From the moment we are born until the moment we die, gut health is incredibly important. Though long overlooked by many medical professionals, leaky gut is more common than you might realize. Harvard Health explains how the gut works and what leaky gut is, “Inside our bellies, we have an extensive intestinal lining covering more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. When working properly, it forms a tight barrier that controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream. An unhealthy gut lining may have large cracks or holes, allowing partially digested food, toxins, and bugs to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This may trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora (normal bacteria) that could lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond….We already know that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in certain gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome…Some studies show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases (lupus, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia arthritis, allergies, asthma acne, obesity, and even mental illness.”
Some signs and symptoms of leaky gut include digestive changes (bloating, gas, diarrhea), seasonal allergies, asthma, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, skin conditions, mental health disorders, fungal infections, food allergies and sensitivities, weak immune system, joint pain, and more.
Healing the gut is all about balancing your gut’s microbiome. One of the most important things someone can do to heal their leaky gut is to take a probiotic. There are many different types if probiotics so it is important to work with your naturopathic physician to determine what probiotic you need based on your individual lab results. While this step is easy, other step are a bit more involved and require dedicated effort. Treating and healing leaky gut syndrome almost always involves dietary changes. Cutting out or highly limiting processed foods, particularly processed carbohydrates and fats, can make a big impact. A diet high and diverse in legumes, fruits, and vegetables helps improve the microbiome and reduced inflammation so that your immune system can function properly.
In addition to changing your diet, your naturopathic physician may recommend various supplements to assist your body’s healing process. Commonly recommended supplements include l-glutamine, digestive enzymes, de-glycyrrhizinated licorice, curcumin, chamomile, slippery elm, peppermint, prebiotics, zinc, omega-3s, and more. Always consult your physician before making any dietary or supplement changes to ensure you are doing so in a safe and effective way.