“Leaky gut syndrome.” You may or may not have heard of it – possibly described with symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and aches and pains – but it’s something that medical experts don’t fully understand or agree on. Basically, the intestinal lining becomes more porous, with more holes developing that are larger in size, and the screening out process is no longer functioning properly. This results in larger, undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” (yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely into your bloodstream. If this sounds bad, that’s because it is! You’ve probably heard us say that the gut is the key to your health, and its true. You’re gut is the first line of defense for your immune system. So if it’s not doing its job, your not going to be at your healthiest. In fact with leaky gut syndrome, you can actually develop intolerance to multiple foods, because as things such as food molecules and pathogens make it through the intestinal lining, your body treats them as “hostile” and fights against them, thus developing an intolerance.
Sounds like bad news right? Well it is, but all hope is not lost. There are things you can do to treat your leaky gut and make it more manageable. But first lets look out causes, so you can hopefully prevent it before it starts!
Diet: While experts disagree on the exact causes of leaky gut, they mostly agree on the fact that diet is probably the biggest contributor. High amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, etc. introduce massive amounts of chemicals into the body that are seen as toxic by your immune system.
Chronic Stress: Chronic stress almost always results in a suppressed immune system. A weakened immune system cannot handle doing it’s normal job and gets overrun with pathogens very quickly. This increases overall gut inflammation, leading to increased permeability of the intestinal lining.
Inflammation: Inflammation in the gut can lead to leaky gut. This can be brought on by low stomach acid (which passes undigested food into the small intestine irritating everything it passes by), yeast/bacteria overgrowth, infection, parasites, and excessive toxins.
Medications: Medication prescriptions or pain relievers with Aspirin or Acetaminophen irritate the intestinal lining and decrease the mucus level, which protects the intestinal lining. This can start or help to continue the inflammation cycle (more bacteria, yeast, and digestion issues) and promotes an increase in permeability.
These are some the most common causes. But, if you are already suffering, what can you do to treat yourself? Well, you can probably figure out some contributors by reading the above list. In addition, there are some more positive actions you can take to help, but let’s break it down:
Diet: Eliminating sugars, starches, grains, and any other irritating foods alleviates the inflammation. Reducing this allows the intestinal tract to slowly return to its normal permeability, stopping the flow of foreign objects into the blood, which will stop food intolerance symptoms and eventually help stop the vicious cycle.
Supplements: It may have occurred to you that if you’re not absorbing foods properly, you won’t be getting vitamins and minerals properly either, which will lead to nutritional deficiencies. Supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, large amounts of vitamin D, and Zinc will help the intestinal lining return to normal. Essential fish oils have also been shown to really help improve the condition of the intestinal mucosal lining (omega-3’s greatly reduce inflammation among a host of other benefits). Some doctors also recommend L-glutamine supplements to strengthen the lining of the small intestine. There have been very few studies on this, so it’s hard to say for certain if it will work. But there is little risk, so it’s worth trying to find out if it works for you. It definitely stimulates prostaglandin production, which in turn facilitates stomach and intestinal mucous production. This definitely helps protect your gut. In fact, if taken upon having GERD symptoms, it often alleviates the bloating and discomfort rapidly. There have also been studies that show that supplementing with Zinc (when it is deficient) can dramatically improve intestinal lining.
Probiotics: We’ve talked about probiotics before, the “good bacteria” in your digestive system. Just as with the vitamins, without proper intestinal lining you’ll be missing out on these crucial items. Good bacteria stop the inhabitance of bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, and help nutrients get absorbed. What’s more is that good bacteria actually facilitate the protection of the intestinal lining. They secrete a biofilm, which is like a slippery coating, that protects the intestinal flesh from chemicals and attacks from bad bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. So, if you want healthy intestines, taking a good refrigerated probiotic is one of the first and most important steps.
Lifestyle modifications: Since we saw that stress may play a part in leaky gut, it is a good idea to manage your stress levels. Meditation, yoga, and exercise, are some great ways to help reduce stress build up. While the need for such a course of action may seem obvious to most people, it’s also rarely pursued. So, don’t just “know’ that you need to do. Do it.
BIOM 25 billion: Alzheimer’s disease is associated with severe cognitive impairments as well as some metabolic defects. Resent research conducted by Kashan University of Medical Sciences indicates a link between probiotics and cognitive function. The study was published in open-access journal frontiers in aging neuroscience. The group taking the probiotic, had levels of hs-CRP (highly sensitive c-reactive protein, a powerful marker of inflammation) decreased by 18% indicating a dramatic reduction in neuro-inflammation. Load up on your beneficial bacteria and let them go to work! I recommend taking 1 to 2 capsules nightly with cold water right before bed.
Beneficial GI is the most advanced formula on the market today for optimal gastrointestinal health. It has been designed to support gut health, soothe the digestive tract lining, promote regularity, microbial balance and support proper immune function.
Beneficial GI is available in a convenient, crystalline powder which mixes easily into any beverage or other functional food powder and is free of any ingredient that causes gas and or bloating. I recommend mixing with a glass of water to start your day.
The need for enzymes are exacerbated with altered digestive function in the upper digestive tract. When stomach acid is altered there is a downstream effect on enzyme secretion from the pancreas. This creates a need for supplemental enzymes to facilitate proper breakdown, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. CheatZyme helps facilitate digestive reactions at the proper temperature and pH to maintain good microbiome health.
L-Glutamine is a key component in the maintenance of healthy intestinal mucosa. A lack of glutamine may lead to a loss of enterocyte (cells in the small intestine) integrity in the lining of the intestines, which may affect digestion and absorption or allow pathogens into the body. Supplementing with L-Glutamine supports the maintenance of muscles, mental activity, immune response, proper mood balance, energy levels and digestive tract health.
Dr. Jenny P. Wilkins, NMD, CRA
Dr. Jenny is a Naturopathic Doctor and clinical research associate. She is a successful entrepreneur as the CEO/Proprietor of AgeVital Pharmacies in Sarasota, Florida. She is a charismatic media personality and television producer with regular appearances on ABC, NBC, TBN, CBS, the CW and Lifetime. As a health and wellness expert and educator, Dr. Jenny lectures all around the world at various conferences about the endocannabinoid system and functional integrative healthcare and how natural solutions work to treat a multitude of diseases and illnesses. She authors books for healthcare practitioners and consumers and educates the healthcare community and individuals using her extensive research and findings about the endocannabinoid system.
She is the President and Chairman of The American Academy of the Endocannabinoid System (AAECS) and sits on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Board of Medical Marijuana Physicians (ABMMP). Her expansive credentials include a Board Certification at The American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners – (ABAAHP), a Diplomate of the AAIM College of Nutrition and a Board Certification with the (AAIM) Board of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Jenny is also a member of the American Academy Of Anti-Aging Medicine, serves as a senior business and financial advisor for Nuvusio, Conference Advisory Board Medical Chair of the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE) and the medical director for Biom-Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer And Medical Director for M3-Biodynamics and M3-Innovations.
*Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. The views and nutritional advice expressed by AgeVital Pharmacy are not intended to substitute for medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician or give us a call and schedule a consultation with one of our providers.