Leaky Gut Syndrome
While the name might sound funny, leaky gut syndrome is no laughing matter. Since the gut has to deal with a non-stop barrage of food, chemicals and microorganisms, the walls of the digestive tract have to constantly defend themselves from harm while selecting beneficial substances which will be admitted into the body. Normally, the intestinal lining only lets properly digested fats, proteins, and starches pass through the cells that line the gut. But, when the intestinal lining becomes continually irritated because of chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, the long-term use of antibiotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), or excessive alcohol consumption, the spaces between these cells open up and can allow bacteria, toxins, and undigested food to “leak” into the bloodstream. Once that begins to happen, the digestive barrier loses its selectivity, leaving you vulnerable to fatigue, allergies, illness, and even autoimmune diseases.
It’s important to rule out a food allergy or sensitivity if you suffer from leaky gut syndrome. Keep a food diary and see your health care provider for testing if need be. Because bacterial imbalance, also known as dysbiosis, and leaky gut syndrome go hand in hand, it’s wise to eat at least one serving of probiotic-rich food every day. Buttermilk, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, and yogurt are great sources of beneficial bacteria.
Avoid inflammation triggers like alcohol, tobacco, and NSAID drugs. Because leaky gut can also cause the malabsorption of vitamins and minerals, it’s wise to have your blood levels of key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D tested. If they are low, work with your doctor on the appropriate supplement dosage to bring your levels back into a healthy range. Moderate exercise and restorative sleep are also important to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. Not getting enough sleep can boost inflammatory mediators and worsen leaky gut. Taking steps to reduce stress is also important. There is a well-known connection between stress and imbalanced inflammatory responses in the intestinal tract.
Curcumin: is an anti-inflammatory compound found in the curry spice turmeric. Preliminary studies suggest that it can soothe inflammation and reduce oxidative stress in the intestinal wall, which may help lessen permeability. Typical dosage: 1,200 mg per day standardized to contain 95 percent curcuminoids.
L-Glutamine: is important to gut health since it serves as a source of fuel for the cells lining the intestines. According to one study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, L-glutamine supplements act like metabolic “glue” and may help the body repair intestinal damage. Other research by Israeli investigators shows that L-glutamine can help ward off inflammation in the intestines by boosting antioxidant action and energizing the cells of the intestinal wall. According to the researchers, this antioxidant capacity protects the intestines by defusing the destructive action of free radicals that are released during digestion. Earlier studies have found that L-glutamine also boosts the immune system and can even come to the rescue after the intestinal lining has suffered from severe injury. Typical dosage: 500 mg three times a day.
Multivitamin: Multis are an important addition to your supplement regime if you suffer from leaky gut syndrome because the condition can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients. Taking a comprehensive multivitamin can help ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of the basic vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Typical dosage: Follow label directions. For increased absorption, look for a multi in powdered or liquid form.
Probiotics: can help to reverse dysbiosis and may help repair a damaged intestinal wall. According to small trial that was documented in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, those taking a probiotic supplement containing the beneficial bacteria Saccharomyces boulardii experienced a significant improvement in intestinal permeability. Typical dosage: 5 billion CFU of a broad-spectrum probiotic that also contains S. boulardii.