I am sure most of you reading this has heard of the term leaky gut. But do you know what it means and how you get it?
I thought this would be good topic for this week as my daughter Brittany became very symptomatic of leaky gut when she switched her eating habits to keto. What she and I learned from the naturopath is that for some people (close to 26%), high fat diets trigger leaky gut and all the symptoms that come with it.
Thankfully Brittany has been very proactive in getting her gut healed and sealed back up but it takes 6-8 weeks if not longer to heal.
So let's talk leaky gut shall we :)
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
When we eat and drink, what we take in passes through our gut. The gut is built to absorb nutrients, so the cells that line its walls allow food molecules to pass through easily.
Unfortunately, for some people, some of the things that they eat cause damage to the gut cells. Such as antibiotics, too much alcohol, and even extreme stress.
When the tight junctions of the gut lining break apart, things like undigested food, microbes, and toxins can leak out into your blood system. When that happens, the immune system attacks the foreign particles. The end result is that you feel sick.
Could I Have a Leaky Gut?
There are several things that happen to people who have leaky gut. If you have one or more of these signs, there’s a good chance that you do too:
Constant stomach problems, including bloating, gas, or diarrhea
Food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances
An autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or celiac disease
Depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD
Skin conditions like acne, psoriasis or rosacea
Though having any of these signs doesn’t mean you definitely have leaky gut, having two or more makes it a good idea to get tested.
A doctor can give you a test called a “lactulose-mannitol intestinal permeability test” to see if you have leaky gut.
What Can I Do to Fix Leaky Gut?
If you do have leaky gut, you need to take steps to heal it and to reestablish gut health. The best way to do this is to follow these steps:
Get rid of foods that make the problem worse. These include junk food and processed foods.
Get rid of foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oils and excess refined sugars.
It should also be noted that although legumes and whole grains can be fine for some people with perfectly healthy guts, legumes and whole grains also are some of the foods that contain the highest amounts of gut irritants and antinutrients, including gluten in grains such as wheat.
For that reason, if you think you have leaky gut, grains and legumes should be reduced or avoided in order to let the gut lining heal.
Stop drinking coffee, soft drinks and fruit juices and replace with water or green tea.
Eat plenty of foods that are high in soluble fiber, which helps to feed your gut bacteria, including vegetables, nuts, and fruits.
Some other foods that are known to help heal a leaky gut are:
Probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, plain yogurt, kraut, kimchi, and kombucha, which contain a variety of strains of probiotics that are known to help heal the gut.
Collagen protein is also known to have healing properties in the gut
Glutamine is a type of supplemental amino acid that helps to heal the gut lining.
Bone broth is also known to have healing properties for your gut, and is also loaded with important minerals and collagen.
Exercise to encourage good digestion and detoxification
Use probiotics like kombucha on a regular basis
One of the best ways to help a leaky gut is to keep a diet and symptom diary to help you identify foods that you are sensitive to and eliminate them from your diet.
For one week, write down everything that you eat and how you feel throughout the day. At the end of the week, take a look and see what you learn.
The next week or two, cut out the foods that you suspect are causing a problem.
After a couple of weeks, try reintroducing those foods one at a time to see if they make you feel bad. Keep careful records.
The process takes time, but by following these steps you can figure out what foods are at the root of your problem and take them out of your diet permanently. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel!