The term “leaky gut” can sound rather confusing, but it is a condition of the digestive system that can cause an array of health issues.
Usually referred to as leaky gut syndrome or LGS for short, it affects the wall of the intestines causing the lining to have gaps that allow toxins and bacteria to pass through and into the bloodstream.
Whilst not recognized as a medical condition – which means you cannot get diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome by a health professional – it is said to be an umbrella term that may help to diagnose other issues within the gut.
In this article, we take a look at what the symptoms are, how food can help relieve the symptoms within 2 weeks and ways to look after the gut. Firstly though, let us take a look at what LGS is.
What Does Leaky Gut Syndrome Mean?
When we eat, digestive enzymes help to break down food both in the stomach and small intestine.
Whilst doing this, they take the nutrients from the food and drink and turn it into smaller molecules which the body will use for growth, repair and energy.
A normal intestine will go about its day without any issue, but if you have a leaky gut, you may be prone to openings within the walls that are wider than they should be.
Whilst a healthy gut has tight openings that allow nutrients and water to pass through easily, someone with a leaky gut will have wider openings causing bacteria, food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream.
What Are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut?
There are many symptoms of having a leaky gut which can make being diagnosed rather difficult.
Because LGS is connected to a number of health conditions, the symptoms can vary, and testing needs to be done to eliminate other factors.
Here are some of the symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome:
- Headaches and migraines
- Bloating and gas
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Acne, eczema or general unexplained rashes
- Food sensitivity
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Joint pain
- Hormone imbalances
Health Conditions Linked to Leaky Gut Syndrome
Having a leaky gut is not as simple as it sounds because more often than not, it is linked to a health condition. These could be:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Chronic liver disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as PCOS)
Why is Yeast Overgrowth Related to Leaky Gut?
When something is wrong with the gut, it usually shows up somewhere else on the body, for example, acne. It is said to make up 70 percent of the immune system and is also the place that breaks down the food and takes in all the beneficial nutrients whilst removing nasty toxins.
You have very likely heard of this area as being where good bacteria needs to thrive. When bad bacteria begin to outnumber the good, the Candida bahttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671685/cteria can make their way through the intestinal wall and find their way into the bloodstream.
This is known as a yeast overgrowth and is the overall process of a leaky gut.
Diet has been a good way to help control a general leaky gut, and we shall show you some of the items you can add to your everyday food to help relieve leaky gut symptoms.
The Leaky Gut Diet
Diet plays a huge role when it comes to the gut, especially seeing as it is food that passes through there. Here are a few ways to help sort out that gut within 2 weeks.
Having a sugar detox is linked with ‘starving the yeast’. Doing this will ‘kill’ it, meaning it cannot thrive within the gut because you have cut off the yeast’s main source of food.
Whilst this mainly relates to added sugar items, do refrain from eating too much fruit but do not stop altogether as fruit has many benefits that you will need to keep your body healthy.
Think about adding a few berries to breakfast, or having a banana on the go, just do not make it your main go-to snack for the two weeks.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is acidic. This is helpful because the yeast (and general bacteria) struggle to survive and multiply within an acidic environment.
Apple cider vinegar has its benefits anyway, such as improving digestion and lowering blood pressure, but it is also great at sorting out the pesky bad bacteria within the gut.
Add an ounce or two to a glass of water and drink it once a day to help improve the gut. You can also buy it in supplement form, but direct from the bottle is best for that acidic hit.
Collagen supplements are all the rage right now, but they can also be very beneficial to a leaky gut condition.
A collagen supplement can help to produce and strengthen new tissue, and this is handy when you need the gut lining to become healthy again.
Due to the fact you are trying to get rid of bad bacteria, you will need to add in good bacteria too. Eating probiotic-rich food such as yogurt and kefir will help to do this easily.
You may not have heard of prebiotics, but it is basically food for probiotics to allow good bacteria to grow and therefore populate within the gut. Some examples of prebiotic food are onions, garlic, and dandelion greens.
Digestive enzyme supplements help to support the gut. They take away some of the stress so your gut can heal and become healthy.
What Ways Can Leaky Gut Syndrome Be Treated?
Because there is no official treatment for leaky gut syndrome, you will not find a standard plan for treating the condition. Instead, people tend to change their eating habits (as shown above).
This includes upping vegetable intake, eating food high in prebiotic fiber, whole grains, and restricting how many eggs, dairy and meat is eaten. Avoiding the likes of artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and added sugar. Lastly, adding probiotics into the diet to boost healthy gut bacteria.
Cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Nobody really knows why leaky gut syndrome is a thing, but there have been several theories. This is because there are many known risks that have been associated with disrupting the gut’s microbiota.
These include autoimmune disorders, drinking alcohol, diabetes, poor diet and nutrition, general infections, medication, and stress.
How to Look After Your Gut Health
Whilst diet does play a big part in avoiding leaky gut syndrome and improving overall digestive health, there are other ways to have a healthy gut.
This includes getting enough exercise each day, which can help with the other two ways of helping the gut: having up to 8 hours of sleep every night, and reducing stress.
If you smoke, then you will find that quitting will help the gut, as will not taking antibiotics that you do not need. Both these things will disrupt the healthy bacteria that lives within the gut.
Leaky gut syndrome is difficult to pinpoint, but there are many factors that relate to the condition. Looking after your gut health is key to staying healthy, and one way to do this is through your diet.
Also, diet plays a key role in ‘reversing’ the effects of leaky gut syndrome. It does this by focusing on rebuilding the gut and providing a healthier atmosphere for good bacteria to thrive and the intestine wall to heal.