So far, I’ve talked about parasites, food allergies and the benefits of digestive enzymes. Now, it’s time to talk about something called leaky gut syndrome. Many autoimmune disorders have been traced back to increased gut permeability (leaky gut).

 

Just what is leaky gut?

In a person with leaky gut, the stomach lining is more porous than it should be, allowing protein molecules to slip through the gut and enter the blood stream where it causes an autoimmune response.

What causes leaky gut?

  • Prolonged/chronic antibiotic use
  • Parasites
  • Food allergies/intolerance
  • Low stomach acid
  • Food additives and preservatives
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Oral contraceptives

How can leaky gut be treated?

  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Fiber
  • Herbs

Probiotics are live, active cultures found in yogurt, kefir and tempeh. They are the “friendly bacteria” that protect your body from invading organisms, break down food and produce vitamins in the intestinal tract.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can just eat more yogurt then, right?”

Not really. There aren’t enough live, active cultures in yogurt to give you the type of benefit you’d need to begin healing leaky gut and its related autoimmune effects. It is recommended that you supplement your diet with probiotics containing 1-20 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units). Use a probiotic that requires refrigeration or is ‘shelf-stable’ to ensure your body is receiving an optimal dose of these live, active cultures.

Probiotic supplementation has been known to not only improve proper absorption of nutrients and help heal leaky gut; it has also been linked to helping improve symptoms of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulceritive colitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation. It improves immune system function, prevents infection and has even been touted as an anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer).

Caution:

Start slow with probiotics. Begin with a dose of 1-3 billion CFUs once per day at first, and then gradually increase your dosage based on its effect on your symptoms. Some people will notice ‘die off’ symptoms similar to those being treated for parasite infection. Those symptoms could be diarrhea, headache, bloating and gas as toxins are expelled from the body. This is temporary and a part of the body’s healing process. Lactose intolerant people and vegetarians should use a probiotic that is rice-based. If you have pancreatitis, consult your doctor before using probiotics. It is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner before adding probiotics or other supplements to your diet.

Digestive Enzymes

Fiber is a very important element in the digestive process that is missing from today’s high-fat, sugary, processed diet. Few people get their recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it is important to add this essential ingredient into our diets through a bulk fiber supplement.

Bulk fiber acts as a sponge, which absorbs waste, water and toxins in the intestine. This helps form a soft, bulky stool that can be then quickly and smoothly eliminated from the body. This is especially essential for those with leaky gut and related autoimmune disease as those with these conditions produce far more toxins in the body than healthier individuals. A good bulk fiber I’ve used for years is called psyllium fiber. It can be taken mixed with water or in tablet form. Psyllium fiber helps to lubricate and heal damaged intestinal walls.

There are three herbs I have personally used for my digestive health. Those are turmeric, gentain root and ginger. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the intestinal walls, decreasing gut permeability. Gentain root promotes the production of gastric juices and bile. Ginger also aids in digestion by stimulating bile flow and helps relieve bloating and flatulence.

If you’ve been suffering with autoimmune-related health problems, leaky gut may be the source. Help reverse the effects and you’ll discover a whole new world of good health!

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Sumners Graphics

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved 

 

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