What About Old Fashioned Food Intolerance Tests
My big problem with them is that they often come back positive for just about everything Ive already listed under the banned foods list above, as well as countless other good foods, and are often temporary intolerances resulting from the fact that your gut is hyperpermeable .
So instead of getting old fashioned food intolerance tests, I personally believe youre better off doing an elimination diet per the above ideas, healing your gut and then gradually and one by one reintroducing foods to see how your now-healed gut deals with them.
i.e. doing an elimination & reintroduction diet .
No doubt you will find it far more tolerant!
If you really do want to get tested for intolerances/allergies, then my best advice is to speak with a functional doctor.
They can work 1-1 with you to piece together your overall health history and current state of affairs, and from there decide what is the best leaky gut syndrome treatment plan.
But that said, always keep an eye on the economics of testing, because getting a battery of tests done, followed by a $1000+ bill is sure to cause stressand ironically more leaky gut.
Wherever Possible Try To Do As The Drug
- Cut down drug intake and rely on more natural remedies. For example, breathing exercises and meditation can work well to replace mild pain relievers.
- Prevent the causes happening in the first place. This is the big one! So for example, NSAIDs are often taken during hangovers. Solution: dont get drunk. Another example headaches often flair up on days where you dont have enough sleep, drink too little water and/or OD on caffeine. Solution: ah well, you get the point.
- Take probiotics. Many drugs by design will strip your digestive system of bacteria, both good and bad, eg antibiotics59. So during and after use, consider trying a probiotic supplement, which can add more good bacteria to your gut. In particular, ask your doctor about S Boulardii, which is a probiotic yeast that can help our gut60, even when we are taking antibiotics.
Speaking from personal experience, I found that even seemingly necessary drugs were no longer necessary if I addressed the deep root causes.
For example, when working on a new doctor-supervised asthma protocol several years ago, I found it possible to cut down my corticosteroids intake by 80% within 30 days by addressing leaky gut itself.
The funny thing is by following many of the ideas on this page you will naturally find your use of these drugs reduces, ie the vicious cycle stops. Gut happy!
What Are The Right Foods To Eat With Leaky Gut
Leaky gut syndrome or whats technically described as increased intestinal permeability happens when the gut is in trouble. Things are seeping in and out of the intestines that shouldnt, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and leaving those lucky enough to even have a diagnosis wondering about foods to eat with leaky gut and what to avoid eating with leaky gut.
But why do people get leaky gut in the first place?
According to Marcelo Campos, MD of Harvard University:
Some of us may have a genetic predisposition and may be more sensitive to changes in the digestive system, but our DNA is not the only one to blame. Modern life may actually be the main driver of gut inflammation. There is emerging evidence that the standard American diet, which is low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats, may initiate this process. Heavy alcohol use and stress also seem to disrupt this balance.
In a world where now even MORE people are ordering fast food from home, avoiding the grocery stores, and not always making the healthiest dietary choices, gut inflammation is on the rise.
But its not all bad news. A mindful, effective leaky gut diet full of whole foods and probiotics isnt hard to attain.
Check out the 8 best foods to eat with leaky gut and start healing your microbiome from the inside out!
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Why Extreme Cardio And Weights Can Hurt Leaky Gut
You see, the strain that hardcore cardio or lifting really heavy weights puts on the body delivers the same shock as any other kind of stress, eg working 14 hours a day for a maniacal boss.
And as we talked about in idea #12 above, stress is one of the top 3 causes and maintainers of leaky gut.
That means we really want to be saying goodbye to exercises like P90X, Insanity, Freeletics, Soul Cycle, Bikram Yoga etc. And adios to crazy sports like marathon running, triathlon etc .
Basically any physical activity where your veins pop out of ye old noggin mid session should be a no.
Also, as a general rule, work out lightly, but more often.
For example, try a daily 10-20 minute workout, instead of 3 x 60 minute spin classes a week.
Finally Compare Yourself Against The 10 Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
Given that testing can be somewhat inconclusive, a quick way to work out the probability of leaky gut is to speak to your doctor about your symptoms.
And then of course, contrast them against the most common symptoms of leaky gut:
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Why To Not Skip Leaky Gut Testing
Testing for leaky gut is something I have actually changed my mind about over the years. Initially, I was like many other practitioners who just assumed everyone with autoimmunity of digestive issues had leaky gut, so we never tested for it.
But its not always that simple. Many digestive issues have symptoms that overlap. If you diagnose yourself based on symptoms alone, you may be treating a problem you dont have while allowing one you do to worsen.
Ive since realized that testing is essential because it not only confirms if intestinal permeability is a problem and it gives us insight into WHY it is occurring so that we can best treat it.
Signs You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome & How To Heal It
Leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition that can drive inflammation and autoimmunity. While it is not yet a widely recognized medical condition, integrative and functional medicine doctors are at the forefront of diagnosis and treatment, while more research is starting to emerge to explain what it is and how to heal it.
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Minimize Your Alcohol Consumption
Although a minimal amount of alcohol has health benefits, excessive alcohol has been associated with compromising the health of the intestinal lining. For women, this means no more than one drink a day, while for men the limit should be two drinks per day. Ideally, one would not be drinking every day.
Many alcoholic drinks contain grains. Non-grain containing alcoholic drinks include brandy, gluten-free beers, tequila, and wine.
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.*
Coconut Oil Leaky Gut
Including coconut oil as a part of your leaky gut diet can be very beneficial and it is commonly used. Unlike most plant based oils that are high in omega 6, coconut oil has a unique fatty acids profile that can be very beneficial for the leaky gut diet. Coconut oil is one of the best natural sources of medium chain triglycerides . MCTs are fatty acids that are easily assimilated by the body, providing a quick non-jittery energy that can last for long hours. This makes coconut oil an excellent choice for the leaky gut diet, as an easy to digest energy source that can be an effective substitute to many high carb foods. In fact, replacing carbs with coconut oil or coconut butter is a very popular strategy among athletes that need to lose weight before a competition, but still need to maintain high energy levels. If you are lucky enough and can get a real fresh organic coconut at your local store, you may want to consider getting all these benefits straight from the source. With practice, cracking coconuts may not be as hard as you may think.
Another great option is coconut butter. Coconut butter is simply the meat of the coconut that went through a grinding process and turned into butter consistency. This means that in addition to all the benefits of coconut oil, coconut butter also has the other nutrients found in whole coconuts such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Foods That Cause Leaky Gut
The list of foods below contain foods that cause leaky gut. These foods should be the first foods to avoid as a part of the leaky gut syndrome diet recommendations. Stopping the damage to the gut from the foods you eat is one of the most important steps to heal your gut with the help of your new gut healing diet.
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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
Do I Need A Supplement
According to research published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, there is some evidence that probiotics can improve the function of your gut and even help reverse leaky gut, but long-term studies are still needed. There is not a single study to date suggesting that probiotics are harmful.
Probiotic supplements are more like a fertilizer that communicates to your existing gut bacteria. It can regulate the pH and cross-talk to other bacteria, increasing short-chain fatty acids which is the food for the gut cells and help regulate inflammation and the immune system of the gut, says Dr. La Vella. Transitioning away from processed foods and toward whole foods is usually enough to keep your gut healthy.
Herbal supplements may be helpful in certain situations, but arent necessarily a quick fix.
I think of supplements as medications there is always a risk and a benefit. I prefer to think about restoring ecosystem balance rather than supplementing to cover up a bad dietary or lifestyle choice, says Dr. La Vella.
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Can You Completely Heal A Leaky Gut
While its impossible to say whether or not you can completely heal leaky gut, you can certainly make it better.
Everyones guts are leaky to some extent: our small intestine is supposed to let out certain particles into the rest of the body. Its only a problem when it starts to let out the wrong types.
You need your gut to remember what to let out and what to keep in. The good news is, theres a lot of evidence that you can help it do that.
Best Digestive Enzymes For Leaky Gut
The best digestive enzymes for leaky gut are the enzymes that support the digestion of the foods in your own leaky gut diet. Since different enzymes are required to digest different type of foods, you want to make sure the enzymes included in the formula match the foods you eat.
To get the most of your digestive enzymes supplement:
- The product label should clearly describes which digestive enzymes are included in the formula and which foods they help to digest.
- The formula should only contain plant based enzymes with no animal/animal by-products ingredients. Plant based enzymes are a much better choice in terms of potency, stability in the body and purity.
- All enzymes should be wide pH range, which means they are designed to work throughout the entire digestive tract.
- VeganZyme ® is our preferred choice as a multi-enzymes supplement for the leaky gut treatment, and it has been a very important part of our protocol for candida as well. The biggest advantage we see in VeganZyme has to do with its versatile formula. With a total of 20 digestive and systemic enzymes, it can support the digestion of a wide variety of foods making it ideal for many different diets, cuisines, and health conditions. VegamZyme systemic enzymes profile is highly diverse as well, and can effectively break down allergens, excess yeast, candida, mucus and other toxins.
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Historically Microbiome Testing Has Been Pretty Useless In Terms Of Takeaways
In fact, if you asked me whether it was worth doing only 2-3 years ago, I would have said heck no!
I remember when I got my first few tests it was more out of scientific wonder, than anything else.
My doctor and I would be sitting there pouring over the data and just looking at each other goingokay, so now what?
It may as well have been jibberish.
So You Might Also Want To Consider Temporarily Cutting
- All nightshades. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers etc. These guys come packed with their own form of bug repellent, alkaloids. Suffice to say, not everyone responds well to them and they can cause inflammation and digestive issues93.
- Eggs. These can spike a high allergy response in a lot of people, and the lysozyme in egg white especially may be troublesome94.
- Nuts. Like eggs, these may not react well with your body95.
- Seeds. Seeds are meant to survive dormant for long periods of time and through varying conditions so, due to being constructed of natures tough-to-crack materials, even the sprouted ones can cause issues for some people.
- All vegetable starches. If youre still struggling 30 days into the diet, well then sadly, even that innocent looking sweet potato has to go96.
- All fruits. That low sugar berry shake you started loving on the leaky gut dietwell, that is out!
- All dairy. If you were eating raw unpasteurized yogurt for the probiotics or sheep cheese, stop. Its out as well97.
Of course the best news is that these eliminations arent necessarily permanent.
In idea #36 below, well look specifically at how to reintroduce these borderline foods in later to see if they still cause issues or whether some can be permanently added back into your diet.
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Eat Prebiotic Foods To Fuel The Good Bacteria In Your Gut
Prebiotics are types of fiber that are indigestible , but digestible by the bacteria in our colon/large intestine. They just love to break it down and ferment it. In other words, prebiotics are the fuel they need to grow strong98.
And when our good bacteria is strong they can help us digest food better, support mood, improve immune system function, fend off bad bacteria, and of course, help with bowel movements and intestinal wall strength.
Since prebiotics feed the probiotics/good bacteria in our digestive system, we can think of them as actually being equal to probiotics in terms of importance. In fact, theyre a team!
But before you go crazy eating all types of prebiotic-rich foods, it is important to know that during the very early stages of fixing your gut health, you should be careful to avoid prebiotics that are high in FODMAPs, which I explain in my FODMAPs & leaky gut article.
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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