Leaky gut can have many causes, which is why it is essential to address the underlying cause of your leaky gut so that you can heal leaky gut naturally and reverse all the symptoms that are a result of your leaky gut. Leaky gut symptoms include food sensitivities, autoimmune challenges, inflammation, skin irritation, environmental sensitivities, asthma, brain fog, food mal-absorption, and headaches, to name a few.
Many health conditions can be related to poor digestive function and a leaky gut, which is our barrier to the outside world. Think of it as your internal skin protecting you from the outside world of parasites, bacteria, viruses, and anything harmful to the body. 70-80 percent of our immune system lies in the gut, and a healthy, robust microbiome full of diversity is needed for immune system function.
We want the gut lining to be filled with healthy probiotic bacteria to help ward off harmful pathogens entering the body through the GI tract. The intestinal lining is our line of defense where we have our troops and warriors ready to combat foreign invaders. A healthy microbiome plays an essential role in preventing pathogens from taking up residence in the GI tract. An intact intestinal lining lets nutrients pass through yet prevents large food particles and foreign pathogens.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut syndrome stands for increased intestinal permeability, where the junctions between the cells that make up the intestinal lining become loose. As a result, the gut lining becomes leaky and can let through substances that should not pass through, such as undigested food particles, disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and foreign invaders.
Our immune system sees these substances as foreign and, as a result, stimulates the immune system to create antibodies to these substances and begins to fight them off. When the immune system actively fights pathogens or undigested food particles that have passed through the gut lining, a lot of inflammation is produced. You always want to look to the optimal function of the digestive system and heal your gut in any health condition in which inflammation is present.
What causes leaky gut?
- Underlying causes of leaky gut include:
- chronic stress
- poor digestion
- environmental toxins
- endotoxins produced by internal gut bacteria
- overuse of alcohol
- refined high carbohydrate food that feeds yeast
- presence of pathogenic bacteria
- Candida overgrowth
- gluten – gluten is one of the worst foods for gut health as it is very irritating to the gut lining.
Now you might look at this list of what causes leaky gut and say, whoa, this is too much to handle, but don’t worry. It all starts with eating healthy whole foods, optimizing digestive function, and balancing the microbiome to optimize the terrain and prevent these problems. It is also wise to look at our lifestyle and dietary choices that contribute to a leaky gut.
How does candida cause leaky gut?
Candida overgrowth is an underlying cause of leaky gut as the yeast burrows into the intestinal lining, causing irritation and breaking down the tight junctions between the cells that line the gut.
Suppose you have a history of taking antibiotics. In that case, candida could be contributing to your leaky gut as antibiotics kill the bacterial pathogen along with a lot of your healthy probiotic bacteria. Yet, it does not kill candida after antibiotics candida acts as an opportunistic organism that can take over and overgrow in the spaces where our healthy probiotic bacteria once resided.
Candida also loves sugar, starchy carbs, and refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, so these foods should be eliminated or reduced when healing leaky gut.
L. Reuteri, Saccromyces Boulardi, and L.Rhamnosus are the best probiotics for candida and leaky gut. Balancing the microbiome with strain-specific probiotics is vital for healing leaky gut caused by gut dysbiosis.
Digestive enzymes for leaky gut
Healing your leaky gut starts with optimizing your digestive function while also providing healing and sealing nutrients to help heal your gut.
Chewing your food and utilizing digestive enzymes to ensure the proper breakdown of food is the best way to heal leaky gut naturally. It is undigested food that impacts the gut lining provides fuel for opportunistic organisms. When undigested large food particles pass through the gut lining, unprocessed food will trigger an immune response and inflammation that further damages the gut lining.
Utilizing a broad spectrum such as seeking health’s pro digestion intensive and chewing your food helps ensure the breakdown of all food into tiny particles meant to pass through the gut lining. This digestive enzyme includes additional enzymes to help digest all sugars, gluten, and lactose.
The small intestine has brush border enzymes that further break down long chains of sugar molecules into absorbable glucose molecules. Damaged brush border enzymes result in poor digestion of foods. Using external digestive enzymes breaks down food to aid in healing leaky gut. Pro Digestion Intensive is one of the best digestive enzymes for leaky gut. It includes additional enzymes such as maltase, sucrase, and lactase to break down sugar molecules, thus preventing dysbiosis and candida overgrowth.
Foods to avoid with leaky gut
Avoiding foods in which you know you have developed food sensitivities too is critical while healing your gut. Rotating through different types of food is also vital to prevent further food sensitivities from forming. The most common food sensitivities are wheat, dairy, soy, and eggs but more importantly, what are your trigger foods?
Whatever foods are most frequently eaten are the foods you are also most likely to have developed food sensitivities to when leaky gut is present. Many people notice that high FODMAP foods are trigger IBS symptoms.
How to heal your gut by optimizing bile flow to prevent SIBO
Optimizing your liver gallbladder function and bile flow is another critical step in healing leaky gut naturally. Bile is antimicrobial, which helps prevent pathogens from taking up residence. The antimicrobial properties of bile prevents SIBO and keeps the small intestine free of excess bacteria. SIBO can cause a leaky gut due to the endotoxins released by bacteria which can irritate the gut lining.
Bile also helps to emulsify and break down fats so that undigested fats do not pass through the gut lining causing additional inflammation.
Sunflower lecithin for leaky gut
Taking sunflower lecithin, which contains phosphatidylcholine, helps to promote bile flow to prevent SIBO overgrowth. If bacteria overgrow in the small intestine, they can produce endotoxins that irritate the gut lining, contributing to the leaky gut; therefore, optimizing bile flow for its antimicrobial properties is essential to heal leaky gut.
The cells that make up the gut lining continuously renew, and phosphatidylcholine is crucial for making new cells with healthy cell membranes. Sunflower lecithin is a critical yet unknown supplement for leaky gut. Phosphatidylcholine is essential for repairing leaky gut by supporting new healthy cell formation along the intestinal lining.
Nutrients for repairing leaky gut that helps to soothe, heal and seal
The first step required to heal leaky gut is to soothe, heal and seal the intestinal lining. One of the best supplements for leaky gut is seeking health’s optimal GI powder, which contains a blend of powerful nutrients to help support healthy mucous membranes, including:
- slippery elm
- marshmallow root
- superoxide dismutase
Now, how do these nutrients help to heal and seal a leaky gut?
Optimal GI powder contains l-glutamine, a crucial amino acid used by the intestinal lining cells as their primary fuel source for maintenance and repair.
Zinc carnosine is another nutrient that can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and maintain a healthy mucosal lining.
Gut soothing nutrients such as aloe, marsh mellow, and slippery elm all help coat the intestinal lining while helping to calm down inflammation in the intestinal lining. Curcuminoids, superoxide dismutase, and quercetin help calm down inflammation in the gut.
These nutrients plus more are in Seeking Health’s Optimal GI Powder formula and are a great supplement to help heal and seal the gut lining while addressing the other underlying root causes of leaky gut.
The optimal GI powder can be mixed into water, blended into smoothies, made into a tea mixed with warm almond milk and cinnamon. I like to utilize gut soothing nutrients before eating to help coat and soothe before food enters the small intestine.
Gut healing foods
Eaw and difficult to digest foods such as legumes, raw vegetables may be too hard on the intestinal lining while trying to heal. Many people struggle with high FODMAP foods as well if SIBO is causing leaky Gut. Supporting the body with easy-to-digest foods such as blended soups and smoothies that are easy to digest can help to speed the healing of the leaky gut.
Most notably, what foods are your trigger, and what foods make you feel good and soothing to the gut?
If you suspect a leaky gut and have not yet supported your digestive system with phosphatidylcholine, digestive enzymes, and gut-healing nutrients, then this is a great start. Identifying food sensitivities and avoiding trigger foods while implementing gut-healing foods can help to heal leaky gut quicker. You may need to investigate pathogens, parasites, or opportunistic organisms that have overgrown and eliminate SIBO and candida.