Finishing our series on leaky gut, let’s take a moment to revisit that idea that almost all of the functions in our body have a part played by the gut. Leaky gut can cause everything from anxiety to migraine headaches to joint pain and autoimmune conditions. So many of the conditions that we have been led to believe just “happen” are actually the result of leaky gut, and a great number of them are greatly controlled and even completely reversed by healing leaky gut. Healing the gut takes time and diligence, but the payoff can be life changing, so I encourage you to invest the time to take these steps toward healing your gut. Not only can you see an improvement in the symptoms of disease, but you are also helping to prevent future problems.
To recap, in the last 2 articles, we discussed the first 2 steps toward healing leaky gut (go back and read the last 2 articles):
- Remove: This is where we discussed the major FOOD offenders that assault the gut (corn, wheat, soy, conventional dairy and conventional meats) and the importance of removing these in order to allow the gut to heal.
- Replace: We discussed how adding coconut oil, bone broth, and fermented foods can begin the healing process in the gut once the inflammatory foods have been removed.
Today, we are going to outline steps 3 and 4 as they go together. Remember, there is no magic pill for healing leaky gut, but we are all a product of what we do the most often, so the more exposure the body has to these healing foods, the more effectively and quickly the gut lining will rebuild. Be patient with your body, and be diligent with your changes. Every change has the power to make a difference, and the result of your changes is cumulative.
- Probiotics: We have talked in many articles about the power of probiotics, but they really have their most appropriate place in a discussion on healing leaky gut. So many controllable and uncontrollable factors in our lives affect our gut bacteria, so the more continued exposure our bodies have to beneficial bacteria, the better. There are a lot of great probiotics on the market, and the key is to find one that works well for you. As our bacteria are constantly changing, so is our need to change our probiotic. I would encourage you to find a couple of brands that you like and rotate them. And remember your probiotic foods! Probiotics are very delicate and are easily destroyed by stomach acid. That doesn’t mean to ditch your daily probiotic pill, but it does emphasize the importance of finding probiotics from multiple sources including food sources (like non pasteurized kimchee, sauerkraut, and kombucha).
- Prebiotics: So much is said about probiotics, while prebiotics are so often missed and so vitally important to the process of gut healing and function. Prebiotics are made up of plant fibers and are basically “food” for our probiotic bacteria. They are very stable and not easily destroyed, and they nourish and promote the growth of healthy bacteria. These are best consumed in whole food form and are high in Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, raw garlic, dandelion greens, raw and cooked onions, and raw asparagus (great cut into small pieces on a salad or for dipping into hummus).
- Digestive enzymes: Over time and with age, we experience a breakdown in our production of digestive enzymes which can lead to gas, bloating, slow digestion, and acid reflux. Quite often, it is to LITTLE stomach acid that causes acid reflux as food sits in the stomach too long causing a backwash of acid into the esophagus. Acid blockers actually make the problem worse whereas digestive enzymes treat the problem, not just mask the symptoms. Taking a digestive enzyme 30 minutes before you eat each meal is a great way not only to work on healing leaky gut, but to make after meal digestion more comfortable.
- L-Glutamine: L Glutamine is one of the “tried and true” gut healers which is an anti inflammatory amino acid that is critical for the growth and repair of the intestinal lining. L glutamine helps to coat the cell walls to not only heal, but to protect from future damage.
Remember that healing leaky gut takes time and care, but the changes we have discussed can make a major difference in your life. Start with the changes that you can maintain, and be careful not to jump on the bandwagon for an “all at once” approach. Sustainable changes are always better than “quick fixes.” Always ask questions and be a detective. Be sensitive to changes in your body as change means that our bodies are trying to tell us something. Always ask questions. We are available at heart in motion to answer member questions, so please reach out. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org so ask any time! And please make sure to go back and read the last 2 articles. They are meant to be completed in order and understood fully as a system for gut healing.
Our next article is a great follow up to this one and will be walking you through how to complete a food challenge to look for hidden sensitivities, so stay tuned!!
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- Read back through your entire gut healing series of articles. Take note of the changes you have already made, and put together a plan for continuing to make changes in the weeks to come. Remember that the most important step to start with is REMOVE. Before any healing can begin, removing gut irritants must happen. Make changes carefully over time, and maintain them. I often tell my clients "you become what you practice most." This is true in the body as well. It will transform into whatever it is exposed to the most often.