Hormone and Metabolic Research , 47 3 , — Brennan, L. DASH eating plan. Diamanti-Kandarakis, E. Current Pharmaceutical Design , 18 3 , — Hutchins, J. Your blood sugar may be the key to your hormone imbalance. Moran, L. Dietary composition in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review to inform evidence-based guidelines [Abstract]. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , 4 , — Papavasiliou, K.
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Nutritional support and dietary interventions for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Nutrition and Dietary Supplements , 9 , 63— PCOS: Nutrition basics. Phy, J. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Sears, B. Anti-inflammatory diets [Abstract]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition , 34 , 14— MLA Dresden, Danielle. MediLexicon, Intl. APA Dresden, D. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
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If the damage to the lining of your gut is bad enough that such substances regularly leak through, it can wreak havoc on your health. The long list of conditions associated with leaky gut syndrome a. What damages the gut?
Lipski and other experts say the top culprits include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs like ibuprofen, as well as sugar, alcohol, processed foods , and any foods that trigger an allergic response. Other irritants include chronic stress, toxins, and microbiome imbalances.
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Leaky gut syndrome has been treated by the integrative and functional-medicine community for years. Our understanding of the microbiome , for one thing. The discovery that human health and behavior are profoundly influenced by a huge population of microorganisms living predominantly in our guts shook up a lot of docs, says Leo Galland, MD, a conventionally trained internist in New York City who now serves as director of the Foundation for Integrative Medicine.
Leaky-gut symptoms vary.
Typical results? Bloating, gas, or cramps. More significant leaks are more likely to produce bodywide symptoms, he says, including fatigue , joint pain, rashes, respiratory issues, asthma, and autoimmune responses — including psoriasis. As the condition of the gut degrades, notes Sult, the health impacts can be dramatic. The good news, says Galland, is that the cells of the intestinal lining replace themselves every three to six days.
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This means that, given the proper support, your gut can repair itself quickly. With leaky gut, the first step is to identify and remove the source of gut-lining irritation, rather than attempting to suppress its symptoms with drugs.
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Start an elimination diet. Removing common irritants like sugar, dairy, gluten, soy , and the chemical additives found in many processed foods can provide surprisingly quick relief, says Galland, who notes that sugar alone is enough to cause gut problems for many. A properly conducted elimination diet can help you pinpoint which foods are causing trouble: Eliminate a food for two weeks, then reintroduce the food, and keep notes on its effects. Begin a food journal.
Write down what you eat and how it affects you. If you feel bloated, fatigued, or gassy, add that food to your elimination list. You just need to listen. Alcohol taxes the liver and steals nutrients from the gut. Root out infections. The second step is to give your body what it needs to rebuild the gut lining. Lipski likens the inside of the small intestine to a towel covered with millions of little loops called villi , which in turn are covered with millions of little fibers called microvilli.
If the gut is leaky, those fibers get matted, hampering regrowth and the absorption of nutrients from food.
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Eat plenty of whole foods. The body needs the components in real, fresh food to repair damage and rebuild healthy new tissue. Whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, plus enzymes the small intestine needs to heal. Prioritize nonstarchy vegetables and lean proteins.
And eat plenty of good, whole-food fats — they help strengthen cellular membranes. As your body heals, it will get rid of toxins and byproducts through your large intestine. The best high-fiber foods are colorful vegetables, berries , legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole-kernel grains. Aim for 30 grams of fiber a day. Lipski suggests supplementing with 1 to 2 tablespoons of psyllium seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, or oat bran. If you have gluten sensitivities or are doing an elimination diet, stick with flaxseeds also a good source of omega-3s or psyllium seeds, which you can sprinkle in smoothies, or on hot cereal or granola.
Many of our experts also suggest supplementing with a good multivitamin, since nutrient deficiencies commonly accompany leaky gut conditions, even in those eating a healthy, whole-food diet. Take digestive enzymes. The villi and microvilli projections are covered with digestive enzymes that your body needs to break food into component parts: carbs, fats, and proteins. In a leaky gut, enzyme support is crucial to healing and rebuilding villi, says Sult.
Taking supplemental enzymes before you eat gives the GI tract a jump-start on digestion, making food easier to break down and nutrients easier to assimilate. Take one or two capsules with meals three times a day or as needed. In most cases, the villi rebound over the course of a few weeks, but it may take well over a month, notes Sult. Only a small percentage of people will require lifetime enzymatic support. Supplement with glutamine. The most plentiful free amino acid in the body, glutamine supports immunity and digestion by fueling the cells that line the small intestine.
She recommends taking 10 to 20 grams daily. Get more omega-3 fatty acids. The gut uses them to calm inflammation and rebuild healthy cell walls. In addition to recommending several helpings of omegarich foods, including coldwater fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and purslane, Sult advises many of his patients to take a daily concentrated fish-oil supplement, preferably one with at least 3, milligrams of EPA and DHA. Look for a fresh, high-quality refrigerated oil that is tested for heavy metals and other impurities. Once your body has patched up the leaks in the gut, you need to help it grow a healthy layer of good bacteria — flora that help protect the GI tract and assist with digestion.
These beneficial bacteria strengthen your immune system, improve metabolism, help your body make vitamins, and aid in the absorption of minerals. The two most important groups are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Add a probiotic. High-intensity probiotic support rejuvenates and replenishes a microbiome damaged by antibiotics or a poor diet. Sult recommends a high-potency probiotic of at least 50 billion active cultures twice daily. Eat fermented foods. Other perks of fermented foods include lowered inflammation, increased blood-sugar control, and improved antioxidant status.
Sliding back into the habits that caused your leaky gut will only invite the return of health problems you want to avoid. Here are two key strategies for supporting ongoing gut health:. Eat mindfully. This will trigger the cephalic phase of digestion, an initial release of enzymes that help break down your food. Avoid multitasking or rushing while you eat. Take pauses and breaths between bites, allowing your digestive system to keep pace. Calm your central nervous system.
Recalibrate by cultivating a calmer, more centered state. Consider a daily meditation or yoga practice. Or on a stressful day, swap heavy weightlifting for a tai-chi class. This article has been updated. It was originally published in the March issue of Experience Life. Most of the problems associated with leaky gut syndrome occur in your small intestine, but all the organs of your digestion are involved — and impacted. It also mixes in digestive enzymes that begin dissolving proteins , carbs, and fats even before you swallow. If digestion is incomplete, food particles enter the small intestine.
And if the gut lining there is irritated, those particles can pass into the bloodstream, setting the stage for inflammation and food sensitivities. Incomplete digestion can negatively affect your assimilation of nutrients and encourage the overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeasts. They are an important player in your immune system — about two-thirds of which is located in the gut.
Add undigested food particles to the mix, and the immune system can become overtaxed. A solid stool of waste forms and is sent to the rectum. In the absence of adequate fiber , however, elements of slow-moving waste can reenter the system, creating a variety of inflammatory and toxicity problems throughout the body. Only tiny, digested molecules of fats, proteins, and starches are absorbed through the intestine walls into the bloodstream.
But if you have leaky gut syndrome, the filter is defunct and large molecules leach into the bloodstream, where the immune system attacks them. That chronic inflammation can eventually lead to leaky gut syndrome. When these get irritated and inflamed, they loosen up, allowing undigested food particles to slip through into the bloodstream, triggering food allergies and stressing the immune system. When you have a leaky gut, your gut lining allows larger-than-normal molecules of food to pass into your bloodstream.
And so a food allergy is born. Every autoimmune disease has three components, explains Alessio Fasano, MD: a genetic predisposition, an environmental trigger, and a leaky gut. The presence of undigested food particles and other noxious substances can play a big role in putting your immune system into overdrive and turning against the body itself — the classic onset of an autoimmune disorder. Catherine Guthrie is a Boston-based science writer and contributing editor to Experience Life.
Your email address will not be published. City and state are only displayed in our print magazine if your comment is chosen for publication. This is such an informative article. It helps people who suffer from gut-related conditions understand the causes of a leaky gut and how to treat it. I think understanding the causes is the first essential step to treating it. There are several clinically proven, effective probiotic supplements available on the market that can help you recolonize your gut with natural microorganisms.