Could leaky gut be the reason your health is suffering?
Leaky gut is a term that the medical profession don’t seem to like to even acknowledge but gradually via naturopaths and natural therapists, it is becoming more recognised and even researched! (Liu Z, Li N, Neu J. Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases. Acta Paediatrica 2005;94:386-393.)
Certainly for those who live with autoimmune conditions and daily digestive issues, healing a leaky gut can be the first step on the road to feeling better. It made a huge difference to my health and well being when I addressed this underlying condition.
Do I have leaky gut?
Many symptoms of a gut in crisis are actually not directly related to digestion but may be seemingly unrelated such as fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, anemia, skin reactions, headache, weight loss or weight gain.
But to double check try the Gutmatters Leaky Gut quiz and see how you score on signs and symptoms.
What is going on in the gut?
Basically what is believed to happen is this:
The normal hard-working gut allows nutrients and water to enter the body while preventing the entry of dangerous compounds. However inflammation, stress, pharmaceuticals, bacterial balance, malnutrition, compounds in food (gluten, casein, lectins, fructose), and food additives (including MSG) can all influence the junctions in our gut and weaken their bonds. When the tight junctions between the cells loosen up, the increased permeability allows undigested compounds and toxins or antigens to enter. The gut wall is no longer a barrier acting as our first point of defense. The body’s immune system attacks targeting the foreign invaders and this leads to symptoms.
5 steps to improve gut health
1. REMOVE possible triggers especially any food or drink you know might make your gut feel worse. In my case it was gluten. Even though I am not a Coeliac (cannot tolerate any gluten) I do so much better without gluten especially any wheat products.
Try an elimination and challenge diet where you take one thing out of your diet for a period of 3 weeks. Then introduce that food back and see if any symptoms return.
2. REPAIR with healing bone broths.
– start with bone broths as they contain certain amino acids (proline and glycine) that heal damaged cell walls.
TIP: make your bone broths and do a 3 day bone broth fast for a rapid leaky gut repair.
To make your bone broth:
1. Buy organic chicken, beef, lamb bones and cover with filtered water.
2. Add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar but it must be one with a ‘mother’ or cloudiness at the bottom. Braggs is a good brand.
3. For flavour add 1 tablespoon of cracked peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of Himalayan or celtic sea salt. You could also add dried bay leaves, carrots, celery, or herbs just as in making a soup stock.
4. Bring to the boil on the stove and remove any scum that comes to the surface.
5. As you want to simmer on low for a period from 6 to 36 hours, it might be a good idea to continue cooking in a crock pot.
6. When transferring lift out the bones and meat pieces separately before pouring the hot liquid very carefully into the crock pot!
7. Cook a minimum of 6-8 hours although it may be days longer. Just keep adding water to cover the bones.
8. Cool totally before adding to glass jars to keep in the fridge.
And there it is – a little fiddly but very easy and remarkably healing.
3. REPLACE with fermented foods
– my daily favourite is kefir which I use as a yoghurt drink on my homemade non wheat cereal.
To find out how to make and use kefir go to the article on How to Make Kefir.
– as well make and use fermented vegetables. The traditional food – sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, sour pickles – of many cultures are all fermented foods.
Don’t feel intimidated as fermented vegetables are very easy to make.
4. RENEW the gut bacteria that control all our gut health.
For instant results take a supplement of probiotics such as Polybac 8 with different strains of bacteria in large numbers.
If you are not sure what each strain of probiotic does what, read about it in the article Probiotics: choosing the right one for your needs.
5. RELIEVE future stress on your gut health by dealing with the issues that may have caused the problem in the first place. The best way is to make lifestyle changes ranging from the simple – getting more sleep, eating less or no junk food to the BIG – perhaps changing jobs if the work environment is too stressful.
Want a gut repair program for LEAKY GUT? Go to our Leaky Gut and Dysbiosis Heal Yourself Guide for a step by step program.