Introduction

Are you suffering from joint pain, mood swings, fatigue and increased craving for carbs and sugar? If you have answered yes to two or more of these symptoms, you may be suffering from ‘leaky gut’. But fear not, you have come to the right place! With some simple steps, lifestyle changes and determination, you can heal your leaky gut by following the advice in this article.

We also offer a FREE 15 minute consultation, to discuss exactly how you are feeling, so we can get to the bottom of the problem and begin to ease your suffering. If this is something you are interested in, please click here.

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What is leaky gut?

A gastrointestinal condition known as a leaky gut occurs when the small intestines’ protective lining is damaged.

A single layer of epithelial cells constructs the lining of your gut.  These cells are packed very tightly together in the gut lining that let nutrients in, but over time, these holes can enlarge through inflammation caused by substances larger than particle size e.g. bacteria, fungi, potentially toxic molecules and undigested food particles are allowed to pass through into the bloodstream. These larger particles alert the immune system and white blood cells are released to battle these particles. During this battle oxidants are produced causing irritation and inflammation away from the digestive system.

Symptoms of leaky gut

As a result of foreign substances entering your bloodstream, you may be suffering from the following leaky gut symptoms:

  • Allergic reactions

  • Joint pain

  • Increased sensitivity toward food

  • Aches and pains

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sugar and/or Carb cravings

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Inflammation

  • Excess Gas

  • Feeling bloated

  • Diarrhoea

  • Eczema

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Fatigue

Why do I have leaky gut?

The most common causes of leaky gut are:

Alcohol

Alcohol passes directly from the stomach into the bloodstream along with water and certain salts. This is why we feel the effects of alcohol so quickly.

Drinking alcohol frequently can negatively affect how your stomach works. For example, it might have an impact on how much acid is produced, which would reduce your stomach’s capacity to eliminate dangerous germs upon entry, opening the door for them to penetrate your upper small intestine.

Additionally, this can harm the mucous cells that serve as your stomach wall’s defence against damage from acid and digestive enzymes, leading to inflammation and ulcers. Furthermore, drinks containing more than 15% alcohol by volume might delay stomach emptying, which can lead to bacterial food deterioration and discomfort in the abdomen.

Alcohol+affecting+leaky+gut

Poor Diet

One of the main causes of leaky gut syndrome is dysbiosis, or bacterial imbalance. It reflects an imbalance of beneficial and dangerous bacterial species in your digestive system. Having a poor diet consisting of dairy products, sugar, genetically modified (GM) foods, and proteins contained in unsprouted grains can contribute to leaky gut.

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Food Allergies

Certain foods or food groups may trigger your immune system, causing you an unwanted reaction after consumption. If you are suffering from leaky gut, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting after eating.

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Antibiotics

Your gut microbiome is significantly disrupted by antibiotic use. While they are sometimes required, many antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria in addition to dangerous ones. This is why improper use of antibiotics can result in the development of germs that are resistant to them as well as the long-term (perhaps irreversible) demise of some bacterial species. Yeast overgrowth brought on by antibiotic use may affect your intestinal permeability and contribute toward leaky gut.

antibiotics

Chronic Inflammation (IBD)

If you feel pain in your gut when your immune system responds to environmental factors such as things like viruses or bacteria, you may have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which would contribute to you having leaky gut. This is caused by your immune system’s incorrect reaction, causing inflammation. If you know of a family member, or have a family history, you may have a genetic link.

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Stress

Feeling stressed increases the amount of cortisol production in your body, which is shown to directly affect your gut. Increasing cortisol also increases your stomach acidity. This is due to the reduction in prostaglandins, which are produced less frequently as a result of increased cortisol. When you add this to muscle spasms brought on by stress, digestive problems may result. Even worse, stress heightens visceral sensitivities, causing you to react to pain more strongly. Stress makes the gut less likely to generate mucus, which covers the colon wall and further adds to digestive problems. In the short term (acute), the stress reaction is completely normal and safe, but if we experience stress for an extended period of time, problems may develop (chronic).

Stress leaky gut

8 tips on how to heal a leaky gut

1. What to eat for leaky gut?

You probably already know if you have a good diet or not?  When we consume tasty but unhealthy food, we rarely consider the effects that it has on our gut and digestive system. Each time you eat a meal, the components are broken down and digested in your stomach, coming into touch with the lining of your gut.

However, by making simple dietary choices, you can begin to repair your leaky gut. Of course, you must accept that this is a lifestyle change, but go with it, other than healing a leaky gut, there are multiple benefits to making good dietary decisions.

Leaky gut foods to avoid

  • Processed meals

  • Wheat-based products

  • Milk

  • Cheese

  • Ice cream

  • Inflammatory foods

  • Gluten-containing grains

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Refined vegetable oils

  • Excessive carbohydrates

  • Alcohol

  • Sugary Drinks

Foods that are good for leaky gut

  • Green vegetables

  • Bone broth

  • Avocado

  • Fruit

  • Sauerkraut

  • Healthy Fats

  • Nourishing soup

  • Seasonal products

  • Omega 3 rich fish

  • Cultured dairy products

  • High-quality protein

  • Coconut milk

  • Water

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2. Consider an elimination diet

What is an elimination diet?

Eliminating things from your diet that you believe your gut won’t accept well is the goal of an elimination diet. The items are then gradually reintroduced as you keep an eye out for any reactions.

You can also think about giving up anything that you consume on a daily basis, and generally know that it may not be good for your gut, such as processed foods, sugars etc. It is very plausible that these are the foods that your gut reacts adversely to.  This will seem a lot easier if you concentrate on what you can eat rather than what you can’t.

Purpose of an elimination diet

Following an elimination diet may help with symptoms including nausea, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation as well as begin to heal your leaky gut. The elimination diet takes 5-6 weeks to complete.

Elimination diet foods for leaky gut

 Food groups that may be affecting your leaky gut are:

  • Gluten

  • Dairy

  • Soy Corn

  • Eggs

  • Corn

  • Peanuts

  • Sugar

  • Food additives

Elimination diet result

The elimination diet aims to help you rediscover your relationship with how food makes you feel. There is no conventional or customary reaction since everyone experiences emotions differently. The most important thing is that you rediscover your relationship with food and start to realise how it could affect you.

You could try reintroducing some of the items you have been avoiding after three to four weeks. Reintroduce foods one at a time, waiting three days between each one. There are some things on the list where it could be beneficial by cutting out permanently, if at all possible, such as; aspartame, gluten, soy, and any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

At the very least, you should consume fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha tea or take a decent probiotic supplement two to three times a week.

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We also advise consulting a nutritionist, who can offer guidance. Get in touch today and we would be happy to discuss your symptoms and remedies one on one and offer further information on, an elimination diet, or other dietary modifications.

3. Remove Processed foods

Although processed food can be a quick and easy solution for a meal, they are not good for your gut, especially if you suspect that you have a leaky gut. Take a look at the ingredients on the packaged food in your cupboard and fridge – if you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients throw them away. Canned, packaged, and cured foods are examples of processed foods. Additionally, you may attempt to pay closer attention to how your body responds to the food you consume. For instance, it could be a good idea to avoid sugary meals for at least two weeks if consuming too much of them makes you feel ill.

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4. Green Vegetables

Eating extra greens is another simple solution for a leaky gut. This is due to the fact that many veggies, especially dark green ones, are packed with prebiotic fibre that healthy gut flora love to consume. Asparagus, spinach, kale, chard, leeks, and peas are examples of green vegetables high in prebiotics. It’s better to consume them whole because overcooking or juicing them might cause the fibre and nutrients to be lost.

5. Reduce the stress in your life

Your gut microorganisms might suffer damage from stress, leading to an imbalance. Additionally, stress and despair might aggravate your gut barrier permeability by causing more inflammation.

You must give stress management the highest priority during the coming several months and if you find that it works for you, stick to it. Saying “no” may be what this means to you. You are under no need to say yes to every invitation or request, especially if it makes you unhappy.

If you are stressed day in and day out with no end in sight, you must take a step back and analyse what is causing stress in your life, this may even mean changing occupations or employment. The value of your job route in light of your deteriorating health may need to be evaluated. Consider whether your profession enables you to lead a long, fulfilling, healthy life.

Things that contribute toward stress reduction are:

  • Exercise regularly

  • Stretching exercises

  • Find a hobby that you enjoy

  • Adopt a healthy sleeping pattern

  • Find something that makes you laugh (a TV show, friend etc.)

  • Reach out for help

  • Connect with people you like

  • Meditate

  • Keep a diary

  • Confront problems

  • Set goals

Although stress is an inevitable aspect of life, it may have negative effects on your physical and emotional well-being if it persists and is ultimately bad for your gut health and dut leak. Set some time aside to write down what makes you stressed and how you can put measures in place to reduce that area of stress in your life. Once you have completed your list, set a plan and stick to it.

Stress+Free

6. Avoid Alcohol

Your stomach may become more porous if you drink alcohol, which is undesirable since the lining that serves as a barrier has already been damaged. If you are suffering from leaky gut, it is essential that you cut out alcohol, at least for a few weeks. However, it can be easier said than done to give up that cold beer or glass of wine after a long day. If you think you might struggle to give up alcohol completely, here are some useful tips to help reduce your intake.

  • Be proactive

  • Set up a plan. Set a limit on how much alcohol you’ll consume before you start.

  • Stick to a budget spend on alcohol

  • Tell your friends and family that you are going to cut down

  • When you have a drink, take your time to enjoy it. Sips are better than gulps

  • Opt for alcohol with lower strengths. Just look for the ABV in % on the bottle

  • Set some alcohol-free days and stick to them

  • Find an enjoyable distraction, this could be cooking, playing a game, etc.

As well as helping your leaky gut, there are other benefits in reducing or cutting out alcohol, such as; improved mood, better immune system, reduced fatigue, weight loss, and many more.

If you believe that alcohol is contributing to your leaky gut, drinkaware has a ton of useful information on how alcohol may be affecting your digestive system and a load of useful tips on how to reduce your alcohol consumption or give up alcohol completely.

7. Supplements for a leaky gut

It’s critical to supply digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals since your body hasn’t been able to absorb nutrition effectively. You also want to prevent future damage and rebuild your gut lining. Here are some vitamins for mending the leaky gut.

Glutamine

Zinc

Omega 3s

Antioxidants

Amino Acids

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Supplements

8. Eat glutamine-rich foods

One of the most crucial amino acids, glutamine is essential for maintaining gut health. Since glutamine is the primary nutrition and energy source for the cells lining the digestive system, enough glutamine is required to maintain optimal digestion. Here is a list of glutamine-rich foods to help repair leaky gut.

Benefits of a healthy gut

Although the above article focuses on the repair of a leaky gut, there are so many more benefits of changing your diet and lifestyle to improve your overall digestive system and gut health. Your gut is the cornerstone of determines how the majority of your body works and performs. 

It helps your body digest the food you consume, absorbs the nutrients, and utilises them to maintain and power your body. Therefore, it will be harder to maintain good health if your gut is out of sync and your immune system isn’t operating at peak efficiency. 

The body eliminates pollutants and metabolic waste in your stomach. However, if you have a bad stomach, it will be difficult for your body to get rid of those toxins. If this happens, it can lead to a variety of problems, such as inflammation all throughout the body, chronic diseases, and chronic fatigue. People, therefore, encounter symptoms including dizziness, brain fog, constipation, gas, joint discomfort, etc. 

You might not be aware that your brain ad gut are linked, and one can have a dramatic on the other. If your gut is not functioning correctly it is more than likely that your brain is suffering too.

What our nutritional expert has to say.

In my experience with myself and my clients I have found that leaky gut is hard to identify because it is not actually classed as a disease or an illness.  When trying to fix the symptoms of leaky gut of which there are many the most common being Acne, Alcoholism, Abdominal Pain, Schizophrenia, IBS and the list goes on.  There are tests, but I have found that the most effective way of addressing leaky gut is determining the underlying factors for why these symptoms are occurring.  Working with someone like myself as a Nutritional Professional who can help you get to the bottom of why you are experiencing these symptoms in an individualized way, by healing the gut.  This may mean changing your habits, what you eat and how you eat.  It may mean taking specific supplements to help the body repair and renew the gut lining.  Do not suffer in silence anymore and put up with living a life where you do not feel your best. 

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