Bloating? Fatigue? Headaches? It may be possible that the culprit to these symptoms lies within your gut.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut is a syndrome that has been gaining more attraction as patients are demanding to search for answers for these vague symptoms. Leaky gut begins at the cellular level, where the lining of the intestine is made up of millions of cells that are supposed to create a tight security barrier. This security barrier decides what is absorbed into the bloodstream and what stays out. If “holes” develop within this security system, this allows for the barrier to weaken and can transmit toxins and bacteria into the bloodstream. Over time this can cause a chronic inflammation effect that can lead to unexplained complaints.
What causes leaky gut?
We all have a degree of leaky gut as the security barrier is not supposed to be completely impermeable. However, genetics, diet, stress, and age can all potentially impact the permeability of this lining for each individual. The factor that can be modified the “easiest” out of this list is diet.
It is important to determine with your healthcare provider any foods that are causing inflammation on a daily basis at the gut level. The most common offenders are excessive intake of alcohol, processed foods, sugar, and in some cases gluten and dairy. One could try eliminating these food groups as a whole, trying a thirty day elimination diet, or visiting a practitioner that test for food sensitivities in order to be more specific about what to remove.
How to Heal Leaky Gut
Exercise is also beneficial in repairing the digestive system. Many studies have suggested that walking for 15-20 minutes after a meal can help strengthen this system. Another important lifestyle goal to heal leaky gut is incorporating fiber everyday. According to the USDA, men under 50 years of age should consume 38 grams and women under 50 should consume 25 grams daily.
In order to heal leaky gut, it is important to try and remove the offending stressor at the gut level. Once this has been removed, it is important to repair and replenish the complexity of the microbiome. The microbiome can be repaired through diet, but sometimes it takes additional supplements to help correct. If one is trying to repair through diet, it is recommended to add fermented foods such as tempeh, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and roughage such as Jerusalem artichoke, flaxseed, and jicama. Add in some probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kombucha, and coconut yogurt.
When diet does not improve the microbiome, there are a range of different supplements that can be added such as L-glutamine, probiotics of certain strains, and medical foods. It is best to visit your healthcare practitioner before starting these supplements to make sure you are taking the correct dosage and the proper form.
At CentreSpringMD, all of our providers are well versed on leaky gut syndrome and can assist you in making these choices to help heal your microbiome.