Is leaky gut the reason for many of your health conditions? Skin issues, frequent colds, digestive issues and joint pain are all signs that point to a leaky gut. A leaky gut can be supported to heal with a combination of diet changes, nutritional support and lifestyle modifications.
“All disease begins in the Gut.” This famous quote made by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. Many chronic health conditions can be attributed to a disruption in the functioning of the gut. So, what exactly is a leaky gut, what are the signs and how do you heal a leaky gut?
Here, in this blog, we will discuss in more detail; What is a leaky gut? Signs of a leaky gut. The 5R’s to healing a leaky gut.
What is leaky gut?
Firstly, lets start by describing what the gut is and its function.
The body’s intestinal lining covers a large surface area of over 4000 square feet. This lining is made of epithelial cells. These cells have tight junctions that create a barrier. Damaged tight junctions, allow undigested food particles, waste and toxins to escape into our blood stream.This triggers an immune or inflammatory response in the body. This is leaky gut.
Signs of Leaky Gut
When you have leaky gut, the inflammatory or immune response shows up in the body in many different ways. Some of the signs that may show a leaky gut:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating
- Unexplained weight loss
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Ulcerative colitis, Crohns)
- Mood issues including depression, anxiety or brain fog
- Poor Immunity including frequent colds, flus, ear infections
- Allergies, food intolerances, food sensitivities or asthma
- Skin conditions including rashes, eczema, psoriasis, acne or hives
- Fatigue and headaches
- Hormonal imbalances including Endometriosis
- Joint pain, inflammation or arthritis
- Thyroid disorders
Importantly, a healthy gut is the foundation for a healthy and thriving life. If you are displaying any of the symptoms mentioned above, then what can you do to heal your leaky gut?
The 5 R’s to Heal a Leaky Gut:
Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, Repair, Rebalance
Let’s dive deeper into the 5R’s:
This step focuses on eliminating any type of unwanted organisms that may be residing in the gut. For instance, bacteria, fungi or parasites. This step may need a course of herbal anti-microbials. If you need help, please seek the help of a qualified health professional.
Foods can also be irritants to the gut and this phase also looks at eliminating those. Wheat, gluten and dairy are common ones, so are fish, eggs and tree-nuts.
One of the key functions of the Gut is digestion. When we eat foods, they are broken down into individual components to be used. These processes need different types of digestive enzymes and bile. Supplementation of enzymes and HCL might be needed. Eating bitter foods like artichoke, rocket and dandelion can kick start the body’s natural digestion.
This phase introduces the good bacteria into the gut to create a environment to support gut health and digestion. Prebiotics and probiotics are important during this phase.
Prebiotics include foods that assist growth of the beneficial good bacteria inside the gut. Prebiotic foods include oats, garlic, leeks, onions, soy products, asparagus, dandelion greens, apples with skin, under ripe bananas and artichokes.
Fermented foods contain probiotics, the beneficial good bacteria required for a healthy gut. Eating a variety of different fermented foods allows for a diverse range of good bacteria to grow in the gut.
Foods that include probiotics:
- Sauerkraut, kimchi etc
A high quality probiotic may also be needed. Speak with your health care practitioner if you need help with this.
This phase focuses on repairing the gut wall or epithelial cells through diet, lifestyle and nutritional support. Collagen plays a role here as it helps to heal the gut lining. It is found in bone broths. Likewise, Slippery elm and aloe vera juice have soothing properties and provide a protective barrier to the lining allowing for repair. Gelatin contains glutamic acid which is also said to help with the mucosal lining of the gut. Gelatin can be added to gummies for a gut healing snack. See this recipe to make your own Gummies here: Blueberry and Lemon Gummies.
This last phase focuses on balancing and retaining a healthy gut environment. Key areas to focus on are eating a wholefood diet and living a low toxic lifestyle. Adding stress management techniques like meditation, getting adequate sleep and exercising will also help. These things combined aid in maintaining healthy gut flora and gut lining, to avoid leaky gut.
In conclusion, leaky gut symptoms can show up in the body in a number of different ways. Implementing the 5R steps can start to heal your gut. Above all, nutrition is great place to start implementing changes to improve your gut health. Fermented vegetables contain probiotics to help re-inoculate the gut.
If you’d like to learn how to make some simple yet delicious fermented foods to help your gut, you can jump in now to our Fermenting for Families course! No fancy gizmos and gadgets, no spending all day massaging a cabbage, just fun and simple recipes for the fam! Life time access in a self-paced environment.
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