What is Leaky Gut?
Your gut is protected by cells that create a tight junction or barrier to prohibit certain particles from damaging the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Naturally, very small nutrients from our diet can pass through to be absorbed into our bloodstream. The barrier can get irritated, weakened, and damaged from multiple dietary and environmental triggers and toxins. Once the barrier has been compromised, you have leaky gut (also known as increased intestinal permeability). The gut is the home of 70% of your immune cells. When the gut's immune cells are not functioning properly, it affects almost every organ in the body.
What Can Cause Leaky Gut?
1. Poor Diet (high in sugar, low in fiber)
2. Infections (yeast, parasites, viruses)
3. Drugs (Antibiotics, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug [NSAIDs], Proton Pump Inhibitors [PPIs], Steroids)
4. Gluten or Gluten Cross Reactive Foods (Soy, Coffee, Corn, etc)
6. Chronic Stress
7. Excessive Exercise
How to Heal the Leaky Gut
The 4R Program, was developed by Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D, to promote gastrointestinal health. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, it can take anywhere from about 4-6 weeks to 12 months to fully heal your gut. Patience is key. You can do each step one at a time or all the steps together.
1. Remove any triggers.
The main triggers and toxins come from the foods we eat. Gluten is the primary culprit. Dairy comes in a close second. Other GI irritants are corn, caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Treat any underlying infection like candida overgrowth and parasites. Identify any food allergies or sensitives. Remove all triggers for 3-6 months. I also recommend an elimination diet for 6 weeks.
2. Replace your healthy gut flora.
Replace your stomach acid with Betaine HCl or digestive enzymes.
3. Reinoculate beneficial bacteria with probiotics and probiotic rich foods.
I recommend one capsule per day of a high quality brand probiotic. You can increase up to 4 capsules a day as you can tolerate. Excellent probiotic rich foods are lacto fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass.
4. Repair intestinal lining with herbs and supplements.
L-glutamine, zinc carnosine, omega fish oils, curcumin, aloe vera, and ginger root are great sources.
To your Gut Health.