Are Your Guts Leaking?

In my last post, I discussed digestion and its important role in our optimal health. When digestion is dysfunctional, many issues arise. One of those issues is leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a digestive condition that can wreak havoc on your health. The lining of our small intestines is made up of a single layer of cells with tight junctions. These tight junctions are like little gates that allow small molecules to be absorbed by the body. In the case of leaky gut or hyperpermeability, the tight junctions become damaged and leaky; allowing larger molecules and particles from food, waste, bacteria, and toxins through the intestinal lining into blood and lymphatic vessels. The immune system is activated and goes on the defense because these molecules are recognized as foreign. The result is an inflammatory response by the immune system that can lead to food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, skin issues, hormone imbalances, mood disturbances and systemic inflammation. 

Leaky gut can be caused by poor digestion, chronic stress, food intolerances, nutrient poor diets, alcohol, infections, imbalanced gut microbiome, pesticides, strenuous exercise, and medications such as antibiotics, NSAIDS, and the birth control pill.

Signs and symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • Multiple food allergies
  • Trouble digesting foods
  • Constipation/ diarrhea
  • Brain fog
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes
  • Autoimmunity
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety/depression

To feel your best, healing the gut must be a priority. Healing the gut involves a step by step process: Remove, Repair, Reinoculate, and Reintroduce. Here is a summary of those steps.

Remove common irritating foods such as processed and refined foods, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, refined seed oils, and sugar. Sometimes nuts, seeds, night shades and eggs need to be eliminated as well. Avoid NSAIDS.

Repairthe gut by drinking a quality bone broth. You know its rich in collagen when it turns to gel in the fridge. Eating 2-3 servings omega -3 rich salmon, mackerel or sardines per week which provides beneficial anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Including vegetables such as sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, and butternut squash which act as food for the good bacteria in your gut. Fruits such as bananas, apples, and plantains are helpful as well. L- glutamine, slippery elm, chamomile, marshmallow root and deglycerized licorice help to repair the mucosal lining of the gut.

Its important to be supporting the digestive process to be able to absorb all the nutrients you are taking in to heal your gut. Digestive enzymes, bitters, diluted apple cider Vinegar and HCL aid in breaking down nutrients to be able to absorb them. Mindful eating and stress reduction support digestion as well. See my last post Digestion is Fundamental for more information.

Reinoculate the gut with probiotic foods such a raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and coconut yogurt. Drink probiotic drinks such as kombucha and water kefir, and supplement with probiotics capsules. A spore-based probiotic is a great choice. 

Reintroduce eliminated foods one at a time to discover which foods that may be problematic. You should wait 3 days in between each new introduction to evaluate for any reactions that may include headaches, joint pain, brain fog, digestive distress, skin irritation, and allergies.

Healing the gut can take time and shouldn’t be rushed. You should only start to reintroduce foods when most of your symptoms of leaky gut have resolved. The process can seem overwhelming, but it is very doable and makes great improvement in your health and well- being. I would love to guide you through the process of healing your gut! Nutritional therapy allows us to find the best supplements that work for your body and its ability to heal. I would love to guide you through the process!


Brighten, J. (2019). Beyond the pill. Harper Collins. New York City, NY

Ballantyne, S. (2013). The paleo approach. Victory Belt, Las Vegas, NA

Sanfilippo, D. (2016. Practical paleo. Victory Belt. Las Vegas, NA

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