasnt aware of about my microbiome, providing me with ways to optimize my gut health and pave the path to healing.
The robots sure are taking over!
How Do You Diagnose Leaky Gut
The only way to be certain you have leaky gut is to test itand the simplest, most convenient way to do this is through performing a urine test at home.
For this test, you drink a solution called PEG 400. This solution doesnt interfere with your bodys chemistry and it isnt harmful. It contains substances with 11 different molecular weights.
You collect all your urine for six hours after drinking the solution, and then send it off to the lab to be analysed. By calculating how much of each substance ends up in your urine, we can work out to what degree your gut is leaky. The larger the molecular weights that get through, the leakier the gut.30
This is presented as a graph, so you can tell at a glance if your gut is more permeable than the normal range for any given molecular weight.
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Treating Leaky Gut Syndrome
So while we know that leaky gut syndrome can cause gastrointestinal distress, doctors still arent completely sure about whether a leaky gut is a symptom of larger conditions or a contributing factor to these related conditions. Either way, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, its important that you reach out to your primary care physician or a gastroenterologist.
Treating leaky gut needs to be done on an individualized basis, because there could be varying factors and related conditions at play. However, some lifestyle adjustments that can help improve your gut health and work to prevent leaky gut include:
- Improved Diet Eating healthier and cutting out things like fats and carbohydrates can help to improve your overall gut health and limit symptoms associated with leaky gut.
- More Exercise Exercise has also been shown to be great for your gut health and your overall health. Work to get 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3-5 times a week.
- Better Sleep Getting plenty of quality sleep is also helpful for a number of bodily processes, including your gut health and immune system.
- Stop Smoking Finally, smoking has been shown to negatively impact your gut health and can affect the healthy bacteria that helps to digest food. Stop smoking, and your gut health will certainly improve.
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.
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What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a proposed gastrointestinal disorder that affects the lining of the intestines. That being said, a certain level of controversy exists about whether or not leaky gut actually exists as it is defined, since diagnosis of the disorder is incredibly difficult . Regardless, when a person is believed to be afflicted by this syndrome, tight junctions in the intestinal walls may not be working properly, resulting in tiny gaps that allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream . Increased intestinal permeability can often be found in people with diseases such as Crohns disease. 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.
The gastrointestinal tract is a pathway of connected organs, running from your gums to your bum! The organs that make up the GI tract are the esophagus, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. Put simply, digestive enzymes within the stomach and small intestine break down nutrients in food and drink. These smaller molecules are then used by the body for energy, growth, and repair.
While many doctors and healthcare professionals do not actually recognize leaky gut syndrome as a diagnosable condition, current scientific evidence suggests that it may contribute to a wide range of medical conditions.
Nutrient Insufficiency And Low Stomach Acid
If we arent absorbing the foods were eating, this can cause inflammation in the gut. This can range from not chewing foods well to having low levels of stomach acid, which doesnt allow us to properly break down and absorb the foods were eating. Pathogens can sneak into the gut that usually would be killed off by a low stomach pH, which can upregulate Zonulin protein, and undigested food particles begin to sneak through the gut lining.
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Intestinal Permeability And Autism
, researchers confirmed an association between gut microbiota imbalances and autism.
A 2010 study observed increased IP in autistic people and their first-degree relatives. However, reported no significant differences in the IP of autistic children.
Scientists must carry out more research to establish whether IP plays a role in autism.
Since many doctors do not consider leaky gut to be a legitimate medical condition, there is no standard treatment.
However, certain dietary and lifestyle changes may help people to improve their gut health. This, in turn, may alleviate leaky gut symptoms.
The following dietary tips may help to improve gut health:
- eating more probiotics to boost beneficial gut bacteria
- eating foods rich in prebiotic fiber, such as vegetables and whole grains
- eating less meat, dairy, and eggs
- avoiding added sugar and artificial sweeteners
The following lifestyle changes can improve digestion and support a healthy gut:
- exercising regularly
Take A Probiotic Supplement Daily
Unless youre going around eating sauerkraut all day like some crazed German Popeye, your gut will be crying out for probiotics, aka good bacteria.
The reason probiotics work so well is something I dive deep into in my article on probiotics and leaky gut syndrome.
But one of the most interesting roles it can play is its ability to fight leaky gut by enhancing the production of tight junction proteins as mentioned in Frontiers In Immunologys 2017 research paper on leaky gut.
In addition, the good bacteria can help to fight off bad bacteria and yeast overgrowth, so that your gut flora can start regaining a healthy balance48.
And best of all, continued use of probiotics can help ensure the ratio of good to bad bacteria stays in the healthy range, which means bad bacteria and excessive yeast may not return and cause leaky gut again. A bonus benefit is that a healthy gut flora will also aid digestion49.
When all 3 benefits are taken together you can see why probiotics are at the heart of any leaky gut recovery protocol.
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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.
If You Like Beer Then Try To Find A Gluten Free Beer
Sadly, normal beer should be a permanent no go for us leaky gutters. Seriously. It is literally the worst alcohol you can drink as it combines gluten and yeast and sugar all into one horrible package.
If you decide that the nice bitter taste of beer on a hot summers day is just too good to say adios to, then search out a gluten free beer.
Let me firstly wish you good luck in finding one that tastes good.
And secondly, let me remind us that gluten-free beers are still made from grains, still come packed with yeast and although not as bad as gluten-based beers, they sure as heck arent helping our guts stay in good health.
So my best advice is to just avoid ALL beer indefinitely.
Admittedly, I personally have a gluten-free beer a couple times during summer. But thats just about it.
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And Heres How I Recommend You Tackle This Diet
- For starters, grab my free leaky gut recovery guide to see my top 7 recipes. During my times of poor gut health Ive simply rotated amongst these 7 meal ideas. Theyre easy to cook, taste amazing and require very few ingredients.
- Fish and meats are your new BFF. This is where the majority of the flavor in the leaky gut diet comes from. Take the advice below in idea #14 seriously, and try to buy high quality meat and fish as much as possible.
- Focus on green and colorful vegetables. Obviously some of you will suffer from leaky gut syndrome so badly that even many vegetables out there will irritate your gut to no end. In which case simply eat what your body responds best to.
- Some* starch is okayin vegetable form that is. Depending on how you react try to eat some starchy vegetables like sweet potato, yam, yucca etc. I find the mouthfeel and way they fill me up to be most satisfying. And they really round of dishes made with the 2 food groups above. *Keep an eye on max serving size recommendations in the image above.
- Everything else. Nuts, eggs, many nightshades , low sugar fruit etc can all have their place in your leaky gut diet too, but theyre not for everyone. And as I explain below in idea #22, some of you may really need to limit serving size significantly and test these to see if they make sense for you.
No matter how good your diet is though, I highly recommend you take 1-2 digestive enzyme capsules before each meal per point #7 above.
What Is The Fastest Way To Heal Leaky Gut
To date, there are no FDA-approved treatments available at this time for leaky gut, especially because it is not officially a diagnosable condition. Instead, the treatment recommendations a person is likely to receive from their doctor will instead be focused on the underlying condition theyve diagnosed, which may include leaky gut as a symptom. For example, if youve been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, the treatment will likely be anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, pain relievers, and supplements to help the lining of your gut recover. If the diagnosis is irritable bowel syndrome, then anticholinergic medications, tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics, or medications specifically for IBS may help reduce the symptoms.
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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.