How leaky gut makes you sick and how to stop it

When you take a bite of your favorite pie, or enjoy the crunch of those potato chips, you’re in the moment, experiencing the pleasure and enjoyment of food.

You’re not thinking about how those foods influence the lining of your intestines.

Nope. Once it’s gobbled down, it’s gone from sight. And as the saying goes — out of sight, out of mind!

But just because your daily indulgences are out of your mind, doesn’t mean they aren’t having a big impact on your health…

How does your food make you feel?

After you eat do get an immediate reaction from your body? Or do you generally just feel “off your game?” Or worse, have you been hit recently with an illness you doctor can’t quite put his finger on?

Because what you can’t see is that the lining of your intestines may be leaking food particles back into your bloodstream.

That’s right. The tight junctions that hold the cells together along the intestinal wall can become loose and allow food particles to pass the barrier.

When these particles, such as bacteria, gluten, food additives and even bits of undigested food pass through your intestinal barrier, your body sees them as foreign invaders and starts an immune cascade to fight them off.

And when this happens, your health suffers…

You’ve heard us talk again and again about the inflammation abomination at the center of most disease. And the truth is, your leaky gut could be one of the greatest contributors to the increased inflammation in your body — and the cause of all your health woes.

Leaky gut making you sick?

How can you know if you’re suffering the effects of a leaky gut?

You might have frequent headaches and make frequent trips to the restroom — or not. You might feel gassy. Or maybe it affects you a little more subtly…

Gaining weight? Yep, if you’re packing on the pounds or can’t lose them, it’s probably your leaky gut.

Then there are the signs you can’t always see, like your fatty liver or insulin resistance — until it turns to full-fledged type 2 diabetes. The list of health conditions goes on…

The point is, instead of waiting for external signs, and instead of popping pills to mask the symptoms — take care of your gut.

An easy way to do that is to just remember the 5 foods to stay away from — and 5 foods to eat more of…

The 5 sinister foods to avoid are:

  1. Sugar – all forms of sugar are enemy #1. Sugar, and other simple carbohydrates, feed yeast organisms that can overgrow in your gut, disrupt digestion and damage your intestinal walls, making them more permeable.
  2. Refined and processed grains –A group of proteins known as amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) may be just as bad as the infamous gluten when it comes to triggering inflammation, digestive problems and chronic health conditions. You’ll find ATIs and gluten in wheat products, white flour, white bread, pastries, cakes, and so forth.
  3. Cheap cooking oils and unhealthy fats – safflower, soy, corn, cottonseed, peanut, rice bran, vegetable oil, canola oil, and all types of margarine — to put it plainly, omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation.
  4. Trans fats – fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods, and items prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine and vegetable oil.
  5. Artificial sweeteners, food additives, preservatives – aspartame (aka Equal and Nutrasweet), saccharin (aka Sweet N Low), and acesulfame K (aka Sweet One), MSG (monosodium glutamate), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, food coloring, glutamate, parabens, yeast, plus the long list of preservatives — these are not substances that promote health.

When you look at the list above, you see the makings of a sad Western-style diet. And that’s the big issue. The fake processed diet most of us eat in modern times is literally killing us.

Instead, a good place to start to fix leaky gut is eat a paleo diet. Because the paleo diet eliminates all the nasty, harmful foods and zones right in on eating fresh whole food sources, it has the potential to create the perfect digestive environment.

But whatever particular diet you choose to follow, for optimal gut health you should include the five soothing foods that can help repair leaky gut:

  1. Bone broth – broth contains amino acids and collagen that help heal the damaged lining of your gut. Check out Kelley Martin’s bone broth recipe.
  2. Green leafy veggies – these top nutritional powerhouses provide potent amounts of nutrients, enzymes, and compounds to decrease inflammation and promote faster healing.
  3. Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, miso, and apple cider vinegar are powerful prebiotic foods that encourage beneficial bacteria in the gut, along with encouraging short chain fatty acid production in the large intestine.
  4. Sprouted seeds – are full of life force and ample amounts of fiber that help promote beneficial gut bacteria.
  5. Omega 3 fatty acids – omega-3 fats help calm inflammation and rebuild healthy cell walls. Omega-3 sources include chia, flaxseed, salmon, sardines, walnuts, and tuna.

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Sources:

  1. Stewart AS, et al. Alterations in Intestinal Permeability: The Role of the “Leaky Gut” in Health and Disease. — Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 2017;52:10–22.
  2. Damms-Machado A, et al. Gut permeability is related to body weight, fatty liver disease, and insulin resistance in obese individuals undergoing weight reduction. — Am J Clin Nutr 2017;105:127–35.
  3. Cox AJ, et al. Increased intestinal permeability as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. — Diabetes & Metabolism. 2017:43:163–166.

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Jedha Dening

By Jedha Dening

Jedha Dening is a qualified nutritionist (MNutr), researcher, author, freelance writer, and founder of type 2 diabetic nutrition site Diabetes Meal Plans. Her masters thesis on nutrition and inflammation was published and then presented at a national scientific conference. She has millions of words published in the health industry across various print and online publications. Having been in the field for over 15 years, she’s incredibly passionate about delving into the latest research to share the myths and truths surrounding nutrition and health. She believes when armed with the right knowledge, we’re empowered to make informed choices that can truly make a difference.