4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease

heal leaky gut

Leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that millions of people are struggling with and don’t even know it.  From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut  only affects the digestive system but in reality it can lead to many other health conditions.

According to research, leaky gut could be the cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism.

In this article I will outline specifically how you can heal leaky gut syndrome and breakthrough the health problems you’ve been struggling with.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through.  Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system.

When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability) the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to. Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your blood stream causing an immune reaction.1

Leaky Gut Symptoms and Progression

Leaky-Gut-Graph-dr-josh-axe2

This leads to inflammation throughout your system and can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Syndrome X

One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining making their way into your bloodstream which will cause an allergic response.

This allergic response doesn’t mean you’ll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to one of the symptoms I’ve mentioned above.  And, if left un-repaired can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema,2 psoriasis,3 depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

According to the Journal of Diabetes there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut as a major cause of autoimmune diseases including Type 1 Diabetes.

Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients including zinciron and vitamin B12.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are 4 main causes of leaky gut which include:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload
  • Bacterial imbalance.5

We’re about to cover some in-depth nutrition here.  Read carefully, and in a few sections I will outline the top 5 Foods and Supplements to heal your leaky gut…

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains, sugar, GMO’s, and conventional dairy.

The problem with unsprouted grains is they contain large amounts of nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mold and parasites.

This is good news for plants but bad news for your body.

Your digestive lining is covered with sugar containing cells that help break down your food.  Lectins gravitate toward this area and when they attach to your digestive lining it damages your gut, causing inflammation.

Lectins and Foods that Cause Leaky Gut

Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins like wheat, rice, spelt, and soy are more problematic.

Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, and makes these foods easier to digest.

GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs.

Also, gluten containing grains will damage your intestinal lining causing leaky gut.  So while you are working to heal your system stay away from all grains especially ones that contain gluten like wheat.  Once your gut is healthy you can add back in grains that have been fermented and sprouted to eat occasionally.

Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 Casein.  Also, the pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying dairy that is raw and from: A2 cows, goat’s, sheep, or buffalo.

Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system.   Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida, and bad bacteria which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.

types of bacteria - leaky gut

Other Factors that Cause Leaky Gut

Chronic stress weakens your immune system over time which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses leading to inflammation and leaky gut.  To reduce stress I recommend getting more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive uplifting people.

Toxins. We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin, and NSAIDS.  I recommend buying a high quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.

Dysbiosis. Finally, one of the leading causes of leaky gut is a condition called dysbiosis, which means an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. For many, this imbalance can begin at birth because of a C-section or because the mother didn’t have a healthy gut herself. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, tap water with chlorine and fluoride, and the lack of probiotic rich foods contribute to this imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

Leaky Gut and the Brain

 

leaky gut and the brain

Another topic I want to quickly discuss is how leaky gut can affect the brain.  If you’ve ever seen a child with autism experience a mood swing, this can be caused by intestinal permeability. Gluten and Casein-Free Diet’s have proven effective for many children with autism because these proteins can leak through the gut and then recirculate and act on the brain similarly to an opioid drug.

This is also why leaky gut has been linked to other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. So, in many cases, if you can heal the gut you can heal the brain.

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

The good news is there’s a solution to healing leaky gut. There is a four step process that includes:

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut

  2. REPLACE with healing foods

  3. REPAIR with specific supplements

  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

Here’s the protocol I have used with my patients over the years that has helped them see incredible results.

Remember, the top foods to remove that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat, conventional dairy and GMO foods.  The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, NSAIDS, and antibiotics but remember to always consult with your physician if he has prescribed these for you.

The Leaky Gut Diet and 5 Healing Foods

Bone Broth for Healing Leaky Gut

#1 Bone Broth - broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve  had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for 3 days to help rapidly repair leaky gut.

 

 

 

cultured dairy to cure leaky gut#2 Raw Cultured Dairy - contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut.  Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter, and raw cheese are some of the best.

 

 

 

fermented vegetables - heal leaky gut#3 Fermented Vegetables - contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut.  Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Kvass are excellent sources.

 

 

 

coconut products to heal leaky gut#4 Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut.  The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so better for leaky gut.  Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.

 

 

seeds - leaky gut#5 Sprouted seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.

Also, consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats are beneficial such as grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild caught fish like salmon.

 

Top 5 Supplements for Healing Leaky Gut

There are many supplements that support your digestive health but I believe the most beneficial are: L-Glutamine, Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, Aloe Vera Juice, and Licorice Root.

#1 Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria.  I recommend getting probiotics in both food and supplement form. I see people all the time only follow part of the protocol in healing their gut by removing the damaging irritants. But the part they often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.

So load up on BOTH probiotic rich foods and take AT LEAST 50 billion units of probiotics daily from a high quality brand.

#2 Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins from damaging your gut wall.

#3 L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut.  Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining.  L-glutamine acts a protector and coats your cell walls, acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2-5 grams 2x daily.6

#4 Licorice Root (DGL) is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress. Take 500mg 2x daily.

#5 Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins.  It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine which is common in food intolerance.  New studies have also shown it’s effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis.  Take 500mg 3x daily with meals.

If you can follow the above protocol you are well on your way to healing your gut for good!

What Foods, Supplements or Natural Treatments have you found help Heal Leaky Gut?

 

References:

Kiefer D, Ali-Akbarian L (2004). “A brief evidence-based review of two gastrointestinal illnesses: irritable bowel and leaky gut syndromes”. Alternative Therapy Health Medicine 10 (3): 22–30.

Pike, M. G.; Heddle, R. J.; Boulton, P.; Turner, M. W.; Atherton, D. J. (1986). “Increased Intestinal Permeability in Atopic Eczema”. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 86 (2): 101–104.

Humbert, P.; Bidet, A.; Treffel, P.; Drobacheff, C.; Agache, P. (1991). “Intestinal permeability in patients with psoriasis”. Journal of dermatological science 2 (4): 324–326.

Vaarala O, Atkinson MA, Neu J (2008) ‘The “Perfect Storm” for Type 1 Diabetes The Complex Interplay Between Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Permeability, and Mucosal Immunity’, Diabetes Journal,  (57)10(2555-2562).

Z Liu, N Li, J Neu (2005) ‘Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases’, Acta Paediatrica , 94(4), pp. 386-393.

Maes M, Leunis JC (2008) ‘Normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria’, Journal of Neuro Endocrinology, 29(6), pp. 902-10.

Visser, J (2010). Tight Junctions, Intestinal Permiability and Autoimmunity Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes Paradigms. PubMed.

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117 comments so far - add yours!

  1. Amy says:

    Is there a specific brand you recommend for the L-glutamine, aloe Vera, and licorice root? I just got your live probiotics. I already take Designs for Health digestive enzymes and I just finished a 6-week round of alternating Oil of Oregano and Designs for Health GI MicroB-X as well as an additional 6 weeks of Designs for Health GI Revive and following the AIP protocol all at the advice of my naturopath and I still don’t feel like I’m making much progress! I was taking a probiotic before too! My secretory IgA was only 2 which is apparently really low.

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      My favorite brands include:
      1. Axe Naturals
      2. Garden of Life
      3. MegaFood
      4. Gaia Herbs
      Aside from that, it’s hard to say a specific brand.

    • Herme says:

      I have used several brands of aloe vera juice and the only one that has had a marked, almost miraculous, influence on my health is a product called aloe vera gel by Forever Living Products. I’m sure it will be easy to find a supplier near you. Leaky gut caused the most awful cluster migraines for me. If I had a few days reprieve a month it was a lot. Then I started on the aloe vera gel. It took a few months of the gradual tapering off of migraines, but one day I realised I hadn’t had a migraine in ages. Now, the only time I get a migraine is when I go without my aloe for a couple of months. Never again. As for liquorice, I drink it in the form of a tea. Very yummy. It also stops sugar cravings :o)

  2. cintia says:

    I’m in a dilemma. I believe I have a leaky gut. For the past 6 years I have been dealing with a out of balanced digestive system that has progressively gotten worse. In trying to find the cause of my ailment I visited a Gastroenterologist, several allergy and OBGYN specialists and after many expensive testing none have been able to help me. On my own I have learned to keep away from coffee, fat, processed foods, dairy, gluten, alcohol,, and just recently sugars.
    On top of all my food intolerances, in the past year I have been diagnosed with an over-growth of candida, gardnerella, and group-b strep by my OBGYN. In the past week I’ve been prescribed Bactroban suppositories to fight group-b strep. Bactroban is an antibiotic in suppository form, I expect it will not affect my stomach but I feel it might trigger growth of other bacteria in my vagina. Dr. Axe, should I proceed with the treatment? What is your suggestion?

    Prescription: Mupirocin 1% Vaginal Suppository. ! suppository vaginally two times daily for two weeks.

  3. Mike says:

    Great article!
    I didn’t know that it’s actually the casein in milk that irritates the lining. But one question here Dr. Axe – you recommend fermented/live dairy products to heal the gut. I see the benefits of probiotics + I love yogurt.
    But what about the casein? Kefir and yogurt consist mostly of casein.
    Thanks

  4. Ellen says:

    For 25 months I’ve been suffering from CFS (active EBV, CMV, candida overgrowth, adrenal fatigue). I retired from teaching and do not have the stamina to begin working again. In the 18 specialists I’ve seen, no one has been able to help me due to my overreaction (which do not seem to be die-off/detox symptoms) to any treatment including supplements and probiotics. My diet is very clean (14 months.) All organic/grass-fed beef, salmon, chicken, organic non-starchy vegetables and very limited fruits, some nuts/seeds, healthy fats like coconut products and avocados. No dairy, gluten, sugar, beans/legumes. I do eat either brown rice, quinoa, or soaked oat bran 1x daily. I really need your guidance on how to get myself to the point where I can take supplements and additional probiotics (just started sauerkraut).
    In addition I have been using essential oils in hopes of some improvement because they do not cause me side effects. Please advise me on how I can modify your leaky gut healing protocol to get me to the place where my sensitives are repaired because I believe this may be the answer toward my recovery. Thank you so very much for your help.

  5. Sil says:

    I believe I have leaky gut. I have history if h.pylori and yeast overgrowth. (of which I took antibiotics to treat). I have been seeing a doctor for this digestive issues, but my main issues of distended stomach, and acne are still going on. I recently learned I also have thyroid imbalance. I have been taking probiotics, glutamine, fish oils, and now armour thyroid. Would you be able to suggest any supplements or ideas to better heal the gut? Lastly, I am gluten/dairy free. Thank you.

  6. Poppy says:

    I have suspected leaky gut and am trying what I can to fix my symptoms.
    A couple of questions:
    I am a black tea drinker! I have cut back to 4 or 5 cups a day with a table spoon of goats milk per cup. Is this amount of caffeine and milk a problem?
    Also, what about fruits blended into a smoothy, skins removed when possible?
    Thanks

  7. Candice Mallicoat says:

    I’m not sure how severe my leaky gut is, but how long would you say to follow this protocol to heal? I know that continuing to limit irritating foods and supplementing with probiotics is good for daily maintenance, but I’m curious how long it can take to heal and reintroduce small bits of sugar and grains, etc.?

  8. Laura Ray says:

    How much of the supplements would you recommend at every given meal? How does one take them?

  9. Linda Weir says:

    I do have leaky gut – candida/parasites, etc. based on a stool test. I am taking L-glutamine and Candicidal and also a good probiotic.

    I have eliminated entirely wine. I do drink coffee. Is that okay?
    Also, I use 2 tsps of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water 3 times a day. Is this okay?

  10. Jill says:

    Hi, I have had two food sensitivity tests done in the last 5 months. The first one was through Cyrex Labs, and it showed that Transglutaminase-2 and 6 IgG were out of range. It also tested for Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Food senstivities and found Casein to be out of range. I eliminated Gluten and Dairy (I cheated a few times on the dairy) and 3 months later, I did a more extensive food sensitivity test through Genova Diagnostics. It showed a very low sensitivity to dairy, no sensitivity to Gluten, but several other foods (too many to list) also showed up at various levels of sensitivity, the highest ones being Ginger, vanilla, mustard, beef, chicken, pork, basil, dill, fennel and peppermint. My instinct tells me that this is a leaky gut, and I would like to try the diet that you recommend on this site, however, many of the recommendations for healing the gut conflict with my food sensitivity tests (ginger, peppermint, bone broth (chicken), etc.). Do you have any advice on this? There is so much information out there, and it’s hard to determine the best route to go. I have asked my physicians, and they all have such varying viewpoints on this topic, many of which do not support the “leaky gut” theory.

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      Yes, do you best to both consume a GAPS diet and stay away from food sensitivities. I would consume beef broth instead of chicken broth and just do your best with the rest.

  11. Kimberly says:

    Are the supplements safe to take while breastfeeding?

  12. Georgeanna says:

    Dr Axe, I listened to your outstanding and fascinating webinar on The Kings Medecine last week –using essential oils for healing.

    My husband has been following your advice for Leaky Gut and is feeling better. Would you also recommend essential oils for Leaky Gut?

    I was so impressed with your talk and tried to order them immediately after the broadcast but, the payment page didn’t work. I immediately wrote on your website for assistance and wrote an additional email two days later since I didn’t hear back from anyone. Would you please assist me in acquiring the essential oils you were selling for $97? Thank you, Georgeanna

  13. Leslie says:

    Hi I’ve had an air hunger issue / shortness of breath that comes and goes . At first I thought due to 5 htp . Now I’m thinking some sort of acid reflux due to sore mouth when I wake . I can’t tolerate probiotics . I do green powders and fermented foods and gelatin powder . Any other suggestions ? Do I need lglutamine ? Thank you so much

  14. Darren says:

    I suspect a leaky gut. I’ve had 2 stool tests within a year and both came back saying im gluten and dairy sensitive. Seems every time I eat I feel a little off kilter. Ive had a rash on my forehead for the past 3 months and calves spasm like little popcorns popping. (only way I can explain it). My joints and muscles hurt periodically and usually spread around the entire body not always in the same place. My energy level is fine.

    My last test also came back saying I had the Shiga toxin but never really had major symtoms. i took probiotics for 4 months straight and my bowels were normal. Trying to eat less breads, wheat, coffee, and sugars. Any suggestions?

  15. Yan says:

    Can you please tell me if I can follow your recommendation to eliminate H-Pylori, I have receive antibiotics, but I stared and never finish, I get to weak and feel very sick. I know the bacteria still there, I have sleep problems, and I read that could be the cause, I go to the Dr. and she said “I don’t know what you have,” it is funny but true, do you know any good Dr. that use your approaches or homeopathy in the Los Angeles are on California. or let me know if you any product that would help, I can no take ferment products cause, I have a kidney problems and it make my symptoms worst when I use vinegar or wine etc. thank you so much and God bless you.

  16. Luis Galvis says:

    Hi Doctor, I have been having leaky gut problems since 8 months ago, at the beginning i used to think that i had MS because of the symptoms but after 2 MRI’s that possibility has been discarded . My diet is very similar to the diet you recommend, with some minor differences. I believe that a may be eating too much fruits, as i eat 4 to 5 a day. Not sure if this is too much or just right. My main problem is that i am having a very difficult time getting good sleep, and i know this is not helping my cause. Do you think this can be due to food allergy’s, and can be fixed through consumption of other recommended foods? Thank you very much.

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      Hi Luis, yes, consuming 4-5 servings of fruit a day is too much. I would recommend you cut out all fruit for 2 weeks then add back in one serving a day in the morning and may eventually be able to do 2 servings a day but not more than that. Also, you need to load up on probiotic rich foods and take a quality probiotic supplement. Read this article and look at the LIVE Probiotics on my online store because they are great for leaky gut issues.
      http://draxe.com/probiotic-foods/

  17. Luis Galvis says:

    Thanks you so much for your prompt response. Now with that in mind I have a few more concerns. Without grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits as part of my diet what foods should I focus on to give me enough calories? How much meat and fish is too much? Also, which would be better for me, chicken bone broth or beef bone broth? I have a history with high blood pressure and high cholesterol with have been controlled through diet. I’m afraid with this new variation of diet that these problems may start to reappear. Thank you very much and your answers are greatly appreciated.

  18. Rebecca says:

    My mother was diagnosed of Lung cancer march 2012 and she have done chemotherapy just once and she was not cured until i heard about cannabis oil and its fast curing effectiveness,I was directed by someone who have used the cannabis oil to cure her breast cancer to get the cannabis oil from the cancer centre London and i did immediately and i bought the oil with instruction on how to use it, My mother started the medication and after taking the oil as prescribed, she was cured and healthy again. We are so happy now that our mother is free from cancer.

    Rebecca Smith

  19. Jill says:

    I think I have leaky gut. I’ve struggled with IBS for 2-3 years (diarrhea) and also been very low carb. I’m gluten/dairy free. I made the beef bone broth you recommend and added 2 T of it to organic bone broth from Whole Foods. An hour later, I had diarrhea every time. Should I continue to try this? The store bought broth has helped quite a bit–I drink a cup before each meal. Thanks for your help.

  20. carol says:

    Dear Dr Axe,
    Can I just eat grass fed beef daily instead of supplementing L-Glutamine? Thank you!

  21. Tony Houston says:

    Great article! Question: Can someone with a seafood allergy / Iodine allergy take L-glutamine?

  22. Simon says:

    Hello doctor, I have been following the points you mentioned above but every time I drink the broth, I get multiple unpleasant symptoms.Do I keep drinking it or what else would you recommend? I also am dealing with severe insomnia and I don’t know what to do about it.Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  23. Angela says:

    Hi, I have been diagnosed with leaky gut, spent the last 8 months on a diet which was very limited, no sugars, nothing fermented, nothing processed few vegetables limited to water, no chillies, capsicum etc etc, took a good probiotic, zinc, b6, took regular gut indication tests to see how bad my gut was, once almost clear did a detox incorporating steamed vegetables, and five serves of the shake which had lots of fruit, in fact 5 was hard to get through, the detox was to get my liver going. I have been symptom free for 5 weeks but a few started up again, so now I have incorporated glutamine and slippery elm into my diet, again having the shake recipe from the detox for my breakfast which gives me some good nutrition.

    When and how is the best time to take glutamine?

    Thanks

  24. Chiara says:

    I am a full-time carer of my 27 year old son who has ataxic cerebral palsy with severe speech. He has had severe comedon acne for approx 11 years having been on low dose trimethoprine antibiotics for approx 9 years. He now has H Pylora aswell. I have put him on a fat free, dairy free, sugar free diet consuming mainly veg , fish, millet, soya, brown rice black beans, chick peas etc with just some fruit since January 2014 – Although he still has acne and the large carbuncles are not quite so bad-he has lost a tremendous amount of weight-terrifying to see though he is always so hungry-I just cannot seem to give him enough food and he is always calling out for more food. Please Dr what foods will build him up without increasing his acne after all the hard work that I have been putting in. In February he suffered diarrhoea that lasted 14 days whilst he was always very hungry and he has just had diarrhoea again. What foods shall I give him? Yours very sincerely – Chiara

  25. Linda says:

    In your opinion, which tests are more reliable for food sensitives, i.e., Alcat, ImmunoLabs, Genova, Metametrix?
    Also, would you recommend the Genova Diagnostics ION profile with amino acids test after doing the gaps diet to check for improvements?

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      All these tests are great. I think doing this profile post GAPS diet could be beneficial for checking progress. Here are some other tests I would also consider:
      1. comprehensive stool test
      2. Organix dysbiosis profile
      3. IgG food sensitivity testing
      4. Zonulin test

  26. Nita says:

    I believe I have leaky gut syndrome. I have gas,bloating, bad breath and I also smell bad like poop no matter how many times I bathe. The docs cant name it I recently went on a Strict diet only yogurt and baked chicken breast I take a probiotic and ordered some chlorophyll. Does this sound like leaky gut syndrome

  27. Tammy says:

    Hello Dr. Axe, this is my issue. I’ve had an iron cast stomach all my life and 2 months ago I did a parasite cleanse using GRAVIOLA MAX. After the 30 days of using this product I started to use Garden of Life Primal Defense® Ultra Probiotic. I started getting REALLY bad stomach problems meaning bloating,cramping etc (bloating looked like I was 9 months pregnant) it was horrible and so very distressing. I was taking Alka-Seltzer Plus and it gave me no relief. I just started doing a intermittent fasting and still taking the probiotics and also taking 2 tablespoon of coconut oil a day. When I ate my meal it was chicken breast, steamed veggies and pan seared potatoes with seasoning and a large salad I was in so much pain an hour after I ate that I induced vomiting to try and stop the pain but it didn’t help. The the next day I ate the same thing but without the pan seared potatoes I ate quinoa and for the first time in a couple of weeks I had NO pain what so ever. After reading your article about leaky gut it seems to me that is what I have. So I’ll be starting a 3 day chicken bone broth fast. My question is, is there anything else that I can do to heal the lining of my gut?

  28. Andrew says:

    Hello Dr. Axe. I am writing to you in desparation for some help, advice and/or insight. I feel like you’re my last hope. Over the course of the past four years I have developed severe psoriasis, minor joint pain, hemorrhoids, and also some slight rectal discharge after a bowel movement which may be due to the hemorrhoids. The psoriasis has escalated dramatically in the past 6-8 months. What is most puzzling to me is that I have been on a pretty healthy nutrienal diet for the past ten years (mostly organic, little to no dairy except yogurt, little to no red meat, and lots of produce), I have no family history of skin conditions, I never get sick(not even a common cold), and I’m extremely active/athletic. However, for the past six years I have had quite a bit of bad to severe emotional stress in my. I have tried and followed through with SEVERAL natural methods to cure my psoriasis and have had little to no results. Could I possibly have “Leaky Gut Syndrome”? If so, what might be my first step on the path to healing my body? Please, any recommendations or advice would be helpful. Thank you so much for your time

  29. Amy says:

    Dr. Axe, I have Lupus and Psoriasis and have been trying alternative treatments on my own for a few years. I water fasted for 2 weeks about 2 yrs. ago and tried going Vegan after breaking the fast. Eating Vegan made me feel very deficient and after eating veggie burgers I broke out with tiny bumps all over my back and trunk. Also my scalp became very itchy and painful. My fingernails all have pitting and my middle finger developed an outward ridge line straight down the center of the nail. I have been eating gluten free and drinking bone broth with great results. I had rashes on my lower legs, arms, hands, face, and back. My rashes are about 75% better. I have had a hard time with sugar cravings and stopping my one cup of coffee in the morning. I was hoping you could help me with any suggestions on my sugar cravings and my scalp and nail problems. Also I have been eating fermented vegetables, and taking probiotics. Thank you!

  30. gabriella landry says:

    Would your approach to repairing a leaky gut be any different in a child (i.e. an 8 yr old)?

  31. Jennifer says:

    You mention 5 supplements to help heal leaky gut. I take enzymes and probiotics but am I to understand that I should be taking all 5?

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      I would recommend all 5 for a time until you feel that your body has recovered. But of all of them, the probiotics and enzymes are the most beneficial. But listen to your body. Many people also notice a huge difference when taking L-glutamine powder.

  32. Randi says:

    I have been following many of your recommendations for a very long time (ever since diagnosed with Crohns Disease). My doctor is very happy that I have been symptom free and that he saw no evidence of the disease in my recent colonoscopy.

    The one thing that I try to add to my diet periodically is digestive enzymes as I understand their benefits. Every time I try to introduce these into my diet, I start to get heartburn. Since there are no other changes in my diet or supplements, I can only conclude it is the enzymes. I have tried different brands. Any suggestions as to why this happens and what I can do?

  33. Arla Philippbar says:

    I have been diagnosed with leaky gut. I have exzema (since a baby), autoimmune disease, hypothyroid, food sensitivities along with gluten and dairy sensitive. I would like to know about the high quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride. Is it a whole house filter? Can you please name a brand that takes out fluoride? Thank you

  34. Teresa says:

    Dr. Axe, SO excited to see you address this. Just today, I received preliminary results on my 14-year-old son’s total IgE of 1947, correlates with my younger son’s total IgE of 1878 which is better than their cousin’s whose was over 2000!! (Genova Diagnosics noted that they ran the tests a second time because they didn’t believe it either.) My sister, (who teaches nursing at a university) and I are ready to move to our aunt’s palatial ranch on the hill in Brentwood and ice-water-challenge you or Vandy everyday till someone takes us all in for a family study! Test show that these boys are IgE and IgG allergic to EVERY nut, EVERY grain, egg, dairy, seed, meat in the book. I bet I spend 20 hours a week researching the ba-gillion articles on leaky gut/food allergy/probiotic/gluten free/buy-my-book/watch-my-webinar with our hope for a reason and resolution. I guess I’ll chase the University of Maryland rabbit trail next and see if they have another pill-potion-lotion-oil-magneic-coil-chopped-veggie-from-compost-soil to add to my extensive and expensive collection.

    Leaky gut test from Genova said no leaky gut, maybe some absorption issues in his small intestine.

    However, just this morning, I wrote in large caps on my to-do list to order GAPS book and download Low Histamine Chef. THEN, I got your email tonight… alright…I’ll do your recommendations. Let you know the results. Wish someone credible would document & study this and we can send them all off to GAPSbootcamp boarding school. I’d run it and I know 10 other mothers who would take their kids out of club soccer (EGAD!) and pay me to do it. (Actually, they would hire a private coach from Brazil to board with them…LOL, not LOL)

    RANT OVER…. Here’s my question…. :)
    Where do I get Raw A2 bovine milk, cheese, meat, bones in Northern KY or Cincinnati? Since both boys tested IgE to dairy, is it even worth trying? I heard that those with dairy allergy have no problem with A2.

  35. Sara says:

    My 10 month old has been dealing with pretty bad eczema for about 5 months now. I still breastfeed her, and give her healthy foods including bone broth and coconut everything. Do you know how I can help her heal her gut? Also, as a breastfeeding mother trying to get enough calories, how can I heal mine?

  36. LouAnn Smith says:

    My 11 year old son may have this. For years, he has complained of having an upset stomach, especially at night. He is a very healthy eater and he limits himself on sweets. However, we are on a really tight budget and cannot afford more the organic choices of meat and supplements. We do splurge on doTerra oils because they help him so much, especially their Digestzyn, which has licorice in it. What would you recommend we do for him. He also has a hernia but we were told that was not an issue. The doc just wants to give him pills. I just want him healed. I have suspected leaky gut for about a year, but not sure how to actually get it diagnosed. Thanks!

  37. Rose says:

    I need to lose weight. I am about 70 pounds overweight! I don’t know where to start. I do take medicine for my thyroid. 100 milligrams of levothroxine.

  38. Kristina says:

    Hello Dr.Axe,
    I came across this article on leaky gut on your website after listening to the nutritional summit with Cynthia Pasquella. I have 2 kids 5 and 1 and here is a brief background.

    There is no autoimmune condition running either in my family or my husband’s family and we are not allergic to wheat,dairy,eggs etc. But i’m not sure if we have any sensitivities. But when my daughter was 3 months old she had few rashes and pediatrician diagnosed her with eczema. I was completely ignorant back then and just trusted the MDs and applied a lot of toxic atopic steroids and moisturizers on her. She was on similac sensitive formula the whole of the precious first year of her life, had all the immunizations done and a ton of other toxins that come through non-organic fruits and veggies, exposure to toxins from the tap water etc etc. After 2.5 yrs of suffering, i did a lot of research and got her treated homeopathically and did a ton of lifestyle changes and removed every possible toxin out of the house. I went to the extent of knowing each ingredient on her plate, that goes in her body care products, clothes etc etc. Finally she was completely healed after going through a healing crisis and is fine by the Grace of God now. So with my son, i decided to apply all the lessons learnt and tried to stay away from toxins from the time i was pregnant and took so much care and went through a natural delivery. Praise be to God alone. But he was head down facing up and the obgyn had to rotate him before he was delivered. I guess that caused some nerve damage and a couple weeks after he was born he suffered with acid reflux. we got him treated homeopathically and osteopathically and he recovered in a month and a half. He was all fine and by then i breastfed him 100% and so did not have to worry about the fillers found even in the best baby formula in the market. I did not give him any immunizations so far and keep him away from all toxins as much as possible except for his plastic toys. Every meal for him is made from scratch. Despite all these efforts, he developed eczema and strangely the rashes appear only on his legs. I’m clueless about what i’m missing. I do not give him dairy in any form, no wheat, corn,soy. tried homeopathy as well this time. But his eczema does not seem to go away. My question is

    1. How do i know if a leaky gut is triggering his eczema and what symptoms do i watch out for?
    2. What other foods should i avoid triggering any flare up?
    3. Is spelt as harmful as wheat?
    4. Is there a way to detox the body of gluten?

  39. Bob says:

    Excellent article, thanks for writing.

    You recommend eating Salmon. I find that to be a problem as farmed fish is out of the question and the salmon I used to purchase from Oregon is no longer reliable because of radiation poisoning due to Fukushima.

  40. Michelle says:

    Hi Dr. Axe!

    My 20 month old was just diagnosed with alopecia areata which is heart breaking for me as a mother. I have done a lot of research since and found out that alopecia is another sign of a leaky gut. My question is can my 20 month old start this kind of diet and take these kind of supplements you recommend. I hope she can I am desperate to start her healing process. If so what do you recommend she can take at her age? Please help I am desperate.. Thanks

  41. deana says:

    All I can say is… where was this perfect article 3 years ago? My health collapsed and the journey led me to understand the power of digestive health! More specifically it was homemade kefir that resurrected me after 16 specialists shrugged shoulders. Actually… I needed this article 17 years ago before my entire colon was removed due to miserable ulcerative colitis! If any skeptics are reading, I can only encourage you to get those bones simmering today! And make kefir! You’ll see!

    Thank you Dr. Axe for the awesome and relevant information you share! I had the pleasure of meeting you at Exodus in Knoxville last year. So appreciate your life work!

  42. Jordan Parker says:

    Hello Dr Axe,

    Whilst your in the process of healing a leaky gut is it okay to consume ‘toxic’ foods like gluten or even rice, say like maybe once a month if you’re already following a strict diet otherwise?

    Does Dal and Pulses come under ‘toxic’ foods? Different sources name even foods like corn and white potatoes as toxic foods which should be avoided in the process of healing a leaky gut, and this is where it get’s quite confusing for me, is there possibly a list of definitive foods that should be avoided when attempting to heal a leaky gut?

    How long does it take before one even realizes that there gut has been healed? Sorry for the many questions, looking very forward to your reply.

  43. John Smith says:

    Hello,

    I was just wondering say like if I was to follow all of the specifics of this diet but yet smoked on odd occasion (More specifically herbal hookah molasses) would this adversely affect the process of healing the gut in anyway whatsoever? Thanks.

  44. Sean says:

    Greetings and salutations Dr. Axe. To start off, I’m not exactly sure what is wrong with me as I cannot afford to see doctors or get tests done. With that being said, any information or advice would help. Recently I have have noticed when I eat certain foods my head feels spacey(almost like I’m on drugs), my eyes turn red and I feel a burning sensation, I feel anxious, and a weird sensation under my skin-almost like my body is being attacked by something. Could this possibly be leaky gut? I was an alcoholic for 10 years but quit that in may on my own and was on the SAD diet for all my life. I have changed my diet to gluten free, dairy free, meat free,fat free, and sugar free. Everything I eat is organic and I juice. I was diagnosed a few years back with LPR but never took meds and tried to control it with diet. Recently also I took fats out of my diet because I have been having strange symptoms that point to gallbladder problems. Well I want to thank you for your time and any information or advice you can give. Peace and tranquility,

  45. Jo Baxas says:

    Writing on behalf of my husband who is once again battling gastritis. So I am about to embark on your 4 steps to heal his gut leaky or otherwise.
    I will also join the regime though dairy is so hard! I love my coffee with heavy cream – I’ve tried coconut milk, coconut cream, almond milk etc, nothing beats dairy in there! So maybe no coffee for me for a couple of weeks.

    Family and friends be warned.

  46. Mark says:

    I am dealing with neuropathic pain (after a flu vaccine 2 years ago), insomnia, depression, fatigue and lots of IBS symptoms/food sensitivities. I seems to have a lot of symptoms of adrenal fatigue. I have been to all the MD experts. I have been a vegetarian for 15 years. I am not sure how where to start. Do you offer phone or skype consults?
    Thank you

  47. vincent says:

    Hi,
    I was just wondering when you say taking 3 days of bone broth? Do you recommend any type in particular? how many (servings) are we supposed to take?

    Thanks!

  48. Shelton says:

    Hi Dr Axe.
    I’ve had a leaky gut and chronic candida/parasites for 4 years. I quit conventional dairy and wheat over 4 years ago, as well as all sugars, starches and grains. After seeing an episode of beyond organic featuring you, I decided to try homemade kefir. I bought a jersey milk cow tested to be A2 and done ok with her milk but after 8 weeks I still had a little dizziness after consuming it. Is this ok?

    I’ve tried numerous doctors in arkansas, none seem to understand the condition.
    I currently travel 400 miles from arkansas once a month to a nutritionist in Houston. He has helped me a lot in the past 3 1/2 years with supplementation, but hasn’t been successful in complete elimination.

    Could you recommend a Dr to guide me? I don’t mind to travel.

    Thank you so much for all you do.

    In His hands!

  49. Darryl Goes says:

    Hello Dr Axe,

    I was being diagnosed with chronic non specific colitis 5 years back. After one month of taking anti-inflammatory treatment and excluding foods that were causing allergic symptoms my condition improved and later i was diagnosed with mild-proctitis. Doctors have advised me to eat all kinds of foods but it seems like certain foods aggravate my condition and i guess i am having a similar issue like leaky gut which has caused this condition. Lately i was even having an acne issue which after avoiding gluten improved my condition. My diet mostly includes probiotic yogurt, Probiotic supplements, Chicken and rice noodles and even aloe vera. Please advice if i need to include more things in my diet

  50. sean behan says:

    How long do you recommend staying on probiotics at 50B per day for?

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      It’s hard to say because everyone is different depending on the current state of their gut, their diet, environment, etc. I consistently take probiotics to continually promote gut health. If trying to heal leaky gut, I would do the protocol with the supplements for 3 months and then reevaluate.

  51. Ana says:

    Dear Dr. Josh Axe,

    Thank you for your article. I have a 10 yr old daughter that has eczema since she was 2 months old. Also she has been very constipated for most of her life. I have a feeling she may have leaky gut syndrome. She is very picky eater and allergic to tree nuts. She only likes bread and sugar which I have almost eliminated from her diet. It looks like her digestive system is not OK. Other than her eczema and constipation, she is tired, has headaches and can’t sleep well.
    I do give her fish oil and she has been taking probiotics and zinc supplements on and off. Also she has been on few sessions of acupuncture. Nothing seems to work so far.
    I would be grateful if you have any recommendation that can help her.
    Thank you.

  52. Elaine says:

    I don’t believe I really have “leaky gut” unless there is varying degrees of it. I do not have any food allergies or sensitivites. I do eat fermented veggies every day and Kombucha and Milk Kefir once in a while. I have had a lot of stress in my life. But………I DO HAVE Heberden nodes (arthritis in my lower finger knuckles). There is not much help out there about these. I would do practically anything to “arrest” these from getting worse and I do see them slowly getting worse. What can you suggest? Do you have any experience in this area? Thank you so much for answering!!!

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      There are definitely varying degrees of it. Many times, most people don’t know if they have food sensitivities because the symptoms can be mild and may be overlooked as part of their “normal.”

      The Heberden nodes are signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis so to target OA, I would recommend that you focus on eating a diet high in good quality protein and veggies with fermented foods to decrease inflammation. I would also follow the protocols in this article:
      http://draxe.com/natural-arthritis-cures/

  53. Vida says:

    I’m currently undergoing treatment of Candida Overgrowth by following the candida diet, taking probiotics and prebiotics, and antifungals. The source if my overgrowth is partly due to Leaky Gut. is it possible to follow the candida protocol listed above and follow the Leaky Gut protocols for healing at the same time?

  54. Kelly says:

    Hi Dr. Axe,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions.

    I have vitiligo (it started when I was about 5, and I’m 35 now), and have become very interested in learning about the connection between gut health and autoimmune diseases. I’d like my gut to be as healthy as it can be, so I changed my diet about 8 months ago, removing all gluten and dairy and adding probiotics.

    I used to love having my morning latte with soy milk but now I’m trying to phase it out. Since I also like black, green and white tea, I’m drinking more tea instead. I know you don’t recommend black tea for a leaky gut, but what are your thoughts on green or white?

    Thanks again.

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      I think 1 cup a day for some people is fine but stay away from coffee. The best tea you could take would be chamomile, ginger and tulsi and those with little to no caffeine.

  55. Francesco says:

    Hi Dr Axe, I’m writing to you from Italy; I found this website by chance and , if it’s possible, I would like to have some advice from you as it’s a long period that I feel down because of health problems that I’m going to tell you, without having found until now any solution; everything started this winter when I suffered for 2 months from colitis with periods of diarrhea alternated to periods of constipation with hemorroids; without sending me to any specialistic visit, just after a cytotoxic test on the basis of which I resulted intolerant to several kinds of food, the family doctor gave me the diagnosis of Irritable bowel syndrome; so in march I started a diet I got from a nutritionist, the “low fodmap diet”, with supplements of lactic acid bacteria to take for three months, during the change of season; I had some gut results even if occasionally I kept suffering from bowel pains even if less intense; in may little by little I started to eat again all the kinds of food that I didn’t eat for longtime also because I work as a barman and with the stress of the work I couldn’t manage so much with that diet; so I incresead little by little the quantity of the carbohydrated and I reintroduced dairy products and sugar, noticing that in any case my pains were bearable; so I didn’t make problems to myself; at the end of may I started to notice that I was always tired (i used to do regularly two times a week gym, once yoga and I was studying for my german exams while I was working); I started to notice that I was not sleeping more than 5-6 hours a day waking up also a few times during the night; I started to suffer from insomnia; because of the consequently weakness, I left all the activities on the side, gym and studying, and until two days ago i did a treatment with diazepam (tranquirit) for two weeks; I could sleep but always waking up during the night; I thought that this was due to breathing problems and a specialist, on monday 25 august, after having visited me, gave me a spray “Locrinolyn” for treating a kind of rhinitis; yesterday I started to look for information about my insomnia and my weakness and I started to think that I may suffer from “leaky gut”. What do you suggest to me to do? All these symptoms may derive from this desease? The level of cortisol should also be checked? Since yesterday anyway I started also to respect the previous diet that I have stopped respecting 100% for a few months and recently even less because of my weakness problems; I don’t get any supplements and I keep sleeping from 2 to 3, almost 4 hours a day always waking up from 3 to 4 times per night; I’m always tired and often down and i don’t see any solution; i thank you in advance for your help

  56. ScienceStudent says:

    Hi Dr Axe. Many thanks for your informative website.

    To add a brief note on the role of stress; I work at a private hospital in a country that, while modern, is still developing & where religion & its plethora of effects & subcultures are very much alive & interwoven into many lives. Religion here has always played a significant role in affecting people’s mental & physical health…negatively, for the most part. I believe this is true for many other parts of the world. Hence for many, I think that overcoming certain traditions & modes of thinking will contribute to maximum fulfilment, where one is not subconsciously suppressed by rules but free to deal with life’s inevitable realities, & allow better stress management.

    I suspected I’ve had Leaky Gut Syndrome for awhile now. Job is rather hectic & for some months I haven’t been able to eat in the manner I usually do. A bit more wheat products + less food in general + less time to take the supplements & herbs I know are good + less sleep + tons more stress has all equalled more digestive issues (random bouts of semi-diarrhoea, bloating & general stomach discomfort), weight loss including my muscle (I’m usually slim with lean muscle), occasional migraine/tension headaches, skin issues & general loss of vitality.

    I’m still functioning, just nowhere near as well as I usually do.

    I’m going to purchase Source Naturals Glutamine powder & NatureWise Ubiquinol & make an effort to return to my old eating habits. Already, absence of wheat for just a wk has resulted in my stomach issues virtually disappearing. Now just to start repairing my gut.

    What healthy foods can you recommend for adding weight? I’ve lost more than 10 pounds from an already slim physique & would like to gain back my lean muscle. I usually do not eat meat, just fish & eggs. Can I trust Brunswick’s tinned Wild Salmon?

    Thanks.

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      If you’re low on time and need something quick, my superhuman shake is always a great option! You can find that recipe here: http://draxe.com/recipe/superhuman-shake/
      Otherwise, I think making meals ahead of time so that you can take them with you to eat quick will be important for you. I would also try incorporating bone broth into your diet, this will help promote healing in your gut. Make sure you try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night as well!
      Wild Alaskan salmon from the can is a great option for meals.

      • ScienceStudent says:

        Thanks, Dr Axe. That shake sounds perfect for me, I think I can do a slightly modified version (difficult to get that almond butter in my country).

        I’m going to load up on quinoa as well. Even with consuming lots of avocado & grass-fed butter (Kerrygold), I find it difficult to put on weight (& I don’t have excess fat to burn); much of my day I spend running back & forth, so I burn a lot of calories. Hopefully a natural protein shake will help me.

        I was concerned about tinned salmon being contaminated w/heavy metals as Brunswick gets theirs from the US.

  57. Daniel E says:

    Dr Axe ,
    I believe I know have leaky gut because of coconut oil. I started the paleo diet and introduced many new foods but unfortunately felt terrible, and was able to indentify it was a coconut allergy. For the last 16 months since this happened I have pale skin, psoriasis, and my hair won’t stay on my head due to nutrient deficiencies, does this sound like possible leaky gut to you and is there a specific treatment when it’s a food allergy to have caused the leaky guy? (I ate a ton of coconut oil ignoring my body’s adverse reaction which was a huge mistake)

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