| Dr. Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., explains leaky gut syndrome. “The leaky gut syndrome is a poorly recognized but extremely common problem that is seldom tested for. It creates a hyper-permeable intestinal lining where large spaces develop between the cell of the gut wall allowing bacteria, toxins, and food to leak through. ”If the lining of the intestinal tract becomes more permeable than normal, it can lead to serious health concerns. The large spaces that develop between the cells of the gut wall allow toxic material to enter the bloodstream. Under normal conditions, these toxic substances would be eliminated, but when leaky gut syndrome occurs, parasites, bacteria, fungi, toxins, fats, and other foreign matter can enter the bloodstream. These microbes can put an enormous strain on the liver and lessen its ability to detoxify.|
These enlarged spaces in the gut wall also allow for the entrance of larger-than-normal protein molecules. These proteins are not completely broken down so the immune system recognizes them as foreign matter and makes antibodies to fight them. When these antibodies are produced, the body begins to recognize relatively common foods or other substances as detrimental and this leads to allergic reactions. An inflammatory response may occur when the food or substance is consumed. If the inflammation occurs in the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can result. If the antibodies attack the gut lining, various gastrointestinal problems may develop, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis. Some cases of asthma are thought to be related to leaky gut syndrome because of the inflammatory condition that arises after ingesting a certain food. Other associated problems include migraines, eczema, and immune problems. It is easy to see how this antibody response can produce symptoms in just about any organ or area of the body.
The leaky gut syndrome is a common health condition primarily caused by our lifestyle and eating habits, but many times the problem is overlooked by medical professionals. Leaky gut symptoms may be masked by consuming drugs for a time but the underlying cause remains.
CAUSES OF LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
The overuse and misuse of antibiotics are considered a major cause of leaky gut syndrome as antibiotics can kill all the friendly and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract. This can lower the capacity to fight fungi such as Candida albicans and Clostridia Difficile that are often associated with colitis. Antibiotics can also kill the bacteria that break down complex foods and synthesize essential vitamins. The friendly bacteria help to fight infection and defend the body to keep parasites and fungi under control.
A poor diet high in carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine can irritate the lining of the gut. This can cause inflammation leading to hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome).
A deficiency in enzymes can also lead to the leaky gut syndrome. Enzymes help to break down, digest and assimilate nutrients. Cooked and processed foods are depleted of essential enzymes. Raw foods such as fruits and vegetables contain enzymes. A poor diet lacking enzymes can impair digestion and cause inflammation of the gut lining. If adequate amounts of enzymes are not available in the body, the leaky gut syndrome may develop.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) also contribute to the leaky gut syndrome. Some NSAIDs include ibuprofen, ASA, aspirin, and naproxen sodium. Problems occur because these drugs cause irritation and inflammation in the intestinal lining which in turn causes hyperpermeability between the cells.
Other contributors to the syndrome are chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins that can damage the digestive tract. These foreign materials can cause inflammation and hyperpermeability between cells in the gut lining. Organisms such as Giardia Lamblia or Klebsiella Citrobacter can also compromise the gut lining and contribute to the leaky gut syndrome.
SYMPTOMS OF LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: aches and pains, nausea after eating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin rashes, difficulty exercising, fatigue, low-grade fever, frequent colds, infections, fungal disease, food intolerances/allergies, chemical sensitivities, abdominal distention, toxic feelings, cognitive memory deficit, shortness of breath.
LEAKY GUT DIETARY GUIDELINES
The intestinal tract can be healed by adding more raw foods to the diet, especially fresh vegetable juices. Fasting on vegetable juices will help to repair and provide enzymes necessary for health and digestion. A diet consisting of 60-70 percent raw food will help to reverse the degeneration that has occurred in the gut lining, as well as improve energy and vitality.
Many Practitioners are suggesting bone broth to help heal Leaky Gut. I would make sure to always use organic sources for your broth.
Cleansing the digestive tract and the colon will help assure that the body is digesting and assimilating essential nutrients for healing and restoring health. Avoid low-fiber food, cooked foods, white flour products, sugar, fried foods, and processed foods. Eat a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
There are a number of telltale signs that leaky gut is occurring.
Here are some of the more common symptoms or associated conditions:
1. You have a lot of food sensitivities – Dairy and gluten are the two most common sensitivities if you are dealing with leaky gut. While there hasn’t been enough research into the most common symptoms of this condition, food allergies are believed to be the big one.
IBD – Don’t confuse this with IBS. IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) is a more serious condition that includes diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
2. You have an autoimmune condition – Celiac is an example of an autoimmune condition that is commonly seen along with leaky gut. When the patient ingests gluten, the body attacks the intestines and makes leaky gut worse. On the plus side, helping leaky gut can lessen the impact of certain autoimmune conditions.
3. Thyroid conditions – Hashimoto’s disease is a common thyroid condition that is related to leaky gut. It involves low thyroid function combined with fatigue, depression, and metabolism issues.
4. Malnutrition – If you eat a regular diet but still show up slightly malnourished on a blood test, leaky gut is a possible reason. You may be struggling to absorb the nutrients your body needs.
5. Skin problems – Psoriasis and rashes are common for people with leaky gut, so there may be a link between this condition and skin inflammation.
6. Depression and autism – Published studies have linked leaky gut to a higher occurrence in depression. There is also a strong hypothesis by researchers that leaky gut in early childhood is connected to autism.
Foods To Avoid
Particularly the gluten-containing grains like wheat, spelt, rye, and barley. While whole grains can be a part of a healthy diet, they are best consumed soaked or sprouted to deactivate anti-nutrients. Anyone who is struggling with a leaky gut should avoid gluten completely until their gut lining is functioning properly again, as it a particularly irritating protein.
Steer clear of refined white sugar added to foods in desserts and drinks. Even too much added natural sugar (like cane juice or maple syrup) can be a problem. Sugar can cause imbalances in gut flora by feeding yeasts and bad bacteria, further damaging the gut. Best to avoid and try monk fruit, xylitol, stevia, and erythritol instead.
Conventional milk can also be problematic for many. It is one of the most common food sensitivities. Processed in a way that creates a product far different than it’s natural state, conventional milk can hardly be considered a “whole food.” However, there may be a place in a gut healing-diet for fermented, organic dairy such as yogurt of kefir. Reactions vary from person-to-person, so it may not work for everyone. Consider trying goat or sheep dairy as the casein is less inflammatory from these sources. Almond, rice, hemp, oat milk may help to fill the void.
Foods To Incorporate That may help
Nutrients found in plants have amazing anti-inflammatory, healing powers. While raw vegetables and fruits may be difficult to digest, cooked or blended vegetables are just as powerful in healing and supporting the body. Choose a wide variety of colourful vegetables and fruits with plenty of leafy greens. Every diet should be plant based and mostly made up of living foods.
Thanks to its healing amino acid profile, minerals, and gut-healing collagen bone broth can be incredibly nourishing for an inflamed gut. Homemade bone broth from organic, pasture-raised or grass-fed animal bones is the most healing.
Filled with a wide variety of probiotic strains, fermented foods bring good bacteria into the gut. Cultured veggies like kimchi and sauerkraut, and beverages like kombucha and kefir can support healthy intestinal flora. There are now dairy alternative kefirs available.
Healthy fats reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and feed some kinds of good gut bacteria to support gut healing. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and medium-chain-triglycerides are easy to digest. Coconut products should be included to benefit from their MCT content. Raw and unfiltered coconut oil is an excellent addition to one’s diet.
This potent anti-inflammatory spice can help with the inflammation occurring in the gut lining, as well as inflammation throughout the body. Plus, it helps support liver detoxification of environmental toxins that can worsen disease. Try juicing it with a lemon, an apple, celery and cucumber. maybe even some ginger for a little kick.
Supplements That Support Gut Healing
One of the beneficial components of bone broth, collagen, can be added to the diet in powder form. Thanks to it’s high glycine content, it works to strengthen gut lining while also reducing joint pain and increasing skin quality.
Suggested dose: 10-20 grams per day of a quality, powdered supplement can be added to smoothies, tea, soup, and even bone broth.
This key amino acid contributes to gut health in many ways. It supports repair of the cells that line the gut, reduces inflammation, and coats the gut to protect against further irritation.
Suggested dose: 5-10 grams per day, of a micronized powder dissolved in water, juice, or smoothies. This should be taken as a divided dose.
By taking digestive enzymes with meals, there is a lower chance of undigested food travelling through the intestine. This both reduces the damage and irritation caused to the gut, and lowers risk of undigested proteins passing through the damaged gut lining.
Suggested dose: 1-2 capsules of a plant-based digestive enzyme with each meal.
In addition to fermented foods, a quality daily probiotic will reintroduce good bacteria into the gut.
Suggested dose: will vary depending on needs, but 1 capsule providing at least 15 billion CFUs is a good daily dose for most people. Intensive support doses may be significantly higher.