How do you fix leaky gut? The digestive system is one of the most overlooked systems in the human body. It’s also the only system that directly interfaces with what we eat, drink and swallow daily. That’s why it’s essential to take care of this sensitive network.
Leaky gut is a condition where your digestive tract becomes permeable, allowing particles to pass through and enter your bloodstream. This can lead to a cascade of health issues as toxins and other harmful substances slip past the intestinal wall, allowing them to seep into your bloodstream. It also allows undigested food particles to leak through the intestines and enter the bloodstream, creating an immune response.
Fortunately, there are ways not only to recognize but also to heal your body. We’ll discuss leaky gut, identify seven signs that you may have a leaky gut, and chat about how to fix it, including the best supplements for leaky gut. Let’s get started.
Why Have I Never Heard of a Leaky Gut Before?
First, we need to understand why we haven’t heard more about leaky gut. The problem is that doctors and researchers often don’t look at the digestive system when diagnosing other health issues. Instead, they choose to look at the results instead of the source, which is often the digestive system. This means that you might be suffering from leaky gut syndrome and not know it. At the same time, doctors try to figure out what’s wrong with your liver or kidneys (or whatever else) when, in fact, they should be looking at your gut.
Why Do I Have a Leaky Gut?
There are several reasons you may have a leaky gut. The most common reasons are poor diet and stress on the body. Stress can cause increased cortisol levels, which increases inflammation in the digestive system. This can create a permeable membrane that allows particles to pass through. A high-fat, high-sugar diet is another contributing factor, as these foods can also cause inflammation. But there are other reasons you may have a leaky gut, too:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chemotherapy treatments
- Gluten or dairy intolerance
- Prescription drug use
- Food sensitivities
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor digestive enzyme production
Why Is Leaky Gut Bad?
When the digestive tract becomes permeable, particles can pass through entering your bloodstream. From there, they can go anywhere in your body and cause havoc.
The biggest health concern with the leaky gut syndrome is that it allows larger proteins, often undigested proteins, to pass through the gut lining where your immune system greets them. That’s when your immune system sends out antibodies to attack the foreign substance. When that substance is a food that you have an intolerance or allergy to, it can cause an autoimmune response in which your body attacks itself. Your stomach lining also begins producing excess acid due to inflammation and other damage done by these substances passing through.
Without a healthy digestive tract, your body can’t function properly.
How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Here are eight signs that you may have leaky gut syndrome:
This is the most common sign of a leaky gut. When your digestive system is compromised, it’s difficult for food to pass through efficiently. This causes excess bloating in the stomach area. The undigested particles can also cause diarrhea, another common symptom of the leaky gut syndrome.
2) Gas and burping:
Since the food particles are undigested, they can ferment, and your body may expel this as gas. Excessive belching and flatulence are other signs that you may have a leaky gut.
3) Diarrhea or constipation:
When your body can’t break down larger proteins, they may be expelled in the form of diarrhea. On the other hand, undigested particles can cause constipation because they’re too large to pass efficiently.
4) Frequent yeast infections or UTIs:
When your immune system is compromised, it can’t fight off bacterial infections as quickly. This means you may suffer from more frequent yeast infections or UTIs.
5) Hormone fluctuations:
Specifically, PMS symptoms are out of the ordinary for you, like severe cramps or emotional irregularities. In addition, hormonal imbalances are linked to leaky gut syndrome because the undigested proteins can pass into your bloodstream and cause your body to respond in negative ways. You may also experience irregular periods or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
6) Food allergies or intolerances:
When your body is constantly under attack from its immune system, you may develop allergies or intolerances to certain foods. Even if you had no previous problems with gluten, for example, you could suddenly develop an allergy after months of inflammation in the body.
7) Skin issues:
These include rashes, dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema. These conditions all signal a compromised immune system because what’s happening is the immune system is attacking healthy skin cells. But, again, this is another by-product of a root cause that often goes undiagnosed.
8) Mood and emotion imbalances:
Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and depression can be signs of a leaky gut. Research suggests a gut-brain barrier/connection as a root cause of mood swings, depression or anxiety, and brain fog. In addition, because undigested particles can affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, you may also experience trouble sleeping if you have a leaky gut.
How Do I Fix a Leaky Gut?
Luckily, there are several ways to heal a leaky gut. The first step to treating an unhealthy gut is to stop putting more dangerous things into your body. Cut down on processed foods, refined sugars and flours, GMO products, alcohol, and caffeine. All of these can damage the gut lining permanently.
Take a daily probiotic or leaky gut powder supplement to replenish healthy bacteria in your digestive system and maintain a balanced microbiome.
You can also consult a functional medicine doctor to help you identify and treat the root causes of your leaky gut. They can also help you find the best probiotic for gut health along with other supplements you might need to heal. Often, there are underlying problems that lead to leaky gut, but non-invasive remedies can have a significant effect.
Last but not least, managing stress is vital to maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Make sure you get enough sleep and take time every day for yourself to de-stress.
If you don’t address the root causes of your leaky gut, it’ll only get worse. A leaky gut can lead to several severe health disorders if left untreated. Repairing your gut takes time, so you need to be patient with the process. It’s also important to be consistent with the incremental changes and lifestyle adjustments you pursue. With work, patience and time, your gut can heal.