Everyone these days is talking about gut health! You cannot open a web page or turn on the television without someone touting the benefits of improved gut health. The term “leaky gut” is almost becoming colloquial.
Yet there remains a lot of confusion and controversy regarding the subject. 🤔
More and more individuals and healthcare professionals are recognizing its significance and treating leaky gut syndrome.
While research continues to develop regarding the causes and symptoms, everyone can agree that superior gut health equals improved general health.
In this piece, we explore leaky gut syndrome and the ideal diet to support digestive health. We go over specific diet protocols to heal the gut and supplements that can help facilitate the process.
The “gut” is the digestive system. It is basically a tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. Everything that you breathe, eat, and drink enters this digestive tube.
In an ideal world and in a properly functioning digestive system, everything that enters the digestive system is absorbed and filtered by microscopic fingers called villi that populate the digestive organs.
These villi are fragile and one cell wall thick which allows for the passage of nutrients from within the digestive tube to the rest of the body.
The digestive process is a sophisticated system. 💪
Upon absorption, nutrients are filtered and sorted by various organs, most notably the liver. If the absorbed substances pass the scrutinizing eye of the liver, the digested materials are shuttled to various body parts or released into the bloodstream.
The gut has a mind of its own…
If the absorbed substances are considered indigestible, dangerous, or toxic, they are sent back to the digestive system to be eliminated.
⚠️ ATTENTION⚠️: here is where problems can occur!
When a person has a leaky gut, there are actual leaks in the tube of the digestive system, most notably in the small intestine. There are actual holes or spaces between the cells of the villi (recall the villi live in the digestive tube).
This allows everything that is inhaled or consumed to circumvent the body’s filtration and classification systems and to enter directly into the blood.
☢️ The danger lurks here ☢️
Indigestible food particles, inappropriately large molecules, harmful bacteria, and toxins can enter the bloodstream. When the body senses unwanted molecules in the bloodstream, the body produces an immune response.
The unwelcome intruders that take advantage of these porous portals have been blamed for everything from:
The ideal leaky gut diet removes foods that have been proven to promote a leaky gut and eliminates substances that can cause intestinal permeability while including gut cell healing supplements and digestive health nourishing foods. To heal your gut lining, follow these guidelines:
High fiber foods are usually considered healthy, but they should be temporarily avoided. High fiber foods include raw fruits and veggies as well as nuts and seeds. Fiber is roughage, and it is the part of the food that our bodies cannot digest. It passes through the digestive tract intact, and the large particles of fiber can cause rips in the delicate digestive cells.
These foods contain invaluable nutrition, but they should not be eaten until you are healed. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and more. Cruciferous vegetables contain certain fibers that humans do not have the digestive enzymes to breakdown and absorb. (3) As these undigested fibers enter the small intestine, they ferment causing water retention, bloating, and gas. This causes the expansion of the intestines and the stretching of the intestinal cells and the spaces between them.
Grains need to be avoided. Grains include whole wheat, corn, oats, buckwheat, rye, and many more. Grains are the seeds of a plant. They contain protective mechanisms known as antinutrients including lectins and phytates that are designed to promote the survival of the plant species. These mechanisms are complex proteins that are difficult to digest. The most known antinutrient is gluten, and gluten consumption causes the release of the chemical zonulin. Zonulin causes the cell junctions in the intestinal wall to open. (4) Most people have some degree of grain sensitivity.
Beans and legumes cannot be eaten. These include beans, lentils, soy, peanuts, peas, and others. These foods contain a fermentable carbohydrate that require digestive enzymes that humans do not possess. These undigested food particles ferment also causing water retention, bloating, and gas. This enlargement of the intestines pulls the digestive cells apart.
Dairy is extremely controversial, and it is prohibited on this protocol. Dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. Most conventionally sold dairy is pasteurized and homogenized. The pasteurization and homogenization processes destroy the naturally occurring digestive enzymes that make it easier for the body to absorb. In addition to that, milk by nature enlarges the openings between intestinal cells as an evolutionary mechanism to allow a nursing mother’s antibodies to enter her calf’s bloodstream and strengthen her calf’s immune system. Almost everyone has some degree of dairy intolerance.
Refined sugar is not part of any healthy diet. All the cells of the body are surrounded by connective tissue. The connective tissue supports, nourishes, and connects the different components of the human body. When you eat refined sugar, glucose is released into the body causing a process known as glycation. This process hardens the connective tissue. Hard connective tissue cannot support or nourish the cells of the body. Refined sugar poisons and decreases the nutrition to the cells of the intestinal lining.
Heavily processed foods are particularly dangerous and should always be avoided. A processed food is a food that has been cooked, canned, or packaged, and nutritionally altered usually for preservation or preparation purposes. There are various levels of processing. Heavily processed foods often contain preservatives and additives that can irritate the entire body including the digestive system. They also often contain grains, dairy, and sugar.
Alcohol is not part of a healthy diet. Alcohol alters and damages the entire body. It slows and reduces the digestive capabilities of the digestive system. The consumption of alcohol also causes actual physiological damage to all the cells of the body including the gut. It creates inflammation, promotes ulcers (sores in the stomach or intestines), reduces digestive enzymes, promotes the growth of cysts, and damages digestive organs.
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that reside in our bodies predominantly in our digestive system. We have a mutually symbiotic relationship with these helpful single-celled organisms. They help us digest the foods that we ingest. A high concentration of broad-spectrum probiotics will ensure that our food is broken down into appropriately sized molecules and correctly absorbed by the villi in our digestive system. I recommend Amy Myers 100 Billion CFU Probitoic. Take that probiotic supplement daily.
Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring proteins. They are required by the body to breakdown and absorb nutrients. The body can make digestive enzymes; however, nutrition, lifestyle, and age can reduce the body’s ability to generate enough enzymes. Supplementing with digestive enzymes will facilitate the breakdown and absorption of food. Take a digestive enzyme supplement that includes amylase, protease, and lipase to process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. MRM Nutrition Digest-all Enzymes work really well. A digestive enzyme should be taken prior to each meal.
L-glutamine is a naturally occurring non-essential (meaning that our bodies can make it) amino acid. It is the preferred fuel of the cells of the digestive system. It provides nutrition for the cells of the digestive lining so that they can repair cellular damage and grow. I personally take Now Sports L-Glutamine powder. Aim for 3-5 grams per day on an empty stomach.
Collagen powder is a complete protein supplement. It is the primary component of the connective tissue. Collagen supports the repair and rebuilding of the connective tissue in the entire body including the connective tissue and the cells of the digestive system. There are bovine and marine sources of collagen. To learn more about collagen, check out our guide on collagen supplements here. Vital Proteins Collagen peptides powder is the best. Take at least 10 grams of collagen powder per day.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are sugar proteins that are naturally found in the connective tissue of the body. Nutrition, lifestyle, and age reduce the amount of these compounds in the body’s connective tissue. Since they are the primary building blocks of the connective tissue, supplementation is necessary for growth. They have also been shown to be anti-inflammatory and protective for the body’s existing connective tissue including the tissues of the digestive system. Try the Naturello Glucosamine, Chondroitin & MSM supplement. Take 4 capsules per day.
To dive deeper into supplements that help heal leaky gut, check out our guide here.
Make sure you eat these daily. They include low fiber fruits like cantaloupe, papaya, peaches, and plums and low fiber veggies like carrots, beets, white potatoes, and acorn squash. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants and should be consumed. You can reduce the fiber content of these plant foods by peeling, chopping, and cooking them. You can also remove the fiber by juicing them. Blending fruits and vegetables can also make them easier to digest.
These are incredibly important. Fermented vegetables include sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles. They are made by combining vegetables and live cultures. Vegetables are incredibly nutritious, and these live bacterial cultures partially digest the vegetables making them easier for your digestive system to process, and these bacteria increase the friendly and helpful probiotics residing in your digestive tract.
Eat a small amount of these with each meal. The healthy fats that should most definitely be consumed are avocados, coconuts and coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil. Fat is the source of the “vitamins” A, D, E, and K, and it is necessary for the absorption of vitamins and minerals. These fats are very nutritious and easy to digest. They are also low in fiber and coat and soothe the irritated leaky gut cell lining.
These are essential. Clean animal protein is an animal protein that is high-quality, antibiotic, and added hormone-free, humanely raised, and minimally processed. Proteins are the building blocks for all repair and growth in the body, and animal protein is the most complete and easy to digest source of protein. Grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and pastured chicken and eggs are needed to repair and grow digestive lining cells.
Consume this as often as possible. Bone broth can be homemade or store-bought. It is made by boiling animal bones for several hours to several days depending on the cooking vessel. This allows all the nutrients to leach out of the bones and into the broth. It is extremely nutritious, and the easiest to digest food source of all the amino acids. Its amino acid profile is similar to that of collagen powder supplements, and it naturally contains glucosamine and chondroitin. It is the ideal food for a leaky gut. It provides nutrition for the repair and growth of the digestive cells.
There it is! In this article, we discussed leaky gut syndrome and how to eat to correct it.
👏 With these 3 steps, it’s possible to see dramatic results in 2 weeks! 👏
Follow my instructions and remove high fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, dairy, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.
Lastly, consume low fiber fruits and vegetables, fermented vegetables, nourishing fats, clean animal proteins, and bone broth daily.
I’ve helped countless clients heal their leaky guts, thus transforming their lives. I’ve seen that this experience of empowerment propels my clients to delve deeper into the topic and take on lifelong learning. Your gut health is something that affects all aspects of your life. The fact that it is so intrinsically rooted in everything means that the rewards of proper care are immeasurable.
Wishing you the best of luck on your gut health journey!