It is therefore quite important that we learn what steps we can take to heal up our leaky gut.
In a study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, a paper entitled ‘Gut Microbiota, Intestinal Permeability, Obesity-Induced Inflammation, and Liver Injury’ was published in 2011. Authors Frazier, DiBaise and McClain, all MDs, sought to understand more about a critical part of the body’s small intestine that has far reaching effects on health.
Specifically their focus was on the body’s microbiota, that group of 100 trillion organisms with 100 times the number of genes possessed by the human body, responsible for nutrient absorption, energy balance (storing and burning calories) and controlling body weight. Alterations in this microbiome also cause increased intestinal permeability, a leaky gut. The microbiome is so critical to health that many are considering it an ‘organ’ in its own right.
Because the microbiome is housed with trillions of good bacteria, those with a weakened immune system often ‘house’ instead, bad bacteria, amoeba, parasites and the like. The ‘overgrowth’ of these bad guys can also destabilize the microbiome and prevent it from its health promoting functions.
In fact, such bad organisms create an inflammatory profile in the gut that causes obesity, fatty liver, heart disease, insulin resistance and diabetes, to name a few. Add to the inflammation a leaky gut, and now these organisms are leaving and circulating in the general bloodstream, creating havoc throughout the body, often in the form of autoimmune disease.
What can you do to strengthen your microbiome, and thereby your leaky gut?
First of if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity you are predisposed to a leaky gut, but it doesn’t mean that you are destined to keep it.
Steps you can take:
1. Ensure you have eliminated ALL gluten from your diet. Don’t cheat and ensure that you haven’t missed any gluten sneaking into your diet inadvertently.
2. Consider eliminating dairy products. They are pro-inflammatory in their own right and a potential irritant to the microbiome and gut.
3. The standard American diet laden with high fat and high fructose was found by many researchers to weaken the microbiome, therefore it is critical for you to make those changes in your diet as well.
4. The best thing to eat to support your probiotic population is organic fruits and vegetables. Nine servings per day are highly recommended.
5. Try to find out if you are deficient in any important vitamins and minerals such as Bs, D, magnesium, zinc and calcium.
6. Take a probiotic that is of a human strain and has a mix of several organisms such as lactobacillus, bifidus, etc. Each capsule should contain about 20 billion organisms.
7. Try to find a clinician who will run a test to find out if you have any inhospitable organisms in your gut. This is a comprehensive stool test and evaluates for the presence of bacteria, amoeba, parasites, worms, etc. Most stool tests only look for a couple of parasites, so make sure that you get a true comprehensive one.
8. Get the balance of your good bacteria in your microbiome evaluated. The stool test I use for #4 above does this as part of the testing.
9. Once you have cleaned up your diet, eliminated any bad bacteria and have been supporting your good bacteria, consider getting a lab test for a leaky gut performed. This will let you know if your efforts are proving successful.
Gut Microbiota, Intestinal Permeability, Obesity-Induced Inflammation, and Liver Injury
Thomas H. Frazier, MD1; John K. DiBaise, MD2; and Craig J. McClain, MD1,3,4
Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Volume XX Number X Month XXXX 1-7