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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but also food intolerances.
3. Chronic sinus infections
4. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
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, I found it very useful to integrate with supplements known to enhance and improve digestion, such as digestive enzymes and probiotics, while at the same time working to rebuild and strengthen the lining of the gut so it can heal.
For me, 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.
Obviously there are many different supplements and foods that can help us with this condition and it varies because, again, we are all different.
One of the best food/supplements that I still benefit from today is grass-fed gelatin. This is the one I use daily
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.
My daughter’s favourite recipe is gut healing gelatin marshmallows, soft and sweet, with a delicate vanilla scent and all the benefits of gelatin 😉
So, in short, here’s what has worked for me, I had to:
remove triggers, like allergens/intolerances that otherwise will keep your inflammation going
integrate with supplements that help with digestion and support your gut functions, such as digestive enzymes and good quality probiotics
help repair that gut lining with amino acids such as l-glutamine, but also supplements like licorice root and marshmallow root for their soothing properties especially beneficial to the gut lining.
add grass fed gelatine daily into my diet (that was easy;))
stay away from inflammatory foods such as processed foods, sugar, hydrogenated oils etc.
stick to a clean diet rich in vegetables and healthy fats
consume bone broth regularly, in the beginning I was drinking about 2 cups daily
when it comes to animal proteins I choose grass fed meat and wild fish such as salmon, trouts, sardines and anchovies. These also have lower concentrations of heavy metals. Fruit wise my favourites are berries, they’re packed full of goodness, antioxidants and naturally low in sugar