By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 22, 2019
Today there are a large number of health conditions that mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize.
One of the most disturbing of them is abnormally increased intestinal permeability, commonly called leaky gut syndrome.
I’ve been evaluating leaky gut patients for decades. And I’ll tell you right now. It’s not a “mystery” illness. It’s not a gray area, fake disease or hypothetical condition.
It is a very serious health concern that is overlooked daily by health professionals all across the U.S.
This is appalling. Especially since a leaky gut isn’t all that difficult to understand.
It occurs when the tight junctions that seal your intestinal lining become well, not so tight. This allows bacteria, toxins and other foreign substances like undigested food protein to leak from your gut into your bloodstream.
Now, you know as well as I do that you don’t want nasty waste materials that should be in your intestines to end up in your blood. Not only does it provoke a wicked inflammatory response, it also causes your immune system to go into attack mode.
In fact, leaky gut is associated with the development of many of today’s most common autoimmune disorders. This includes health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Nobody wants their bodies to turn on them the way it does with an autoimmune disorder. But that’s not your only concern if you have leaky gut.
It turns out that this disorder may also contribute to heart disease and chronic heart failure.
Remember. When all of those nasty antigens leak into your bloodstream they cause chronic inflammation. And as those inflammatory toxins circulate through your blood vessels and heart muscle, they can cause a great deal of damage.
Those toxins may even contribute to plaque build up and blood clotting. And I’ll tell you this. When you have arterial damage, plaque accumulation and clotting activity all going on in the same blood vessel, you’ve got some serious circulatory issues going on.
And here’s another issue.
Patients with chronic heart failure frequently show increased leakage in both the small and large intestines. And I’m not talking about tiny little increases. Some heart failure patients have as much as a 210% increase in large intestinal permeability.
It’s not always easy to recognize leaky gut. But if you have food sensitivities, IBD, an autoimmune disorder or thyroid problems, I recommend going to a functional physician and getting tested.
They’ll likely perform a urine test that measures for two byproducts of leaky gut, lactulose and mannitol. They’ll also do a blood test for something called zonulin. This is a protein that controls the size of the openings in your gut lining.
Additionally, they may perform stool sampling and food intolerance testing to make sure everything else is in order.
The good news is that intestinal barrier function can be restored. It won’t happen overnight. And it will require a few changes in your lifestyle. But the effort is definitely worth it.
3 Ways to Heal Your Leaky Gut
Restore a healthy gut microbiota. An unbalanced gut microbiome contributes to leaky gut syndrome. So one of the best things you can do for yourself is increase the number of health-promoting microbes in your digestive tract.
The easiest way to do this is to include more fermented products in your diet, such as miso, sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha.
You can also supplement with probiotics to re-colonize your gut with the healthy bacteria needed to safeguard intestinal permeability. (Look for one that includes a prebiotic and multiple strains of friendly bacteria. The higher the colony count and number of strains, the better off you will be.)
It also helps to eat more natural, whole foods with high antioxidant activity. You can get plenty of these foods by eating a Mediterranean style diet. It includes an extremely wide variety of plant-based foods (prebiotics). A lot of fish and plenty of olive oil. Very little red meat and virtually no packaged, processed, sugary and refined foods.
Soothe and heal your distressed gut. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is a safe and effective form of licorice that soothes and heals the mucosal lining in the digestive tract. It can also help ease heartburn symptoms (which can also help you ditch gut damaging proton pump inhibitors). Simply chew two DGL tablets before meals.
Glutamine is another major fuel for the intestines. It helps tighten the junctions that seal your intestinal lining to reduce leakage. I recommend six to 10 grams daily during the healing process.
Increase nutrient absorption to support your intestinal lining. If you want to support a healthy gut, your body has to absorb the nutrients needed for that task.
If you supplement with a digestive enzyme before meals, you’ll help your body break down proteins down into the absorbable amino acids your body needs.
They also help speed up the healing process and improve absorption of other nutrients.
You’ll want to choose a formula that contains a good mix of enzymes, including:
- Amylase for carbohydrate digestion
- Protease to help digest proteins
- Lipase for the digestion of fats
- Maltase to convert complex sugars in grain foods to glucose
- Cellulase to break down fibers
- Sucrase to help digest sugars
If you’re over 60, look for one that includes small amounts of pepsin and betaine
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Lerner A, et al. GUT-the Trojan Horse in Remote Organs’ Autoimmunity. J Clin Cell Immunol 2016; 7:401.
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Achamrah N, et al. Glutamine and the regulation of intestinal permeability: from bench to bedside. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):86-91.