Today I’m going to talk to you about leaky gut, what it is, and give you some tips on how to clear it up.
I’ve been practicing over thirty years now and have seen over one hundred thousand patient visits. We saw a typical patient recently, a young woman in her twenties, complaining of headaches, brain fog, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, gas, bloating, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, chronic sinus issues, and the list goes on and on. She was feeling really miserable, going from doctor to doctor, not really getting answers other than another prescription for this and another prescription for that.
We started with an initial evaluation and lab testing to find some underlying root causes, and a whole lot of things came up, one of which was leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Within the inner membrane of your small intestine are what they call tight junctions, with small pores in between them that allow for the absorption of nutrients such as amino acids and essential fats into your bloodstream for nourishment. These pores are about the size of a hole made in a piece of paper by an acupuncture needle, and that’s normal permeability. Leaky gut is increased permeability, where those pores are increased to the size of a hole made by a nail.
How Does Leaky Gut Harm My Body?
Instead of just nutrients getting into the bloodstream, whole proteins, toxins, bacteria, and yeast can leak out of that protective barrier into the bloodstream and trigger a whole host of things, like food sensitivities and allergies. Leaky gut can also trigger autoimmune conditions, because these whole proteins, toxins, etc., which aren’t supposed to be in circulation, are then identified as foreign invaders, and your body starts to attack them. Over time, it can start attacking certain parts of your body, like your thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease, goiter, nodules, hypothyroidism, Graves disease), your joints (Rheumatoid arthritis), your nervous system (MS), and your intestine (celiac disease).
Is There Research to Support Leaky Gut?
When I was going over the findings with this patient, she said that she thought she might have leaky gut, but her father is in the medical field and doesn’t really buy into all this natural stuff. She asked if there was anything she could tell him or show him to prove leaky gut exists.
So I searched leaky gut on PubMed, where they publish peer-reviewed medical studies, and some interesting things came right up. For instance, I found an article from 2017 from the journal, Frontiers in Immunology, titled “Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases,” describing this whole condition I just went over. I found another article from 2011 talking about Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer, and more articles beyond those. So there’s plenty of research out there that points to leaky gut, even though it’s not really recognized by modern medicine as of yet.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
The three underlying, basic causes of leaky gut are physical, chemical, and mental stressors, and you can break chemical stressors down into four interrelated categories:
- Deficiencies: Deficiencies in zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D can lead to deterioration in the intestinal wall.
- Toxins: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin have been shown to cause leaky gut. Antibiotics, too, can be a major contributor.
- Infections/Parasites: This is where yeast, bacterial overgrowth, and parasites come into play. Antibiotics can wipe out the healthy bacteria in your gut and allow unhealthy bacteria, or pathogenic bacteria, to take over and damage the intestinal walls. It’s the same thing with yeast overgrowth.
- Food Sensitivities: Gluten is a very common, well-researched cause of leaky gut and can damage the intestinal lining. Other food sensitivities are can be involved with this condition as well.
How Can I treat Leaky Gut?
As far as treatment goes, you have two options. You can go the route of traditional medicine, which treats symptoms with particular medications, or you can choose health and functional medicine, which is our approach.
The diet that works best for leaky gut is what I call The FreeDiet™ (download a complimentary copy here), which is free of not only gluten, but also grains, corn, sugar, yeast, soy, legumes, eggs, dairy, and GMOs. These are the foods most commonly responsible for inflammation and digestive issues, and we remove all of them in Phase 1 of the FreeDiet™.
The FreeDiet™ allows your gut a chance to heal by calming down inflammation and removing those foods that promote inflammatory reactions.
Natural Medicine Formulas®
Which specific nutritional supplements we use depends on testing for each individual patient, but the most common supplements we recommend for the healing of leaky gut are zinc, fish oil, L-glutamine, vitamin D, bioflavonoids, curcumin, and ginger.
- ProbioExtreme 350: Probiotics are vitally important to healing leaky gut. We start with a very powerful probiotic, ProbioExtreme 350 for short-term use, and then we graduate into a lower level one after that.
- Paleo Protein: We use the collagen-based protein, Paleo Protein, because collagen can help with leaky gut. Bone broth is another excellent source of natural collagen.
- Gut Immune Repair and GI-Mend : Two other product we use to treat leaky gut as it contains ingredients to help support the intestinal lining.
Stick With the Treatment
We had two patients not too long ago who had similar symptoms of massive digestive complaints, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, skin issues—again, whole body issues—and they both tested positive for autoimmune conditions. The patient that followed our recommendations with the FreeDiet™ and supplements was able, after three months, to lower her ANA antibodies from 1:640 to less than 1:40, which is normal.
The other patient only somewhat followed our recommendations, but cheated some and went on and off the diet. She was feeling better, and she lost a bunch of weight, but was still going back and forth with a number of cheat days per week. When I reached out to her after two and a half months, her antibody levels hadn’t moved at all. Even though she was feeling better, her immune system was still being fired up.
If you have these chronic health issues and you want to get them cleared up, you really need to find the underlying root causes and stick with the plan. I believe that most all conditions, once you get to the underlying cause, can be addressed and cleared up, because your body has an incredible ability to heal itself.
Don’t forget to grab your complimentary copy of Phase 1 of the Free Diet™, and subscribe to my channel for early notifications of new videos.
Thanks for joining me again, and I look forward to seeing you next time.