Your tummy is literally the powerhouse that processes the fuel to keep you reliably chugging along. But what if there is a leak in the fuel tank? Leaky gut can have a huge knock-on effect on your health, from discomfort and bloating to brain fog and an aching tired body and autoimmune reactions. Taking care of the nutritional superhighway of your gut is one of the golden rules for good health.
WHAT CAUSES A LEAKY GUT?
Things like stress, antibiotics, parasitic infections, a high sugar diet, alcohol, food sensitivities or even heavy metals can lead to chronic inflammation of the gut and create imbalances in its unique ecology. This is when the wrong kind of bacteria start to proliferate. These bad bacteria get out of hand and cause fermentation that feels really uncomfortable when you eat and also move into areas of your gut where they don’t belong. This leads to damage in the gut lining, as it breaks down and becomes more permeable – that’s where the leaky part comes in. When your gut becomes leaky, it means that all sorts of undigested food particles and toxic stuff your gut would keep to itself gets through into your bloodstream and causes your body’s immune system to react and become “irritable”.
The obvious result is a bloated and uncomfortable tummy after you have eaten, but more than that, it can wreak havoc in other systems in your body, such as your brain and joints, leading to symptoms such as inflammation, tiredness, depression, aching body and brain fog. If it isn’t stopped it can turn into a vicious cycle with your body continually reacting with inflammation and trying to repair itself, while the trigger is being reintroduced over and over again as in the case of food sensitivities.
Do an elimination diet to check if food sensitivities are causing a cycle of inflammation your body can’t repair. In this case, gluten is often the culprit. Avoid all gluten-containing food (including rye) for at least two weeks to see if it helps. Other top allergens are dairy and soya. Find which diet works best for you, whether it be low carb or high carb (not refined sugars), it depends on your metabolic type. Eating unprocessed good quality and if possible organically grown food is also important. Refined Carbohydrates and sugars will also just make things worse as they feed all the wrong kinds of bacteria in your tummy.
PROBIOTICS + HEALTH BACTERIA
Cutting out sugars and processed food will help your gut rebalance and you can help the process along by eating foods that contain natural probiotics and enzymes, such as Kombucha and properly cultured hormone-free yoghurt, or else supplementing with a good quality probiotic. This will tip the ecology of your gut in favour of the good flora and microbes and set you on the path to a happier gut.
SOOTHE THE INFLAMMATION
A leaky gut is an inflamed gut. There are some naturally healing remedies that you can take that will soothe your gut’s irritated lining and give it a chance to recover. Some of these gut healing botanicals are also high in fibre so they help clean and clear and support digestion.
- Aloe Vera is very good for this, with its gel-like texture and special healthy sugars that will support your digestion.
- Psyllium Husk is a good tummy soother that will also help you keep your digestion going by providing some good fibre. It also balances out your stool so that it isn’t too hard or too soft.
- Siberian Pine Nut Oil Oxidative stress has been found to be a major cause of gastric disturbances and Siberian Pine Nut Oil is an excellent antioxidant. It also has special fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, healing and protective for your stomach lining.
- Flax oil and Flax Seed Powder are both healing to the gut. Flax contains omega fatty acids which help soothe inflammation and the powder provides a good digestive fibre too.
HEAL + DETOX
A leaky gut means that your body has become very acidic and toxic. While you are busy healing, your body will need some good support to repair and detox.
- Chlorella detoxes heavy metals, supports your liver, and help your cells rebuild.
- Tumeric encourages bile, which helps break down fats. It helps with over acidity in the stomach and protects against inflammation of the intestinal walls.
- Raw Honey is very healing for infections and inflammation and full of good enzymes that are very supportive for your gut.
- Glutamine has been found to be a very important nutrient that helps rebuild your stomach lining.
Leaky gut can be a very emotional problem because it can sensitise your nervous system and our gut is after all, where we feel things deeply. Give your gut some natural love and healing, but don’t forget that you also need to be gentle on yourself , some good emotional support and love are important too!