Gassy, bloated and tired? You’ve got a leaky gut

If you’re regularly combatting constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue and skin issues, there’s a good chance you have leaky gut syndrome.

Research shows leaky gut is common in people with irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and food allergies too.

In case you don’t know, leaky gut syndrome is an issue where the barrier between your gut and the rest of your body gets weaker and becomes leaky. This allows undigested food particles, bacteria and germs to escape the gut and enter your blood stream, which causes chronic inflammation.

No one knows for sure what causes leaky gut syndrome, but it seems to be tied to unhealthy habits like eating too much sugar, not getting enough nutrients in your diet, taking too many NSAIDs and drinking too much alcohol. Stress also plays a big part in the problem.

The nutrient that repairs your leaky gut

If you have leaky gut, you’re probably wondering how you can reestablish a strong intestinal barrier so your gut’s all good again.

The answer’s simple — eat more fiber.

A recent study from researchers at Örebro University in Sweden found that fiber can strengthen your intestinal barrier so your gut’s not leaky.

The study included intestinal samples from adults over 65 with stomach problems. Researchers exposed these samples to a chemical that weakened the intestinal barrier, making it permeable. Then they added a few different types of fiber. And guess what?

The fiber decreased intestinal permeability by 50 percent. In some cases, it completely counteracted the permeability caused by the chemical.

But this isn’t the first time fiber’s shown promise in the fight against leaky gut…

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A study from earlier this year found that fiber can potentially reverse leaky gut by producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). And another recent study found that mice who eat a low fiber diet develop leaky gut — but feeding them fiber and probiotics reverses it.

So, if you’re struggling with gut issues and you suspect leaky gut is the cause, don’t fret… eat more fiber!

Trying the fiber fix for leaky gut

Most of us are eating far too little fiber. The majority of Americans only eat 16 grams of fiber per day. But the official dietary recommendation for fiber is 34 grams per day for men and 28 grams per day for women. And some health experts say that recommendation should be far higher…

Research shows that people who live in cultures where fiber intake is high (like 50 grams per day) are less likely to get serious diseases like colon cancer. But be warned… eating too much fiber can mess with your gut too, causing gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. But that usually doesn’t happen unless you’re eating 70 grams of fiber per day or more.

So, plug up those gut leaks or (better yet) prevent them altogether by eating fiber-rich foods, like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Raspberries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Lima beans
  • Split peas
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and