What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
The small intestine is responsible for screening toxins from the body. It is the largest organ in the body, representing about 80% of the immune system. Think about the small intestine as the first line of defense between the outside world and our internal environment.
The theory is that leaky gut syndrome is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. Consequently, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.
The causes of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), diet, chronic stress, cytotoxic drugs and radiation, antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.
Autism, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease and colitis stem from the inflammation triggered by a leaky gut. Malabsorption of nutrients, candida and parasitic infections along with food sensitivities and allergies are also connected with this syndrome. Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne indicate a leaky gut too.
Suggestions of How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
A pure diet is crucial for repairing the gut. Eliminating sugar (in any form), gluten, processed foods, dairy, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine while focusing on high-fiber, nutrient-dense dense. Since pesticides and GMOs antagonize the situation, consume only organic food. Essential fatty acids from fish, flax, chia or borage are also vital to healing the bowel and reducing inflammation. Drinking plenty of purified water is crucial as well to avoid gut-destroying contaminants. Eat prebiotic-rich foods like asparagus, onions, garlic, and artichokes. Prebiotics nourish friendly gut bacteria.
Oftentimes, those suffering from leaky gut syndrome have low stomach acid. This creates poor digestion, causing toxins to leach into the body. Digestive enzyme supplements are helpful along with lemon or raw apple cider vinegar water.
Fiber protects the gut while sweeping fungus, harmful bacteria and other pathogens quickly out of the system. Good options include organic psyllium powder, ground flax and chia seeds.
Several herbs are known to calm inflammation and the subsequent damage that occurs in the gut. Marshmallow root along with slippery elm are excellent choices. Both soothe and coat the intestinal tract, minimizing the absorption of toxins. These herbs also help to heal damage, further reducing excessive permeability. Kudzu, licorice root, goldenseal, sheep sorrel, fennel seed and ginger root are beneficial as well. To eliminate parasites that frequently accompany a suppressed digestive system, try echinacea, garlic, colloidal silver, cloves, wormwood, black walnut, caprylic acid (one of coconut oil’s constituents) or grapefruit seed extract.
Since leaky gut syndrome contributes to malabsorption of many nutrients, it’s important to supplement the diet. A, B, C and E vitamins are essential as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and coenzyme Q10. Colostrum helps to heal the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation. To rebuild gut wall integrity, L-glutamine is exceptional.
A solid foundation of probiotics and more specifically, the friendly bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus is necessary. The diet gets rid of the bad bacteria and you need a constant feed of the good bacteria to replace it. Friendly bacteria stop the inhabitance of bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, help nutrients get absorbed, and keep the vicious cycle in check.
If you would like to learn more about Leaky Gut Syndrome, join me this Saturday April 6 at Dandelion Botanical Company for my Digestive Wellness Series. You will learn simple but effective natural ways to improve or support your digestive health. Click here for more info.
Source Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, she is the Director of Doctoral Studies, and Education Director at Hawthorn University. She’s the author of Digestive Wellness.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.