A “leaky gut diet” is a way to cure leaky gut, a condition blamed for a variety of health concerns. Here is what you should and should not eat.
Health practitioners and scientific papers promote diet as a way to cure leaky gut.
What Is a Leaky Gut?
A leaky gut is a condition where the intestine allows large molecules to pass through into the bloodstream. This includes undigested food, toxins and possibly bacteria. This can cause many symptoms and ailments, including allergies, asthma and autism.
For more information see the leaky gut syndrome article on this website.
What to Avoid on a Leaky Gut Diet
Processed foods should definitely be avoided if you have leaky gut symptoms. Processed foods are one suspected cause for this problem, although by no means the only cause.
A gluten-free diet is recommended if you have leaky gut problems. Gluten may be another cause for leaky gut for some people, and may inflame the gut further if you are already experiencing problems. You may also have a higher chance of developing a gluten allergy, since gluten could be directly absorbed through the gut into the bloodstream and seen as a foreign substance by the immune system. The immune system will then learn to attack gluten, causing a wide range of gluten allergy symptoms. The gluten allergy may persist even after the leaky gut itself is cured.
Avoid milk and dairy products.
Avoid large amounts of alcohol. Chronic alcoholic disease can be another cause of leaky gut syndrome. I don’t currently have information on small amounts of alcohol, but it probably won’t do your gut any good. This is also part of a yeast-free diet, see below.
Antibiotics. Antibiotics are over-used, often prescribed for the flu or a cold and other viruses. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, but antibiotics are another possible cause for leaky gut syndrome and may make it worse. Use antibiotics only for serious illness/surgery.
Ibuprofen can harm the gut and cause leaky gut syndrome if over-used. Best avoided when healing.
Yeast and yeast-promoting foods. Yeasts wreak havoc with the body, especially candida. Avoid sugar and highly refined carbohydrates. Also avoid aged cheeses, chocolate, alcohol, dried fruit, fermented foods, bakers yeast.
AGEs and ALEs. What that stands for may not help you: Advanced Glycation End-products and and Advanced glycated Lipid End-products. In plain English: overheated sugars and overheated fats. This is a bit of a simplification, but suffice it to say that processed foods, be they from a factory or cooked in your own home, can produce byproducts due to high heat which can cause leaky gut syndrome, and should be avoided if you want to heat your gut. For example, if you fry meat at high temperatures, to the point that it is very brown, almost black, it is less healthy than meat baked at low temperature for a longer time.
Foods that Promote Leaky Gut Healing
Eliminate all foods that you are allergic too, especially the foods that may have caused the problem, such as wheat and gluten. Avoid these foods for at least four, and ideally six months, to give a chance for your intestines to heal.
Chew your food well, and make sure there is lots of fiber in your diet.
Generally speaking, raw foods and lightly cooked foods.
The “cave man diet” or “paleolithic diet“, which avoids food additives and includes “natural” foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, wild game and grass-feed beef, etc.
Zinc, a mineral supplement that can reverse a zinc deficiency that may have been responsible for this condition, and helpful to reverse a leaky gut.
Glutamine, a supplement you can buy at a health food store, is probably the most powerful addition to your diet for reversing a leaky gut. 1000mg of Glutamine three times a day is recommended.
Curcumin (turmeric) is also powerful, but there is only so much you can consume, and it is rapidly eliminated from the body.
Digestive enzymes help the body to better digest your food (as does thorough chewing), making it easier for a damaged gut to process and reducing allergic reactions.
Probiotics, including acidophilus and live yogurt (organic yogurt is a good bet) is extremely helpful.
Minerals and vitamins. Multi-vitamins are one approach, but you are better to take individual vitamins if appropriate potency. I recommend Earl Mindell’s New Vitamin Bible for details, and/or see a dietitian.
Alka Seltzer Gold is recommended to neutralize a food reaction. Presently, I don’t have a generic name for this product.
Note that healing the gut takes time. Stick to your diet. It may take four to six months for healing to take place.
What is your experience with following a leaky gut diet? What did you avoid, what did you eat, what supplements did you take, and how did it affect your health? Please leave a comment with your questions, comments and wisdom.