Leaky gut syndrome is a condition also referred to as increased intestinal permeability where the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged which allows proteins (like gluten), bad bacteria, and undigested particles to pass into your blood stream.
These particles cause systemic inflammation and an immune reaction over time.
The leaky gut disorder begins in a very important organ your small intestine. The small intestine is vitally important because the majority of the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat are absorbed there.
In order for these nutrients to be absorbed, the small intestine contains very small openings so the nutrients can be transferred into the bloodstream. Once transferred, the nutrients are then shuttled and deposited all around the body by the blood.
The wall of the intestine is considered a semi-permeable. This means the pores (junctions) only allow certain things to enter the bloodstream and block other things from entering the bloodstream.
For instance, specific molecules and nutrients are allowed to pass through but toxins and large undigested food particles are blocked.
With leaky gut, your pores can continue to widen (like getting a larger hole torn in your net). And as this happens, the undigested foods particles that are supposed to be kept out pass through into your bloodstream and then circulate throughout the body. This causes systemic inflammation and leads to an immune reaction.
Often times then your body will begin to recognize certain foods as toxic and will facilitate an immune reaction whenever you eat the food. If this problem continues, leaky gut can then progress to autoimmune disease.
Some of the initial symptoms of leaky gut can include food allergies, skin issues like acne and eczema, digestive issues like bloating, gas and IBS.
In order to repair leaky gut you must make specific diet changes and look to leaky gut syndrome natural cures.
Leaky Gut Diet Food List
Here is a list of foods on the leaky gut diet. These foods support healing because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.
Bone broth – Bone broth (made from scratch) provides important amino acids and minerals including proline, glycine and potassium that can help heal leaky gut and improve mineral deficiencies.
Fermented vegetables – Try to add fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut or kimchi. These fermented foods contain probiotics essential in helping repair a leaky gut that work by balancing the pH in the stomach and small intestines.
Steamed vegetables – Non-starchy vegetables that are cooked or steamed are easy to digest and are an essential part of the leaky gut diet.
Fruit – Consuming 1-2 servings of fruit daily is good on a leaky gut diet. You can steam apples and pears to make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce. Fruit is best consumed in the morning and not later on in the day and keep fruit intake in moderation.
Foods that Cause Leaky Gut
Here are the biggest foods that cause a leaky gut by creating intestinal inflammation and candida:
Gluten – A gluten free diet can help improve the symptoms of leaky gut. Gluten is the sticky protein found in most grain products including wheat and is difficult to digest unless it’s been brought through a sourdough or sprouting process. On the leaky gut diet you will want to avoid all foods that contain gluten and wheat products.
Cows Dairy – The protein in cows dairy, called A1 casein, can trigger a similar reaction as gluten and therefore should be avoided. In fact, A1 casein may be 26x more inflammatory than gluten!
Sugar – Feeds yeast and bad bacteria that can damage the intestinal wall creating a leaky gut. If you are going to use a sweetener raw local honey is your best option but even that should be consumed in moderation at 1 tbsp daily.
Unsprouted Grains – Grains and soy when unsprouted and unfermented contain phytic acid which can irritate the intestines causing leaky gut.
GMO – Genetically modified organisms contain herbicides and pesticides that damage the gut lining. Studies out of the Journal of Environmental Sciences have found GMO foods destroy the probiotics in your gut and cause organ inflammation.
Top 5 Leaky Gut Treatment and Supplements
In following a leaky gut treatment plan you will want to take specific supplements to support digestion as well as protect the gut lining from further damage. Here are the most important leaky gut supplements you should consider taking:
#1 Probiotics (50-100 billion units daily)
Probiotics can help re-colonize the gut with healthy bacteria.
#2 L-glutamine powder (5 grams 2x daily)
Glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair the digestive tract, especially important for people with chronic diarrhea.
#3 Digestive Enzymes (2 before each meal)
These enzymes will improve nutrient absorption and help break down food particles.
#4 Aloe Vera Juice (1/2 cup 3x daily)
Aloe is healing to the digestive system.
#5 Fish oil (1000 mg daily)
Fish oil contains the essential fatty acids EPA/DHA which reduce inflammation.
Essential Oils for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Essential oils of ginger and peppermint can soothe intestinal inflammation and support the healing of leaky gut. Take 2 drops of of each oil internally in a glass of water. Also mix 3 drops of oils with coconut oil and rub over abdomen 2x daily.
To learn more about how to repair leaky gut, read this article on 4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut.