Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is a condition that affects the lining of the intestines. It occurs when there is damage to the intestinal lining, which then allows toxins, microbes, undigested food particles and waste to cross the intestinal wall and enter the blood stream. When this occurs it may trigger an autoimmune response, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, abdominal cramping, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain and skin issues. The main cause of leaky gut are foods such as gluten and other inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar and alcohol. Other causes are infections such as candida, small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, parasites, and toxins like those found in self-care products, cleaning products and prescription medications.
How can you heal leaky gut? In a previous post I mentioned that when healing leaky gut you want to remove, replace, re-inoculate and repair, here is how you do that:
- Remove: The first step is to identify and remove the bad, which means things that are irritating your gut lining and making it hyper-permeable. I suggest starting an elimination diet. You will need to remove common irritants and foods that cause inflammation such as sugar, dairy, grains (gluten and non-gluten) soy, alcohol, night shades and processed foods. You should eliminate these foods for 21 to 30 days. After eliminating the foods you will want to reintroduce them one at a time and keep a journal of how these food affect you physically, emotionally and mentally. This process will allow you to identify the foods that are triggers for you and the foods that you are able to tolerate.
- Replace: The second step in healing a leaky gut is to replace the good, which means add things that will aid in proper digestion and help rebuild your gut lining. You will want to eat a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Consider supplementing with digestive enzymes, which are crucial to digesting and absorbing nutrients. You may also benefit from zinc, hydrochloric acid and or bile salts.
- Re-inoculate: Step three is to re-inoculate or restore the gut with beneficial bacteria. You can do this by adding in a probiotic to your daily routine, eating pre-biotic and pro-biotic rich foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
- Repair: Step four is to repair and support the gut lining. A supplement to consider is L-glutamine, which is an amino acid that supports a healthy gut lining. While repairing and promoting good gut health it is also important to support proper digestion by being mindful while eating, chewing your food properly and being in a state of rest and digest. Reducing stress and promoting a calm state can also promote good gut health.
Keep in mind healing a leaky gut is a process. We are all different and have different needs so the length of time it takes to heal a leaky gut will very form one person to the next. Happy gut healing!
Jamey Floreck, NTP, CPT
My next 21 Day Sugar Detox Group will kick off with six days of prep on January 2nd and the detox will begin January 8th! You can order your 21 Day Sugar Detox Official Guide Book today to be prepared for your January Detox. I am also extremely excited about the NEW 21 Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide, which is available for pre-order and will be delivered during prep week prior to your January 8th detox start.