Leaky Gut: What It Is and How to Naturally Heal It

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Leaky Gut: What It Is and How to Naturally Heal It
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Sometimes you can feel “off” in a variety of ways, and in spite of looking into the symptoms you experience, you can’t quite put your finger on what is wrong. Even doctors may be stymied by your symptoms, unable to offer meaningful advice or helpful treatment. Are you tired of seeing shrugs or hearing that it’s all in your head? You may have an issue called leaky gut.

What Is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a condition that affects the lining of the intestines. The intestinal lining is damaged and that could let substances leak into the bloodstream. The result is that some bacteria, viruses and toxic waste may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream.

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This may trigger an autoimmune reaction which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and other inflammatory conditions. This can cause several health problems that may appear unrelated to the intestines at first.

A scientific study from 2016 states that leaky gut can be related to many chronic diseases, such as food intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and other autoimmune disease.

The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

What Causes Leaky Gut

Little is known about what causes leaky gut, but some theories link it to chronic inflammation, food allergies, damage from taking large amounts of certain types of drugs (such as NSAIDs), radiation, high alcohol intake, or low immune system.

Chronic stress is also believed to cause leaky gut. People who are under a lot of stress all the time are more prone to developing the symptoms of leaky gut. The body’s immune response becomes compromised when it is under constant stress, opening the door for not only leaky gut, but a host of other unpleasant health problems, as well. You can read more about the damage caused by stress in my article on how stress affects your body.

Some believe that diets high in processed sugars, artificial flavors, alcohol, and chemical preservatives can be harsh on the digestive system.

Such a diet can contribute to the onset of a leaky gut by making your intestines more permeable. Other illnesses that affect the lining of the gut, such as intestinal parasites, can pave the way for a health disaster too.

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Leaky Gut Can Be Difficult to Diagnose

Because the symptoms of leaky gut can be so far removed from a “typical” abdominal and intestinal health issue, it can be difficult to diagnose. The range of symptoms can be wide, and the symptoms are often seem unconnected to each other. Leaky gut can also have a lot of different causes, so it’s hard to pinpoint what the problem is.

Mainstream doctors do not generally recognize leaky gut as a diagnosable illness. However, as more information becomes available and more patients cry out for help, leaky gut is getting more attention from the medical community.

Could your ill feelings be a leaky gut? Learn more about the signs and symptoms to see if this malady could be responsible for the bad feelings that have been troubling you.

Signs and Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Do you have mysterious symptoms that doctors seem confounded by? If the symptoms below sound familiar, your may have a leaky gut:

  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Joint discomfort and pain
  • Food intolerances and allergies (for example to gluten, lactose, etc.)
  • Cramping
  • Bloating and excessive gas
  • Rashes
  • Headache
  • Thyroid-related symptoms

As you can see, the symptoms vary widely and may not easily be pinpointed as indicating an intestinal issue. This can be problematic for both patients and diagnosing physicians.

Is There a Test That Can Confirm Diagnosis?

While leaky gut is not a hard-and-fast medical diagnosis by clinical standards, and while there is no certain test that can tell you with 100% assurance that you have leaky gut, a positive Intestinal Permeability Test is strongly associated with this condition.

This test examines the ability of a couple of sugar compounds—lactulose and mannitol—to work their way through the wall of the intestine. This test is also a useful test for screening the general adult population for celiac disease. The results of the test can indicate two things: whether or not a hole is present in the intestinal lining (i.e., a leaky gut), and whether or not nutrients are being poorly absorbed by the intestine.

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Natural Solutions for Leaky Gut Issues

If you have a leaky gut, the good news is that there are several healthy and natural ways that you can regain control of your body and treat your intestinal issue.

Dietary changes can help

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can make a world of difference for someone with a leaky gut.

Avoid any foods that you’re allergic to such as gluten-containing foods or dairy, processed foods (that contain some of the worst ingredients in food) and alcohol, and eat plenty of omega-3 rich foods, green leafy vegetables, high-fiber foods and fermented foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

You can also drink my ultimate anti-inflammatory smoothie as well as this super anti-inflammatory juice. Remember to eat foods from my list of foods that can prevent inflammation.

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If you can, avoid certain kinds of medications

Try to avoid using NSAIDs as an everyday analgesic, and switch to natural remedied to treat the occasional headache or muscle soreness such as these natural alternatives to Ibuprofen.

Supplements can offer some relief

Adding dietary supplements like the amino acid glutamine can help relieve symptoms for some people with leaky gut. You can find glutamine supplements online or in brick and mortar health and nutrition stores. The consumption of glutamine is also one of the eight best natural methods to treat digestive problems.

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends taking probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus GGA. A good probiotic supplement contains large amounts of good bacteria can help heal a damaged intestinal lining by restoring balance in the gut flora. There are many other reasons to take probiotics.

You can also take 1-2 capsules of digestive enzymes at the beginning of each meal to make sure that the food is fully digested. That decreases the chance of partially digested foods and proteins that can damage your gut lining.

DGL supplement is made from licorice and is used to treat digestive issues. DGL helps the body to maintain the lining of the stomach. You can purchase DGL online and at your local health shop.

–  Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid) that is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, red grapes, onions, green tea, apples and berries. It has shown to enhance gut barrier function by having a sealing effect.

Fruits with a dark red or blue color have the highest quercetin content. These include cranberries, blueberries and black plums. Vegetables that include quercetin are red leaf lettuce, raw kale, chicory greens, raw spinach, sweet peppers, snap beans and raw broccoli. If you want to add more quercetin to your diet, a quercetin supplement (like this one) can also be an option.

Consider filtering water

Filtering tap water may be a good solution for some people. Fluoridated tap water can sometimes irritate intestines and cause a variety of other health problems when large amounts are consumed. Make sure to use a filter that filters fluoride—not all filters can screen out this chemical.

Related articles:
1. Eight Surprising Reasons You Feel Bloated
2. Surprising Reasons Your Digestive System Doesn’t Function Properly
3. How to Easily Cleanse Your Colon With Only 2 Ingredients
Resources:

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