Everyone and their mother seem to be talking about "Leaky Gut Syndrome" lately. As a wellness professional, you may even have clients coming to you with symptoms asking, "Do you think it might be leaky gut!?".
Leaky Gut Syndrome refers to an increase in intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability in extreme cases.
A healthy gut lining allows only specific components of food to pass through into the bloodstream. This is how nutrients enter the bloodstream and promote health.
However, poor diet, stress, and some medications can damage the gut lining over time. The result is a more permeable gut lining, which allows larger particles to enter the bloodstream while failing to properly absorb key nutrients.
Undigested food particles, gut bacteria, proteins, and toxic waste shouldn’t be able to enter the bloodstream. But when the gut lining becomes compromised (or “leaky”) they do, causing negative consequences.
While Leaky Gut was once thought to affect only those with serious medical conditions such as Celiac Disease, we now know that even slight increases in intestinal permeability can cause chronic health issues.
Common signs and symptoms of Leaky Gut include autoimmune disease, food sensitivities, digestive issues, inflammatory skin conditions, compromised immunity, joint pain, brain fog and low energy.
Today I'll be discussing the most effective ways to help a client with leaky gut syndrome including
- Foods to avoid
- Foods to incorporate
- Supplements to support gut healing
- A meal plan designed to heal Leaky Gut for nutrition professionals to use with their clients
Foods To Avoid With Leaky Gut
Particularly the gluten-containing grains like wheat, spelt, rye, and barley. While whole grains can be a part of a healthy diet, they are best consumed soaked or sprouted to deactivate anti-nutrients. Anyone struggling with a leaky gut should avoid gluten completely until their gut lining is functioning properly again, as it a particularly problematic protein.
Especially refined "white" sugar added to foods like desserts and drinks. Even too much added natural sugar (like cane juice or maple syrup) can be problematic. Sugar can cause imbalances in gut flora by feeding yeasts and bad bacteria, further damaging the gut.
Conventional milk can also be problematic for many. It is among the most common food sensitivities. Processed in a way that creates a product far different than it's natural state, conventional milk can hardly be considered a "whole food." However, there may be a place in a gut healing-diet for fermented, organic dairy such as yogurt of kefir. Reactions vary from person-to-person, so it may not work for everyone. Consider trying goat or sheep dairy as the casein is less inflammatory from these sources.
Foods To Incorporate To Heal Leaky Gut
Nutrients found in plants have amazing anti-inflammatory, healing powers. While raw vegetables and fruits may be difficult to digest, cooked or blended vegetables are just as powerful in healing and supporting the body. Choose a wide variety of colourful vegetables and fruits with plenty of leafy greens. Every diet should be "plant based."
Thanks to its healing amino acid profile, minerals, and gut-healing collagen bone broth can be incredibly nourishing for an inflamed gut. Homemade bone broth from organic, pasture-raised or grass-fed animal bones is the most healing.
Filled with a wide variety of probiotic strains, fermented foods bring good bacteria into the gut. Cultured veggies like kimchi and sauerkraut, beverages like kombucha and kefir, and even preserved meats like prosciutto can support healthy intestinal flora.
Healthy fats reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and feed some kinds of good gut bacteria to support gut healing. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and medium-chain-triglycerides are easy to digest. Coconut products should be included to benefit from their MCT content.
This potent anti-inflammatory spice can help with the inflammation occurring in the gut lining, as well as inflammation throughout the body. Plus, it helps support liver detoxification of environmental toxins that can worsen disease.
Supplements That Support Gut Healing
One of the beneficial components of bone broth, collagen, can be added to the diet in powder form. Thanks to it’s high glycine content, it works to strengthen gut lining while also reducing joint pain and increasing skin quality.
Suggested dose: 10-20 grams per day of a quality, powdered supplement can be added to smoothies, tea, soup, and even bone broth.
This key amino acid contributes to gut health in many ways. It supports repair of the cells that line the gut, reduces inflammation, and coats the gut to protect against further irritation.
Suggested dose: 5-10 grams per day, of a micronized powder dissolved in water, juice, or smoothies. This should be taken as a divided dose.
By taking digestive enzymes with meals, there is a lower chance of undigested food travelling through the intestine. This both reduces the damage and irritation caused to the gut, and lowers risk of undigested proteins passing through the damaged gut lining.
Suggested dose: 1-2 capsules of a plant-based digestive enzyme with each meal.
In addition to fermented foods, a quality daily probiotic will reintroduce good bacteria into the gut.
Suggested dose: will vary depending on needs, but 1 capsule providing at least 15 billion CFUs is a good daily dose for most people. Intensive support doses may be significantly higher.
Anti-inflammatory omega-3s work to reduce inflammation in the body and can help to improve cardiovascular health and cognitive function.
Suggested dose: will vary depending on needs, but 1,200mg of combined DHA/EPA is a good daily dose for most people. Intensive support doses may be significantly higher.
Always complete a comprehensive health assessment and ensure there are no contraindications before recommending any supplement.
A Meal Plan Designed to Heal Leaky Gut
Healing a leaky gut takes time. Getting your clients excited about the dietary changes is key to ongoing compliance. Most people find "Yes/No" food lists overwhelming and simply don’t know how to apply them in the kitchen.
The last thing we want is for supplements to be used as a crutch while a poor diet remains!
To remove the guesswork, we have created a valuable resource exclusively for That Clean Life for Business members to help get clients started on the path to a stronger, healthier gut lining. Our 7-Day Leaky Gut Diet contains:
- The 5 essential foods for gut healing while excluding all damaging foods.
- Simple, easy recipes that clients will actually love.
- An itemized grocery list.
- A prep guide to minimize confusion and time spent in the kitchen.
Our Leaky Gut Diet will allow your clients to actually enjoy food while their gut heals. And when your clients are successful, you are successful.
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