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Ask the Experts

Addressing leaky gut syndrome

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Ask the Experts
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Q: I believe my gastrointestinal symptoms may be the result of “leaky gut.” What is this and how can I fix it?

A: Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that affects the lining of the intestines. Also known as increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment.

As a consequence, certain bacteria, toxins, undigested food particles, and metabolic wastes may end up being “leaked” out of the intestines into the bloodstream. This can sometimes trigger an autoimmune reaction, which could not only result in gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating and excessive gas and cramps, but also trigger other symptoms and issues such as fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

The cause of leaky gut can be linked to certain medications, the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, as well as chronic inflammation, food allergies, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

Some steps may help heal leaky gut, including removing certain foods. Removing other factors that can impair gut health, such as sugar, gluten, and processed foods, might also help, along with minimizing stress.

When it comes to supplements, probiotics help to re-inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria, which in turn, will keep bad bacteria at bay.

L-glutamine is an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties that is necessary for the growth and repair of the intestinal lining. L-glutamine is thought by some to act as a protector: coating your cell walls and repelling potential irritants.

Including some bone broth in your diet that contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine may also help heal your damaged cell walls.

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