Step one in correcting leaky gut is to eliminate any triggers/stressors in your diet and environment including chemicals, offending foods, and bacteria/fungi. Common ingredients to stay away from are dairy, gluten, sugar, yeast, caffeine, artificial additives and nuts. If you suspect food sensitivities, consider seeing a naturopath for further information on pursuing an elimination diet in order to establish proper dietary guidelines and a treatment timeline. A liver detox can be considered to reduce toxic overload.
Step two is to replace unhealthy habits and behaviors with beneficial ones. In addition to choosing whole, organic foods, managing stress and being mindful while eating it is important to ensure the diet includes lots of fibre (35g/day) and water for regular elimination. Supplemental Vitamin D is recommended as well, as it is integral to the resistance of the gut and the balance of good bacteria.
Step three is to repair the digestive tract by doing the following:
- Heal and Strengthen Mucous Lining – with diet, herbs and supplements. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that heals the cell junctions along the digestive tract and it is one of the most effective nutrients in gut repair. Herbal considerations include deglycyrrhizinated licorice, chamomile or marshmallow as they soothe inflammation in the GI tract and increase mucous production to protect lining. Foods that help repair the gut lining include homemade bone broth and aloe vera juice. Fish oils should also be considered to fight inflammation and provide lubrication.
- Re-Inoculate & Protect The Gut – by replenishing the good bacteria in your digestive tract with probiotics and fermented foods, such as sauerkraut. Friendly bacteria create a protective layer along the intestinal membrane, produces butyrate fatty acids that nourish the lining, normalizes bowel movements, optimizes digestion, balances the immune response, and protects against pathogens and inflammation.
Step four is to ensure proper food breakdown to avoid further gut irritation and the development of any food sensitivities. This can be done with the help of digestive enzymes. Be sure to consider a supplement with HCL if stomach acid is low. Remember that when foods are properly digested, they are basically rendered non-allergenic!
As over 2/3 of all immune activity takes place in the gut, it is safe to assume that an impaired digestive system is one of the main roots of disease. In taking the utmost care in preserving the integrity of our intestinal membrane, keeping up our levels of good bacteria and ensuring we are properly breaking down our food, we are decreasing the risk of a wide range of conditions and symptoms. Be good to your gut!