Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

Have you heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome?  More and more research points to LGS as the primary cause behind irritable bowels, bloating, gas, allergies, food sensitivities, hives and rashes, eczema, chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and autoimmune conditions.  Even young children can have LGS.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition where the normally tightly sealed intestinal lining in a person’s body becomes permeable.  Small openings in the lining allow undigested food particles from the gut to move into the bloodstream.  The leaking of these particles alerts your body to foreign invaders, initiating an immune response and triggering inflammation throughout the body.  It's no wonder it's associated with so many different types of conditions.

In order to heal a leaky gut, take the following steps:
  • Eliminate anything from the diet that is irritating the gut wall.  Dairy and gluten both contain proteins that are difficult to digest and can further damage an already compromised intestinal lining.  Refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, soda, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, MSG, trans fats and GMO foods (corn and soy) should be eliminated or greatly reduced.
  • Add foods and supplements that encourage the intestinal lining to heal and seal. These include:
      • Probiotic foods in the form of fermented sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and cultured vegetables
      • Cooked vegetables.  Raw vegetables can be difficult to digest, especially in the beginning stages of healing the gut.  Make sure vegetables are well cooked.  Vegetables also contain fiber, which is necessary to keep the bowels healthy.
      • Fresh vegetable juices
      • Bone broths and vegetable broths
      • Supplements.  Probiotics increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut.  L-Glutamine is a tasteless powder that can be added to juices and smoothies.  Both are well-documented in speeding up the healing process of the intestinal lining.  Digestive enzymes and DGL can also help.
      • Healthy fats such as coconut oil and omega3s found in fatty fish, ghee, flax seeds and flaxseed oil, chia seeds and extra virgin olive oil
      • Garlic, onion and ginger are natural antimicrobials that will help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
      • Slippery elm tea & lozenges, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, marshmallow root tea
      • Okra 
  • Drink a lot of water.  Water plays a tremendous role in moving food, nutrients and waste matter through the body.  This is especially important so that foods do not have a chance to linger in the intestines, where they can ferment and contribute to the growth of opportunistic bacteria and further inflame the gut.
  • Address stress and lifestyle issues. Make sure to get regular exercise and sleep and to reduce stress.  Stress has a direct connection to the gut.  When the stress hormone cortisol is released in the body, digestive function is impaired.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
  • Avoid antibiotics and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) unless absolutely necessary.
  • Source organic, grassfed, antibiotic- and hormone-free animal proteins.
If you suspect that you have Leaky Gut Syndrome and would like guidance on how to relieve your symptoms, contact me for a health consultation and we'll discuss what works best for you.

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