Have you ever wondered if you have leaky gut? Maybe you struggle with digestive issues, symptoms of dysbiosis, or candida. Maybe you have one of the many conditions that are associated with leaky gut. Leaky gut is so pervasive I’d wager that if you’re eating a Standard American Diet, you have some gut damage.
You might wonder, “How come my grandparents didn’t have to worry about leaky gut syndrome?” Well, that’s because so much of what’s damaging our guts on a widespread basis is due to recent changes in our diets, our lifestyles, food allergies, and chronic illnesses. You can read more about the causes and diagnosis of leaky gut in my article here.
You see, leaky gut syndrome doesn’t happen overnight – a number of factors cause inflammation, which causes abnormally large spaces in between the cells of the gut wall. These large spaces allow all sorts of toxic materials through and can cause a runaway reaction of inflammation and increased permeability.
This is a major problem in America. In fact, leaky gut is linked to numerous autoimmune diseases, which is a cause of death that’s on the rise – especially among young women. You can read more about the leaky gut and autoimmune disease connection in my article: Leaky Gut – The Syndrome Linked to Many Autoimmune Diseases.
In order to stop this process, there are steps you can take right now to heal your leaky gut syndrome fast. The interesting thing about the steps to healing a leaky gut is they are safe and beneficial to nearly everyone. So even without an official diagnosis, you can incorporate these following nine steps – they’re sure to heal your leaky gut quickly, and get you on your way to feeling better.
1. Eliminate gut damaging toxins and factors
There’s no point in adding the good stuff without ditching the harmful stuff, or your gut won’t stand a chance. Certain foods, drugs, and lifestyle choices have been shown to contribute to leaky gut. If you want to impact your gut health in a significant way, eliminate as many of these as possible.
- Food sensitivities – Have testing done or work your way through an elimination diet. You can read more about How an Elimination Diet Can Change Your Health here.
- Gluten – This recommendation isn’t just for people with celiac disease anymore. A 2015 study found that gluten “increases intestinal permeability in all individuals.”
- NSAIDS – Ibuprofen, motrin, and aleve.
- Chronic stress
- Strenuous exercise
You can eliminate all of these on your own and start today today. If you want to take this an extra step and have the help of your doctor, other factors you should consider include infections such as fungal overgrowth and parasitic infections.
2. Add gut detox binders
These will help your gut repair itself and speed up the elimination of harmful elements. My two favorite gut binders are:
GI Detox contains primarily pyrophyllite healing clay and some activated charcoal, similar to Upgraded Coconut Charcoal. Both of these binders are well-liked for their powerful abilities to adsorb toxins, endotoxins, and harmful bacteria. They also help reduce your overall toxin load, which allows your gut to heal more quickly.
Probiotics are key to good gut health. If you can increase your consumption of fermented food – that’s ideal. Also, adding high strain count supplements are great for replenishing the beneficial bacteria your gut thrives on.
The best strains for healing your leaky gut fast are Lactobacillus casei, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium species. Recent studies have found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is especially helpful.
4. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
This strain of bacteria gets its own spot in the limelight because a recent study just found it is incredibly effective in reducing intestinal permeability. The study found that the mechanisms behind what makes Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG so effective are it:
- Enhances the gut mucin expression/barrier formation
- Improves cell proliferation
- Reduces apoptosis
These three factors help the gut maintain barrier homeostasis and reduce proinflammatory cytokine expression.
Before this, other studies have suggested this helpful bacteria reduced leaky gut caused by infection and damage caused cow milk consumption. So, be sure that any probiotics you take have this healing bacteria – your gut will thank you!
5. Digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid have the ability to help a damaged gut fully digest foods, which reduces the amount of partially digested, toxic particles that are impacting your intestinal lining. You can take a capsule with each meal to give your gut an extra boost during this sensitive time.
Glutamine is an amino acid that has been shown to be effective in healing leaky gut in numerous studies. Glutamine protects your gut lining from future damage and helps you reverse existing damage. Foods high in glutamine come primarily from animal sources, including:
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed beef
I also recommend supplementing with glutamine. You can take up to 20 grams per day and it’s best to break this up and take it with meals. A good maintenance level would be about 3 to 5 grams per day.
7. Herbal supplements: Marshmallow root and deglycyrrhizinated licorice
Marshmallow root and deglycyrrhizinated licorice are two adaptogenic herbs that help the gut in several ways:
- Stimulate the production of protective mucus
- Decrease inflammation of the stomach lining
- Help the gastrointestinal lining
- Reduce digestive discomfort such as constipation and diarrhea
- Improve acid function
This potent combination of herbs will help support your stomach while it heals.
Quercetin is a flavonoid that naturally stabilizes mast cells and reduces the amount of histamine they release – this significantly reduces inflammation and further damage to the gut lining. Quercetin also tightens up the intestinal barrier and function, which essentially helps to seal the leakiness. You should only take quercetin in powder form – 3 to 6 grams daily is recommended.
9. Vitamins A and D
Vitamins A and D are two I always recommend to patients with any sort of intestinal immune dysfunction. They help your body secrete Immunoglobulin A, which is critical to your immune system function and mucous membranes. These are two vitamins that will help rebuild your gut and immune system quickly.
Combining these nine gut healing steps is a recipe for restoring function for anyone struggling with a leaky gut. Whether your gut issues are large or small, the more of each of these you can incorporate into your life, the better. Unfortunately, our food system has created a diet packed full of gut damaging foods. It’s up to us to combat this through reducing the damaging factors and boosting our health with supportive foods, nutrients, and supplements.
These are steps you could also take as you heal from a season of not-so-great eating that often comes with the holidays. Share this article with a friend who could use a post-holiday gut reboot!