How to Know When Your Gut is Repaired
November 21st, 2017
There is a good chance, if you are reading this, you have been following one of my programs because you have an autoimmune disease, thyroid condition, or other chronic illness. Whether it’s Hashimoto’s, Graves, lupus, crohns rheumatoid arthritis, or any other condition, restoring your gut health is always the first step to getting better, because as I always say, “the gut is the gateway to health!”
The road to repairing your gut can be bumpy, so knowing you’re making progress is sometimes the motivation you need to keep going. This is why one of the most common questions I am asked from people following my programs is, “How do I know when my gut is repaired?”
So in this article I’ll cover how your gut becomes leaky, how to repair it, and signs that your gut lining is repaired!
How Your Gut Becomes Leaky
Leaky gut happens when the tight junctions that hold your intestinal wall together become loose. You can think of your gut lining as a drawbridge. Teeny tiny boats (micronutrients in food) that are meant to get through go under the bridge without a problem. This is an important system that allows vital nutrients from the food you eat to be absorbed into your bloodstream.
Certain aspects of our modern life will cause that drawbridge to go up. This allows partially digested food, microbes, bacteria, viruses, and toxins make their way through, causing inflammation and host of symptoms. Over time, if leaky gut is not addressed, this can lead to autoimmunity.
There are many factors that can lead to leaky gut, and the biggest culprit is gluten. That’s because every time you eat gluten it triggers the production of zonulin, which causes the tight junctions in your gut to open up. Other common causes behind leaky gut are gut infections such as Candida, SIBO, and parasites, as well as exposure to toxins and stress.
There are many factors that can lead to leaky gut, and the biggest culprit is gluten. That’s because every time you eat gluten it triggers the production of zonulin, which causes the tight junctions in your gut to open up. Click To Tweet
How to Repair Your Gut
To restore the health of your intestinal wall, I recommend following functional medicine’s 4R Approach. I walk you through this entire approach in depth in my Guide to the Gut eCourse and provide a 30-day meal plan with recipes and shopping lists to make following it easy and stress free. Here are the basics of the 4R approach that I cover:
- Remove. Remove the bad, getting rid of factors that negatively affect the gut, including inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and sugar, infections from parasites, yeast, or bacteria, and irritants such as alcohol, caffeine, and drugs.
- Replace. Replace the good, adding back the digestive enzymes required for proper digestion.
- Reinoculate. Restore a healthy balance of good bacteria by reintroducing beneficial bacteria through a high-quality, multi-strain, high-potency probiotic supplement.
- Repair. Provide the nutrients necessary to help restore your gut lining. One of my favorite supplements is collagen which is rich in amino acids that quite literally, “seal the leaks” or perforations in your gut by repairing damaged cells and building new tissue. Another one of my favorites supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining.
You can find all four of the gut-repairing supplements listed above (with a 10% discount!) in my Leaky Gut Repair Kit.
5 Signs Your Gut Is Fully Repaired
Following this protocol does take commitment, so of course, you want to know if all your hard work is making a difference. While there are some lab tests available, I typically don’t use them to diagnose leaky gut because the vast majority of the patients that I see have autoimmunity, and we know from the work of Alessio Fasano that if you have an autoimmune condition, you have (or at least had) a leaky gut.
Once a patient has followed my protocol to repair their gut, I find that symptoms are the strongest indication of whether or not your gut has is healthy. Here are a few good indicators you are on the road to recovery.
The vast majority of the patients that I see have autoimmunity, and we know from the work of Alessio Fasano that if you have an autoimmune condition, you have (or at least had) a leaky gut! Click To Tweet
Digestive Issues Disappear
Having a leaky gut does not always mean you have digestive issues. However, for many people, gas, bloating, heartburn or acid reflux, and constipation are some of the first signs of leaky gut. This is especially true if a gut infection played a role in your leaky gut. When those symptoms start to dissipate and then go away completely, this is a good sign your hard work is producing results.
Food Sensitivities Go Away
If you have leaky gut, there is a good chance you also have multiple food sensitivities because partially digested food particles are escaping via your bloodstream and your immune system is attacking them.
Another sign your gut is repairing is that you’ll be able to eat foods that once caused digestive issues, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, mood issues and other symptoms. You will be able to reintroduce healthy foods and add more variety to your diet. Remember, the two biggest inflammatory foods (gluten and dairy) should never be reintroduced, even as your gut repairs itself. Afterall, once it’s repaired, the goal is to keep it that way!
Skin Issues Clear Up
Skin issues are another common symptom I see as a result of leaky gut. Whether it’s eczema, rosacea, dandruff, rashes, or even acne, most skin issues are an outward manifestation of an internal problem in the gut. That’s why, once your gut begins to repair, you will likely see your skin issues begin to subside as well.
Autoimmune Labs Improve
Because gut health plays such a critical role in your immune system, repairing your gut also often leads to improvement in your autoimmune lab markers. Many patients see their lab results improve, and some even see their antibodies go negative.
You Return to Your Optimal Self
If you are dealing with a leaky gut, you are very likely living with symptoms that affect the quality of your life in some way. Those symptoms are the best barometer for the health of your gut. A good indication that the gut repair program you are following is working is when your energy and vitality have returned, you’ve regained mental clarity, your mood has improved, you’ve returned to your ideal weight, and you feel like your best self.
It’s important to remember that, as with most health concerns, gut health is on a spectrum. On one end you have a completely healthy, balanced gut and are living symptom free. On the other you have a leaky gut, a myriad of symptoms, and potentially even an active chronic illness.
Repairing your gut will move you back down the spectrum and you’ll see improvements along the way. However, even once your gut is repaired you may have setbacks or incidents that move you back up the spectrum, at which point you’ll need to work your way back down again.
These setbacks might include an accidental gluten exposure, which you can help overcome using these 3 steps to recover after getting glutened. Or it could be a larger setback from needing to take antibiotics (wipes out your good bacteria), or even developing a gut infection while traveling, which may require a more in-depth treatment protocol.
It’s important to remember that your gut did not become leaky overnight. Chances are this is the result of years of exposure to inflammatory foods, toxins and other stressors. That’s why it’s important to be patient with yourself and stick to your gut-repairing protocol. This commitment to your health will be worth it as your health is restored and you are feeling like your best again (or even better!).