By Julie Daniluk, RHN, author, speaker, and TV host
Do you suffer from digestive trouble? What are your symptoms?
You may have damaged your gut lining and have a disorder called "Leaky Gut Syndrome". Also known as intestinal hyperpermeability, the damage from food allergies, yeast, bacteria or drugs can cause a breach in the microvilli (the border crossing) of the gut. The microvilli controls what passes through the lining of the small intestine. Undigested food particles, toxins, yeast and microbes can cross over into the bloodstream, causing a host of symptoms that can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, food sensitivities, joint pain, fibromyalgia, mood swings, brain fog, and depression.
The digestive system is comprised of a community of friendly bacteria that helps break down our food, process nutrients, and protect the body from invading species. Without a healthy balance within the microbiome, the body is left vulnerable to attack. The microvilli in the small intestine are easily damaged by the use of antibiotics and other drugs as well as the consumption of processed food, sugar, trans fats, and food additives. There are also a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can damage the delicate balance of the gut lining.
What should you do if you suspect you have leaky gut syndrome?
Have an assessment done by a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Medical Doctor. Both of these specialists have been trained to help patients with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Once you have a diagnosis, seek the assistance of a nutritionist to help set up nutritional recommendations.
What can you do to help repair the gut?
Repairing the gut lining is a lengthy process. Often it has taken years for a person to get to the point of a health crisis and it can take many months to see a complete recovery. A rapid reduction in many of the symptoms can occur by removing certain foods that proliferate the condition. My suggestions include:
1. Remove all refined foods including sugar, gluten, trans fats, preservatives and food colouring. In some cases of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) a complete removal of all grains, bean and legumes may be required. These complex carbohydrates (disaccharides and polysaccharides) require digestive enzymes that the microvilli are not able to produce. It may be necessary to remove complex carbohydrates for a period of time until the gut heals.
2. Remove high allergen foods such as dairy, gluten grains e.g. wheat, barley, spelt, kamut and rye. Eliminate conventional corn and soy.
3. Consider having IgG, IgE blood testing done to help determine if you have built antibodies to specific foods. These tests can be done through a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Medical Doctor.
4. Have candida and parasite stool testing done. If these microbes are present in high numbers, you will need to be treated for them in order for the gut to heal. These tests can be done through a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Medical Doctor. A ND and HMD can also recommend treatments for these conditions.
5. Include a high dose probiotic supplement (50 billion 1-2 times daily).
6. Include naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut and fermented carrots and radishes. These can often be purchased in the fridge section of your local health food store but you can also make your own.
7. Include a high quality omega-3 supplement, e.g. sustainable fish oil to help heal the gut lining.
By removing problem foods and replacing them with powerful superfood nutrition you create balance in the gut microbiome leading to greater joy, energy, and overall well-being.
Julie Daniluk’s bestselling book, Meals that Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free eating that tastes great and assists the body in the healing process. Her second book, Slimming Meals That Heal, explores how inflammation causes weight gain and how you can use superfoods to lose weight without dieting. As nutritionist and co-host of reality cooking show Healthy Gourmet (Oprah Winfrey Network), she negotiates the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition.
Catch Julie live as Ascenta hosts a National Book Tour (dates and locations here) and check out her amazing recipes and nutrition tips at www.juliedaniluk.com. Connect with Julie on Facebook at Julie Daniluk Nutrition and on Instagram and Twitter @juliedaniluk.