If you aren’t sure what leaky gut is, you’re not alone. And if you’ve ever gathered up enough courage to ask your doctor about it, chances are you didn’t get much more than a dismissive eye roll.
Don’t feel bad, it happens all the time. Because many mainstream doctors refuse to even recognize the syndrome exists, let alone have a clue how to treat it.
But there’s not going to be any eye-rolling today. And by the time you’re done reading you’re going to know exactly what leaky gut is, what symptoms to look out for and some simple natural solutions that you can try to help put you on the road to healing if you suspect you have a case of hidden leaky gut.
A leaky gut allows faulty two-way flow
Leaky gut is exactly what it sounds like. The membranes that make up your intestines have to be permeable in order for blood and nutrients to flow through them. When your gut is healthy, though, the flow only goes one way – from your bloodstream into your gut.
In an unhealthy, or leaky, gut, on the other hand the flow can sometimes go the other way, too. This means that microscopic particles of partially digested food and proteins can find their way out of your intestines and into your bloodstream, creating an inflammatory response, as your body reacts to the foreign contaminants. And this response can make you sick.
Spotting symptoms of leaky gut
Although some of the signs of a leaky gut are the kind of digestive symptoms the name would lead you to expect, a number of the other common symptoms are likely to surprise you.
All of these symptoms can be signs that you’re dealing with leaky gut:
- Digestive issues, including constipation or diarrhea
- Food sensitivities
- Joint pain
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Thyroid issues
- Weight gain
Sound familiar? If you’re dealing with multiple symptoms from the list above there’s a good chance you could have an unhealthy gut.
Keep reading to learn about some simple natural solutions that may help.
Solutions to help heal your leaky gut
You can put your gut on the road to recovery with a gut-healthy diet and the right supplements. Following are six suggestions to get you started.
1. Bone broth:
Homemade bone broth, slow cooked all day just like your grandma used to make, is a great choice when you’re trying to heal your leaky gut. The broth is rich in collagen, proline and glycine, all of which work as a team to help repair your leaky cell walls.
Bone broth is nutrient dense, which means it provides you with a number of important vitamins and minerals. And as a natural anti-inflammatory, the tasty broth helps knock out inflammation all over your body, including in your gut.
2. Coconut oil:
Coconut oil can be easier to digest than some other healthy fats, which is helpful when you’re dealing with digestive discomfort. But it’s the oil’s natural anti-inflammatory action that’s the real key to its ability to help you heal from a leaky gut. The oil helps naturally reduce the inflammation that’s standing in the way of your body healing your damaged digestive tract.
3. Licorice root:
As a natural demulcent, licorice root coats your mucous membranes with a protective film helping to reduce inflammation and irritation in your sensitive gut tissues. But the benefits don’t end there, licorice root can help you heal too.
The inflammation from your leaky gut drives up your cortisol levels. This rise in stress hormones in turn triggers even more inflammation in the mucosal lining of your gut, leaving it even more irritated and inflamed. But licorice root helps put the brakes on this vicious cycle by slashing cortisol levels.
Experts recommend taking 500 mg two times a day. But keep in mind licorice root isn’t a long term solution. It’s best to use it for a short period of time and then take a break, so you get all the benefits without out any unwanted side effects.
If you’re starting to sense a pattern here, you’re right. L-glutamine is yet another natural anti-inflammatory.
But this essential amino acid does more than just fight inflammation to help heal your gut. L-glutamine thickens cells walls, adding a layer of protection and helping to rebuild the lining of your intestinal wall, closing up the leaks. Experts recommend taking 2-5 mg twice a day.
5. Digestive enzymes:
Make it a habit to start taking a digestive enzyme supplement before every meal. The enzymes will help make sure your body fully digests whatever you eat, reducing the chance that partially digested food finds its way out of your intestines and into your bloodstream.
As your gut heals it’s important to replenish your digestive tract with the good bacteria that help keep the bad bugs under control. Look for a high quality probiotic from a manufacturer you trust. We recommend one that contains several different strains of good bugs and at least 3 billion total CFUs (the more the better). Preferably one that has, at the very least, a strain or two of lactobacillus, and a strain or two of Bifidobacterium
While you’re recovering try to avoid refined sugars and grains, highly processed foods and too much gluten or dairy.
Have you healed your own leaky gut? What worked for you? Share your story with us in the comments below.