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What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the bloodstream. When the lining of your intestine, which is supposed to keep the contents of our digestive system separate from the rest of the body, it becomes compromised. Your body perceives these particles as invaders, triggering an immune response which can then set the tone for a host of health issues.
According to research that points to the leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases. When the cells in your intestines don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion, they become damaged. As a result, your body cannot absorb essential nutrients, which can lead to imbalances and a weakened immune system.
There Are Many Causes
Medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen, can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can start or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to intestinal permeability.
Me personally, my diet was pretty bad after having abused fried/ fast foods, bread, pasta, sugary candy and desserts over a very long period. I never cared much for vegetables and rarely ate them. After years of abuse, when I ate these foods, my body went to war producing antibodies, which triggered an immune response that caused illnesses and chronic inflammation throughout my body ruining my digestive lining.
Chronic Conditions Can Result
Constipation is extremely toxic for the body because your body needs to have at least 1-2 bowel movements each day to remove those toxins. If you are constipated, toxins are sitting in your colon and mucus and plaque along with fermented waste keep building up. Another problem with constipation and toxic buildup is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients, including zinc, iron and vitamin B12. If left untreated, the foreign substances entering the blood can cause more severe health issues. Diabetes (Type 1), arthritis, migraine headaches, brain fog with memory loss, hormone imbalance, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, Lupus, Celiac disease, Crohn’s, Lyme disease and thyroid issues which have gotten to that point for some.
Common Signs Of Intestinal Permeability
Gas or Bloating
Urinary tract infections
Vaginal yeast infection
Poor immune system
Cravings for sugar or carbs
Skin rashes, acne
Eczema or Rosacea
There Are Tests You Can Take
If you have any of the symptoms, mentioned, you should get checked by your health care provider or nutritionist so that a treatment plan can be designed for you. Sensitivities to certain foods could also be a contributing factor.
•The Food Sensitivities Test
Utilizes blood or saliva to test for leaky gut. Different laboratories have different names for their versions of the leaky gut test to analyze the presence and quantity of antibodies to bacteria, yeast, and common allergy-producing proteins (cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, corn, and soy).
•The Intestinal Permeability Test
It is a urine test for leaky gut that measures the ability of lactulose and mannitol (two non-digestible sugars) to pass through the intestinal lining. The patient drinks a solution containing lactulose and mannitol and provides a urine sample after six hours; the amounts of lactulose and mannitol are measured to determine the presence and degree of leaky gut.
•Comprehensive Stool And Digestive Analysis Test
An ova and parasite (O&P) exam is a microscopic evaluation of a stool sample that is used to look for parasites that may infect the lower digestive tract, causing symptoms such as diarrhea. … A variety of parasites can cause infections of the digestive system (gastrointestinal (GI) infections).
•Blood Test Checking For IgA And IgG Antibodies
Immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is found in high concentrations in the mucous membranes, particularly those lining the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most abundant type of antibody, is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections.
Handle Yourself With Care
Normally it takes about two to three weeks for a healthy gut to generate a new lining but if you have food intolerance sensitivities or any of the diseases mentioned earlier, I would give myself 3 to 6 months or more depending on the severity of your illness. You must remove foods and factors that damage the gut. Sugar will wreak havoc on your digestive system and feed the growth of yeast. Bad bacteria can damage your healthy cell growth and eat a hole in your intestinal wall.
Conventional cows milk can take a toll on your digestive tract. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 casein. The pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. Buying raw dairy from A2 cows, goats, sheep or buffalo would be a better choice.
It’s essential to remove allergens and inflammatory foods such as un-sprouted grains, GMOs, refined oils, synthetic food additives and gluten from your diet. The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, NSAIDS, and antibiotics. Always check with your doctor before removing any prescription medications. When I started healing my leaky gut syndrome, I was taking medication that I had been on so, I had to work around that.
Bone Broth – Bone broth contains collagen and the amino acids’ proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve seen examples of people who do a bone broth fast for three days to help heal leaky gut and autoimmune disease. They have gotten results that have given them relief.
Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and short-chain fatty acids’ (SCFAs) that can help heal the gut. Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasi, butter, and raw cheese are some of the best probiotic foods.
Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids’ that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and kvass are excellent sources.
Fermented foods are popular worldwide. Other common ones include:
Kefir, Tempeh, Natto, Cheese, Kombucha, Miso, Salami, Yogurt, Sourdough bread, Beer, Wine and Olives.
They may cause some initial side effects, such as gas and bloating. If fermenting at home, always follow recipes to avoid spoilage and read nutrition labels when consuming store-bought products.
Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The medium-chain fatty acids’ (MCFAs) in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system. Coconut water keeps you hydrated, aids in weight reduction and balances out sugar levels.
If you have a severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit. I ate tons of broccoli, asparagus and baby spinach.
Later I added sprouted seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted. They are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Healthy Fats – consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, avocados, ghee, and coconut oil are easy on the gut and promote healing.
Omega-3 Fats – anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon benefit a damaged gut.
Fruits – Consuming 1–2 servings of fruit daily is good on a leaky gut diet. I eat blueberries in my yogurt or sometimes I just grab a few and eat them throughout the early day. grapes, bananas, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, mandarin, lemon, limes, passion fruit, and papaya are good but, don’t overdo it.
You can also steam apples and pears to make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce. The fruit is best consumed in the morning and not later on in the day and keep fruit intake in moderation.
In a treatment plan, there are many supplements that support your digestive health as well as protect the gut lining from further damage. The four most beneficial leaky gut supplements that helped me are probiotics, digestive enzymes, l-glutamine, and licorice root.
Probiotics – This is the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. Probiotics in both food and supplement form are best 50-100 billion units daily. By only following part of the protocol in healing but not removing the damaging irritants, you may fail to re-inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.
Digestive Enzymes (1–2 capsules at the beginning of each meal) – these ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins are damaging your gut wall. If you are sensitive to probiotics at any time and you know it’s not a die-off symptom of bad bacteria, you can take digestive enzymes instead. They also are a must with every meal.
L-Glutamine – critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants.
Licorice Root – an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. It supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress because of the way it can help improve the way you produce and metabolize.
Don’t try to do everything at once, if your detoxification symptoms become too intense.
If you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to let me know what you think in the comment section of the article.