Column #98

Leaky gut is a condition where “holes” in the intestines (intestinal permeability or IP) allows substances that normally are unable to cross the epithelial barrier to gain access to the blood stream. The symptoms from the “foreign” substances include:

    ●    Chronic diarrhea, gas
    ●    Headaches, brain fog
    ●    Excessive fatigue
    ●    Skin rashes
    ●    Arthritis or joint pain
    ●    Depression and anxiety
    ●    Cardiovascular disturbances
    ●    Autoimmune diseases such celiac disease, Crohn's, IBS

If you’re saddled with some of these conditions wouldn’t it be great if you could pop a pill and cure leaky gut? Well, it’s not that easy but there are some practical and effective steps for healing a leaky gut.

Many foods are associated with leaky gut and some cause it such as nightshades with their natural toxic pesticides. Another cause is Candida, a fungus, that aids with digestion and nutrient absorption. When overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body. Candida overgrowth is caused by a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast), high alcohol intake, and a high-stress lifestyle. Even a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles can feed Candida causing an overgrowth.

What’s makes IP complicated is that victims react differently to each potential cause. This is similar to other chronic diseases where people get different diseases even though they eat basically the same foods.

The first step in curing IP symptoms is to identify the foods that cause the symptoms. The best approach is the highly restricted Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP). The list of foods to eliminate is extensive, including nightshades, dairy, coffee, alcohol, sugar, syrups, sweeteners, fruit, grain, seeds, and nuts. AIP foods that heal include grass-fed meats, Omega-3 meats, wild-caught seafood, squashes, and selected steamed vegetables.

It takes nine days to a month for the intestines to heal. Then healthy foods can be reintroduced one at a time. The healthy foods must be low glycemic, nutrient diverse and dense, with balanced essential fatty acids (EFAs).

IP can be improved by dietary compounds such as glutamine and limited quantities of curcumin. These compounds can inhibit the inflammation and oxidative stress that seem to prevent improvement.

Dietary sources of glutamine includes primarily the protein-rich foods like grass-fed beef, Omega-3 chicken and Omega-3 pork, wild-caught seafood, grass-fed and Omega-3 bone broth, raw grass-fed cheese, Omega-3 eggs, vegetables like beans, cabbage, spinach, parsley, zucchini, papaya, Brussels sprouts, kale, asparagus, rapini, and some fermented foods. Be cautious because high heat reduces glutamine levels.

Curcumin, a bright yellow chemical, is produced by members of the ginger family, primarily turmeric and mango ginger. Unless it is consumed with black pepper, which is not a nightshade, the body has difficulty absorbing it. Curcumin is a good candidate for treating IP, but it has theoretical limits. Like most antioxidants, curcumin should be used moderately because high doses can enhance oxidative stress.

Curing leaky gut is not a simple pop-a-pill solution. But by making smart food choices, it is possible.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don't miss these links for additional reading:

Possible Links between Intestinal Permeability and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine  by Jean Robert Rapin and Nicolas Wiernsperger

Nightshade Pesticides by Ted Slanker

The Top 10 Best Food Sources of Glutamine by Dr. David Jockers

10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin By Kris Gunnars, Bsc

How Are Leaky Gut Syndrome And Candida Linked? by Lisa Richards

10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & How to Eliminate It by Amy Myers MD

Resources for Fungus in the Human Body

Sugar: Tax It! by Ted Slanker

Epithelium from Wikipedia