Leaky Gut – The Solution for Life!
Last week we started with a discussion on what Leaky Gut was and what might be at the root of why it happens. This week we need to look at the solutions.
Our gut has 5 critical elements, or defenses, that it truly needs for healthy gut function. In order from the outermost layer of defense, they include: Mucosal IgA with is otherwise known as immunoglobulin A, this antibody found in the mucous membranes is considered your gut’s first line of defense against toxins. Tight Junctions, which are small proteins that are responsible for holding the gut’s cells together. This is what is most directly affected by leaky gut syndrome. Gastro Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) is the gut’s concentrated immune system and in fact, 70% of our immune system altogether. This the gut’s last and most powerful layer of defense.
The gut’s accessory defenses include: Friendly Bacteria and ss we mentioned last week, we have more bacteria in our bodies than we do our own cells. These bacteria can communicate with the GALT warning it of potential danger. Then we have stomach acid which is absolutely essential for the digestion, absorption of nutrients, and defense against infections. If there is any dysfunction throughout your gut’s line of defense, these five primary barriers need to be evaluated in order to fix the problem.
The first step of working on Leaky Gut is ruling out the fundamental contributing factors of leaky gut. It’s important to recognize that there is rarely only one contributing factor, but more likely a combination of several. It’s important to first rule out, or begin to recognize, if you have any vitamin deficiencies which can be done by functional nutrition testing. Looking for signs of infectious pathogens which can be tested with blood and GI tract tests. A holistic nutrition expert can ask several questions to assess this as well. Heavy metal toxicity can be determined by urine or hair testing. Gluten sensitivity through HLA-DQ genetic testing at your local doctors office. Finally, environmental allergies via skin or blood tests can help as well.
If any of these come back positive, you have your first step of instructions: address the deficiencies, implement dietary changes, limit exposure to allergens, and consider detoxification methods. Once you have a better understanding of your body’s unique needs, you can begin to implement the 4 R’s.
The 4 R program is administered to help you from digestive distress, reverse gut complications, and rebalance your gastrointestinal microbiome. It is an incredible tool to acknowledge and treat health issues, dysfunctions, imbalances, and personal health needs.
It is done in the following order:
REMOVE: Eliminate problem foods, toxins, low-grade infections, and oxidative stress.
REPAIR: Begin reintroducing a clean diet with essential nutrients your body needs.
RESTORE: Repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria to restore the proper balance of gut flora.
REPLACE: Replace digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and immune-boosting vitamins to promote sustainable and healthy digestion.
We, as holistic nutrition consultants, can help with this protocol and are enthusiastic about making sure your individualized needs are addressed during the process. At this point, you may have already removed things you already knew were to be detrimental to your health, such as gluten and known sensitivities, but you’ll also want to remove much of the chemical burden in your daily life. This includes things like pesticides on foods, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), any unnecessary medications and unnatural household cleaners.
Once you have an understanding of what should be removed from your daily life and you have begun to implement those changes, it is time to begin working on the damage that had previously been done. This is done by calming chronic inflammation and reintroducing nutritious foods, digestive enzymes, probiotics, essential fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. For some people, these steps may mean implementing intermittent fasting, supplementation, or personalized meal plans that cater to their specific health needs.
Again, be sure to consult with your nutrition practitioner to be sure you are beginning the most appropriate repair route for YOUR needs.
Nutrients must be replaced for effectively supporting solutions to leaky gut. While everyone’s needs are highly individualized, here are some common supplements that have been proven to be helpful in the gut:
(These are ONLY suggestions and should only come in conjunction with a healthy whole foods plan!)
However, the main take away from this is that you should not rely solely on supplements. They can be used to help the process, but the goal is to be able to sustain wellness with whole foods and healthy lifestyle choices long term without the need for piles of pills.
The most difficult part of health is maintaining it. Even if you build a strong foundation during the repair process, without the proper foods, lifestyle choices, and stress management long term, you can fall right back into the same gut-destroying patterns. Remember health is a journey, not a destination!
Although there is plenty of research on the dangers of leaky gut, it is still considered a medical mystery. Many cases go misdiagnosed and in turn, do not get the proper attention. It is crucial to work with a doctor familiar with the condition and will perform the appropriate tests in order for you to help your gut effectively and efficiently. Always start with the fundamentals, honor your body’s unique needs, and skip the guesswork!
Want to get even healthier? Are you concerned about supporting your health by working on your microbiome balance and finding a solution to your leaky gut? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!