Heal Leaky Gut in Five Steps

Problems in the gut can lead to problems all over the body

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Step 1: Remove

If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s tempting to start with drugs to quiet them. But many drugs, including NSAIDs like ibuprofen, make leaky gut worse. At best, they pave over symptoms without treating the root cause. Experts agree that the best place to start is doing an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is a temporary protocol that involves removing foods that irritate and inflame the gut lining and then reintroducing them one by one to track symptoms.

It can be valuable to work with a trusted healthcare practitioner when you do an elimination diet. Be sure to seek a practitioner’s help if you try the protocol on your own and don’t experience any symptom relief.

Step 2: Replace

Once you’ve removed foods that aggravate the gut, it’s important to incorporate ones that actively heal the gut lining. Specifically, experts recommend eating a wide cast of whole foods, including lots of phytonutrient-rich vegetables and  low-glycemic fruits.

Supplements can help speed the healing process, too. A high-quality digestive enzyme can help a beleaguered GI tract absorb the nutrients it needs to heal. Experts advise taking one for a couple of weeks or up to a month. L-glutamine is another powerful supplement for rebuilding the integrity of the gut lining and, like digestive enzymes, can be used during the active healing phase. Taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement can quiet inflammation and help fortify the gut lining.

Step 3: Reinoculate

The irritation and inflammation caused by leaky gut take a toll on the overall health of the GI tract. So, the next step, after working to heal the gut lining, is to help reinoculate the gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria. Experts recommend taking a high-quality probiotic and eating probiotic-rich fermented foods. You can find recommended doses for probiotics, as well as fermented-food.

Steps 4 and 5: Repair and Rebalance

Once you’ve moved through the first three steps, maintenance is key — and the best way to keep your gut in good working order is with lasting dietary changes. This involves key shifts in what you eat, how you eat, and when you eat. Broader lifestyle changes — such as prioritizing stress management, getting regular exercise, regulating your sleep–wake cycle— also play an important role.

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