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Healing a Leaky Gut: A Step-by-Step Guide

Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition where the lining of the digestive tract becomes damaged. This allows undigested food particles, harmful bacteria and  toxins to leak into the bloodstream. This can trigger inflammation and cause health issues, such as digestive problems, resistant weight gain, autoimmune disorders, joint pains, depression and chronic fatigue. 

 

As a Functional Medicine doctor, my approach focuses on addressing the root causes rather than just treating the symptoms. In this guide, I will provide you with a step-by-step plan to heal your leaky gut in a holistic way and restore balance to your digestive system.

Step 1: Identify Underlying Cause of Leaky Gut

The first step in healing a leaky gut is to identify potential triggers that could be causing or exacerbating the condition. Based on my experience, common culprits include gluten, dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, and artificial additives. Keeping a food diary can help you track your diet and identify any patterns of symptoms. Once you shortlist the potential trigger foods, consider removing such foods to pinpoint specific foods that may be contributing to your leaky gut. 

Step 2: Embrace a Gut-Friendly Diet

Replace trigger foods with gut-healing ones that support the restoration of the intestinal lining. Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods, such as leafy greens, colorful vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. If you can, incorporate bone broth. It is rich in collagen and amino acids and helps promote gut repair. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt can introduce beneficial probiotics to improve gut flora.

Embrace a gut friendly diet.

Step 3: Check your gut microbiome

Get a gut microbiome test to assess the bacteria, fungal and parasite status along with digestive enzymes, immune system and inflammation in your gut. The GI Map tests for zonulin, which is a marker of increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut. This will help your functional medicine doctor to make a personalized plan for your imbalanced gut.

Step 4: Supplements for Gut Repair

In addition to a gut-friendly diet, certain supplements can aid in healing. Supplements below can help you improve your gut health:

a) L-Glutamine: An amino acid that supports the regeneration of the intestinal lining and helps reduce inflammation. I personally like GI Revive which is formulated with specific amino acids, a botanical blend and minerals to offer comprehensive support for the lining of the GI tract.

b) Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds, these fats help reduce inflammation in the gut. One of the supplements to consider OmegAvail TG1000, which is a highly potent non GMO fish oil containing an impressive 1000mg of Omega-3 oils, with superior absorption and bioavailability.

c) Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy balance of gut flora, which can aid in reducing leaky gut symptoms. Ther-biotic complete powder from Klaire Labs is a robust broad spectrum hypoallergenic blend of 12 probiotic species providing 400 billion CFU in one teaspoon.

Always consult with a healthcare professional or a Functional Medicine practitioner before starting any new supplements. They are best equipped to provide you with a personalised plan based on your existing conditions and needs.

Step 5: Manage Stress and Prioritize Sleep

Stress can reshape the gut bacteria composition through stress hormones, inflammation and autonomic changes. Therefore, managing stress is crucial. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature. Sleep is one of most crucial and ignored aspect of health. Prioritize regular, restful sleep to support the body’s natural healing processes.

Step 6: Address Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Undiagnosed food sensitivities or allergies can contribute to leaky gut. Consider working with a functional medicine practitioner to perform comprehensive testing for potential allergens and sensitivities. Eliminating these triggers can have a profound impact on gut healing. You can also do our accurate food sensitivity test which also checks for leaky gut to help personalize your plan.

Step 7: Support Liver Health

A healthy liver is essential for detoxifying the body and maintaining gut health. Incorporate liver-supportive foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale), beets, and garlic into your diet.

Step 8: Reduce Environmental Toxins

Exposure to toxins from environmental sources can disrupt gut health and exacerbate leaky gut. Be mindful of household cleaning products, personal care items, and plastics that contain harmful chemicals. Opt for natural alternatives whenever possible.

Step 9: Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can support gut health by reducing inflammation and improving digestion. Find a form of exercise you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the first step in healing the gut?

Remove allergens and irritants. The first step in healing the gut is removing anything that contributes to leaky gut. Common irritants include grains, legumes, alcohol, dairy, and nightshades.

What happens to your body when you heal your gut?

Some of the health benefits of healthy gut include improved digestion, healthy and glowing skin, improved immune system and higher energy levels.

What tests are used to diagnose leaky gut syndrome?

 The GI Map + Zonluin test by Diagnostic Solutions is a comprehensive stool analysis that uses qPCR technology to identify many gut issues including the leaky gut.

Summary:

Healing a leaky gut is a holistic process that requires a comprehensive approach to address the underlying causes. By identifying trigger foods, adopting a gut-friendly diet, incorporating supplements, managing stress, addressing allergies, supporting liver health, reducing toxins, and exercising regularly, you can effectively restore balance to your digestive system and promote overall well-being.

If you believe you are experiencing conditions caused by poor gut health, it is always beneficial to work with a Functional Medicine doctor. They can get to the root cause of your health issues, recommend the appropriate lab tests and tailor the plan to your unique needs. They can also help you with making those lifestyle changes consistent. With support, dedication and right approach, you can heal your leaky gut and embark on a path of health and vitality.

 

Do you worry about your gut health?

Take Dr Menka's gut health quiz now to find out. You will also receive personalised recommendations on how to optimise your gut health moving forward.

Dr Menka Gupta

IFMCP, MSc, MBBS

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