Leaky Gut Syndrome, or ‘hyperpermeable intestines’ is a condition in which the intestinal lining becomes more porous. In normal human speak, this means that large, undigested food particles and other forms of waste your body normally wouldn’t allow through, flows into the bloodstream. These particles contain harmful bacteria and toxins that cause chronic inflammation, which can initiate an over-reactive immune response in the body.
A gut reaction
Even though not conclusively proven, leaky gut has been reported to be associated with a wide range of diseases including:
- Digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammatory skin conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis and Acne
- Autoimmune diseases: Type 1 Diabetes, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Autoimmune hepatitis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Celiac disease, Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus
- Nervous system and brain diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, depression and autism
A gut feeling
Common leaky gut symptoms include:
- Food sensitivities, allergies and asthma
- Digestive issues: bloating, gas, cramps, pain, thyroid dysfunction, nutrient malabsorption and impaired metabolism
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle and nerve pain
- Brain-related issues e.g. brain fog and forgetfulness
Sick to the stomach
As we age, our intestines become more permeable. However, certain unhealthy lifestyle habits can speed up this process, such as:
- Poor diets – low in fibre and high in processed, sugary foods
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Chronic stress
- Bacteria imbalances
- Candida, H.pylori and parasitic infections
- Chronic inflammation
- Conventional drugs like NSAIDs and proton pump inhibitors
The good gut news
You can avoid and repair a leaky gut with healthy habits, a diet rich in healing foods, and a probiotic supplement. Releaf Pharmaceuticals offers four different Probiotics, which have been shown to assist in improving and normalising the microbial balance in the human intestines, thereby improving the functioning of the digestive tract/gut. Check with your Healthcare Practitioner if the Releaf Pharmaceuticals Probiotic range can benefit you.
The gut don’ts:
- Consuming foods and toxins that are harmful to your gut, such as sugar, gluten, lectin, refined carbs, genetically-modified foods, processed meat and dairy
- Drinking unfiltered tap water, (as this can often be contaminated with chlorine and fluoride), consuming excess alcohol, pesticides, chemical preservatives and conventional drugs like anti-inflammatories and antibiotics
The gut do’s:
Eat more of this:
- Bone broth, containing collagen and amino acids like proline and glycine, is full of vitamins and minerals that help heal damaged cell walls
- Raw cultured dairy: pasteurised kefir, yoghurt, buttermilk, butter and raw cheese all contain probiotics
- Fermented veggies: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kvass are excellent sources of probiotics
- Coconut products: the medium chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for a leaky gut. Try coconut oil, MCT oil, and coconut kefir to support your digestive system
- Prebiotic foods: indigestible fibres help probiotic bacteria to thrive in the gut. Sprouted seeds like chia, broccoli, flax and hemp are sources of fibre that help encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.
- Good sources of insoluble fibre come from green mangoes, papaya, banana, asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, onions and leek. Steamed veggies and fruit are beneficial to a severe leaky gut.
- Omega 3: anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3 fats, like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish – like salmon.
Get some Releaf
Once a leaky gut is stabilised, a probiotic is the most important supplement to take, as it helps to replenish good bacteria while pushing out the bad kind, strengthening tight junctions and restoring the integrity of the intestinal barrier. The Releaf Probiotic range includes Releaf Probiotic 12-strain, Releaf Probiotic Active 12-strain, Releaf Probiotic Melt 12-strain, and Releaf Probiotic Kids Chews, which assist in improving or normalising the microbial balance in the human intestines and thereby improving the functioning of the digestive tract/gut.
Effective vitamins and minerals to strengthen intestinal integrity include: Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin D, Zinc, Iron, B Complex vitamins.
Releaf Probiotic Active contains a combination of 12 probiotic strains, with added Vitamin A, D3 and Zinc to support the immune system and connective tissue formation. It’s aimed at the active person looking to boost their health while training.
Loosen your belt
Managing stress is a great way to improve the function of your intestinal barrier and overall health. Try to incorporate these rituals to help lower your stress levels:
- Breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness
- Regular exercise to help support your body on its way to vibrant health
- A good sleeping pattern to help enhance your immune function and reduce inflammation
Moral of the story? Leaky Gut Syndrome is often completely reversible with a wholesome diet, healthy lifestyle and radical self-care.