Improve Your Gut Lining and Prevent ‘Leaky Gut’ Naturally

April 12, 2022 3 min read

Leaky gut has become a term that is used frequently within society these days! However, I hear many people asking, what is leaky gut?

Well leaky gut is where damage occurs to your digestive lining in your small intestines and therefore the cells that line the gut have less tight junctions and may cause small holes to develop which allows for extra material that you have digested to pass through these walls. Now, this may sound like a good thing however, the cells within your digestive tract are like policemen guarding and controlling what gets absorbed into your body, decreasing the uptake of harmful substances such as toxins, pollutants, bugs and partially digested food ect being absorbed directly into your blood stream which affects the entire body. It is incredibly important to have a healthy, well functioning gut lining to ensure adequate and proper absorption of nutrients and prevention of inflammation and absorption of harmful substances. Leaky gut also may cause digestive discomfort post eating and is often a result of unresolved inflammation within the gut.

Symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Skin problems such as eczema, acne, rashes.
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Chronic diarrhoea, bloating or constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation

So, what can we do about it and what can we do day to day to improve the health of our gut lining to ensure optimal nutrient uptake and happy intestinal cells?  

1. Identify food sensitivities and intolerances 

Continuing to consume foods that upset your stomach and cause an inflammatory immune response leads to a greater development of leaky gut symptoms and further digestive problems. Continuing to consume these foods may also lead to systemic inflammation throughout the whole body and potentially cause more serious conditions. Processed foods such as breads, cakes, pastries, chocolate and more impact your gut negatively and could contribute to leaky gut symptoms. For others it might be something more serious like a food intolerance such as coeliac disease which has been undetected for many years contributing to the digestive complaints. Other common foods which irritate people’s digestive systems include sugar, highly refined carbohydrates, emulsifiers, diary and alcohol. Proper food intolerance testing would be required to identify your triggers.

 

2. Supplements which help to improve gut integrity 

Glutamine is an amino acid which has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on gut health by supporting the microbiome, improving the gut wall integrity (leaky gut) and helps to modulate inflammation within the body. Probiotics can also be beneficial when they are selected specifically for you! Probiotics can help to tighten the junctions between the cells in your gut, modulate gene expression and cell replication.  

 

3. Consume a plant rich, whole food diet. 

Consuming over 40 different plant foods each week helps to feed and maintain different microbes within your digestive system. The aim is to have as many different beneficial species as possible! Other foods such as prebiotics found in like onions, garlic, legumes and artichoke also directly feed these beneficial bacteria which help to protect and maintain your gut lining. Eating a wholefood plant rich diet also ensures that you are intaking adequate fibre levels to improve bowel motions and discourage constipation and stagnation in the digestive system which could lead to inflammation. For example, a special constituent found in apples called pectin has been shown to modulate gut bacteria, reduce inflammation and get rid of toxins in the gut!

 

4. The power of herbs to heal your gut lining.

Herbs are very beneficial to use for healing your gut lining and improving its integrity. Certain herbs such as marshmallow root, aloe vera and slippery elm help to down-regulate inflammation in the gut and have soothing, calming properties which act directly on intestinal cells when they pass through. These herbs  also you’re your beneficial gut bacteria. Other herbs such as turmeric directly interact with the lining of the gut and help to downregulate localised inflammation, helping to improve gut integrity. 

Love Amy xx
Written by Amy Parin, a member of our gorgeous Floralia apothecary support team and 3rd Year Bachelor Degree naturopathic student.


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