Written by Dr. Dane Donohue, 8WW Co-Founder
So many people are suffering the effects of “leaky gut” syndrome and very few know it. How do
you know that you have something when you don’t even know what you are looking for? Well, some of the more common symptoms of leaky gut progression are bloating, food sensitivities, thyroid problems, chronic fatigue, joint pains, headaches, skin disorders, digestive symptoms and weight gain. Do you have any of these?
So, what is leaky gut syndrome? Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system. Because of this, leaky gut is also referred to as “increased intestinal permeability”. Imagine using a colander but it had bigger holes in it. Well, imagine having holes in your intestine so things such as proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles now pass through when they should be filtered out. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.
The 4 main causes of Leaky Gut syndrome are:
1. Poor Diet-The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains (traditional grains), excess sugar, GMO’s and conventional dairy.
2. Chronic Stress- Stress shuts down your digestion because digestion takes a tremendous amount of energy which can’t be spared when you are in “fight or flight”. This causes food to rot or spoil in your gut causing intestinal damage.
3. Toxic Overload- We are exposed to over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS. I recommend buying a high-quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant-based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.
4. Dysbiosis- Probiotic Bacterial Imbalance. So many things can cause damage to the normal “flora” that helps us in so many ways. Things like antibiotic overuse, chlorinated water, a diet high in sugar and animal protein, sulfates as well as abuse or overuse of non-steroidal meds are the main ones.
The good news is there’s a solution to successfully healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:
REMOVE- foods and factors that damage the gut. See above.
REPLACE- with healing foods like bone broth, fermented veggies, coconut products, sprouted sees, grass-fed meats, wild fatty fish like salmon or cod and steamed veggies.
REPAIR- with specific supplements like probiotics, fiber (soluble and insoluble), digestive enzymes, L-glutamine, oil of oregano, quercetin, collagen powder.
REBALANCE- with probiotics. Look for brand quality meaning choose reputable companies, high CFU (colony-forming units), survivability (probiotics should never be heated and should be shipped cold). Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus. Lactobacillus bulgaricus are just a few strains that should be included in a good probiotic.
If you are curious if you have a 'leaky gut' speak with one of our doctors or health coaches.