As a holistic nutritionist who focuses on digestive health, I often have clients come in and ask me about leaky gut, wondering if the symptoms they are experiencing could be attributed to it, and what they can do to fix it.
So what is leaky gut?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is unhealthy intestinal permeability. This means that there is a breakdown of the intestinal walls, creating “holes” that allow large protein molecules to escape into the body. When these large protein molecules live outside the walls of the gut, the immune system views them as invaders, thereby creating an immune response that attacks these proteins. These invaders can inhibit regularity in the body, and leak unwanted toxic chemicals into the bloodstream. When we are healthy and chew our food properly, our food breaks down into particles then goes through tight junctions in our intestines. However, with leaky gut, gaps become wider and more permeable and undigested particles of food or toxins can seep through.
Leaky gut causes the immune system to go into overdrive, meaning that the body will respond negatively or produce a negative reaction. As undigested food continues to pass through the holes of the gut lining, food intolerances will occur. Gaps in our intestinal wall can be caused by lack of chewing our food properly, lack of stomach acid production or HCL, stress and/or drinking excessive alcohol. Often when we continue to eat foods that our body cannot tolerate such as gluten, wheat or grains and dairy, this can cause irritation to the gut lining. If left untreated, autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, colitis, Crohn’s, IBD, type 1 diabetes and a host of others could occur.
As soon as I started to change my diet and heal my gut lining, my symptoms, such as constipation, indigestion and bloating, began to disappear. The types of foods you eat and the supplements you take, will directly affect your gut bacteria. By changing your diet, you will change the kind of bacteria you have, which will either support your immune system or deplete it.
Healing leaky gut
When healing the digestive system it is important to pay attention to restoring and/or finding a balance of good bacteria in the gut, but also decreasing, intestinal permeability or leaky gut. I’ve found many times that people pump themselves with probiotics thinking that will heal their microbiome but it’s more than that.
A good first step, and one that many of us take for granted is simply to chew, and to keep chewing. Chewing your food properly will help you recognize when you are full and also help ease the burden of your digestive system.
It’s also important to assess your diet and make changes if necessary. Remove potential gut-lining irritants such as wheat and dairy as this will help give the villi and microvilli time to repair. Nix the sugar, fruit juices and dried fruit, as high-sugar foods, especially packaged products, counter-balance your gut flora. Choose to eat foods such as fiber-rich vegetables that will help restore your gut lining cells and that will benefit the colon. Including fermented foods such as fermented pickles, sauerkraut and miso can keep your gut healthy.
And do considering taking supplements! One of the most effective supplements I have in my nutritional tool kit is Sproos™ Up Your Gut as it has the perfect combination of grass-collagen, organic inulin, L-glutamine, organic ginger, quercetin, and organic aloe vera leaf gel–all of which are impactful ingredients that help myself and my clients find relief.
Collagen, or hydrolyzed collagen peptides, is one of my go-to supplements when it comes to restoring the gut lining. It is a building block that helps to support and strengthen your gut lining. Although our body naturally produces collagen, we lose collagen as we age.
L-Glutamine, is an amino acid that our cells use as an energy source and can lead to improvements in bloating and intestinal permeability. As well, anytime I am looking for a digestive healing product, one that soothes the GI tract, I look for organic natural ingredients such as ginger and aloe vera. A combination of these supplements helps heal inflammation and restore healthy levels of good gut bacteria.
I like to add Sproos™ Up Your Gut to my daily water and smoothies, because it is in a powdered form that dissolves and blends easily, which eases digestion and absorption in my system. And, it’s a quick, easy and convenient option for me and for my clients with busy schedules because it means we get several gut healing supplements all in one easy-to-take dose.
With these lifestyle changes it is possible to improve gut permeability and overall health.
Laura De Sanctis
Holistic Nutritionist, Fitness Instructor, Speaker, Health Blogger, International Wellness Ambassador
Founder of Go With Your Gut, an online nutrition and digestive healing program, Laura specializes in coaching women on digestive wellness, as well as detoxification and weight loss. She aims to provide individualized care and assessments to all clients, and bases her treatments around sensible and holistic dietary and lifestyle advice.