Have you been sensing there is something wrong with your digestive system, but the doctor says everything is normal?
Perhaps your tests for celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease came back negative and yet, you find there is no stopping the bouts of diarrhea, tiredness and general sense of malaise you experience.
Well, you will be surprised to know that it could be a cause of a leaky gut – a condition that doctors do not really know very much about.
A leaky gut is a condition when the lining of the intestine develops small openings and, therefore, food that should have stayed inside till the digestion process is over instead finds its way into the bloodstream.
Some toxic substances that ought to have been eliminated from the body may drain out into the blood as well.
In the blood, antibodies bind with these molecules and reach different organs, resulting in the symptoms that often mimic those of diseases ranging from arthritis and muscle pain, to Crohn’s disease and depression.
To be able to find relief from the symptoms, it is vital to plug the leak and reduce the intestinal permeability. Here are a few tips which have been compiled from all the measures that have been found useful by those suffering from a leaky gut.
Table of Contents
- 1. Keep Your Diet Simple
- 2. Go Natural
- 3. Eat More Fiber
- 4. Try Probiotics
- 5. Consume Fermented Foods
- 6. Increase Antioxidant Intake
- 7. Try Peppermint Tea
- 8. Use Marshmallow Root
- 9. Plug Leaks with Slippery Elm
- 10. Include Digestive Enzymes
- 11. Use Healing Supplements
- 12. Make Your Own Health Broth
- 13. Use Healthy Oils
- 14. Watch Your Medicaments
- 15. Make Change a Norm
- 16. Reduce Alcohol Intake
- 17. Treat Parasitic Infections
1. Keep Your Diet Simple
The easier the digestion process, the lesser are the chances of a leaky gut.
So, the easiest thing to do is observe what types of food your body finds it tough to digest and scrupulously avoid those.
For some people, this may be dairy products; for others, it could be gluten-rich foods such as wheat, barley and rye. Removing such substances from the diet is the logical first step towards healing the leaky gut.
2. Go Natural
Foods that have undergone exhaustive processing steps and that are made by the use of a high proportion of refined flours and sugars are generally more alien to our digestive tract and, therefore, they are more difficult to digest.
This makes them likely candidates to trigger the leaky gut.
Besides, more often than not, such foods are low on nutrients and, therefore, it makes sense to avoid them and instead eat stuff that is more natural.
Fiber in the diet performs several functions – it makes food more filling and helps you keep your portions low.
It also ensures the digested mass in the intestine has sufficient bulk to absorb and eliminate toxic wastes without much resistance from the intestinal walls.
Eat more of legumes, fruits, whole grains, sprouts and vegetables in their natural form.
4. Try Probiotics
Much of the digestion in the gut happens because of the action of good bacteria or probiotics. Besides, these also serve to keep down the population of harmful bacteria in the gut. Sometimes, there may be a drop in probiotic levels and this can cause digestion to suffer.
Yogurt is the best known natural probiotic but you could also try the probiotic supplements available over the counter at most pharmacies.
5. Consume Fermented Foods
Fermented foods such as sourdough bread, cheese, kefir, salami, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha help with the process of digestion and also improve the overall functioning of the immune system. Make these a part of your diet and your leaky gut symptoms will begin to gradually fade away.
6. Increase Antioxidant Intake
Vitamins A, C and E and minerals such as selenium and zinc are valuable antioxidants that protect the body from damaging free radicals. Increase your consumption of foods that are rich in these ingredients and there is bound to be a relief from at least a few of the symptoms of a leaky gut.
7. Try Peppermint Tea
Peppermint contains a volatile oil that has digestive properties and is also capable of destroying harmful gut bacteria. A little peppermint tea on a daily basis is, therefore, a recommended remedy for people with a leaky gut.
8. Use Marshmallow Root
Digestive issues tend to cause damage to the inner mucus membranes of the intestinal walls. Use marshmallow root to calm down this irritation and experience relief from the symptoms of diarrhea that are very common in leaky gut syndrome.
9. Plug Leaks with Slippery Elm
Slippery elm is a herb that combines with water to give a jelly-like coating on the internal linings of the digestive tract. Not only does this physically reduce the permeability of the intestinal walls and prevent the leaking out of the intestinal contents, it also helps to soothe the irritation caused by the leaky gut.
10. Include Digestive Enzymes
Some people with leaky gut syndrome may experience chronic constipation, which only adds to the overall discomfort experienced by the individual. Digestive enzyme supplements can help relieve this symptom and make life easier for those with leaky gut.
11. Use Healing Supplements
Certain supplements can help to soothe and heal the digestive system. Try amino acids such as L-glutamine or glutamic acid; N-acetyl glucosamine, or pepsin supplements to heal the leaky gut.
12. Make Your Own Health Broth
Broth made from bones contains not just minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, it also has glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate that help to detoxify the contents of the intestine. Make homemade bone broth a regular feature to gain more ammunition in your fight against a leaky gut.
13. Use Healthy Oils
Essential fatty acids are the ones that the body cannot synthesize and need to be taken through the diet. Fish, flax seed, borage and evening primrose are rich sources of these, and including these in daily cooking has proved useful to many a person with a leaky gut.
14. Watch Your Medicaments
Antibiotics and pain relievers belonging to the category of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can have a dangerous effect on the intestinal lining, making it more permeable to undigested food.
Avoid taking such medication and if you find relief from the symptoms of a leaky gut, ask your doctor to suggest what other alternatives are available to you.
15. Make Change a Norm
Without realizing it, you may have some food allergy that does not manifest clinically as an overt reaction, but affects your intestine, nonetheless.
Identifying such an allergy is quite difficult and the best way to avoid the influence of this factor is to rotate the foods you eat, so that your exposure to each one is much lesser than if you keep eating the same items.
16. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can potentially threaten almost every organ but its action on the intestine is particularly significant because it makes the walls more permeable by suppressing the formation of prostaglandins.
Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink every day and soon, you will be seeing a noticeable improvement in your digestion.
17. Treat Parasitic Infections
Intestinal parasites that normally cannot take root in our body take advantage of the reduced defenses in leaky gut syndrome. Some parasitic infestations may not cause diarrhea and can, therefore, go unidentified.
However, they may be responsible for pain in the joints or also be the cause for several skin problems.
Get yourself tested for such infections and take the necessary treatment. Such healing of the intestinal wall will provide relief from the leaky gut, too.
Healing the leaky gut may be a difficult task but it is definitely not an impossible one. With a little patience, and some trial and error, it is possible for a person with this condition to identify the most likely cause and find which of the tips mentioned above works best to heal the leaky gut.