Welcome back to Leaky Gut Syndrome Part 3.
You’re now in the home-stretch to becoming a leaky gut expert and your own best health advocate.
If you’re just joining this series, we’ve already covered what the heck leaky gut is, its number one cause (imbalanced stress), and today you will learn how to repair your gut naturally, without drugs or invasive procedures.
New Challenges in Natural Leaky Gut Treatment
Integrative and Functional Medicine doctors have been assessing and treating leaky gut for decades, so its treatment is nothing new.
However, recent increases in environmental toxicity and chronic stress (thanks in-part to new technologies and media), have added more complexity to an already multifaceted condition.
This has left doctors and healers to adjust their old standby treatments to compensate.
But, despite our exposure to toxins, chronic stress, and less-than-optimal nutrition, our bodies are still designed to heal, and will do so beautifully and fully when given the right tools.
Let’s take at look at how you can start empowering your body to heal leaky gut TODAY, without drugs or invasive procedures.
4 Core Steps to Heal Leaky Gut
I am not the first one to write about the 4 steps to heal leaky gut. But I’ve put my own spin on it by using the analogy of a sustainable garden.
If you care about your health you probably also care about where your food comes from, so this example usually works well with my patients.
Your gut is like your own internal garden, your whole body relies on its health to repair, grow, and function.
Your microbiome (the microbes, bacteria, yeasts, etc. inside your gut) is your topsoil.
If your topsoil has a healthy microbial balance, then the rest of your body will bloom.
Likewise, if it’s depleted, contaminated, or nearly non-existent your health will literally wilt before your eyes.
By cultivating a rich and robust microbiome you will ultimately heal leaky gut. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Weed your Garden (eliminate causal factors)
This is where you take an honest inventory and remove toxic influences that may be hurting your gut.
Enlisting the help of an Integrative or Functional Medicine doctor who specializes in Leaky Gut Syndrome can be a life-saver, as there are many causal factors to consider.
For my patients, I recommend a 30-Day elimination diet of:
- Sugars and artificial sweeteners
- Dairy products
- All processed foods
All the above foods contribute to yeast and “bad” bacteria overgrowth, inflammation, and common food sensitivities that aggravate leaky gut.
And don’t forget to weed toxic stressors from your life too.
See last week’s post for tips and details on implementing this crucial piece.
Step 2: Amend your soil (nourish your body)
So many of us are modernly-malnourished and we don’t even know it.
To help build up your strength, immunity, and energy reserves I recommend incorporating the following foods and supplements into your diet:
Foods that Nourish Your Gut
- Bone broth—rich in natural gelatin, collagen, amino acids, glutamine, glycine, and minerals, real bone broth soothes and nourishes your gut while providing the building blocks for cellular repair. Consume while on the 30-day elimination diet.
- 7-10 servings of vegetables daily—this may seem like a lot, but fresh, preferably organic vegetables provide your best source of absorbable vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fiber, and enzymes. Try blending them into soups, tossing leafy greens into smoothies, scrambling them into eggs, and eating at least 2-3 veggies with each meal to meet your goal.
Supplements for Leaky Gut
- Digestive Enzymes and/or Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)—plant-based digestive enzymes take the burden off your digestive system so it can focus on healing. In some cases HCL may also be indicated (check with your doctor).
Step 3: Plant new seeds (reinoculate your microbiome)
Now that you’ve weeded out causal factors and built up your body’s reserves (topsoil), it’s time to plant a new gut garden.
You do this by consuming probiotics and prebiotics from cultured foods and high-quality supplements.
Though you can maintain a healthy microbiome through diet alone, leaky gut patients are advised to take a high-quality probiotic supplement during treatment.
Probiotic-rich foods that Heal Leaky Gut:
- Cultured vegetables
- Plain, organic cultured yogurt and kefir (if you’re not sensitive to dairy)
How to Choose a Quality Probiotic Supplement
- Look for at least 50 million CFUs
- Look for a multi-strain probiotic
- Make sure your supplement has both probiotics and prebiotics
- Avoid cheap over-the-counter probiotics as they could contain sweeteners and other cheap fillers
- Purchase through your Integrative doctor whenever possible (we have done the leg-work and research for you)
Step 4: Repair and Tend (healthy maintenance)
You’ve weeded, built up your soil, planted new seeds, and now it’s time to repair any lingering damage and tend your new garden. Here’s how:
Foods that Repair and Tend your Gut Garden:
- The most important food to continue consuming at this repair and tending phase is: bone broth. Drink 1-3 cups a day.
- Aloe Vera, in juice or pill form, is also extremely helpful in repairing, soothing your gut while helping re-set and support regularity. You only need a little juice, 1/4 – 1/2 a cup per day will do it, it’s easy to incorporate into smoothies, and is available at most natural foods stores. For supplementation recommendations, check with your doctor.
Supplements that Repair and Tend your Gut Garden:
- I recommend you take a glutamine supplement to help mend and gently repair any lingering damage, tears, or holes in the gut lining.
- Also Deglycerized Licorice supplement (aka DGL) is highly effective in supporting the healing of the gut and GI mucosal lining and is available in powder or pill form.
Despite the unnatural and stressful world we live in, nature really has provided everything we need to cope, to heal, and to thrive. Even with complex issues like leaky gut, you can rest assured your body will heal itself if you empower it with the right tools.
I hope this series has been valuable, educational, and inspirational and I’d love to hear your feedback and experience in the comments section below.
Happy gut-healing and be well!