Leaky gut is known as intestinal permeability, where there is an imbalance of bacteria within the digestive system. As of 2016, there is little evidence to support the hypothesis that leaky gut syndrome causes various diseases; however, there is sufficient evidence that a high degree of intestinal permeability can lead to bowel issues and disturbances within the gut that influence the overall functioning of the body.
Once these tight junctions in the intestinal lining get broken apart by things like toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles, they can escape from your intestines and travel throughout the body through your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them, resulting in digestive disturbances, or leaky gut.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
There is evidence that refined sugars, processed foods, and additive food products increase intestinal permeability. A person’s diet plays a big role in having a leaky gut, so you may want to see a gastroenterologist who is also trained in nutrition if you experience symptoms of leaky gut. The main culprits are harmful foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut. Other inflammatory foods like dairy, refined sugar, and alcohol are common causes.
Regulating intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. In people with sensitive digestive systems, gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Other factors, such as infections, toxins, stress, and age, can also cause these tight junctions to break apart. Toxins come in the form of medications, like Motrin, Advil, steroids, antibiotics, and acid-reducing drugs, and environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides, and BPA from plastics.
How To Remedy Leaky Gut Via Diet
Dietary approaches to mitigate leaky gut syndrome focus on the use of immunomodulatory nutrients and probiotics. Proper nutrition is the best natural remedy for gut conditions. Stress, which can influence gut health, can also be alleviated through diet and therefore help alleviate leaky gut.
The Best Foods To Eat
The species of probiotics that have demonstrated effectiveness towards the reduction of intestinal permeability are Escherichia coli Nissle 1917, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, or the multispecies VSL#3, which contains eight different probiotics. Beneficial sources of probiotics include kombucha, kimchi, fermented vegetables, or sauerkraut.
The best dietary sources of quercetin include apples, capers, onions, berries, and herbs like parsley, sage, and even green tea. Consuming foods that are rich in quercetin can help to naturally prevent gut inflammation and improve the gut’s overall ability to heal on its own. The cool thing about quercetin is that it does not affect inflammatory cells, which work to combat infectious agents like cancer cells.
Derived from turmeric, curcumin works to prevent chronic inflammation by controlling the inflammatory pathways, which lead to digestive disturbances. Adding turmeric to your diet can also help decrease your risk of free radical damage, while preventing tissue injury in the digestive tract. In this way, turmeric is beneficial for those with leaky gut syndrome.
6-gingeral, which is the active component in ginger, is comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. Ginger is a digestive stimulant that promotes gastric flow and contains enzymes that aid in proper digestion. People with leaky gut syndrome typically have an unhealthy amount of bad gut bacteria, which results in inflammation. Additionally, the antibiotic properties in ginger help combat unhealthy strains of bacteria in people with leaky gut, so start adding ginger to your diet.
Zinc glycinate is one of the most bioavailable forms of zin because the body can easily absorb and retain it. When you eat healthy sources of zinc, the zinc glycinate in the body helps to improve intestinal permeability, thereby helping those with leaky gut. Zinc is also beneficial for those with Crohn’s disease because it helps to support immune function while decreasing ulcerations in the gut. The best plant-based sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, steel cut oats, ginger, raw cacao, and wheat germ.