Now that we have more understanding of what leaky gut is and what the causes are, let’s explore the journey to healing.
Notice that I use the word “journey”…meaning healing is a process and will take time.
Remember the vicious cycle of leaky gut did not happen overnight and so is the healing process.
Are you ready for a change for the better?
Here are the critical steps toward a healthy and happy gut.
We know the gut is very delicate and sensitive, and so the first order of business is to stop putting toxin in your body.
Translation: Change your diet.
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As Michael Pollan eloquently states “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants” in his book “Omnivore Dilemma”.
Researches, studies, multiple counts of experiences point toward the beneficial effects of an anti-inflammatory plant-based diet.
Many naturally occurring substances from plant-based foods help repair the intestinal mucosal surface or support the liver when stressed by enteric toxins.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the substrates for prostaglandin synthesis. Fish oil has been shown to resolve intestinal mucosal injury and stops the systemic response to endotoxin. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) promotes the synthesis of E-series prostaglandins, which decrease permeability.
Our body can make GLA from linoleic acid via an enzymatic reaction catalyzed by deta-desaturase (D6D). However, this reaction is limiting and consumption of excessive vegetable oils may increase the free radical content of bile and exacerbates the effects of endotoxin.
EFAs should be consumed in the most concentrated and physiologically active form to avoid exposure to large quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids from dietary oils.
Good dietary sources of GLA are evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, hemp seed oil and borage oil.
Insoluble fiber has been shown to decrease permeability. So eat a diet rich in insoluble fiber or supplement with pure cellulose or rice bran. An added benefit of rice bran is gamma oryzanol. It is an antioxidant in rice bran that has healing effects in gastric and duodenal ulceration.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, increases permeability, and should be consumed in limited amount.
Avoid any foods that you’re allergic and/or sensitive to as allergic reactions increase gut permeability. When taken before eating, Quercetin may help to stop the release of histamine and inflammatory mediators in an allergic reaction.
Chewing your food well may actually help to nourish your gut with salivary Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). It is a polypeptide that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. It is found throughout your body, with high concentrations in salivary glands, prostate glands and in the duodenum.
Take a probiotics supplement containing Lactobacillus GG may help repopulate the good bacteria population that is the result of the leaky gut, and reverse bacterial dysbiosis.
In addition, supplementing your diet with glutamine can be beneficial. Glutamine is an important substrate for the maintenance of intestinal metabolism and integrity. Glutamine supplementation has been shown to reverse intestinal mucosal injury, resulting in less villous atrophy, increased mucosal healing and decreased passage of endotoxin through the gut wall.
Support your liver with glutathione (GSH), which is an important component of the anti-oxidant defense against free radical-induced tissue damage. Hepatic GSH is a key ingredient for reducing toxic oxygen metabolites and oxidized xenobiotics in the liver. When the liver is working overtime trying the get rid of the toxic waste in the leaky, the demand for glutathione is high because the liver is using it up very quickly.
The most effective way to increase glutathione level in liver is to supplement with its dietary precursors, cysteine or methionine, such as N-acetylcysteine. Flavonoids in milk thistle (silymarin) and in dandelion root (taraxacum) also help to support the liver by protecting against reactive oxygen species.
An additional step to support and nurture your liver is to let it rest, as in stop ingesting more toxins from processed foods, fast foods, food colorings, food additives, pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, medications, legal drugs, etc.
And of course avoid alcohol even if it’s red wine.
Sorry…I know it’s confusing. One says red wine is good for you and another says alcohol is bad for you. If you have a leaky gut, alcohol is definitely bad for you. So sober up, at least until your leaky gut is under control.
And did you know…you can get the same resveratrol from a supplement and minus the alcohol and save your liver.
NSAIDS are all your pain-killers. They are known to cause GI bleed. I know you need them to control your pain. Did you know most of your aches and pains are the result of systemic inflammation caused by all the toxins you put in your body?
That’s why I put this step last. Because when you start doing all the things listed above, your body is slowly healing itself and recovering, and the inflammation eventually stops and so will your aches and pain. And when that they comes, you’ll not need your pain killer anymore.
Bone broth is supposed to be good for leaky gut. A colleague buys “chicken feet” from Whole Foods and boils them with some vegetables for 24 hours in a slow cooker to get all the gelatin out of the bone. Just flavor with a little salt and you have a yummy broth for your tummy.
Relaxation helps lower stress hormone. Activities like yoga, meditation, walk in the nature, hiking, exercise, etc. These activities not only reduce your stress hormones, but they can also increase your feel good hormone – endorphins.
When you follow these steps, your gut will start feeling better, aches and pain will disappear, brain fog will clear up, and ADHD symptoms will improve.
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