Achieving a Healthy Gut When Leaky Gut Symptoms Show

What is a Leaky Gut?

A Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which tight junctions in your intestinal walls start to loosen, making it easier for larger particles like toxins, bacteria, and undigested food to pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream. Your intestinal lining acts as a barrier between your gut and bloodstream to thwart harmful substances from entering your body. The small gaps or tight junctions within the intestinal wall allow water and nutrients to pass through while blocking the passage for harmful substances.

At one time, our digestive system was considered a rather simple body system, consisting of essentially one long tube for our food to pass through, be absorbed, and then excreted. However, at this time, we see the health of the intestinal system affecting other aspects of our health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the development of cancer. This shows the many facets of modern life namely high-stress levels, poor sleep, unhealthy consumption of overly processed and high sugar foods, and taking antibiotics to be quite damaging to our gut microbiome. When unhealthy, this lining becomes “leaky” with holes that allow bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to enter, triggering an inflammatory response. This leads to problems within your digestive tract causing an immune reaction creating various health problems that are collectively known as a leaky gut syndrome. 

The gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A single person’s digestive tract has about 3-500 different species of bacteria. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, there are many that are beneficial and extremely necessary for a healthy body to function properly. The good news here is that your microbiome can regenerate quickly as research has shown, that within two to four days of following a healthy gut diet, your gut microbiome can start to improve.

 

What can cause a leaky gut?

The exact cause of leaky gut is unknown, however, increased intestinal permeability is a well-known symptom and occurs alongside several chronic diseases.

There is consistent evidence that gluten, in those with increased sensitivity and intolerance, that they have seen increased intestinal permeability. Gluten activates Zonulin, the regulator of intestinal permeability, but it doesn’t affect everyone the same way as gluten does not increase intestinal permeability in people without these health conditions.

Zonulin is a protein that regulates tight junctions. In individuals with a sensitivity to gluten, the protein is considered a foreign invader by the body causing inflammation. The immune system then responds to substances it recognizes as harmful by causing inflammation. Inflammation is one of the body’s most natural self-protection mechanisms, when it’s not managed, this constant inflammation can be associated with multiple chronic conditions.

Diet seems to be the underlying cause for poor gut health, a diet consisting of processed food, high in sugar and salt, additionally incorporating unhealthy fats and refined carbs may increase intestinal permeability, which ultimately disrupts the microbiome. A lack of zinc in the diet has also been shown to alter intestinal permeability and contribute to multiple gastrointestinal concerns Stress is another key factor as prolonged stress can alter the gut-brain interaction and lead to all kinds of gastrointestinal issues. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, when overused, can increase intestinal permeability.

All in all, with these contributors, there is still plenty you can do to improve your general digestive health. For one, eat a diet rich in foods that aid the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

 

What are some symptoms of a leaky gut?

Symptoms of the leaky gut may vary depending on the underlying cause. For example, celiac disease can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, bloating and gas, and weight loss. IBD can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, fever, and bloody stools. IBS can cause abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhea, mucus in stools, and excess gas.

The underlying cause of all sorts of conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, thyroid abnormalities, mood swings, skin conditions, and autism.

 

How to restore a leaky gut?

Restoring a leaky gut to combat inflammation within the tight junction and help tighten them up, first eating foods that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, including fruits, cultured products, healthy fats, lean meats, and fibrous and fermented vegetables, and decrease all those that irritate the gut lining.

Here is a great list to start with, whole foods, cooked for easy digestibility helps as well. Chew your food thoroughly and stay hydrated.

  • Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, arugula, carrots, kale, beetroot, Swiss chard, ginger, mushrooms, and zucchini

  • Roots and tubers:  sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash, and turnips

  • Fresh herbs and spices

  • Fruits: grapes, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, mandarin, lemon, limes, passionfruit, and papaya

  • Sprouted nuts and seeds

  • Gluten-free grains: buckwheat, amaranth, rice 

  • Healthy fats: avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil

  • Seafood

  • Lean meats and eggs

  • Cultured products and fermented beverages: kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso, fermented vegetable juices such as R’KOSO, bone broths, teas, coconut milk, nut milk, water, and kombucha

There are steps you can take to improve your gut health. One of the key methods to a healthier gut is increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in it.

R's KOSO fermented beverage contains over 100 different fruits, vegetables, and plant-based ingredients. R's KOSO includes unique ingredients such as seaweeds and mushrooms. It not only includes probiotics but also is a great source of prebiotic and postbiotics.  These probiotic food products can help improve intestinal health and digestion by supporting and introducing beneficial microbes. 

It is a traditional food enzyme drink, with all the benefits combined to help you alleviate symptoms of a leaky gut. Fermentation of these superfoods helps the gut digest and absorb the nutrients as they are partially broken down by enzymes during the process of fermentation. 

Avoiding certain foods is equally important for improving your gut health. Some foods have been shown to cause inflammation in your body, promoting the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria that are linked to many chronic diseases. If you think you have leaky gut syndrome, consider getting tested for celiac disease. The two disorders can have overlapping symptoms. Ideally, always try to avoid processed junk foods, alcohol, sugary beverages, refined oils, and artificial sweeteners as they may aid the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria, which can lead to inflammation and increased intestinal permeability and no one wants that!

 

Let's get started! 

R's KOSO



 

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