5 Remedies for Leaky Gut


Digestion is a complex process with many moving parts and there are many steps along the way for something to go wrong. One of the more increasingly common disorders is a condition known as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut, otherwise known as intestinal hyperpermeability, is when perforations develop and allow undigested food and toxins to pass back into the body. Sound like a problem? It is. Leaky gut can be the starting point for anything from food intolerances to inflammatory bowel disease. If leaky gut is a problem for you, you have options, and here are five to get you started. 1. Water One of easiest things you can do to defend against leaky gut is to stay well hydrated. Chronic dehydration causes constipation. This, in turn, allows bacteria to linger and inflame the intestinal lining, leading to—you guessed it—leaky gut.

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2. Probiotics

Your gut is home to lots of bacteria—good and bad. Sometimes an imbalance can occur and the bad bacteria can take hold. When that happens, regaining balance is of vital importance. A probiotic supplement can help replenish the good guys and soothe and calm an unsteady gut environment.[1]

3. Digestive Enzymes

Taking digestive enzymes before eating a meal is an excellent way to help ensure your food is properly digested, lessening the chance that partially digested food will cause more harm to your body. In addition, studies also suggest digestive enzymes can help encourage a healthy bowel environment.[2]

4. L-Glutamine

L-glutamine is an essential amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties that works by coating cell walls and protecting against irritants. Studies suggest it could aid in the repair and growth of the intestinal lining and reduce some of the problems associated with leaky gut.[3]

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is another way to combat inflammation. Some research even suggests omega-3s could work to alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.[4] There are a couple ways to get more of this nutrient; you could consider a supplement, or simply eat more fatty fish, like salmon. If you’re a vegan or concerned about some of the aspects of eating fish, that, of course, limits your options.

Is leaky gut currently a problem for you? Have you tried any of these five remedies, or do you have another to share? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Gut Bacteria May Exacerbate Depression.


The digestive tract and the brain are crucially linked, according to mounting evidence showing that diet and gut bacteria are able to influence our behavior, thoughts and mood. Now researchers have found evidence of bacterial translocation, or “leaky gut,” among people with depression.

Normally the digestive system is surrounded by an impermeable wall of cells. Certain behaviors and medical conditions can compromise this wall, allowing toxic substances and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. In a study published in the May issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, approximately 35 percent of depressed participants showed signs of leaky gut, based on blood tests.

The scientists do not yet know how leaky gut relates to depression, although earlier work offers some hints. Displaced bacteria can activate autoimmune responses and inflammation, which are known to be associated with the onset of depression, lower mood and fatigue. “Leaky gut may maintain increased inflammation in depressed patients,” which could exacerbate the symptoms of depression if not treated, says Michael Maes, a research psychiatrist with affiliations in Australia and Thailand and an author of the paper. Currently leaky gut is treated with a combination of glutamine, N-acetylcysteine and zinc—believed to have anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties—when behavioral and dietary modifications fail.

microscope slides of gut microbes


Causes of Leaky Gut

Regular use of painkillers

Regular use of antibiotics

Infections (such as HIV)

Autoimmune disorders

Alcohol abuse

Inflammatory bowel disease

Gluten hypersensitivity

Severe food allergies

Radiation therapy

Inflammatory disorders

Psychological stress

Exhaustion


Ulcer Bacteria Linked to Cognitive Decline
One type of harmful bacteria escaping the gut might be Helicobacter pylori, the main cause of stomach ulcers. H. pylori may contribute to cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. Compared with uninfected individuals, people who tested positive for H. pylori performed worse on cognitive tests, including ones assessing verbal memory. Some laboratory evidence indicates that H. pylori cells can escape the gut and sneak into the brain. There the cells aggregate with the amyloid proteins characteristic of Alzheimer’s and instigate the buildup of plaque, suggests study co-author May Baydoun, a staff scientist at the National Institute on Aging. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 20 percent of people younger than 40 and half of adults older than 60 are infected with the bacteria, which can be treated with antibiotics.


Bugs That Influence the Brain
Preliminary research suggests that these common gut microbes can also affect our thoughts and feelings.

1. Helicobacter pylori: Children infected with this ulcer-causing bacterium performed worse on IQ tests, suggesting a possible link between H. pylori infection and cognitive development.

2. Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum: Healthy human volunteers who consumed a probiotic mix of these bacteria exhibited less anxiety and depression.

3. Probiotic bacteria B. animalis subsp. lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, L. lactis subsp. lactis: Healthy women who consumed yogurt containing these bugs showed less activity in brain regions that process emotions and physical sensations. Researchers do not yet know whether these effects were beneficial; they also have not discovered the mechanism underlying the observed shift in brain activity.

4. Lactobacilli: Healthy students had fewer of these bacteria present in their stool during a high-stress exam time compared with a less stressful period during the semester. The findings suggest a potential link between stress and gut microbes, but the exact relation remains unknown.