6 Herbs and Nutrients to Repair Your Gut
October 22nd, 2018
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as seasonal allergies, brain fog, skin issues or hormonal imbalances, the root cause could be hiding in your digestive system. Every day, millions of people are struggling with leaky gut and other GI issues without even realizing it!
Your gut is the gateway to health, as nearly 80% of your immune system lives within it. This means that repairing your gut can considerably improve every area of your health, particularly digestive issues and autoimmunity.
One of the most effective ways I have found to do this is by adding specific herbs and nutrients that have powerful gut-repairing properties to your regime.
The Leaky Gut Epidemic
Leaky gut is one of the most common gut problems I’ve seen in my practice and it is directly related to conditions on the autoimmune spectrum. Here’s why: your gut is a like a drawbridge. When functioning normally, your gut is semi-permeable to let teeny-tiny boats (micronutrients) pass from your intestinal tract into your bloodstream so they can nourish your body.
However, certain foods such as gluten, as well as toxins, infections, and stress can cause the tight junctions to break apart and let much larger boats, including toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles into your bloodstream. Your immune system immediately recognizes that these substances shouldn’t be there, and it attacks them. If leaky gut isn’t addressed, it can cause chronic inflammation and a host of symptoms in the short term, and the potential for autoimmune conditions to develop in the long-term. In fact, I believe leaky gut is one of the major contributing factors to the widespread disease epidemic we are seeing today.
Symptoms of leaky gut:
- Gas, bloating, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Food sensitivities or allergies
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, ADD or ADHD
- Depression and anxiety
- Acne, rosacea, or eczema
- Seasonal allergies
- Irregular periods, PMS, or PCOS
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, lupus, psoriasis, celiac disease or any other autoimmune condition1
How to Use Herbs and Nutrients to Repair Your Gut Naturally
In functional medicine, we use a special approach to overcome leaky gut naturally called the 4R program. Repairing your gut is the final step of this program, during which you seal the leaks in your gut lining, repair damaged cells, and build new tissue. You can do this by incorporating powerful herbs and nutrients that nourish and soothe your gut cells, restore your gut’s natural protective mucosal lining, and maximize the production of gut-mending fatty acids.
The great news is that your gut can be repaired very quickly. Every gut cell in your digestive system can turn over In just 48 to 72 hours. Supporting your gut with specific supplements can help speed this process up even further. Here are some of my favorite herbs and nutrients for repairing a leaky gut, and the ones I use every day to help keep my gut as healthy as it can be.
L-Glutamine is one of the absolute most important nutrients for gut repair because of the way it speeds up gut cell regeneration so profoundly. This amino acid helps to mend the broken junctions in your intestinal wall so they can function normally.2,3 L-Glutamine can also be used as a preventative nutrient, minimizing the damage caused by the food, toxins, infections, and stress that can lead to leaky gut in the first place.4,5
Arabinogalactan is a type of prebiotic fiber found in abundance in larch trees. Research suggests that arabinogalactan promotes a balanced microbiome, which is key for maintaining a healthy gut and keeping viruses, candida and bad bacteria in check.6,7
Early Native Americans chewed the bark of the larch tree and used its resin, believing it enhanced immune function. Today we know that this is indeed true, although it is still unclear whether arabinogalactan supports the immune system solely through the effect it has on the gut or if a combination of factors is at play.8 What we certainly do know is that probiotic bacteria in your digestive system can ferment the arabinogalactan and produce fatty acids in the process that help repair your gut lining.
This multipurpose herb has a high mucilage content, which covers your digestive tract with a protective lining and eases inflammation in your gut, helping to soothe ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation, as well as restoring the integrity of the small junctions found in your digestive system.
This is one of the reasons why marshmallow root has been found to be so beneficial for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.9
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) helps your body repair your gut lining by replenishing the mucus that creates a healthy intestinal barrier. DGL is made using a process that extracts the glycyrrhizin–which can raise blood pressure–from whole licorice, while retaining its nutritional benefits.
DGL has been used for more than 3,000 years as a treatment for digestive issues such as ulcers and indigestion, and this ancient wisdom is now backed up by science.
A study comparing DGL with an over-the-counter medication for peptic ulcer disease found the licorice to have the same powerful protective action against the recurrence of an ulcer as the medication.10 It is thought that this effect is due to DGL’s ability to protect your body by promoting a healthy mucosal lining.11
Slippery elm is another wonderful herb for gut repair that has been used for centuries in the United States. It works to your advantage in three ways. Slippery elm:
- Increases the mucilage content in your digestive tract
- Stimulates nerve endings to boost mucus secretion, which neutralizes excessive acidity in the gut and soothes ulcers
- Provides antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel symptoms.
These properties make it a great addition to any IBS protocol as normalizing bloating, abdominal pain, and stool frequency and consistency can provide much-needed relief.
Slippery elm may also be a great ally if you’re looking to lose weight. A study that tracked a group of 49 individuals who included slippery elm in their weight-loss regime showed that this herb helped produce significant weight loss results and lower LDL cholesterol.12
Aloe vera is soothing and protecting, and helps your body replace the lost mucus associated with gut damage and leaky gut. Aloe vera supports your immune system, increases the water content within your intestines, and aids in the control of candida overgrowth, bad bacteria, and inflammation.13 It also provides a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E.
A Comprehensive Formula for Gut Repair
Because leaky gut plays such a key role in autoimmunity and other chronic illnesses, I developed a comprehensive weapon for overcoming leaky gut that combines all of these nutrients and herbs: Leaky Gut Revive™. This powerful supplement reestablishes a healthy mucosal lining and enhances gut barrier function. I take at least two servings per day to keep my digestion in the best shape possible.
I recommend Leaky Gut Revive™ to anyone who is experiencing digestive issues such as leaky gut, food allergies or intolerances; seasonal allergies; chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or autoimmunity; and hormonal or mood imbalances.
It helps with gastrointestinal symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, reflux, ulcers, constipation, and diarrhea, while providing truly effective gut repairing properties and guarding against sugar cravings.
Leaky Gut Revive™ tastes great and contains no fillers or ingredients that don’t directly help repair your gut.
Per one-scoop serving, Leaky Gut Revive contains:
- 3 grams of L-Glutamine
- 2 grams of arabinogalactan
- 300mg of soothing marshmallow root
- 300mg of DGL
- 100mg of slippery elm
- 50mg of aloe vera
To take it, simply add a scoop to 8 oz of water, stir and enjoy. I drink a glass of Leaky Gut Revive™ every morning, mixed with a scoop of Organic Greens Superfood Juice Powder and ice–it is so delicious, even Elle loves it! You can also throw in a scoop of collagen, which further helps to seal the leaks in your gut by repairing damaged cells in the lining of your digestive tract and building new tissue.
Providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair your gut is essential for optimal health. So if you’re dealing with leaky gut and you want to get on the path to lifelong wellness, Leaky Gut Revive™ is a must-have!