4 Proven Tips To Reverse Leaky Gut Syndrome
Written by: Kat Gal
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that is rapidly growing in the United States and other Western countries. Millions of people are dealing with this condition, yet many of them don’t even know about it.
Are you one of them?
Leaky gut syndrome doesn’t only affect your digestive system – it impacts your entire body. It has been linked to low energy, thyroid disease, food allergies, slow metabolism, joint pain and other health conditions.
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Let’s look at your digestive tract first. It is similar to a net with teeny-tiny holes that only allow very specific substances to pass through. It works as a barrier, not allowing bigger and damaging particles to get through your system and cause drama.
If you have leaky gut syndrome it means that your digestive tract has been damaged and has increased intestinal permeability. In other words, your protective net now has bigger holes on it, which allows bigger and dangerous particles to get through, including gluten, bad bacteria and even undigested food. Moreover, toxic waste can also leak from your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream, leading to negative immune reactions.
Leaky gut syndrome leads to inflammation throughout your entire system and can lead to the following symptoms:
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Digestive issues
- Joint pain
- Thyroid conditions
- Skin issue
- Weight gain
Should You Get Tested For Leaky Gut Syndrome?
If you have any of the symptoms above or otherwise suspect that you have leaky gut syndrome, you can take a leaky gut test.
The biggest warning sign that you should pay attention to is having multiple food sensitivities. When partially digested protein and fat get through your intestinal lining and move into your bloodstream, they will likely cause an allergic response. It can be an obvious rash or breakout, but it can also show as a milder form of reaction and show up as any of the symptoms above.
Having an autoimmune disease may also mean that you have leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut is also linked to the malabsorption of certain necessary minerals and vitamins, such as B12, iron and zinc. If you are low on any of these, you should get tested for leaky gut.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
The main causes of leaky gut syndrome are:
- A poor diet (lots of processed foods, low on whole and plant-based foods)
- Chronic stress
- Toxic overload in your body
- Bacterial imbalance in your gut
Looking at your diet specifically, besides a diet high in processed foods and low in whole foods, un-sprouted grains, processed sugar, conventional dairy and GMOs have all been linked to leaky gut syndrome.
Lectin is one food substance that can be problematic for those with and also may cause leaky gut. Foods that contain lectin include wheat, rice, spelt and soy. Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces lectins and phytates, making these foods easier to digest, reducing your risk for leaky gut syndrome as well.
Gluten-containing grains may also be damaging to your intestinal lining and can lead to leaky gut. Therefore, while healing from leaky gut syndrome, it is the best to stay away from grains – at least gluten-containing and unsprouted grains.
Conventional cow milk may also be harmful to your gut do to its protein, A1 casein. The pasteurization process of the milk destroys vital enzymes and as a result, it will be increasingly difficult for you to digest lactose. If you must drink dairy, it is recommended to buy raw from A2 goats, cows, sheep and buffalo. It is the best, however, to skip dairy altogether.
Sugar, particularly processed sugar, is also bad for your digestion. Candida and other yeasts as well as bad bacteria will feed on it. They will only want you to eat more sugar so they can eat more sugar, grow and invade and damage your body further. Bad bacteria also creates exotoxins that can and will further damage your gut’s healthy cells, literally eating holes into your intestinal wall. It is the best to reduce or cut out processed sugar entirely.
Looking at lifestyle factors, chronic stress weakens your immune system. It will make it more difficult for your body to fight bacteria, viruses and yeasts that can damage your gut. To reduce stress, make sure you get plenty of sleep, schedule 1-2 rest days a week, meditate, journal, hang out with positive people, think positively and get out into nature.
Toxins are everywhere and they are all damaging to your gut health. Did you know that the average person makes contact with 80,000 chemicals and toxins each year? Antibiotics, pesticides, tap water and over-the-counter meds are the biggest, but easily avoidable culprits. Drink high-quality filtered water and avoid medications and antibiotics if you can.
Dysbiosis is one of the leading causes of leaky gut that is a significant imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your gut. It can be caused by a poor diet and toxic overload. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, take probiotics and avoid toxins as much as possible.
How Does Leaky Gut Affect Your Brain?
As said before, leaky gut affects your entire body, including your brain. Children with autism often experience mood swings due to intestinal permeability and experience reduced symptoms with a casein-free and gluten-free healthy diet.
Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to many mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. If you are dealing with any mental health issues, or simply feeling increasingly sad, anxious, or irritable, it is a good idea to check for leaky gut syndrome. Focusing on your gut health can help heal your brain and mental/emotional health issues, even if you don’t have leaky gut.
The 4 R’s: A Proven 4-Step Plan To Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
- REMOVE foods and factors that may damage your gut.
- REPLACE them with healing and nourishing foods.
- REPAIR with specific supplements.
- REBALANCE with probiotics.
Remove processed sugars, grains, conventional meats, conventional dairy, GMOs and processed foods from your diet. Reduce toxic exposure by removing antibiotics, OCTs and tap water.
Replace processed foods with whole foods, preferably organic. Replace conventional dairy with raw cultured dairy or eliminate dairy altogether. If you are not a vegetarian, eat bone broth for amino acids that will help you to heal damaged cell walls. Eat fermented vegetables for probiotics. Coconut products are great for your digestion and are healthy fats. Coconut kefir is a great vegan probiotic as well. Sprouted seeds, like flax, hemp and chia are great for your digestion as well, full of fiber and omega-3s.
Repair your gut with certain supplements. Aloe vera juice, licorice root, digestive enzymes and l-glutamine are all excellent supplements that can help you to heal your gut and leaky gut syndrome.
Rebalance your body with probiotics. Along with probiotic rich foods, such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.), coconut kefir, kefir and kombucha, it is a good idea to take high quality probiotics as well on a daily basis. Remember, if you have leaky gut syndrome or are at the risk of developing it, your gut flora is imbalanced and compromised. Taking plenty of probiotics will speed up your healing process and help you rebalance your gut flora and keep it at an optimal state.
If you follow the 4 R’s, or 4 proven steps as listed above, you will be on your way to successfully helping your gut and healing your leaky gut syndrome for good. If you don’t have leaky gut, following these tips are still beneficial for keeping your gut and body happy and healthy.
Have you experienced leaky gut syndrome? What steps have you taken to heal your gut? If you have successfully healed your leaky gut syndrome, we would love to hear your steps and tips for others who are currently healing from this disease. Share with us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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