Leaky Gut Syndrome
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND

See also Fungal Infections and Inflammatory Bowel

Leaky gut is a byproduct of intestinal inflammation. When the intestinal membranes become inflamed, they lose structural integrity. This allows partially digested food stuffs and irritants to enter the blood Stream.

Just imagine for a minute that your sewer or septic system started backing up into your kitchen. It's not a pleasant sought, is it? Yet, many people have a similar problem happening right inside their own bodies because of this excess intestinal permeability.

Numerous physical and "mental" health problems have been linked with this leakage in the intestines, including ADHD, autism, depression, allergies, asthma and skin dislike eczema and psoriasis. Leaky gut syndrome may be a factor in autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto, psorisis, arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

The intestinal inflammation that causes leaky gut is bought on by a combination of factors. These include drugs (antibiotics, birth control pills, NSAIDs, chemotherapy agents, etc.), infections, parasites, food allergies, and chemicals. Enzyme deficiencies and a high carbohydrate diet are also contributing factors.

The intestines do not absorb nutrients correctly when they are inflamed, which can cause fatigue and bloating. Leaking toxins also burden the liver, which acts as a second line of defense to eliminate substances absorbed from the intestines that the body does not want in the general circulation.

When large, undigested food particles are absorbed because of the excessive porousness in the membranes, they trigger immune reactions. This can hypersensitize the immune system, resulting in allergic and autoimmune reac- lions. The inflammation also damages carrier proteins that help nutrients to be assimilated. This can cause nutritional deficiencies. Finally, the damaged intestinal membranes also allow bacteria, viruses and yeast to pass more readily into the system to damage other organs and systems.

Reducing intestinal inflammation and rebuilding damaged intestinal membranes to stop gut leakage can help numerous health problems.

Here are seven steps you can take to reduce intestinal inflammation, promote healing and stop intestinal leakage.

Step One is to avoid intestinal irritants, such as food allergens, food additives, drugs and chemicals. A great way to do this is by adopting a GAPS, Paleo or Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Step Two is to improve digestion and increase stomach acid by taking PDA (and possibly Food Enzymes). You could also take a little raw apple cider vinegar at the beginning of a meal to increase stomach acid.

Step Three is to eliminate harmful organisms from the digestive tract. If parasites or bacterial overgrowth is part of the problem, these harmful organisms need to be eliminated as part of the process. See Parasites and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Fungal Infections may occasionally be a problem as well.

Step Four is to bind intestinal toxins and improve colon transit time. If small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is not a problem, consider taking a Fiber Blend Formula first thing in the morning before breakfast. Make sure to take it with plenty of water. If SIBO is a problem, fiber will not be helpful.

Colon transit time is the length of time it takes for material to travel from one end of the alimentary canal to the other. In a healthy colon, this should be about 18-24 hours. To test your own colon transit time, eat a food that "dyes" the stool (like beets or liquid chlorophyll) and see how long it takes for the color to show up in the stool being eliminated. If it takes more than a day, then you have a sluggish colon transit time.

Just drinking plenty of water and taking a Fiber Blend formula will usually improve colon transit time, but you may need magnesium, vitamin C or an herbal laxative. Try taking a Stimulant Laxative Formula (LBS II or LB-X) for a short period of time (while taking the fiber) until your colon is moving more rapidly. Then switch co Gentle Move for maintenance.

Stimulant laxatives should not be used on a long term basis. If you find it difficult to have a bowel movement without stimulant laxatives and Gentle Move isn't strong enough, then try taking high doses of vitamin C (3-5,000 mg per day) and magnesium (800-1200 mg per day). Vitamin C also helps tone the intestinal membrane and promote healing.

Step Five is to reduce intestinal inflammation. Up to this point, we've focused on helping to "clean out" the intestines. It's also important to reduce the intestinal inflammation to promote tissue regeneration and repair. The following herbs are some of the best for reducing intestinal inflammation: aloe Vera, cat's claw, chamomile, licorice, wild yam and St. John's wort, as all of these herbs are good at reducing the inflammation and promoting healing. Intestinal Soothe and Build or Una De Gato are good formulas for this.

Step Six is to plug the "leaks," meaning to restore the integrity of the intestinal membranes. This is our primary goal in the whole process, but in this step we focus on remedies that repair and rebuild the tissues. To achieve this we look to Intestinal Toners like Kudzu/St. John wort or Una de Gato. The amino acid L-glutamine and vitamin C are helpful nutrients in promoting repair. There is considerable evidence that taking L-Glutamine can aid the gut in its role of protecting against viral, bacterial and food-borne antigen invaders.

Step Seven is to repopulate the colon with friendly bacteria or probiotics. One way to repopulate the colon with friendly bacteria is to eat fermented foods with live cultures, such as yoghurt or raw sauerkraut. Another way is to take probiotic supplements.

People are often amazed at how many health problems disappear (and how much better their overall health and energy is) when they heal their intestinal tract by reducing inflammation and putting a halt to gut leakage.

Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page. For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.

Therapies: Bone Broth, Cleansing Programs, Eliminate Allergy-Causing Foods, Fast or Juice Fast and Hydration

Herbs: Chamomile, Licorice Root and Sarsaparilla

Herbal Formulas: Gastro Health, IF Relief, Intestinal Soothe & Build, LBS II, Liver Balance and Una De Gato

Herbal Extracts: CurcuminBP

Nutrients: L-Glutamine and Probiotics

Nutraceuticals: Caprylic Acid Combination, Everybody's Fiber, Gentle Move, Proactazyme, Super ORAC, Thai-Go and Yeast/Fungal Detox

Packs: Candida Clear and Para-Cleanse