The term Leaky Gut Syndrome, also known as Intestinal Permeability, has been around for a while, but what is it, and why is it important to address?

Leaky Gut Syndrome is when the lining of your stomach is not fully intact. This means that larger particles of the foods and drinks you are consuming are slipping through your stomach lining. When these larger particles slip through your stomach lining, your body recognizes these particles as invaders and launches an inflammatory response. Temporary inflammation is needed for healing, but a prolonged inflammatory response can cause more significant chronic illnesses. 

Leaky Gut Syndrome can sometimes hide under the umbrella term IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), so it can be hard to diagnose at times. The signs and symptoms of Leaky Gut are varied, but the common symptoms are: 

  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea 
  • A mix of diarrhea and constipation 
  • Bloating
  • Brain fog
  • Moodiness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Food sensitivities 
  • Gas 
  • Cramps, to name a few

As of late, scientists are still finding what causes leaky gut, and so far, they have found several contributing factors that are not limited to this list but, some of the factors they found include: 

  • Gluten 
  • Grains 
  • NSAID’s – Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • PPI’s – Proton Pump Inhibitors like Omeprazole, Pepcid, etc.
  • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Environmental factors 

In finding contributing factors to Leaky Gut, ways to heal the gut have also been found, and they include some dietary changes like limiting or avoiding: 

  • Gluten. Gluten is found in barley, rye, pasta, bread, and flour. In a 2013 study, gluten was found to trigger the creation of a human protein called zonulin, which breaks apart the tight junctions of the gut lining. This means zonulin was found to make the lining of the stomach weaker. 
  • Sugar. Sugar has been found to feed bacteria like yeast which can also break down the gut lining. 
  • Dairy. Due to such a large population of individuals who struggle with lactose intolerance, dairy is hard on the digestive tract, therefore the stomach lining. 
  • Soy. Soy itself is a nutrient-dense food. But since farmers have been found to use a lot of pesticides, those pesticides affect the gut lining. 
  • Corn. Corn may trigger a similar biological response as gluten. So limiting or avoiding corn may be in your best interest as you are healing. 
  • Lectins. Lectins are found in gluten-containing grains, corn, nightshades, beans, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes. Lectins bind to the cells that line our stomachs and disrupt the stomach lining too. 

While you’re healing your gut, focus on these foods: 

  1. Fermented foods. Fermented food is filled with probiotics that feed the good bacteria in our gut. 
  2. High-quality protein. Ethically sourced is best. The fewer hormones, the better for your overall health. 
  3. Healthy fats. Nut butter, avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil. 
  4. Bone broth is excellent for the lining of your gut. 
  5. High fiber. Dark leafy greens and lean vegetables. The fiber in these leafy greens feeds the good bacteria in our guts as well. 

At Dr. Erika Horowitz, we specialize in gut health. If you have many of the symptoms listed for Leaky Gut Syndrome or are suffering from digestive distress, please reach out to us at contact@drerikahorowitz.com, or make an appointment with your provider. 

We hope you found this helpful.

Be well, 

  • Dr. Horowitz & Staff

Resources used: 

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-to-eat-to-heal-leaky-gut