Leaky gut syndrome is essentially a condition that occurs as a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction – when the gateway between your intestines that usually keeps out toxins, microbes and undigested food particles stops functioning properly. Particles that shouldn’t enter the gut begin to get through, causing inflammation throughout the body that leads to a variety of health problems. You may be suffering from leaky gut without even knowing it.
Here are seven signs that you have a leaky gut:
1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers from Hungary found that elevated gut permeability is often localized to the colon in people suffering from both irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
2. Autoimmune Disease
A protein known as zonulin is the physiological modulator of tight junctions in the body. When the zonulin pathway is deregulated in those who are susceptible to illness, the result can be intestinal inflammation and neoplastic disorders. Some research has shown that eating gluten can often trigger this response in the body.
3. Food Sensitivities
Leaky gut may be to blame for some who are affected by food sensitivities. The toxins that enter the body cause the immune system to run on overdrive, mass producing antibodies, which makes the body more susceptible to antigens in certain foods, such as gluten or dairy.
Nutritional deficiencies can result from leaky gut, including Vitamin B12, magnesium and enzymes that help digest food. Those with leaky gut are often recommended a multi-vitamin and live probiotics to help digest food and maintain vital nutrients.
5. Thyroid Problems
Hashimoto’s disease is one of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect. It can lead to hypothyroidism, impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression and weight gain.
6. Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Intestinal hyperpermeability can cause skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Prescription pills and creams are often given to patients who experience these conditions, but they can often be fixed by healing the gut.
7. Mood Issues
A study published in the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters found that leaky gut may cause various neurocognitive disorders. The inflammatory response in the body triggers the release of chemicals that induce depression.
Steps to Heal Leaky Gut
As surprising as it might be, the solution to healing leaky gut isn’t that complicated. The main foods that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat, conventional dairy and GMO foods, so changing your diet is the best way to promote healing.
1. Remove foods that damage the gut and replace them with healing foods.
Removing foods that cause leaky gut is the first step to healing. There are several foods that help heal leaky gut, including:
- Fermented Vegetables – Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi contain natural acids that balance the body’s pH levels and support a healthy gut.
- Coconut Products – Coconut products are great for the gut because they’re easier to digest than other fats. Coconut kefir also contains probiotics that support the digestive system.
- Sprouted Seeds – Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted provide the body with fiber which can support the growth of bacteria that is beneficial for the body. Those suffering from a severe leaky gut may want to begin getting fiber from fruits and vegetables, and work their way up to sprouted seeds.
2. Repair the body
There are many supplements that support digestive health, but the following are perhaps the most effective in treating leaky gut:
- L-Glutamine – L-Glutamine is an anti-inflammatory amino acid that is necessary for the growth and repair of the intestinal lining.
- Licorice Root – Licorice root is an herb that naturally helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach.
3. Rebalance the body with probiotics
Probiotics help replenish good bacteria while getting rid of bad bacteria. They may be the single most important part of healing a leaky gut. Check out this list of helpful probiotics, and watch the video below for probiotic foods to incorporate into your diet