Are you suffering from leaky gut? What does leaky gut mean? Here are the signs, symptoms, and top tips for healing your gut.
We spoke to a qualified holistic nutritionist from the US, Riley Romazko who revealed everything there is to know about leaky gut.
What is leaky gut?
“Leaky gut is the simple term for intestinal permeability” explains nutritionist Riley Romazko. “We have about 18,000 articles on that so it does exist,” she said, rebutting the contrary view of many doctors who deny it.
“It usually happens in the small intestine,” she said. We have many tight junctions in our small intestine that are semi-permeable, so they only allow certain things in.
When there is leaky gut, the tight junctions actually loosen up and it tends to allow things that are not supposed to be in.
This can also lead to stuff in the blood-brain barrier, she states, reminding us that the gut and brain are connected.
What causes leaky gut?
Intestinal permeability happens in certain situations naturally, she said, such as pregnancy. It happens more as the baby gets more nutrients.
She said that everyone at some point will probably have leaky gut temporarily.
It also happens in food poisoning, however, it only really becomes an issue when leaky gut is chronic.
What issues can chronic leaky gut lead to?
The issues we see with a leaky gut often include:
- Generalised inflammation
- Inflammatory reactions such as chronic pain and rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune issues
- Brain and mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia
- Autism (a huge leaky gut issue)
Top tips for healing leaky gut
It is definitely possible to heal leaky gut according to Romazko, and this can be very easy to do in some cases.
First, she recommends getting a test for anyone who suspects they might have leaky gut. “This can help you to see what’s going on and you can target what you need specifically,” she says.
Romazko adds that it is important to work with a professional if you can, as “there is always going to be that unique temporary elimination diet specific to the person. Temporarily eliminating certain foods allows our gut to reset and take a breather while it is trying to heal”.
Furthermore, “there are certain foods that an actually aggravate the inflammatory markers in the gut, so we want to make sure there is a 2-4 week period where you reduce our common inflammatory foods” she emphasises.
Then, it is important to “work back up to diversity again”, because more diversity is great for the microbiome, she says.
Specific supplements can also be used to heal the gut. The benefit of taking gut healing supplements is that they can target specific issues such as inflammation, healing the mucosa, getting our stomach acid back and so on.
Probiotics are a really useful gut-healing supplement. It is useful to consult a nutritionist or doctor before taking them, to see which specific strains of bacteria you want in your supplement and you can get the most out of it.
Otherwise, taking general probiotic supplements can help improve the health of your gut. It is important though to ensure any supplements you take have been tested for heavy metals, to avoid long-term health conditions often associated with heavy metal contamination in dietary supplements.
SB nutrition’s probiotics are tested for heavy metals, and our highest strength capsule contains 20 billion bacteria per capsule. Six different strains of bacteria work together to also increase the diversity of your microbiome.
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