Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut Syndrome

What it is

Leaky Gut is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine has broken down.

Gaps in the intestinal lining allow foreign food particles, toxins and bacteria to leak into the body. These particles are seen as “foreign invaders” by our immune system, which in return, will try to fight them by attacking them.

Causes

The reason as to why these gaps develop is complex and it often relates to chronic inflammation, diet and food sensitivities, stress,  an imbalance of our GI flora, medications and others.

Foods

Getting tested for food sensitivities is a good idea so to avoid any factor that can exacerbate any inflammation. Gluten is often one of the main causes of leaky gut as well as other foods such as dairy and soy, which can also cause sensitivity.

Toxic food such as refined sugars, as well as additives and food colouring also contribute to this condition.

Coffee too, as it can be an irritant to the lining of the mucosa.

Toxins

Antibiotics, FANS, cortisone (ex. prednisone), steroids, environmental toxins,  pesticides, heavy metals such as mercury, toxins from mould and water quality as chemicals and other toxins in the water can exacerbate this condition.

Infectious causes

Candida overgrowth, parasites and bacteria, bacterial overgrowth etc.

Prescribed hormones, such as the contraceptive pill.

Stress is also a factor that contributes to this condition.

Possible symptoms 

1. Digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but also food intolerances.

2. Autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease more about this here and here

3. Chronic sinus infections

4. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema

5 Allergic rhinitis and/or asthma

6. Swollen joints

7. Depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD

 

How can we repair a leaky gut?

When I addressed my leaky gut I knew it was essential to first REMOVE the triggers that contributed to inflame the mucosa, as we have seen above.

My triggers were gluten, grains, dairy and refined products in general.  A healthy diet, based on wholefoods, real food,  is key.

Because one of the consequences of this condition is a weaker absorption of nutrients from food, the second step was to RESTORE  and help my digestion with supplements known to enhance it, such as digestive enzymes and HCL ,while at the same time working to REBUILD and strengthen the lining of the gut so it can heal, the right probiotics can help towards that.

Finally I worked to REPAIR my gut and one of the best ways to heal the lining of the gut was L-glutamine.

L- glutamine is 1 of 20 amino acids. But unlike many of the other amino acids, it is the primary fuel used by the cells in our gut lining. It is naturally found in many high protein foods such as fish, beef and beans.

Supplementing with L-glutamine has been shown to help heal the GI lining and to protect it against mucosal breakdown in the gut.

You can find some interesting studies here and here.

Obviously there are many different supplements and foods that can help us with this condition and it varies because, again, we are all different.

A supplement that I still benefit from today is grass-fed gelatin.

This natural food supplement is beneficial for skin, hair and nail growth, as well as for joints, however, its super power is preventing intestinal damage and improving the lining of the digestive tract, thereby preventing permeability and leaky gut syndrome.

Licorice root (DGL) as well, is an herb that has been used for over 3,000 years to treat many digestive issues as it supports and promotes a healthy stomach lining. DGL means deglycyrrhizinated, or without glycyrrhizin as this can cause an elevation in blood pressure. This fabulous herb has truly helped with many of my symptoms.