Q&A: What is a leaky gut and how do I fix it?
At the most basic level, a leaky gut means your intestines aren't quite as secure as they should be.
Here's a quick biology lesson: The walls of the intestines are supposed to be permeable to a degree. This is how the nutrients from the food we eat make it into the body, while other parts of food we can't use continue through the intestines and eventually leave as waste. Ideally, the barrier of the intestines would only allow tiny nutrients to absorb into the bloodstream, and excrete unwanted particles.
The problem occurs when the intestinal tight junctions—the spaces between the single layer of cells that regulate what enters the bloodstream—are injured. This allows unwanted microbes and undigested food particles to "leak" into the bloodstream, where the immune system often marks them as foreign invaders and attacks. This is considered leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability.
Symptoms of a leaky gut could look like:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's
The key to healing a leaky gut is to find what has damaged those tight junctions. The main areas are stress and the wrong food choices.
To help improve a leaky gut I would start with recommending the following:
- Lower your stress levels (I know easier said than done!)
- Remove inflammatory foods such as processed sugar, gluten, and refined oil
- Increase fermented foods (I love The Wild Fermentary products. They are soooo good! Use code VINKA for a 15% discount)
- Increase fibre rich foods such as fruit, veggies and whole grains
- Introduce fasting windows of over 12 hours each day. See my Fasting Formula course to learn more.
- The gut needs a break after eating to clean up and repair, so constant eating will leave the gut leaky. Allow a minimum of 4 hours between meals
Have a great day!