Leaky gut cannot be medically diagnosed just yet, it's a pretty new idea that serves as a trigger diagnosis in order to help dig deeper into the source of digestive discomfort or other abnormal symptoms. It's used to define the symptoms that occur when your intestinal lining no longer functions and allows pathogens, toxins, undigested food and other large molecules to enter into the bloodstream. The immune system identifies these as “foreign invaders” and sets up an attack system that can harm various organs and trigger inflammation. This could potentially lead to autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, thyroid disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis, along with other conditions including Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, skin conditions, asthma and food allergies.
How to Heal a Leaky Gut
In order to heal, the first step is to remove the things that are negatively affecting your gastrointestinal tract and replace them with the essential components of proper digestion. Then, start reintroducing beneficial bacteria to rebalance your gut flora and continue eating healthy to provide the necessary nutrients your gastrointestinal lining needs to repair and heal. Please discuss these options with your healthcare provider before experimenting.
1. Avoid toxins from certain medications (think over-the-counter NSAIDs, unnecessary antibiotics, or acid-reducing drugs), mercury found in fish, pesticides on produce, and BPA plastics, among others. Only take medication if your doctor prescribes it or if it is absolutely necessary.
2. Avoid food triggers such as gluten or wheat, soy, dairy, corn, alcohol, and sugar. These are the main players that have been shown to potentially cause an autoimmune attack as a result of a leaky gut. Some people do just fine with these; however, it’s best to rule out the bad guys when you're trying to heal. It may also be a good idea to work with a doctor who can provide proper testing. Everyone should limit sugar!
3. Consider digestive enzymes, betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL), or bile acid supplements if appropriate. Did you know that pineapple and papaya contain natural enzymes shown to help aid digestion? They also make delicious Blast ingredients.
4. Re-inoculate the “good guys” in the gut by taking a probiotic with at least a billion CFUs (colony-forming units) and eat foods containing natural probiotics like kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented veggies, coconut kefir, kombucha, and tempeh.
5. Consider an L-glutamine supplement or eat foods high in this amino acid. Glutamine plays an extremely important role in our immunity and digestive health. It is the primary player in the regulation of cellular reproduction, including mucosal cells of the intestinal lining – the critical component to help repair a leaky gut. Foods such as kale, spinach, cabbage (another great reason to eat sauerkraut!), parsley, lentils, soybeans, beets, carrots, and Brussels sprouts are great Blast ingredients to add for a dose of L-glutamine.
6. Reduce the stress in your life! Yes, stress is toxic and it can affect digestion as well. When we are stressed, blood flow to the gut is reduced by four times, digestive enzyme output in the gut slows 20,000 fold, and nutrient excretion is accelerated. What can you do on a daily basis to reduce your stress load? Practice yoga, write, take a walk, call a loved one, meditate, get a massage, take a relaxing bath or just zone out and listen to some music. Turn off the electronics and focus on healing your body!
If you're experiencing leaky gut symptoms, talk to your doctor about what steps to take or consult with a registered dietitian in your area who specializes in digestive health.
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