What is Leaky Gut? Doesn’t sound good does it?
Let’s explore what happens with ‘Leaky Gut’ …
The lining of the gut becomes damaged and ends up looking like an old jersey with holes in it (rather than a new jersey where all the stitches are tight and close together), when these holes become larger, bacteria, toxins and food leak into the body and this creates inflammation and damage and disrupts the optimal functioning of the system.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The large food particles are foreign to the body’s defence system, so the immune system goes on alert and attacks them, resulting in the production of antibodies against once harmless foods and the gut becomes inflamed.
It is not able to break down and absorb food and nutrients properly and this leads to fatigue and bloating and weakening of the immune system.
But it doesn’t stop there..
The body’s detoxification pathways are compromised, which results in chemical sensitivities and the liver becomes overburdened as it finds it difficult to handle everyday chemicals and toxins and the body is not able to ward off bacteria, viruses, yeast and parasites.
The body is not receiving the essential nutrients it needs…and so the cycle goes.
The increased toxic load on the body has the effect of making the nervous and immune systems hypersensitive and this can lead to autoimmune problems.
There are many factors that can increase the permeability of the intestinal wall such as processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, prescription medication (especially antibiotics), anti-inflammatory medication, over the counter medication, antacids, food additives, refined carbohydrates (sugar and flour) and stress.
The symptoms of leaky gut are many and varied
They include: abdominal pain, heartburn, insomnia, bloating, anxiety, gluten intolerance, malnutrition, muscle cramps and pains, poor exercise tolerance and food allergies.
Factors that may influence Leaky Gut
– Food intolerance/allergies
– Overgrowth of Candida
– Low amounts of beneficial bacteria in the gut
– Long term use of the contraceptive pill
– A history of taking certain medications including antibiotics, steroids and anti inflammatories (NSAIDS).
– A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
– Stress – short periods or constant low level stress
– Lack of exercise
– A diet consisting mainly of processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and artificial sweeteners
Treating a leaky gut
1. Remove and repair
In order to get to the root cause of leaky gut syndrome, the first step you need to take is to remove the problematic foods and then repair the gut with the right nutrients.
The most common offenders are gluten, soy and dairy, but you might be surprised to learn even healthy foods like nuts, eggs, and meats also create food sensitivities.
When you eat these foods frequently, they can stay in your system, enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation and leaky gut. You can either rotate or completely eliminate them for a short time and then reintroduce them to your diet.
You’ll want to keep an accurate food and mood journal and carefully monitor what you eat.
Reading labels is crucial for this phase as gluten hides in all sort of places such as mustard, tomato sauce and many processed foods and egg. For instance, it lurks in many salad dressings and baked goods too.
2. Nutrients for repair
You will want to heal your gut wall so those proteins can’t slip through and continue to wreck havoc.
Zinc, B Vitamins, Glutamine, probiotics and curcumin are among the nutrient arsenal to help repair a leaky gut.
It is essential to purchase natural, organic and food based supplements as supplements often contain additive and fillers that can add to and make your leaky gut worse rather than heal the gut wall.
– Glutamine: This amino acid is your small intestine’s preferred source of fuel. Glutamine reduces gut permeability and strengthens mucosal-cell integrity. One of the best ways to get glutamine is through your diet with organic bone broth.
– Ginger: You’ve probably had ginger tea or used a ginger supplement for nausea. Ginger also packs powerful anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce gut inflammation.
– Probiotics: help reduce inflammation, repopulate beneficial bacteria and strengthen your gut wall.
Finally – consider digestive enzymes which ensure your food breaks down efficiently so it doesn’t irritate your gut lining or activate your immune system.
Digestive enzymes also help remove pathogens, toxins and other harmful substances that erode the gut wall and trigger inflammation.
Dietary recommendations to treat leaky gut
– Avoid foods that are highly refined and processed such as biscuits, cakes and pastries.
– Limit raw vegetables, rather have them lightly steamed.
– Avoid all gluten containing: grains, wheat, pasta, bread, rye, barley and couscous.
– Avoid protein from red meat and unfermented dairy as these can be hard for the body to break down and process and avoid caffeine (tea and coffee), sugary carbonated drinks and anything that has artificial sweeteners.
– Increase your intake of fresh steamed or roasted vegetables.
– Have grains such as rice, buckwheat and quinoa in small amounts.
– Include oily fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon which have essential fatty acids to help reduce inflammation.
– Use cold pressed extra virgin coconut and olive oil.
– Include protein from lean, organic chicken, wild caught fish.
– Increase dietary fibre very slowly as in some cases high fibre can make symptoms worse so do this very slowly over time.
– Drink at least two litres of pure water every day – this must be at room temperature and always in between meals.
– Drink fresh lemon with warm water every morning.
– Stress: Identify the areas of stress and work on time management to allow time for relaxation. Gratitude journals, Leisure walking, yoga, meditation, EFT, deep breathing techniques and Theta healing are all great strategies for relieving stress.
– Exercise: Leisure walking, yoga. Exercise is important to stimulate the motility of the GI Tract.
– Toxicity : A natural and supported cleanse is recommended to help remove toxins from the system and then identify areas that you can reduce toxic exposure such as skincare products, household cleaners, sprays etc.
Supplements should be taken from a high quality organic and food based range, the supplements I take personally and use with my clients are made with carefully sourced organic and wild-crafted raw ingredients ensuring the products are guaranteed pure, safe and effective.
Vitamin B Complex: Best food sources: eggs, chicken here.
Essential Fatty Acids: Best food sources: fresh nuts, seeds and oily fish
Probiotics: A good balance of natural live bacteria helps to maintain a healthy balance of gut flora. Best food sources: natural organic bio-yoghurt
Digestive Enzymes: Proactazyme – helps break down food in your stomach, making it easier to digest.
Healing a Leaky Gut – although a long term process- can be simple. Follow my top tips on How to Treat a Leaky Gut and notice the difference in how you feel and how much more energy you have.
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick.