Welcome to our follow-up article on how to reverse Leaky Gut Syndrome. If you missed last week’s article, please visit Part 1 of this two-part series for important background information on the GI tract, intestinal health, and the major causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome (including specific foods, toxins, and more).
Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when the intestinal wall becomes damaged, allowing toxins, bacteria, undigested food, and other harmful agents to penetrate the abdominal cavity. Research is increasingly linking this condition with other serious health issues ranging from abdominal pain to depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
In this article, we will examine ways to repair the damage caused by Leaky Gut Syndrome so the GI tract functions more optimally, and the risk of long-term health issues is significantly reduced.
An important note to our readers: Always consult a physician prior to making changes to your diet or exercise regimen.
Reverse Leaky Gut Syndrome with the 4 R’s
Published earlier this year, Dr. Josh Axe’s article “4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease” provides a 4-step approach to nourishing and repairing a damaged intestinal wall. This includes:
1. Remove foods and factors that damage the gut.
Our Blog covered this step in great detail in last week’s article, “How to Heal a Leaky Gut, Part 1.” The article is a great starting point for those who are first exploring the concepts of GI tract health, intestinal wall damage, and the causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome. In the article, we look at the following questions:
- What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
- How does it form?
- What are the symptoms of intestinal wall damage?
- What are the main causes?
Read Part 1: To learn more, please visit How to Heal a Leaky Gut, Part 1.
2. Replace with healing foods.
After removing foods that cause damage to the intestinal wall, the next step is to proactively rebuild your diet with foods that will provide the nutrients needed to nourish and heal the digestive tract. In general, Dr. Axe categorizes the following foods as most beneficial to intestinal health:
- Bone Broth: Rich in collagen and powerful amino acids, bone broth supplies vital amounts of proline and glycine to repair damaged cells and rebuild the intestinal lining. Bone broth makes a great supplement to drink between meals, providing the GI tract with important nutrients that are easily absorbed.
- Raw Cultured Dairy: Raw cultured dairy contains 2 important ingredients that help to heal a leaky gut: Probiotics, and SCFA’s. According to health professionals, products that have the highest concentrations of these vital ingredients include: Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter, and raw cheese.
- Fermented Vegetables: Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Kvass are just a few examples of fermented vegetables that help to balance intestinal pH levels, which in turn helps to reverse damage to the intestinal wall. These foods are also high in probiotics.
- Coconut Products: Coconut oil, butter, and other extracts provide excellent GI health benefits because they are rich in MCFA’s, a unique fatty acid that is most concentrated in natural coconut pulp. Read more about the benefits of coconut oil.
- Natural Fiber: From chia seeds to flax supplements, natural fiber sources are instrumental in rebuilding intestinal health. These food items provide natural anti-inflammatory benefits along with healthy Omega fatty acids, both of which help to rebalance gut health over the long-term.
3. Repair with specific supplements.
In addition to the foods noted above, there are a variety of health supplements available to aid in rebuilding the health of the GI tract. They include:
- Digestive Enzymes
- Aloe Vera
- Licorice Root/ Extract
4. Rebalance with probiotics.
As mentioned above, Probiotics are a very important element of any plan to repair and rebuild GI health. Probiotics must be consumed in both supplement and whole food forms, however. As noted in #2 above, raw cultured dairy and fermented vegetables are two natural food sources that should be a part of your new diet. In terms of daily volume, Dr. Josh Axe recommends consuming at least 100 billion units of Probiotics each day from both supplements and natural, whole food sources.
A Holistic Perspective on Nutrition, Dentistry, and Wellness
At Assure A Smile, we take a holistic approach to dentistry that focuses on empowering patients to make lifestyle choices that will have a profoundly positive impact on not just oral health, but on mental, emotional, and physical health as well.
To experience holistic dentistry firsthand, readers are invited to contact our friendly front desk at 305.274.004.
(i) Vaarala O, Atkinson MA, Neu J (2008) ‘The ‘Perfect Storm’ for Type 1 Diabetes The Complex Interplay Between Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Permeability, and Mucosal Immunity’, Diabetes Journal, (57)10(2555-2562).
(ii) Axe, Josh MD. “4 Steps to Heal a Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease.” Accessed 1 October 2013.