Everything You Need to Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome
What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut syndrome describes damage in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It occurs when your body allows for the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria they shouldn’t be.
When the gut membrane stops functioning properly, this kicks off inflammatory processes that can cause dysfunction throughput the body’s systems, including the digestive, central nervous, and endocrine systems.
What Does Leaky Gut Feel Like?
- Food sensitivities
- Bloating and digestive problems
- Thyroid conditions, sluggish metabolism, struggles with weight gain
- Joint pains and headaches
- Skin issues like rosacea and acne
As with all our blog posts, this does not take the place of proper medical advice. Please note these are potential symptoms, but they could be caused by other things. It’s important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
Contributing causes include genetics (we know, it’s annoying), a diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, aging, chronic stress, and medication use, among others.
How Can You Heal Leaky Gut?
Harvard Medical School has called leaky gut “one of the most mysterious ailments to diagnose and treat”. While the gut is complex, experts know that dietary changes, stress management, and certain supplements can help. (5)
Foods like yogurt, kefir, aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kvass are excellent source of probiotics and short-chain fatty acids that can help heal the gut. These “friendly” bacteria help crowd out harmful microbes in the GI tract, support absorption of nutrients, and help boost immunity.
Coconut is an excellent source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easy to digest and easily used by the body for energy. Think coconut oil and coconut aminos.
Bone Broth contains collagen and amino acids to support cellular healing, aid in repair of connective tissue, fight fatigue, and more!
Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds provide important trace minerals, dietary fiber, and healthy fats that can help increase your energy levels and support cognitive health.
Egg yolks, avocados, grass-fed butter/ghee, and olive oil are good sources of healthy calories, provide important essential fatty acids, and promote healing.
Omega-3 fatty acids from foods like grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild-caught fish like salmon also benefit a damaged gut due to their anti-inflammatory effects and rich supply of minerals and B vitamins.
Fruits and Veggies
Consuming 1–2 servings of fruit daily and several servings of vegetables is key for getting anti-inflammatory nutrients like antioxidants, electrolytes, and fiber.
While making sure to get lots of these foods, there are some you might want to start eliminating. Foods with lectin, dairy milk, refined sugars and oils, and food additives can contribute to leaky gut symptoms.
What Supplements Can Help With Leaky Gut?
Both supplements and foods with probiotics e-inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria that compete with harmful bacteria for resources. The best types to help a leaky gut include Bacillus clausii, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans.
These enzymes help the body break down foods properly so nutrients can be better absorbed, in addition to reducing digestive side effects from poor absorption.
This is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and supports growth and repair of the intestinal lining.
This adaptogen can help the body deal with effects of ongoing stress, which has benefits for digestion by balancing production of stomach acid, helping with hormone production, and via other mechanisms. (6)
This ancient herbal remedy provides various nutrients, has anti-inflammatory effects and can protect against ulcers and other common GI issues.
When it comes to leaky gut, it’s always important to see your doctor and make a health plan together. But there are simple ways you can get started, like adjusting your diet and supplement regime.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a Doctor of Chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, and author with a passion to help people get well using food.