Leaky gut is the result of increased permeability in the gut resulting in small proteins being absorbed that shouldn’t. The result? Digestive problems, body wide symptoms and worsening food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are reactions to foods, but are not allergies. Sensitivities can come and go depending on diet, stressors, and gut health. More and more food sensitivities develop as the gut becomes more and more unhealthy i.e. “leaky”. These can easily be tested through a blood test.
Poor diet, stress, medication, intestinal infections, and environmental toxins cause leaky gut. As proteins enter circulation, the body creates an immune response to these “foreign” particles. The immune reaction is what leads to body wide symptoms. What symptoms can you expect?
The symptoms of leaky gut can vary from person to person, but common symptoms I see are gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, rashes, itching, food reactions, joint pain, hormonal imbalances, headaches, congestion, muscle pains, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, cloudy thinking, difficulty concentrating, and the list goes on.
“Although drug targets [prescription medications] that may mediate barrier restoration have been proposed, none have been proven effective. As such, current treatments for barrier dysfunction should target the underlying disease.” Odenwald, Turner; Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol
How can you prevent or heal leaky gut? Read on for some simple tricks to try at home!
Do more yoga
Did you read the part about stress causing leaky gut? Yoga is a great stress reliever and so good for your body. You will feel more relaxed and your abdominals will say “thank you”. Namaste.
Ditch the sugar!
Sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods available. Say goodbye to those sugar cravings and crashes that follow. Inflammation leads to a leaky gut!
Increase your veggies!
I feel like a broken record with this one, but seriously you guys, eat more veggies. The veggies are important because they are packed with nutrients and fiber. Don’t worry about eating the right veggies – eat the foods you enjoy, just stay away from white potatoes and corn.
Rotate your foods
Do this weekly! For example, I like to rotate the non-dairy milks I buy – unsweetened coconut, then almond, cashew, and flax to provide a healthy variety.
A healthy gut starts with healthy bacteria! Be sure to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about a probiotic that is best for you.
“Probiotics are an attractive therapeutic option in IBS given their recognized safety and by virtue of positive biological effects they can exert on the host.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology
While you are sleeping and resting, your body is working repairing and recovering from a hard days work. Give yourself the opportunity to heal by sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night. Find sleep hygiene tips and natural remedies here.
No, this is not your favorite campfire treats, but the herb Althea Officinalis, or better known as ‘Marshmallow’. This is one of my favorite herbs. Imagine smearing a warm mallow on the lining of your gut – that is kind of how this herb works. It provides healing and protection to the gut. Drink this as a cold infusion tea.
An amino acid found in our every day foods. There have been several studies showing the benefits of L-Glutamine in treating intestinal permeability and conditions caused by it. Talk to your ND for dosing.
**This is not meant to diagnose or treat. If you are experiencing digestive issues or food sensitivities, reach out to your local Naturopathic Doctor for treatment.**
Katie Corazzo is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing throughout the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She believes in addressing the root cause by using natural therapies and nutrition.