The 2 Surprising Foods That Cause Leaky Gut
September 6th, 2019
You might be wondering, “Can the food I eat really cause leaky gut?” In fact, leaky gut syndrome affects millions of people around the world, and many don’t even know they have it. That’s because the culprits behind the condition, inflammatory and toxic foods, make their way into diets — even healthy ones! — everywhere. Luckily, a few simple dietary adjustments and supplements such as Leaky Gut Revive® can help with leaky gut repair and put you on the path to optimal wellness. Let’s get the facts straight so you can see where food choices can go wrong and the steps you can take to support your health.
What is Leaky Gut?
Your gut is an incredible part of your body. It allows nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream, which provides energy to power all your body’s functions. To allow these nutrients into your bloodstream, your gut cells walls have tiny openings that allow them to pass through.
When your gut is leaky, invaders including toxins and undigested food particles that were never meant to pass through your intestinal wall get into your bloodstream. Your immune system then responds by going into overdrive to fend off these invaders. Because the invaders may resemble your own cells, your immune system can become confused and, in a case of mistaken identity, attack even the healthy tissues in your body. This is called molecular mimicry.
This molecular mimicry is thought to be one of the main causes of autoimmunity and other serious health issues. Leaky gut symptoms include digestive issues, brain fog, skin issues, and seasonal allergies, among others.
The Two Foods That Cause Leaky Gut?
There are four main culprits that can lead to leaky gut. Infections, such as SIBO and Candida overgrowth, can cause damage to your gut cell walls. Chronic stress and environmental toxins can also play a role. However, the biggest culprit in leaky gut is what we eat, particularly what I call the inflammatory and toxic foods
1. Inflammatory Foods
Some people may consider at least some of these foods healthy. However, grains, pseudograins, and nightshades, as well as a few other foods can be problematic and should be avoided or minimized, depending on how you tolerate them. The two inflammatory foods absolutely everyone should avoid completely are gluten and dairy. Let’s take a look at each one.
Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in certain grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. When you eat gluten, it travels to your small intestine where it triggers the release of zonulin. Zonulin is a chemical that signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open up, causing leaky gut.
Dairy causes inflammation in a huge percentage of the population, either due to lactose intolerance or casein and whey sensitivities. Not to mention, due to modern farming practices, dairy products are typically full of hormones and antibiotics. You can learn more about avoiding dairy here.
- Grains, Pseudograins, and Legumes
The grains that we eat are the seeds of the Poaceae family of grasses, commonly called cereal grains or cereal grasses. This family includes, among others, wheat, barley, and rye. Pseudograins include quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, chia seeds, and more. Legumes are plants in the Fabaceae or pea family and include lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, soybeans, and others.These foods are not completely digested in your gut because of the chemicals within them called lectins. Two of these lectins are agglutinins, natural insecticides, and prolamins, proteins necessary for growth. Our digestive system cannot break down these down. Your body works harder to produce more enzymes in an attempt to digest them, which wears down the gut lining and contributes to leaky gut. The undigested particles are also able to pass through the weakened gut barrier, provoking an inflammatory response in your body.
Those with autoimmune diseases should also avoid vegetables in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. These plants are very high in lectins that damage the gut lining, easily enter the bloodstream, and do not break down in cooking.
- Food Sensitivities
If you’re still experiencing problems after dropping the foods above from your diet, you may be experiencing a food sensitivity, or IgG reaction. This is very different than an allergy, which causes an IgE reaction in your body, a much more severe response. Your medical professional can diagnose an allergy (although you likely already know about it!) The best way to discover your personal food sensitivities, which may include eggs and citrus, is to complete an elimination diet. This means you take out suspect foods from your diet and then add them back in one at a time to see if you have a reaction. You can discover more about food sensitivities and elimination diets here.
2. Toxic Foods
Toxic foods are unhealthy for all bodies. They lead to aches and pains, inflammation, and leaky gut, among other issues. Remove them from your diet permanently if you can or at the very least, minimize their consumption as much as possible. I recommend removing toxic foods for 30 to 60 days. But don’t worry! Afterwards, you’ll likely be able to enjoy sugar, alcohol, and caffeine in moderation.
- Alcohol, essentially liquid sugar with the added whammy of impacting your judgement
- Artificial sweeteners
- Additives, preservatives, and dyes
- High fructose corn syrup
- Trans or hydrogenated fats
- All processed food, junk food, and fast foods packed with chemicals
- Packaged gluten-free or dairy-free foods that may have added sugars
4 Steps to Repair Your Leaky Gut
Your best action is to follow the 4R approach that I used successfully with thousands of patients in my clinic.
1. Remove. Remove all inflammatory and toxic foods, including sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. (You don’t have to give them up entirely forever!) You’ll also want to eliminate any gut infections you have, whether caused by Candida overgrowth, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), or parasites.
2. Replace. Replace what’s missing. Adding digestive enzymes to your regimen will help support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses. Low stomach acid leads to a whole host of digestive issues that cause inflammation, swelling, and fluid retention in the stomach and digestive tract, so I recommend supplementing with HCL, which can help support a balanced pH in your gut.
3. Reinoculate. Restore the beneficial bacteria in your gut with high-quality, high-potency probiotics to reestablish a healthy microbiome. I recommend 100 billion CFUs (colony forming units) while dealing with a leaky gut, and 30 billion CFUs as a maintenance dose.
4. Repair. Provide your gut with the essential nutrients it needs to repair itself. My most comprehensive weapon against leaky gut is Leaky Gut Revive® powder, which contains powerful gut-repairing ingredients l-glutamine, larch arabinogalactan, aloe, licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow root.
I’ve found that L-glutamine especially is so important! It’s the most abundant amino acid in your body and a critical building block used to produce proteins. This helps your gut cells turn over faster to fully repair the tight junctions of your gut lining. When L-glutamine works together with the other ingredients in my special formula, your body receives gut-repairing nutrients that will help protect your mucous membranes and intestinal health.
Larch arabinogalactan supports healthy immune function in numerous ways. It also acts as a prebiotic for beneficial bacteria in your gut. Probiotic bacteria ferment the arabinogalactan and produce fatty acids, such as butyrate, in the process. These fatty acids are incredibly beneficial to your gut and intestinal barrier.
The aloe extract I included in Leaky Gut Revive® 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 and bad bacteria.
I made sure to draw on other ancient remedies as well. Licorice has been used for more than 3,000 years as a treatment for digestive issues. The extract I included is a deglycyrrhizinated version which removes glycyrrhizin, a substance which can raise blood pressure, from whole licorice. This allows the extract to retain all its benefits without impacting blood pressure.
Slippery elm is another wonderful herb for gut repair that has been used for centuries in the United States. It works by supporting mucus secretion in your digestive tract.
The final ingredient, marshmallow root, optimizes gut and mucous membrane health. This multipurpose herb has a high mucilage content, the substance that can cover your digestive tract with a protective lining and that supports your gut’s inflammatory response.
Leaky Gut Revive® is literally my favorite supplement and I use it every day. With 3000 mg of L-glutamine, 2000 mg of arabinogalactan, marshmallow root, licorice root, slippery elm, and aloe vera, Leaky Gut Revive® is the absolute best supplement for anyone concerned about their gut health. All it takes is one glass of water mixed with one scoop of Leaky Gut Revive®, and you’ll be on your way to reversing leaky gut.