Leaky Gut: What Is It And What Does It Mean For You
- By , Contributor
Before the medical community had better understanding of the mechanisms that cause disease, doctors believed certain ailments could originate from imbalances in the stomach. This was called hypochondriasis. This concept was rejected as science evolved and, for example, we could look under a microscope and see bacteria, parasites, and viruses. The meaning of the term changed, and for many years doctors used the word “hypochondriac” to describe a person who has a persistent, often inexplicable fear of having a serious medical illness.
But what if this ancient concept of illnesses originating in the gut actually holds some truth? Could some of the chronic diseases our society faces today actually be associated with a dysfunctional gastrointestinal system?
The expression “leaky gut” is getting a lot of attention in medical blogs and social media lately, but dont be surprised if your doctor does not recognize this term. Leaky gut, also called increased intestinal permeability, is somewhat new and most of the research occurs in basic sciences. However, there is growing interest to develop medications that may be used in patients to combat the effects of this problem.
My Broken Ankle Analogy
Broken ankle- rest and elevation before physical rehabilitation.
Leaky gut- eat a cleaner, softer, nourishing diet to lessen inflammation and promote healing.
Normally, daily exercise is essential for optimal health, and it is encouraged. However, if you have suffered from an injury, such as a fractured ankle, the immediate treatment would be different. You may need to rest, elevate, not put any pressure on it. The priority is to ensure healing first.
With leaky gut, our diet is more restricted because we are removing any potentially harmful agents and allowing healing to take place first before re-introducing back some of the good foods . This is time to heal and relearn what foods are well tolerated.
The best diet for you is the one that makes you feel the best. Keeping a daily food journal/notebook and documenting the food consumed, time of day and how you feel is important. Keep in mind that digestion can take 1-2 days. See more under removal phase diet heading.
Gut Healing Diet Food List
The following foods are great for gut healing. You can also get a free downloadable PDF here :
- Bone Broth
- Homemade from grass-fed beef or organic chicken, grass-fed bone marrow by Ancestral supplements
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The Role Of Leaky Gut In Overall Health Remains Unclear
Leaky gut could be the cause of some health problems, or a sign of something larger, says Dr. Fasano. The science is still up in the air. For example, digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and Crohns disease share many of the same symptoms as leaky gut, and all are linked with chronic inflammation, but its not known how, or if, they are connected.
The challenge is that its difficult to measure the strength of a persons gut barrier, so you cant know for certain when leaky gut is really present, or what influence it may have elsewhere in the body, says Dr. Fasano.
Will Leaky Gut Heal Itself
Although many individuals would like to believe that this problem will fix itself, the reality is that getting to the root cause of leaky gut requires testing and treatment. We like to use stool and/or urine testing to diagnose leaky gut and get to the root cause of it. If the conditions and behaviors that initially led to leaky gut do not change, then it is likely not realistic to expect leaky gut to fix itself. Not to mention, any damage done to the gut must be rectified.
Instead, concerted steps need to be undertaken to solve leaky gut syndrome.
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Eat A Diverse Variety Of Fiber
Our gut bacteria need a diverse source of fiber-rich foods to help to keep them healthy and thriving . A gut healing diet will include multiple servings of vegetables and fruits per day.
We now have the capability to measure the types and amounts of bacteria in the gut through DNA testing it is clear that the variety of fresh produce in the diet contribute to gut health and diversity of gut bacteria.
What Foods Cause Leaky Gut
If youre suffering from leaky gut, one of the most effective changes you can make to mitigate your symptoms and even heal the underlying causes is what else
After all, the gut is the epicenter of your digestive system and your immune system too. Its linked to chemical changes in the brain and can affect your mood, energy levels, and overall wellness.
And your gut is intensely impacted by your dietary choices. Making good moves in this game are wins for the gut. On the flip side, poor nutrition and eating the wrong foods can trigger your leaky gut symptoms and make the problem worse.
Food can heal. But it can also destroy.
Well explore both sides of the coin when it comes to the best diet for leaky gut. The good news is that you will still be able to enjoy food. I promise.
And the foods that cause leaky gut or make it worse? Most of that stuff isnt too good for you anyway, so you can set yourself up to make major gains in your overall health. Its not necessarily easy, but definitely a win-win in the long term.
For now, well explore the foods that cause leaky gut or trigger symptoms. If you think you have leaky gut, foods to avoid will be covered in this article.
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Level 1 Foods Eat Like A Mini Michelin Man
Say hello to our best friends! Gut-friendly vegetables and healthy fats.
The big idea here is to use our vegetables as a delivery vehicle for our fats.
Eg a mixed salad slathered in extra virgin olive oil or roasted broccoli finished with MCT oils and chopped walnuts.
Typically, this group of foods will be 50% of our daily calories.
Eat Fewer Fodmap Foods
FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols. These foods are highly fermentable, and they are not well absorbed in the small bowel. They pass from your stomach through your small intestine and into your large intestine mostly undigested and unabsorbed. Foodss high in FODMAPs are fast food for the bacteria that live naturally in the large bowel. This can lead to bowel distention if your bodies gut microbiome is out of balance. If you are suffering from dysbiosis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or leaky gut, you will want to repair your gut first before you reintroduce these foods.
Foods that may trigger digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals:
Fructan sources: Wheat, Rye, Garlic, onion, leeks, scallions, artichokes, nectarines, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, white peaches, chamomile and fennel tea, and chicory-based coffee substitutes.
Galacto-oligosaccharides sources: Beans, lentils, soybeans and soy products (textured vegetable proteins, and cashews and pistachios.
Lactose sources: Dairy products and ingredients from cow, goat, or sheeps milk.
Fructose sources: Certain fruits , asparagus, artichoke, sugar snap peas, Rum, Honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fructose, fruit juice concentrate.
Note: When reintroducing FODMAP, you can test one FOODMAP group at a time, and not each individual food.
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What To Do About Foods That Cause Leaky Gut Syndrome
Seems like every food you eat causes Leaky Gut Syndrome? Youre not alone. Try anElimination Diet. Notice how your symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome feel. Once they subside, slowly introduce some of these items back into your diet, such as caffeine, lectins, and alcohol.
The best way to see which foods to avoid, join theThryve Gut Health Program.
Get personalized insights toa healthy gut diet plan!
We test your stomach bacteria to get a better idea of whats going on in your gut biome. Based on who has taken up residence, we can help you determine which foods made it possible for them to thrive.
With that knowledge, we can let you know which foods to avoid and which ones to implement into your healthy gut diet plan. Our database has over 1,500 ingredients and was curated with the help of over 35,000 scientific journals. This list is always evolving, just like your gut microbiome. So, be sure to take the time to Thryve Inside today!
Incorporating Healthy Foods Is The Key To Optimal Gastrointestinal Function
Our body is home to a trillion bacterial species, which form the human microbiome. Each microbiome is unique in its own way, leading to a variety of mix microbiomes, each benefiting its human body.
Cleaning up your diet is the most powerful way to cancel the bad bacteria and embrace the good guys.
These good bacteria do a lot for you they digest your food, keep your immune system safe and sound, act as soldiers when infectious agents attack you, keep the toxic stuff away, and produce the vitamins and nutrients needed for human nutrition. From feeling anxious or happy to the disorders of the digestive system such as diarrhea or heart disease, your gut feeling truly decides your health.
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You Can Now Get All Of These Enzymes In One Supplement
Say hello to Pure Enzymes. It contains 18 enzymes in every capsule, including every enzyme above. Meaning, youll enjoy support no matter what youre eating.
Best of all, it is 3rd party certified gluten free, dairy free and soy free. Making it a true digestive hero we can count on!
If you havent tried it yet, you can .
First Lets Understand How Leaky Gut Happens
The inside of your gut is lined with a single layer of epithelial cells that separate the gut contents from the bloodstream . This layer of cells act as a protective barrier, and is held together by tight junctions. Microscopic gaps allow nutrients into the bloodstream, while keeping out harmful compounds. One protein that regulates the permeability of tight junctions is called zonulin.
Our gut microbiota is full of billions of good bacteria that play a key role in supporting the gut barrier and ensuring the junctions are tight and healthy. Unfortunately, environmental factors like stress, medications, food additives, and chemicals disrupt the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. This bacteria imbalance causes gut inflammation and breaks open the tight junctions. More zonulin is released and intestinal permeability increases. Now the gaps are bigger and leaky, and foreign intruders can seep through the intestinal barrier.
Your immune system detects these foreign intruders and sounds an alarm throughout your body and up the vagus nerve into your brain. This alarm leads to inflammation, and triggers your immune system to attack these pathogens. Many studies have associated increased intestinal permeability to symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome , chronic fatigue, joint pain, allergies, acne, and obesity, and autoimmune diseases, like Celiac disease, Crohns disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.
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What Is The Leaky Gut Syndrome
The leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that people from the world over are experiencing of late. Although problems begin with your digestive system if you have the leaky gut syndrome, it affects other aspects of your health as well.
Your gut is lined by a wall, which is similar to a net with small holes in them. These small holes act as filters and enable the passage of certain substances only. It acts as a shield to keep out the bigger, harmful substances from entering your body.
When someone has a leaky gut, it means that the gut lining is damaged and cannot optimally function as a barrier any longer. The smaller holes become larger and allow harmful substances like gluten, bad bacteria, and undigested food particles to enter your system and cause considerable damage to health.
Possible Culprits: Foods That Cause Leaky Gut
We all know the obvious things to avoid in order to feel better and stay healthier, regardless of how well we follow what we know
And while I’m not at all opposed to the odd cheat day to treat yourself, you should be conscious of avoiding altogether the things that are going to exacerbate issues you might be experiencing.
If youve been diagnosed with leaky gut or you even suspect it could be the culprit, eliminating or reducing the following foods in your daily diet will give your gut health a boost and help to protect your gut lining from further deterioration.
And as mentioned earlier, limiting these foods to avoid with leaky gut will be a boon to your overall wellness anyway.
Bottom line- Its a win-win to steer clear of the following list! Not to make any promises, but your brain and your body will probably thank you
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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.
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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Leaky Gut Treatment Options
Leaky gut syndrome causes a number of symptoms that can impact your overall quality of life. Your digestion can become altered, you may experience food sensitivities, your mental health can be impacted, you may have difficulty losing weight, and your immune system can become weakened, which can increase your risk of illness. Over time, leaky gut syndrome can lead to a number of chronic diseases, including autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
There are several things you can do to improve your intestinal tract and heal your leaky gut. First, ensure you are eating whole foods and reduce processed foods. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day and getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night can help improve your digestion, balance the microbiota in the gut and restore digestive function. Reduce your stress levels, avoid toxin exposure, and stop smoking.
Our gut health program embraces integrative health protocols. Our team of functional medicine doctors understand that the digestive system is complex and affects all aspects of your health. When the gut is not healthy, the rest of your body becomes unhealthy, and a host of health issues can occur.