Leaky gut syndrome, also known as enhanced intestinal permeability, is an increasingly growing health problem being experienced by millions of people, without even knowing it. This is a condition where an inpidual’s gut lining gets damaged. There are ways you can determine if you are suffering from a leaky gut. Moreover, fortunately, there are also ways to enhance your digestive health.
What is a Leaky Gut Syndrome?
This condition is the loosening of the intestinal walls’ tight junctions. When this occurs, it allows harmful substances like undigested particles of food, toxins, and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Not only does this result in digestive issues, but also other health problems.
However, many affected people are unaware that they are suffering from a leaky gut. So, how can you tell if you have a leaky gut?
One of the most significant warning signs is increasing sensitivity to various foods. When partially digested fat and protein enters your bloodstream through the intestinal lining, it can create an allergic reaction. It doesn’t indicate that you might experience rashes on your body, but, it can lead to numerous symptoms, including the following:
- Weight gain
- Digestive problems
- Skin issues, including acne and rosacea
- Joint pain
- Thyroid issues
- Food sensitivities
If untreated, leaky gut syndrome can lead to severe health problems like chronic fatigue, muscle pain, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
5-R Gut Protocol
There is a 5-R gut protocol, which is a comprehensive and systematic method to treat the symptoms and also heal your digestive system. The following 5 steps are involved:
The first step is to remove anything that could be creating issues in your gut. This includes:
- Food – when having a leaky gut, certain food items should be avoided as they can work as gut irritants. These foods include food additives, processed food, caffeine, and alcohol. It might also be difficult for you to digest certain carbohydrates or you might experience food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced nutritionist to get a specific diet plan.
- Supplements and Medications – there are various supplements and over-the-counter medications that can result in digestive dysfunction, including NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and aspirin) and heartburn medications. It is essential to consult a functional medicine provider to help you determine which medications and supplements should be avoided to help you heal your gut.
- Stress – increased levels of stress can cause biochemical reaction with the release of the cortisone hormone in the bloodstream. A high amount of cortisol can lead to inflammation in your digestive system.
Other than this, there can be pathogens, parasites, bacteria, or infections in your body that needs to be treated.
According to the symptoms and health conditions you are experiencing, there might be missing some vital elements that are integral for digestion, including digestive enzymes, bile, and stomach acid. There might also be some deficiency in nutrients. Therefore, your gut protocol should include:
- Supplements that can replace the elements which are missing from your body like enzymes, bile salts, and betaine HCL. These can assist in digesting protein, carbohydrates, lactose, and fat.
- Food items that contain nutrients, which can help your body in producing those missing elements. For example, bitter foods help in stimulating digestive enzymes and stomach acid.
- Supplements or/and food items that can tackle your nutrient deficiencies. Digestive conditions affect nutrients absorption like zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, and B12.
It is important to keep in mind that even when your symptoms have significantly improved, you still have to continue with a healthy diet in order to rebalance the microbiome. This means the collection of good bacteria for the gut that plays a significant part in the metabolic, digestive, and immune health.
Therefore, it is recommended to reintroduce the following foods to your diet:
- Prebiotic Foods – these include carbohydrates like bananas, apples, asparagus, leeks, garlic, and onions. It is also best to increase the amount or reintroduce grains to your diet like seeds, barley, and oats.
- Probotic Foods – these include fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Probiotics can also be consumed as a supplement.
In this stage, you have to start creating an environment which promotes long-term relief and gut healing. For this, you can include the following:
- Food items that have high levels of vitamins E, D, C, and A, and mineral zinc
- Food items that are high in amino acids like bone broth
- Supplements like slippery elm, marshmallow, aloe vera, collagen, or L-glutamine
Your lifestyle habits can also have a major impact on your digestive health. Therefore, the final stage is about making healthy lifestyle changes, including:
- Managing stress
- Getting quality sleep
- Being physically active
- Working on your relationships
The gut protocol is a step-wise approach to enhance your digestive health, but you can also work on multiple stages simultaneously.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, it is important that you consult a doctor. You should also get tested for the celiac disease since these two conditions have similar symptoms. NJ Spine and Wellness offers a range of health services to help you reach and maintain your health goals with the assistance of our expert functional medicine providers, Dr. Jared Bornstein and Dr. John Riggi.
Dr. Bornstein is a clinical nutritionist and chiropractic physician, and is also a board-certified nutritional specialist (CNS). Dr. John Riggi has over 15 years of primary care experience and is also board-certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine by the ACOFP.
Opt for a consultation by booking an appointment today to help you heal and enhance your gut health.