Leaky gut? How to help restore your gut health

Leaky gut? How to help restore your gut health

Author -  Good Health

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What is a leaky gut?

Leaky gut is a condition where damage to the intestinal lining results in increased permeability of the gut wall. The lining of the gut acts as a filtering barrier allowing helpful micro-nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream and preventing harmful bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles from passing through. Overtime, damage in the lining of the intestines results in leaky gut and causes harmful foreign substances to leak through the gut wall and into the blood stream. Damage to the intestines affects enzyme production for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and foreign substances in the bloodstream can cause an immune response contributing to inflammation in the body.

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What causes a leaky gut?

Diet, stress, toxins, infections and medications are all common causes of a leaky gut. Inflammation from diet, environmental toxins or medication causes swelling that increases the permeability of the intestinal membrane. As undigested food particles enter the bloodstream, the body has an immune reaction which may result in ‘allergies’ or intolerances occurring every time that food is consumed. Stress weakens the immune system which reduces the body’s ability to fight off foreign substances; gastro-intestinal yeast infections can produce toxins which then circulate through the bloodstream causing inflammation; and some medication taken long term may irritate the intestinal lining and damage the protective layers. Antibiotics can kill both the helpful and harmful bacteria which causes dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut flora).

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Signs you may have a leaky gut?

Digestive upsets (flatulence, bloating, and irregular bowel movements), hayfever, food allergies, poor immune system function, sugar or carbohydrate cravings, poor mental health, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, chronic fatigue, inflammatory skin conditions (acne, rosacea, eczema, rashes) arthritis and joint pain may all be signs of a leaky gut. Symptoms may occur quickly or over a longer period of time.

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How can I heal a leaky gut? – Dietary changes 

Healing a leaky gut can take time; however, there are a number of things you can do to help and to avoid further intestinal damage from occurring. Making long-term dietary changes and eliminating foods that your body may treat as toxic is the first step to healing. Common food allergens include wheat, dairy, and food additives (colourings, flavourings and preservatives). Increasing wholefood consumption including nutrient dense dark green, leafy vegetables, wholegrains, healthy fats (oily fish, coconut oil, flaxseeds) and pre and probiotic foods (i.e. kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and prebiotic fibres) will help to support a healthy intestinal lining and encourage good bacterial growth. 

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How can I heal a leaky gut? – Naturally helpful nutrients

Zinc helps to support cell repair and supports a healthy immune system

Glutamine is an amino acid that protects the cell walls by coating them, acting as a repellent to irritants, as well as helping to repair damaged walls.

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and works by contracting proteins in the intestinal lining, squeezing spaces between the cells together and reducing permeability. Turmeric taken with black pepper or in a phospholipid base helps to aid absorption.

Pre and probiotics are a helpful way to bring the ratio of good to bad bacteria back into balance in the gut creating a healthier gut environment.

Colostrum contains immune proteins that help to repair the gut and also contain IgG antibodies that help to support the immune system.

If you believe you may be suffering from a leaky gut, you should first consult with your healthcare professional to determine the best plan of action to manage your individual symptoms.

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