Leaky gut syndrome, otherwise known as “increased intestinal permeability,” is gaining a lot more attention in the medical world and is becoming a more common ailment individuals struggle with through their daily lives.
How to Heal Leaky Gut Naturally
The digestive system serves critical roles in the body such as absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, excreting waste, and preventing toxins from exiting the gut. The lining of the intestines acts as a passageway for substances that enter the digestive system. This lining covers a massive area of over 4,000 square feet.
When you have a healthy digestive system, the substantial amount of intestinal lining prevents dangerous substances from entering the bloodstream and causing detrimental damage to the body.
When these toxins are allowed to seep through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream, it is believed to be responsible for the development of numerous debilitating medical conditions.
Type 1 Diabetes, skin conditions, Crohn’s disease, and food sensitivities are a few of the ailments believed to be linked to a leaky gut.
Despite intestinal permeability being a well-known problem, it is often overlooked by doctors when diagnosing patients. However, the amount of research on leaky gut syndrome is expanding and medical professionals are actively investigating the cause and the most effective treatments.
We will look at seven ways to naturally treat a leaky gut and close the barriers that allow harmful toxins to damage other parts of the body.
All the treatments we analyze will be simple lifestyle changes or supplements. These will not only combat the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome but improve your overall quality of life. Let’s take a look at the best ways to naturally prevent a leaky gut.
Improve Your Diet
The easiest and most effective way to treat leaky gut syndrome is to stop eating foods that damage the intestinal lining and replace it with foods that are healthy for your gut.
Processed food, refined oils, wheat-based foods, items containing gluten, and processed meats are all known to promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut which can cause leaky gut syndrome.
Foods such as pasta, bread, cereal, deli meats, bacon, cookies, pastries, chips, candy, canola oil, sunflower oil, barely, rye aspartame, and sodas are among the list of foods that will make you more prone to a leaky gut. Eliminating them from your diet is often the first step to natural treatment of a leaky gut and the chronic diseases it may be responsible for.
As you cut out foods from the diet that promote inflammation and the growth of bad bacteria, you want to simultaneously replace it with foods that promote the growth of good bacteria and are healthy for your gut. Foods that heal inflammation within the digestive tract can work wonders to relieve the symptoms of intestinal permeability.
Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, fish, lean meats, wheats with no gluten, nuts, and cultured dairy products are all viable options to consume to improve digestive health.
Wonderful foods to add to your diet and start healing a leaky gut include:
- sweet potatoes
- yams, squash
- sunflower seeds
- coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
The list of foods you can eat by no means is limited to the aforementioned items. With careful planning, you can develop an entire meal plan from the amount of foods that benefit digestive health.
In addition to the foods mentioned, fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are great at healing inflammation and replacing bad bacteria with good bacteria.
Start Taking a Probiotic Supplement
This is particularly a good treatment option for those who cannot acquire enough probiotics through their regular diet. Probiotics contain good bacteria that are wonderful for the health of your digestive system. A 2013 study outlined the commonly stated health benefits of probiotics and intestinal health, lower cholesterol, and decreased risk of cancer were among the benefits listed.
Specific strains of bacteria can provide unique benefits in the body and probiotics often provide only one strain of bacteria. Thus, it is important to consult your doctor to determine the right probiotic for your specific health needs. We will review a few common strains of probiotics available that are known to provide great benefits and go a long way to heal a leaky gut.
As indicated in this study, the strain Bacillus coagulans do a wonderful job increasing the number of good bacteria in the digestive tract. It can reduce the amount of inflammation and relieve gastrointestinal distress.
Another great probiotic strain is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. This study highlighted how it can maintain homeostasis among intestinal barriers by decreasing apoptosis, limiting inflammation, and enabling cell proliferation.
The last beneficial probiotic strain we will review is actually one that we begin our lives with a large amount of but decreases over time. Bifidobacterium Bifidum has many great benefits within the digestive system. As indicated in this study, the strain can reduce the number of bad bacteria in the digestive tract and supports the health of the immune system.
There is an abundance of probiotic supplements on the market and they all provide their own unique health benefits for the digestive tract. It is always best to discuss your options with your medical doctor to determine the right one for your particular health concerns.
You can find some target probiotic supplements here:
- Probiotics for women
- Probiotics for men
- Probiotics for IBS
- Probiotics for weight loss
- Probiotics for vegans
- Probiotics for acne
Reduce Alcohol Intake
One lifestyle choice that will go a long way in preventing leaky gut syndrome is eliminating or at least limiting the intake of alcohol. For individuals who consume alcohol on a consistent basis, there is a much higher risk of developing leaky guy syndrome. Several interactions within the digestive system that can lead to increased intestinal permeability can be exacerbated by excessive alcohol consumption.
For instance, one study highlighted alcohol’s ability to cause the growth of bad bacteria within the intestinal lining which is detrimental to digestive tract health. According to the study, this bad bacteria within the intestines can make the body more prone to intestinal permeability of endotoxin causing severe damage to other organs within the body.
A 2014 study investigated the interactions between alcohol and proteins that play major roles in the tight junctions controlling intestinal permeability. The study discovered that alcohol can cause dysfunction within barriers that prevent intestinal permeability. By altering the way tight junction proteins are altered within the body, excessive alcohol consumption can increase the likelihood of leaky gut syndrome.
Practicing moderation and self-control of alcohol consumption can go a long way in combating leaky gut syndrome. Drinking on occasion will most likely not produce intestinal permeability and this simple lifestyle switch can aid in sealing junctions where toxins escape into the body.
Start an Exercise Regimen
If you are not a regular exerciser and you are experiencing symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, then becoming active is a beneficial step in the right direction. Exercise is one of the most efficient stress reducers you can partake in and eliminating stress is a tremendous way at limiting the damaging effects of leaky gut syndrome.
Constant stress and fatigue on the body can damage the good bacteria in your digestive system which can make the body prone to intestinal leakage. Exercising can provide relief against the damage to the good bacteria in the digestive system.
One study identified common stress conditions such as anxiety and depression as causing damaging effects to the body’s gut. The researchers did state that additional human studies are needed for further analysis on the impact of stressors.
In addition, there is believed to be a gut-brain connection that can link together psychological conditions and gastrointestinal distress together. Mental health can play a direct role in the health of your digestive system. It is imperative to maintain a healthy state of mind due to this tight interaction between the two body systems.
That is where exercise comes in! Exercise enables you to stay mentally sharp and limit psychological stressors on the body. By preventing psychological stress, you are limiting the risk of leaky gut syndrome.
And it does not matter how you exercise. As long as you are performing some form of exercise, you will limit stressors within the body. Although relaxing forms of exercise like yoga are widely recommended to relieve stress, more intense modes of exercise are equally as impactful to reduce stress. Whether you want to perform resistance exercise or aerobic exercise, the important thing to get your body on the go.
Exercise is a wonderful way to rev up your endorphins which release neurotransmitters that put you in a positive mood. Even better, physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression which has been linked to poor gastrointestinal health. When you begin exercising, you greatly reduce the impact of leaky gut syndrome.
L-glutamine is a wonderful supplement to add to your regimen for its known benefits for digestive health. It can limit inflammation and can repair damage to the lining of the digestive tract. Other vital nutrients can be more efficiently absorbed by the digestive tract when supplementing with L-glutamine.
Similar to probiotics, many people would benefit by taking a L-glutamine supplement since they do get enough of the amino acid in their regular diet. The proper dosage of L-glutamine can go a long way in treating many medical conditions of the gastrointestinal system including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and any condition that can be linked to a leaky gut. As indicated by this study, L-glutamine plays a vital role in preventing the breakdown of intestinal permeability.
Another study concluded that L-glutamine plays a critical role in tight junctions of the epithelial lining which can alter permeability. The article highlighted that the human digestive tract does not have the capability to produce its own L-glutamine and has to rely on dietary means to receive the appropriate amount for proper functioning. Since L-glutamine is critical for the cells of the small intestine, it is important to ensure enough is consumed in one’s daily diet.
Without adequate dietary consumption of L-glutamine, the gastrointestinal system is at severe risk of developing leaky gut syndrome and associated illnesses. If you are not consuming enough in your daily diet, a supplement may be greatly needed.
Gut Detox Binders
Gut detox binders can aid in the process of eliminating toxic substances from the gut so repair is completed quicker and in an efficient manner. Detox binders help repair the intestinal lining by targeting and removing damaging toxins and bad bacteria that cause leaky gut syndrome.
Toxins have a greater chance of causing more damage the longer they are allowed to move freely in the body. Detox binders are a great method of removing toxins before they are allowed to develop into more severe medical conditions.
It is important to note that certain detox binders target specific toxins and certain medical conditions caused by leaky gut syndrome may affect which detox binder is most effective for you. It is recommended to speak with your doctor to determine the correct binder to remove the specific toxins affecting your digestive tract.
Digestive enzymes aid in the breakdown of consumed food into the critical nutrients the digestive tract needs for proper functioning such as amino acids. When molecules are broken down into smaller parts, there is a decreased risk of irritation to the intestinal lining.
Not only can digestive enzymes break down food into the nutrients you need for critical bodily functions, but they can eliminate toxins and bad bacteria from the body. This will limit the number of toxins within the body that exacerbate leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome can cause a decline in the number of digestive enzymes your body can produce naturally and a digestive enzyme supplement can aid in the breakdown of consumed food particles. The particles will be broken down into smaller pieces at a faster pace and this will prevent toxins that are not fully digested from doing horrific damage to your intestinal lining.
In addition to aiding with the breakdown of food particles during meal time, digestive enzymes can act as a detoxifying agent when ingested between meals. This can help decrease inflammation caused by leaky gut syndrome.
Digestive enzymes can be taken as a simple capsule and selecting the appropriate time to take them should be discussed with your medical doctor. You want to ensure you achieve the greatest number of benefits possible to rid the body of toxins caused by leaky gut syndrome.
Research on leaky gut syndrome is significantly increasing as more and more individuals are afflicted with unhealthy intestinal lining. Even though additional research is still needed, there are a multitude of natural methods to treat the condition to improve permeability within the intestinal lining. If you are unsure which method or combination of methods works best for you, then seek advice from a medical professional to pinpoint exactly what toxins are wreaking havoc on your digestive tract.
Josh is a fitness enthusiast and part-time blogger. He has a passion for functional fitness and nutrition. In his spare time Josh loves to catch a wave at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach.
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