As far as strange medical conditions go, leaky gut syndrome or medically termed ‘intestinal permeability’ is among the most intriguing. Because it’s only recently begun to be studied, leaky gut syndrome is still poorly understood.
“Leaky gut syndrome,” on its own, is a diagnosis that’s not recognized across the board by conventional medicine. The theory is that having a poor diet or ingesting too many antibiotics or painkillers can damage the mucosal barrier, the layer of cells lining your intestine. The intestinal lining is the first mechanism of defense for our immune system and normally, this barrier lets nutrients through but blocks larger molecules and germs from getting into your bloodstream. It’s thought that a porous, or “leaky,” intestinal lining can allow food particles or germs to pass into the blood, causing inflammation throughout your body.
The most common symptoms of a leaky gut include:
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Seasonal allergies or asthma.
- Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
- Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
- Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
- Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
- Food allergies or food intolerances.
A damaged gut responds well to select herbs and supplements, a clean diet and healthy lifestyle choices. Below are a few recommendations.
A pure diet is crucial for repairing the gut. A standard anti-candida protocol is beneficial – eliminating sugar (in any form), gluten, processed foods, dairy, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine while focusing on high-fiber, nutrient-dense diet. Since pesticides and GMOs antagonize the situation, consume only organic food. Essential fatty acids from fish, flax, chia or borage are also vital to healing the bowel and reducing inflammation. Drinking plenty of purified water is crucial as well to avoid gut-destroying contaminants.
Often, those suffering from leaky gut syndrome have low stomach acid. This creates poor digestion, causing toxins to leach into the body. Digestive enzyme supplements are helpful along with lemon or raw apple cider vinegar water.
Fiber protects the gut while sweeping fungus, harmful bacteria and other pathogens quickly out of the system. Good options include organic psyllium powder, ground flax and chia seeds.
Several herbs are known to calm inflammation and the subsequent damage that occurs in the gut. Marshmallow root along with slippery elm are excellent choices. They both soothe and coat the intestinal tract, minimizing the absorption of toxins. These herbs also help to heal damage, further reducing excessive permeability. Kudzu, licorice root, goldenseal, sheep sorrel, fennel seed and ginger root are beneficial as well. To eliminate parasites that frequently accompany a suppressed digestive system, try echinacea, garlic, colloidal silver, cloves, wormwood, black walnut, caprylic acid or grapefruit seed extract.
Since leaky gut syndrome contributes to malabsorption of many nutrients, it’s important to supplement the diet. A, B, C and E vitamins are essential as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and coenzyme Q10. Colostrum helps to heal the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation. To rebuild gut wall integrity, L-glutamine is exceptional. And don’t forget a daily, high-quality probiotic.
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is valuable for encouraging a healthy digestive system. Minimizing stress, gentle exercise, adequate sleep and slowing down during mealtime supports healing.
As it is well-known, disease is substantially influenced by the health of the gut. In light of this, the words of Dr. Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, ring true:
“A well-functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health. And, just as a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system.”