(p.s. More information about Leaky Gut is in my new book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body).
Leaky Gut | Leaky Gut Syndrome
Did you know that 80% of our Immune System is in our gut?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is an interesting subject because so many of us have this without even knowing it. The surface area of our intestines is the size of a tennis court if you untangled them; this is a lot of intestinal lining when you think about it. Every day when we breath, eat, etc. we are bringing the outside world into our mouth and our intestines need to have a strong barrier to make sure harmful substances such as yeast, food particles, toxins and bacteria are not absorbed directly into our blood stream. This barrier, which is our healthy intestinal lining, prevents these substances from entering out blood.
The cells that line our intestines are closely knit together and have a glue-like substance that keeps the space between these cells secure, which makes sure the barrier function of our intestines is working optimally. The good bacteria that fills up our intestinal lining (100 Trillion of them) help to make sure this glue and barrier are working.
In some cases, this glue between our cells breaks down and causes openings between the cells which allows yeast, toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria to leak into our blood stream and is identified by our immune system which lies beneath the surface of the intestinal lining. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
When we have an overgrowth of yeast, parasites or harmful bacteria or we don’t have enough good bacteria in our guts, we have what is called Dysbiosis and this is what can lead to a leaky gut.
When we have a leaky gut, we’re prone to developing numerous food sensitivities because all the food we eat leaks below the intestinal lining and is identified by our immune system, which reacts to these particles because they see them as foreign. This also causes inflammation and can be the root cause of arthritis, autoimmune disease or fibromyalgia. To fix this, many Integrative M.D.’s treat the Dysbiosis and then work to restore the function of the lining barrier with nutrients such as glutamine, which can take up to 6 months. Then, we can try to reintroduce foods one at a time to see if the reactions have dissipated. Here is information on How To Find an Integrative Doctor in Your Area.
How Does Our Gut Get ‘Leaky’?
Your abdominal wall weakens (leaks) from:
- Stress. Here is information on Stress.
- Environmental Toxins. Here is information on Toxins in our Bodies.
- Chemicals in Food and Cleaning Products. Here is information on Organic & Non-Toxic Cleaning Products.
- Overuse of Antibiotics and Hormones from food and from other sources. Here is information on How to Balance Your Hormones.
- Toxins such as those secreted by the yeast Candida. These can pores across the membranes of the protective barrier.
- Infections that were never resolved such as parasites
- Acute emotional or physical trauma such as surgery or food poisoning
- Nutritional Deficiencies (Zinc and Omega 3’s)
- Poor Diet High in Sugar/Low in Fiber
Our gut flora has several important functions:
- Metabolize vitamins
- Support our immune system
- Digest food
- Keeps the barrier working properly to make sure the glue is strong
- Keeps away harmful bacteria and yeast
So, you can see that if we don’t have good gut flora, we feel very sick and many areas of our body are ‘off’.
Some questions to ask yourself to see if you may have Dysbiosis:
- Do you have chronic bad breath?
- Have you used antacids daily for more than 30 days?
- Do you have chronic sinus congestion?
- Do you feel depressed or anxious most days?
- Do you have fatigue and/or low energy most days?
- Do you have an intolerance to carbohydrates especially fiber and beans?
- Do you have bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort most days?
- Do you have brain fog most days?
- Do you have a Vitamin D deficiency?
- Do you have food sensitivities?
- Do you have an autoimmune condition or disease?
- Do you have chronic stress?
- Do you have reflux or heartburn?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, talk to your Integrative M.D. about Leaky Gut Syndrome and Dysbiosis.
How I Healed My Leaky Gut:
- Drink fresh organic green juice everyday.
- Eat lots of organic green vegetables. Here is information on Why To Choose Organic.
- Use organic turmeric (Simply Organic brand) on everything I eat and drink.
- Take a daily walk or do yoga. Don’t run or do aggressive activity.
- Steer clear of all sugars and alcohol. See my Sugar-Free How-To for help.
- Avoid fermented soy products, limit beans and dried fruits and fried foods.
- Take probiotics DAILY. I take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics and Jarrow Probiotics (Jarrow is only taken for my IGA deficiency) every day. To order the Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics use code: Amie6 for Free First Class Mail shipping and a Free Sample Size of the Kampuku Soap with any order. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces boulardii are a few probiotic strands that helped me.
- Drink organic dandelion root, fennel, chamomile and licorice root teas.
- Canned coconut milk and coconut oil are very healing to your gut. Coconut Oil is loaded with a source of fuel for your cells and inhibits the growth of viruses and yeast. Add it to your hot cereal or stir-fry meals. Here is a stir-fry recipe you can enjoy.
- Ghee, which is clarified butter helps balance the immune cells in your gut and can help heal your leaky gut.
- I take 2 Tbsp. glutamine daily and it has helped tremendously. Glutamine is an amino acid that’s critical for healing leaky gut syndrome because it is the most important food for the cells that line the intestines.
- I eat gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar-free.
- I have an intolerance to egg yolks, therefore I use egg substitutes in many recipes. Check out my Egg-Free Substitutes for more information.
- I limit the grains I eat because my stomach still cannot digest grains. Check out my Grain-Free & Paleo How To for more information.
- Add fresh ginger to foods and beverages.
- Drink aloe vera juice in the morning and evening mixed into water with fresh lemon.
- Avoid coffee, excess caffeine and any other foods that bother you.
- Try to get acupuncture weekly.
- I took Oil of Oregano and Grapefruit Seed Extract Capsules daily to kill off the bad bacteria and yeast (Candida) in my digestive tract.
- Try lymphatic drainage massage.
- Drink fresh water with organic lemon throughout the day.
- Ferment your own vegetables. Here is more information on Fermented Foods and Digestion.
- Make your own sprouts.
- Check out my Getting Started Page for more information.
Here are a few Integrative Medicine Tests that I asked my Integrative M.D.’s to check me for- these tests were crucial in finding out what was causing my pain.
It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes. My protocol was handled by Dr. Susan Blum of Westchester, NY.