I was doing an Internet search when I read this: “Leaky gut syndrome is a medical mystery.”
A further search on medical websites called it a “gray area” and “the disease your doctor can’t diagnose.”
But there’s nothing gray or mysterious about it. A leaky gut is a nutrition problem, and it’s being ignored by doctors who know next to nothing about nutrition.
You see, many traditional doctors don’t believe leaky gut syndrome is a real diagnosis. Instead, they’ll isolate your symptoms and treat each one with medications.
And do you know why your doctor can’t diagnose it?
Because it’s not taught in medical school! So doctors take the safe road and prescribe heartburn drugs or even antibiotics.
These drugs do more harm than good. And the side effects are horrendous. Numerous studies have linked these drugs to life-threatening diseases and complications.1
Antibiotics, steroids, and other prescription drugs also destroy your gut microbiome.
This attack on your belly can be devastating.
Having an intestinal system full of holes is more than just uncomfortable. It’s a cause of many severe disorders.
You see, your gut is your first line of defense against invading pathogens and toxins.
It helps you digest your food… It’s how your body absorbs vitamins and minerals… It produces B vitamins… And more than 80% of your immune system lives in the gut lining.
This lining acts as a barrier keeping things in your digestive system until they can be broken down safely.
Small holes in a healthy gut only allow specific molecules and nutrients to pass through. They also block bigger particles like bacteria, toxins, and undigested food that can damage your body.
But if you have leaky gut syndrome, it means your intestinal lining has become way too porous. The tiny holes grow larger. Undigested food molecules, yeasts, toxins, and wastes flow into your bloodstream.
When this junk gets into your blood, your body treats it like a foreign invader.
You start to produce antibodies to your favorite foods — in other words, allergies. Gradually you begin to have reactions to certain foods.
Every time you eat these foods, your body launches an immune reaction. This leads to chronic inflammation everywhere in your body. When your gut breaks down in this way, it triggers a long list of conditions, including:
- Crohn’s disease and IBS
- Liver disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic fatigue
Leaky gut syndrome is a direct result of our toxic modern world. And the most common cause is our industrial food supply.
You see, the food industry has packed our supermarkets with cheap processed foods made with carbohydrate-packed grains. This is what I call “carbage.”
And your body didn’t evolve to eat them.
Grains have nutrient blockers called “lectins.” These natural molecules protect plants from invaders like insects, mold, and parasites.
In your gut, lectins bind to cells that contain the sugars you need to break down your food. Once there, they interfere with digestion. They cause damage and inflammation.
Many grains also contain gluten. This protein makes dough elastic, helps it rise, and gives bread its chewy texture. But gluten is sticky, and it gums up your digestion.
Celiac disease is a full-blown allergy to gluten. Celiac patients have to avoid all gluten. But even people without celiac can get an inflamed gut from gluten.2
Our industrial food supply is also loaded with pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and preservatives.
Your liver can’t keep up with all these toxins. They build up and cause even more inflammation. They also destroy the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
When the so-called harmful bacteria in your gut squeeze out the good bacteria, you see an increase in disease and aging.
Use these supplements to heal your leaky gut.
In addition to healing the gut with probiotics, I recommend the following to help repair your gut:
- Think zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral for supporting a strong gut lining. But as many as 40% of older adults in the U.S. are deficient.3 A zinc deficiency can weaken the gut lining and lead to holes. Studies show that supplementing with zinc can dramatically improve the intestinal lining in patients with Crohn’s disease.4 Take 20 mg of zinc a day. But don’t take more than 40 mg daily over a long term.
- Try some licorice root. Licorice root is an adaptogenic herb used for thousands of years to treat digestive disorders. It supports your body’s natural mucosal lining in the gut. It also improves acid production in the stomach to boost digestion. Take 500 mg twice daily.
- Supplement with L-glutamine. This amino acid helps repair the digestive tract and boost your immune system. Your body’s microbiome uses it for fuel. It also helps your body make glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Most high-protein foods like beef, chicken, and fish have good amounts of glutamine. Or you can take 1,000 mg three times a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Gautham Y, et al. “Proton pump inhibitors accelerate endothelial senescence.” Circ Res. 2016 Jun;118(12):36-42.
2. Hollon J, et al. “Effect of gliadin on permeability of intestinal biopsy explants from celiac disease patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” Nutrients. 2015;7(3):1564-76.
3. “Zinc Deficiences A Global Concern.” Oregon State University. Sept.17, 2009.
4. Sturniolo GC, et al. “Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease.” Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8.