How to Heal a Leaky Gut

When there are holes in your gut lining, it gives way to undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria which then get into your bloodstream and cause inflammation in your entire body. Symptoms associated with a leaky gut are wide-ranging and include brain fog, autoimmunity, and fatigue.  Kayla Newnam

Leaky gut, otherwise known as intestinal permeability is a condition that occurs when the integrity of the gut lining is compromised. Your gut is technically not a part of your body. The gut is a hollow tube that connects your mouth to your anus. The integrity of your gut wall plays a pivotal role in your health, and when it is functioning properly it allows nutrients to penetrate through the gut lining and go into the bloodstream and prevents foreign invaders from slipping through. 


When there are holes in your gut lining, it gives way to undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria which then get into your bloodstream and cause inflammation in your entire body. Symptoms associated with a leaky gut are wide-ranging and include brain fog, autoimmunity, and fatigue. 


How do you know if you have a leaky gut?


There are a couple of different laboratory tests that confirm the presence of leaky gut including a lactulose/mannitol test and an antigenic permeability test. However, these might not be necessary because when diet and lifestyle changes are made many of the symptoms associated with leaky gut tend to go away. Let’s talk about causes and solutions to this problem. 


There are many different things that contribute to leaky gut, we will quickly mention a few potential causes.


Glyphosate

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is the most commonly used agricultural chemical of all time. It is produced and sold by one of the most profitable companies in the world, Monsanto. Glyphosate is starting to show up everywhere, including blood and urine samples, breast milk, and drinking water. Glyphosate has become nearly impossible to avoid, as the runoff of this nasty chemical is infecting everything it touches. 

Glyphosate is a potent antibiotic that attacks the bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria in your gut (the kind that aids in digestion and keeps bad bacteria in check) are more susceptible to the effects of glyphosate, while bad bacteria are more resistant to glyphosate. Put simply, glyphosate decreases beneficial bacteria and increases harmful bacteria, which leads to leaky gut, candida overgrowth, and inflammation.

The best way to minimize glyphosate exposure is to choose organic or non-GMO food as often as possible. This includes produce and animal products. Buy grass-fed meat over grain-fed meat, as grain-fed animals are fed corn, soy, and moldy grains that are almost always sprayed with glyphosate. 

Gluten

In a portion of the population, gluten causes the over the release of a molecule called zonulin. Dr. Alessio Fassano made an extremely important discovery in the early 2000s. He discovered the presence of zonulin and the role it plays in the integrity of the intestinal barrier. When you eat gluten it causes the over the release of zonulin which leads to the openings in the tight junctions of the cells on the gut wall. This leads to a “leaky gut”. 

Does this mean that you should never eat gluten again? Not necessarily. Everyone responds differently to different foods, but if you suspect it might be an issue for you try eliminating for 4-6 weeks to see if you feel any difference.  

BPA

Short for Bisphenol-A, BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical that has been linked to a range of developmental problems, cancer, and heart disease. Several countries in Europe have implemented outright bans or some type of regulation on BPA. The U.S. continues to be one of the only developed countries in the world that has no restrictions on this harmful chemical. It is up to you to choose products that are BPA-free that don’t pose a threat to you and your family’s health. Even though BPA is not the only harmful chemical in plastics, it is the most harmful one. BPA is found in plastic water bottles, toilet paper, Canned foods, Baby bottles, and baby pacifiers. Yes, baby products contain this nasty stuff. It is horrifying to think about. 

To minimize BPA exposure, buy products in glass rather than plastic, and by buying products that state they are BPA-free.

What else can be done to heal a leaky gut?

In addition to minimizing the substances mentioned above, many of the things that can heal a leaky gut are in alignment with living a healthy life in general. This includes eating a whole foods diet, managing stress, sleeping 8-9 hours per night, and exercising regularly. Include plenty of gut-healing foods in your diet like bone broth, fermented vegetables, and chia seeds. Avoid industrial seed oils like soybean, canola, sunflower, and safflower oils. 

If your gut needs some additional help, some supplements that may help include digestive enzymes, bitters, zinc carnosine, glutamine, citrus pectin, licorice, aloe vera, slippery elm, quercetin, and prune powder. 

It is important to remember that when a leaky gut is present it is a symptom of a bigger problem, and when the root causes of that bigger problem are discovered and solved, the leaky gut will typically resolve itself.