Do you suffer from digestive problems, skin issues or food sensitivities? Health concerns like these, among many others, have been linked to leaky gut syndrome – a condition that causes the body to undergo an immune response that leads to system-wide, chronic inflammation.
Leaky gut is a serious condition, but there are simple measures you can take to repair and restore your gut health naturally.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut, also referred to as intestinal hyperpermeability, occurs when the single layer of cells that protect the intestines begin to malfunction. This layer of cells is linked together by “tight junction proteins.”
These tight junctions control what’s allowed to pass into the bloodstream from your digestive system, like vital nutrients, and what must be kept out, like disease-causing compounds. When this layer of the intestines works properly, toxic compounds and bacteria pass through the digestive system and out of the body.
What happens when the body experiences this gut permeability? The immune system is impacted, causing inflammation and sometimes autoimmune reactions. Your body undergoes an immune response as it tries to fight infections and disease caused by these leaking compounds, which leads to chronic inflammation.
What are some leaky gut symptoms?
Leaky gut is linked to numerous symptoms and health conditions, but researchers haven’t been able to prove whether or not these issues are caused by leaky gut, or if people with leaky gut are just more likely to have other inflammatory conditions as well. Either way, we know that these health conditions and leaky gut tend to occur simultaneously.
Some of the most prominent leaky gut symptoms or early occurring conditions that may be linked to poor gut health include the following:
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive problems
- Mood issues
- Food sensitivities
- Nutrient malabsorption
- Thyroid problems
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
What causes leaky gut ?
Some of the possible underlying causes of leaky gut syndrome include the following:
- Poor diet (consisting of inflammatory foods and potential allergens)
- Chronic stress
- Toxic overload (from pesticides, over-the-counter meds, antibiotics, medications, chemical exposures, alcohol)
- Bacterial imbalance in the gut
- Genetic predisposition (predisposed sensitivity to environmental triggers)
How to treat leaky gut: The best natural remedies
To prevent, improve or reverse leaky gut, there are several natural approaches that you can take.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you heal leaky gut naturally:
1. Remove inflammatory foods and common allergens: To heal your gut, it’s important to avoid foods that trigger an inflammatory response, such as:
- Un-sprouted grains
- Added sugars
- Refined oils
- Synthetic food additives
- Conventional dairy products
2. Crowd-in gut-healing foods: Instead of turning to packaged, processed and inflammatory foods, fill your diet with nourishing, nutrient-rich options, including:
- Fermented veggies
- Sprouted seeds (chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds)
- High-fiber foods (like steamed vegetables)
- Healthy fats in moderation (avocados, coconut oil, ghee, egg yolks)
- Omega-3s (wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef)
- Cultured dairy (kefir, yogurt, raw cheese)
- Bone broth
- Fruit in moderation
3. Reduce exposure to toxins: The truth is that are constantly being exposed to environmental toxins, but we can make an effort to reduce these exposures in small ways. Drinking filtered water and eating organic foods are two simple, yet impacting changes you can make. It’s also important to limit your use of NSAIDs and antibiotics.
4. Use gut-healing supplements: For people with leaky gut, I’ve recommended these supplements to support digestive health and protect the gut lining from further damage:†
- Probiotics – studies have shown that it’s vital to take a good-quality probiotic supplement. This will help to support immune function, promote hormone balance and restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. You’ll need a high CFU count if you’re already experiencing leaky gut symptoms. Go for a probiotic that has at least 50 billion CFUs and strain diversity.†
- Digestive enzymes – taking a full-spectrum enzyme supplement that contains protease, amylase, lipase and lactose will help your body to break down foods and reduce intestinal inflammation. Studies show that digestive enzyme therapy is an effective therapeutic option for people with digestive disorders.†
- L-glutamine – this essential amino acid can be taken to support a healthy inflammatory response and intestinal lining. It has been shown to restore the tight junction proteins that are needed to protect the intestines.†
- Collagen powder – research suggests that supplementing with collagen powder can help support your gastric juices and mucosal lining.†
Conclusion: Leaky gut syndrome is a serious condition that is linked to and may even cause health concerns like autoimmune disease, inflammatory skin conditions, digestive problems and mood disorders. To heal your leaky gut naturally, it’s important to cut out inflammatory foods, crowd-in nourishing foods, reduce your exposure to toxins and get extra support from gut-restoring supplements.†
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.