The first and most necessary step to healing your leaky gut is simply to remove the foods that are irritating your body and add in foods with healing properties. Reducing inflammation is the name of the game so your body can begin to heal itself.
Did you realize that the cells in the lining of your intestines regenerate completely in five to seven days?! This continual cell renewal is what allows your gut to withstand the constant wear and tear of breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste (that is, until we expose it excessively to inflammatory foods and chemicals). Wow! Our bodies’ ability to heal themselves is truly miraculous.
However, there are supplements you can take to support this the healing process.
The powerful anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric should not be underestimated. After all, it’s been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years! And since it’s a spice that is relatively easy and affordable to access, there’s almost no excuse for not incorporating it into your diet.
The active component found in turmeric is called curcumin, so if you aren’t a fan of the spice, you can jump straight to curcumin supplements. However, some studies show curcumin does not have great bioavailability (ease in which the body can put its benefits to use). Consuming curcumin along with black pepper can increase its bioavailability due to black pepper containing a compound called piperine. (Source)
One of my favorite products for healing the gut is the Ancient Nutrition Organic Turmeric Bone Broth Powder. My colleagues, Dr Josh Axe and Jordan Rubin, have formulated this nourishing healing food to help heal and seal the gut. We use it daily when we cook and in fact, one of my dogs will NOT eat her food unless we mix the reconstituted bone broth into it!
Digestive enzymes help in (you guessed it!) the digestion of foods that are difficult for your body to digest. There are enzymes specifically for digesting starches (Amylase), casein from dairy (lactase), fats (lipase), and proteins like gluten (protease). I recommend finding a digestive enzyme supplement that incorporates each of these.
Personally, I like to use Pure Encapsulations Digestion GB which supports the gall bladder while providing digestive enzymes at the same time. Note that this product does not contain Hydrochloric Acid (HCL). This is an important distinction because some people have an overgrowth of a bacteria called HPylori and HCL is contraindicated when HPylori is present.
You can set up an account in my online dispensary here to purchase these supplements at a discount.
If you take enzymes with HCL during an HPylori infection, it can create extreme stomach upset and even vomiting. People who experience GERD and heartburn can actually be HCL deficient due to HPylori lowering their stomach acid. When HCL is low, food rots in the stomach and creates heartburn. Most people reach for antacids when, in fact, they need more HCL in their stomach.
For those individuals that do not suspect an HPylori infection, I like to recommend either Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra with HCL or Designs for Health Digestzymes.
If you suspect an HPylori infection, it’s wise to consult a health professional and test with either a breath test or more preferably, a QPCR stool test. Feel free to reach out if you would like more information regarding tests for HPylori.
You can take glutamine in powder or capsule form. It’s an essential amino acid that coats the walls of your cells and is helpful for healing the intestinal lining. (Source)
Glutamine is an essential nutrient for cell growth in the lining of your gut. Several studies confirm its role in keeping the junctions in the lining of your small intestine tight. This supplement is particularly beneficial for those who are stressed or have experienced adrenal fatigue as glutamine is depleted by cortisol—the hormone that is released as your body’s stress response.
Some people find that glutamine is actually upsetting to their system. This is due to their specific genetics and they are not able to utilize glutamine properly. If you do not feel well while taking glutamine, you may be one of those that cannot take glutamine supplements.
One of my personal favorite products for helping to calm down the inflammation in the gut is Apex Energetics Repairvite GT. Repairvite GT contains enzymes, glutamine, aloe vera, ginger and deglycyrrhized licorice root.I find it very soothing to the digestive system and recommend it to clients on a regular basis. If you’d like to try this awesome product, just let us know and we will get it out to you right away.
The sad truth is, there isn’t much fiber incorporated in the standard American diet! Hopefully you’ll be remedying that with your dietary changes, but you can also give your body an extra boost. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are great for your gut and boost its ability to break down and digest your food.
“…the fiber we eat feeds billions of bacteria in our guts. Keeping them happy means our intestines and immune systems remain in good working order.” (Source)
Besides dietary fiber, I like to incorporate a product called Systemic Formulas FBR. This product is awesome for providing plenty of fiber while feeding up healthy bacteria. It tastes good and my body loves it! If you’d like to try some, we usually have it in stock so just reach out and ask.
Rotating different probiotics helps to provide a variety of bacteria which is important to achieving a healthy gut. Did you know that each area of your gut is home to different species of probiotics? With that in mind, we want to encourage a variety of probiotic strains to take up shop and live long and prosper!.
Your gut is a living ecosystem of bugs, parasites, yeasts, bacteria, enzymes, and proteins, which we call your microbiome. Just like any ecosystem, balance in the ecosystem of your gut has to exist to maintain a healthy homeostasis.
That’s where probiotics come in. When leaky gut happens, bad bacteria has taken over. Probiotics bring good bacteria back into the gut to help rebalance it.
Some different probiotic strains to look for when purchasing supplements are:
Keep in mind that specific probiotics can be used for specific issues. For example, Saccharomyces boulardii is especially helpful when you are experiencing diarrhea or even if you are fighting off a C Diff infection.
My favorite probiotic product for helping to rebuild the immune system and repair the gut is MegasporeBiotic. It’s actually the spores of several probiotic strains that implant themselves into the gut so the microbiome can balance out correctly. Megaspore has also been very effective and well tolerated by those with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).
Of course it is always best to work with a healthcare practitioner when trying a new protocol. If you are desperate to heal your leaky gut, please reach out to me, and I will help guide you through dietary changes and supplements along the entire way. You don’t have to go through this journey alone!