As explained in my previous post, Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when the cells that line your small intestine become loose. This allows toxins, pathogens, and undigested food particles to pass through your gut lining and into your bloodstream, where they cause an inflammatory response.
Healing Leaky Gut requires a multi-faceted approach.
In other words – we have to attack it from several different angles, not just one.
This is because Leaky Gut is often linked to other digestive issues and lifestyle factors, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Here’s a brief overview of what a treatment plan from me might look like.
1. Remove irritants/allergies
Identifying what causes your body to react is the first step in your recovery. This involves us sitting down and examining exactly what you are eating every day, and the symptoms you experience after certain foods.
Sugar, alcohol, food additives, wheat, and dairy are the most common causes of inflammation and intestinal damage. These foods can also worsen any microbial imbalances in the gut, which can promote further dysbiosis or intolerances.
The best way to really pinpoint any potential allergies or sensitivities is with an elimination diet.
Although an elimination diet may take several weeks to identify the foods you’re reacting to, it is often referred to as the ‘gold standard’ of testing.
The diet involves removing one food for two weeks, then reintroducing it as a ‘challenge’. We observe your reaction to the food and make notes of your symptoms both before and after the challenge. An allergy test can then provide a definitive diagnosis.
NOTE: An elimination diet may lead to some slightly unpleasant symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, or food cravings. This is all part of the healing process, and symptoms usually disappear after a few days.
2. Restore nutrient deficiencies
Those with Leaky Gut often have deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals due to their inability to absorb nutrients properly.
Replenishing your body’s nutrient stores is crucial for ensuring you can function properly every day. The tiny fibers (microvilli) that line your intestines are often so damaged that they cannot rebuild themselves properly, so you need to provide your body with nutrients that assist with cell rebuilding and renewal.
As your Naturopath & Nutritionist, I create a comprehensive diet plan designed specifically to your needs. This includes plenty of whole foods, healthy fats, and lean protein. I choose foods that provide the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes your body needs to repair damage and rebuild healthy tissue. Some examples include oily fish, leafy greens, brightly-coloured fruits, certain herbs, nuts, and organ meats.
Supplements can also help to provide a more concentrated and convenient dose of the nutrients you need. I will assist in prescribing or recommending a product that addresses your unique needs.
3. Rebalance gut bacteria
Once we’ve healed the lining of your gut, we need to restore the balance of healthy gut bacteria. These flora are vital for the proper functioning of your immune system, healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and many other roles
A high-potency probiotic supplement can help to rejuvenate the bacterial populations of your gut. Look for a product that provides some form of protection against stomach acid (such as enteric coating) which will help ensure its passage through the harsh conditions of the stomach.
A prebiotic is also recommended for providing ‘fuel’ to your gut bacteria. Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that cannot be broken down, so they are fermented by your probiotic bacteria.
This helps your body to produce nutrients for your colon cells.
Fermented foods are rich in both prebiotics and probiotics. These include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kombucha. They can help reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, and provide important antioxidants.
4. Boost digestion
A little digestive support can go a long way in improving both your gut lining and your nutritional status. This is especially important for treating Leaky Gut because your body will need all the help it can get to utilize nutrients.
Digestive enzymes and bitters are a great way to assist in the breakdown of food you eat. Most digestive enzyme supplements include the main enzymes:
- Lipase (for digesting fats)
- Amylase (for converting starches into sugars)
- Lactase (for breaking down milk sugar)
- Cellulase (for digesting fruits and vegetables)
- Betaine HCL (for restoring normal gastric acidity)
Herbal bitters are also helpful for healthy digestive function. Bitters are a kind of tonic made up of bitter-tasting herbs that stimulate the flow of digestive juices from the pancreas, duodenum and liver.
When used together, digestive enzymes and bitters can help to reduce irritation and inflammation in the gut. When food is properly broken down, there is less of a chance that undigested particles can escape into your bloodstream and cause further inflammation.
A personalised treatment plan is the most effective way to identify, treat, and heal your Leaky Gut issues. If you’re ready to address your allergies, sensitivities, and digestive problems, get in touch with me!