Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- First Things First: Know What a Leaky Gut Is to Fight It Well
- Symptoms of Leaky Gut
8 Leaky Gut Natural Healing Tips+−
- 1. Cut Back on Gluten to Avoid Hurting the Gut Lining
- 2. Get Rid of Sugar
- 3. Nourish Your Intestines to Promote Friendly Bacteria
- 4. Consume Bone Broth to Supplement Collagen
- 5. Reduce Your Stress to Decrease Inflammation
- 6. Go Easy on Your Workouts to Avoid Worsening Your Condition
- 7. Consider Taking Supplements to Speed Up Leaky Gut Treatment
- 8. Feed Your Gut Bacteria with the Right Leaky Gut Diet
First Things First: Know What a Leaky Gut Is to Fight It Well
The first step to healing is acknowledging what you have, and in this case, you may be experiencing a leaky gut.
To help you understand, here’s a science lesson focusing on the digestive system. Many body organs comprise it and it includes the small intestine.
The small intestine is where most of the absorption of nutrients happens. Along it is the intestinal wall with small gaps that allow nutrients to pass through and combine with the bloodstream. It also prevents substances that should not be part of the intestine from getting through. Sometimes, though, it happens, resulting in a leaky gut.
Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through.
Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system. When someone has a leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability) the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through are now able to.
Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested food particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream, causing an immune reaction.In reality, there’s a lot of controversy about leaky gut syndrome as not all doctors believe it exists as a real digestive health condition. Many studies, such as this one published in Gut, have revealed that it does.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
The symptoms of leaky gut syndrome can vary. Some of the common ones include the following:
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- Bloating or gas
- Chronic diarrhea
- Brain fog or memory loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin issues and itchiness
- Headaches (can be as severe as migraines)
- Joint pains
- Thyroid conditions
- Food sensitivities
One of the biggest warning signs that you may have a leaky gut is that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities.
Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining and make their way into your bloodstream, which will cause an allergic response. This isn’t a severe food allergy that would cause your throat to close up, but the allergic response can lead to one of the symptoms mentioned above.
If left untreated, a leaky gut can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), SIBO, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease or Hashimoto’s. These symptoms are general, making the diagnosis difficult. You may consider taking the leaky gut test, which is a urine exam that some labs now offer.
8 Leaky Gut Natural Healing Tips
Now that you can recognize leaky gut, let’s look at some tips on how you can improve your gut health.
1. Cut Back on Gluten to Avoid Hurting the Gut Lining
The proteins that comprise gluten are glutenin and gliadin which some people are sensitive to. Gluten can also be a trigger for people with celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition.
However, you don’t need to have celiac disease to avoid gluten. If you don’t feel good after eating bread, for example, perhaps you’re sensitive to the proteins.
The more the body exposes itself to gluten, the more it irritates the lining of the intestines and the immune system acts out. It may then affect the strength of the intestinal wall, which leads to a leaky gut.
When shopping, look for gluten-free food items. Dine in restaurants can also give you this option.
If you love to cook, it’s not enough for you to use gluten-free products. Ensure there’s no trace of gluten in the kitchenware you use.
2. Get Rid of Sugar
Consuming excessive artificial sugar, especially fructose, is a risk factor for obesity and increased intestinal permeability. Both of which are also closely associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
How can sugar promote a leaky gut? Some experts believe it has something to do with yeast.
In the intestines are thousands of different types of bacteria, including yeast. Each of them has their respective roles in ensuring harmony and balance in the organ.
Yeast loves to feast on sugar, so eating more of it means getting these fungi fatter. In turn, they can develop long branches that may eventually penetrate or destroy the wall.
3. Nourish Your Intestines to Promote Friendly Bacteria
Remember yeast? It’s just one of the microorganisms that can overdevelop and lead to increased permeability of the intestines.
You can learn how to fix a leaky gut by defeating them in number and quality: eat fermented foods.
Fermentation is actually a natural process that happens in the intestines when they break down sugar. Bacteria can then dine on them.
When you have gut issues, it’s possible you have more of the bad microorganisms than the good ones. What you need to do is nourish them by eating fermented foods.
Here are some of your options:
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4. Consume Bone Broth to Supplement Collagen
Do you know one of the best ways to heal a leaky gut is to consume bone broth? This soup base contains an essential component called collagen.
Collagen is a structural protein that provides strength and integrity in many parts of the body such as the skin and connective tissues like the gut. Picture it as a scaffold that holds the framework together.
When the intestines become permeable, it means the structural integrity also weakens. Consuming bone broth can help supplement the tissue with more collagen.
5. Reduce Your Stress to Decrease Inflammation
Have you experienced a variety of symptoms while you’re in a stressful situation? Perhaps you have a stomachache, bloating, or diarrhea.
Stress can cause all sorts of changes in the way the body behaves, and the gut is not an exception. It affects not only the gut secretions but also the permeability of the walls.
People who are chronically stressed are also less likely to be living a healthy lifestyle in general. They may lack sleep or may not eat the right types of food, which increases the risk of having a leaky gut.
When you’re in this situation for so long, it may be challenging to reset. You can try supplements to help improve your sleep.
6. Go Easy on Your Workouts to Avoid Worsening Your Condition
When it comes to healthy living, exercising is a must. With gut issues, however, you need to rethink how you do it.
A 2017 study revealed excessive and prolonged strenuous exercise may increase the risk of loose intestinal walls due to the injuries they can sustain.
It doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. If you want to proceed with healing a leaky gut naturally, you may just need to make adjustments.
It may include doing low-impact exercises such as yoga or swimming. You may also take a break every other day or limit your workout to no more than two hours.
7. Consider Taking Supplements to Speed Up Leaky Gut Treatment
Maybe you’re already feeling a lot of symptoms, and you want to give yourself a day off from all of them as soon as possible.
One of the ways to heal leaky gut syndrome fast is to get help from leaky gut supplements. Focus on the following:
- Collagen peptides
8. Feed Your Gut Bacteria with the Right Leaky Gut Diet
Since the problem involves the small intestines, it’s only right to pay close attention to the types of food you eat. When you have a leaky gut, you can consider:
- Increasing your fiber intake as bacteria love to eat it as well
- Nourishing your body with plenty of greens to reduce inflammation and improve immune function
- Staying away from processed and junk food, which is usually high in sugar and boosts inflammation risks
- Eating healthy or good fats such as avocados, olive oil, and some nuts
- Adding sprouted seeds to introduce essential nutrients such as zinc and reduce the anti-nutrients like lectin
Healing a leaky gut may take a while, but it’s definitely possible. Even better, you can do it naturally since medications may only make the situation worse.
Before you do anything, though, always consult with your doctor. Work with them to find out the best course of action.
You can use this as your guide when you want to ask the right questions or make informed health decisions.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 10, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy most recently on February 23, 2022.