The Gut Microbiome: Part 2 – The Leaky Gut

March 23, 2023

Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, allowing undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria to leak through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream.

In a healthy gut, the intestinal lining acts as a barrier, preventing these substances from passing through and entering the bloodstream. However, when the intestinal lining becomes damaged or compromised, it can result in inflammation and a host of other health problems, such as food allergies, autoimmune disease, and chronic inflammation.

The causes of leaky gut are not fully understood, but factors that may contribute to the condition include a poor diet high in processed foods and sugar, chronic stress, certain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut microbiome). Treatment typically involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the condition, as well as making dietary and lifestyle changes to support gut health.

There are several ways to support and promote gut healing. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Follow a gut-friendly diet: avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and other inflammatory foods that can contribute to gut damage. Instead, focus on whole foods-based diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Consider incorporating gut-healthy foods like fermented foods, prebiotic-rich foods, and bone broth into your diet.
  2. Reduce stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the gut microbiome and contribute to gut inflammation. Incorporate stress-reducing practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.
  3. Exercise regularly: exercise can improve gut motility and reduce inflammation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
  4. Get enough sleep: lack of sleep can contribute to gut inflammation and imbalances in gut bacteria. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

It is important to remember that healing the gut is a process and make take time. Working with a healthcare provider who specializes in lifestyle medicine can be helpful in developing an individualized plan for gut healing.