I bet you are all familiar with the phrase “trust your gut”, your body’s natural instinct to alert you that something is not quite right. A kind of pain or a kick in the proverbial guts! Oh, oh, body this is a Code 3 alert! If that’s the case, then you are probably right. For arguments sake that “gut feeling”, could be associated with a condition called “leaky gut”. A recurring and growing epidemic often presenting in loads of people but misdiagnosed as another disorder or disease. Having many associations with various symptoms like bloating, candida overgrowth, constipation or ongoing diarrhea even nasty bouts of flatulence you may have this condition.
But what is it and why are so many people plagued from these symptoms? Leaky gut is intestinal permeability or hyper permeability, a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction. Intestinal junctions in the lining of your intestines are normally knitted together to form a kind of mesh that acts as a protective barrier between the digestive tract and your fluids. Food gut microbiota, toxins and incomplete undigested proteins and fats leak through these broken junctions or gaps into the surrounding fluid and tissue causing inflammation. Ironically enough inflammation causes this mesh to break, and allow this to occur in the first place. If the gut cannot properly digest nutrients and these particles escape this may be the root cause of other disorders.
Symptoms may spread body wide causing systemic inflammation which could be attributed to other lifestyle factors such as stress. Stress then affects digestion which then furthers more inflammation. The gaps widen due to inflammation which leads to further malabsorption and a myriad of other disorders like headaches, migraines, joint pain, thyroid issues, weight gain, fatigue, depression and immune dysfunction. When inflammation is present, your immune system normally comes to the rescue sending out a team of killer cells that attack the pathogens that are not recognised as friendly to the system. The challenge is that by doing this they inadvertently attack healthy cells in the process furthering more inflammation.
The good news is that we can fix this problem mend the gaps and get you back to absorbing the nutrients from your food so that you will feel better and subsequently live a rather normal unaffected life. Here is a four-part protocol to resurrecting your GIT and to allow the flow of food to create the energy for you to feel well again.
Proteins found in unsprouted grains, sugar, GMOS and conventional dairy must be avoided. These common components of food can damage your intestinal lining. These proteins contain nutrient blockers called lectins and phytates. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that attach to the digestive lining causing damage to your GIT, irritation and inflammation.
Convention cow’s milk is another food that may cause leaky gut due to the pasteurization process and a protein A1 casein. Pasteurising destroys vital enzymes including lactase making it difficult for lactose to be digested properly. Although raw milk, A2 cow’s milk, goat’s sheep camel and buffalo could be used instead.
Good old sugar is yet another substance that seems to always rear its ugly head in disturbing the natural order of digestion. Sugar in many forms feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad and unwanted bacteria furthering the damage to your gut. Exotoxins are synthesized by the bad bacteria which chomp on the lining of the GIT, creating t gaps furthering the damage to the intestines.
Get rid of the nagging wife or husbands or kids or job or whatever it is that is causing you stress in the first place or better still just learn to calm down and learn to think differently to cope with the current situation. Stress is mostly self-manifested so learn to manage it before it seriously manages you. Ask yourself every day before that trigger is pulled on that loaded gun of classic 101 tail tantrum behavior “ will it matter tomorrow “?
My first go to for people suffering from any of the above presenting complaints. Bone both is not only delicious but contains collagen and specific amino acids like proline and glycine that help heal the intestinal lining. A must for auto immune disease and if you are serious about healing have a 3 day fast of bone broth alone and then introduce other foods back into your diet that have nutrient healing properties.
Raw Cultured Dairy
Specialised dairy products like kefir, butter, yoghurt and raw cheese that contain probiotics and small chain fatty acids ( SCFA’s) help to heal the GIT. Introduce in small quantities and note the reaction, or action. SCFAS produce butyrate acid a fatty acid important for gut-related diseases from autoimmunity to obesity to colon cancer. butyrate helps control the growth of the cells lining the gut, to make sure there’s good balance between old cells dying and new cells being formed. It’s also the most important source of energy for those cells.
SCFA Food Sources
The following soluble dietary fibre produces most SCFA in the large intestine [2,3]:
Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.
Sprouted Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.
Omega 3 fats. Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy is consistent amongst functional medical Doctors. Consuming foods that have omega-3 fats are beneficial to the GIT as they contain anti-inflammatory properties and beneficial amino acids like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon.
L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.
Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have also shown its effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis. Take 500 milligrams three times daily with meals.
4 REBALANCE with probiotics
Probiotics with specific strains are the most important supplement as they replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. I see people all the time only follow part of the protocol in healing their leaky gut syndrome by removing the damaging irritants. But the part they often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay. So load up on both probiotic and prebiotic dense foods and take at least a 35 billion units of a good quality probiotic. A recommended practitioner brand like multi gen from Bio-concepts Australia.
If you can follow the above protocol, you are well on your way to successfully treating your gut for good. Good luck and let me know how you go or if you want some additional assistance and guidance with the above program hey just email me !! Only too happy to help !
Clinical Nutritionist & Exercise Science executive, life style counsellor, health blogger
1 Kiefer D, Ali-Akbarian L (2004). “A brief evidence-based review of two gastrointestinal illnesses: irritable bowel and leaky gut syndromes”. Alternative Therapy Health Medicine 10 (3): 22–30.
Caroline is a clinical Nutritionist practicing on a consultation basis. Caroline's experience encompasses research and writing on disease prevention with natural herbs, spices, foods and supplementation. Caroline practices holistic nutritional medicine that combines the three elements of being human. Those being, the physical , emotional and the mental components that make us who we are. All of these criterior is fueled by the fundamental of all health, food .