Leaky Gut – What Is It & How To Heal It!

By Daphne Kostova

Leaky gut has become a popular term due to the large number of people suffering from low energy, chronic digestive discomfort, achy muscles and joints, skin problems, headaches, autoimmune diseases and low immunity. Reducing and reversing its symptoms can be done in a few steps that we will discuss today. We will dig into what Leaky gut really is and how we can treat it successfully!

Leaky Gut is now a well known condition and more and more people are becoming aware of its symptoms. Reducing and reversing its symptoms can be done in a few steps that we will discuss today. We will dig into what Leaky gut really is and how we can treat it successfully! 

Question: How does gut health affect us? Is there really a connection between gut health and general health and well being?

Answer: is a big YES! In fact gut health affects us so much in the long run that it may be the culprit behind a number of diseases that occur over the years.

According to a recent survey, 74% of Americans are living with digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If these symptoms are chronic, they are associated with Leaky gut or gut permeability. Leaky gut is also associated with symptoms such as: joint pain, brain fog, cravings, headaches, poor immune system, low energy, depression, IBS, SIBO, IBD, Celiac disease, Respiratory infections, Acne, Obesity and more.

Q: What is gut permeability?

A: Our intestines are protected by a single layer of epithelial cells that are linked together by tight junction proteins. Gut permeability occurs when the junctions of the mucosal lining of the small intestine have become wider and therefore more “permeable”. Tight junctions are there to maintain the delicate balance between allowing vital nutrients to enter the bloodstream, while remaining small enough to prevent improper compounds from passing out of the GI tract into the body through the bloodstream. Permeable junctions allow improper foods, bacteria and toxins to go through the lining and enter the bloodstream causing a number of problems such as: negative food reactions (sensitivities to gluten, dairy, soy), compromised immune system (allergies, asthma, eczema), nutrient malabsorption (vitamin D, K, B12, Magnesium), and increased risk for autoimmune disease (Hashimoto`s, MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

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Q: What causes Leaky Gut?

A: Genetic predisposition, Poor diet, Chronic stress, Toxin overload, Bacterial imbalance.

According to Harvard Medical School some of us may have a genetic predisposition. However modern life may actually be the main driver of gut inflammation. It is very common for people on the Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation.

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Q: How to repair Leaky Gut?

A: Here is a good list to get you on the right page:

  1. Remove foods that damage the gut- processed foods, sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, artificial sweeteners. Replace them with healing anti-inflammatory foods – nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, gf whole grains, healthy fats, quality eggs, poultry and grass-fed beef. Add fermented vegetables, fermented coconut products, foods rich in omega 3, sprouted seeds etc
  2.  Repair the gut with gut healing supplements – fibre, digestive enzymes, l-glutamine, licorice root, collagen, n-acetyl glucosamine, marshmallow root
  3. Rebalance the microbiome with probiotics (lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, saccharomyces boulardii are great strains to help heal LG)
  4. Manage Stress– stress causes inflammation. On its own stress can be the cause of inflammation. Even if our diet is perfect, if we are anxious, always on the go, no time to sit and eat slowly. Then we`re not digesting food properly and therefore nutrient absorption also won`t be great.
  5. Be kind to yourself and others- empathy is a healing and stress relieving tool. Modern life is busy and stressful. Empathy is a powerful tool we can use to reduce the impact of stress on others and therefore on ourselves as well.
  6. Live with gratitude– a grateful heart always sees the glass half full. Gratitude can be a part of our daily mantras so we can practice it on the daily.  

Publishers Note: Daphne Kostova is a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto at Beaches Naturopathic Clinic.