Leaky gut syndrome affects millions of people worldwide, and many don’t even know they have it. That’s because the causes of leaky gut syndrome are in places you might not expect, such as foods you believe to be healthy. 

The good news is that by making simple changes to your diet and using my No. 1 tool to maintain a healthy gut lining, you can prevent and reverse leaky gut syndrome and lower your risk of developing an autoimmune disease and other issues. 

I am about to tell you what steps to take to heal your gut and reveal two foods you may not think can cause leaky gut! 

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What is Leaky Gut?

Your gut is an incredible part of your body. It’s where 80% of your immune system lives. Your gut also provides a pathway for nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream and turn into energy. Your gut cell walls have tiny openings that allow these teeny tiny particles to pass through.

However, certain elements, such as some foods and toxins, can cause your drawbridge to go up, allowing much bigger boats that aren’t meant to get through to get into your bloodstream. This is known as a leaky gut. 

Once these foreign invaders pass through, it triggers your immune system to view them as pathogens and attacks them.

The problem is that these invaders can resemble your cells, and your immune system gets confused and attacks the healthy tissues in your body, causing inflammation and putting you at risk of developing an autoimmune disease. 

Once you have an autoimmune disease, leaving your leaky gut untreated can cause your condition to progress and move you further along the autoimmune spectrum

As I pointed out, your gut can become leaky due to many factors. However, two of the biggest culprits are found right on your plate. Let’s discuss these surprising causes of leaky gut. 

Two Surprising Causes of Leaky Gut

The high prevalence of leaky gut is a direct result of our modern lifestyles. While chronic stress, environmental toxins, and gut infections such as Candida overgrowth and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can damage your gut cell walls, the primary cause of leaky gut is what we eat, particularly inflammatory and toxic foods. Let’s take a closer look at these two surprising causes of leaky gut.

2 Surprising Causes of Leaky Gut – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®2 Surprising Causes of Leaky Gut - Infographic - Amy Myers MD® https://content.amymyersmd.com/article/foods-cause-leaky-gut/2 Surprising Causes of Leaky Gut – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®

Inflammatory Foods

There are plenty of foods that you might consider healthy, yet eating these foods might directly be causing your inflammation and even your leaky gut. I will discuss how you can discover what foods are causing your symptoms later.

So what am I talking about when I say “inflammatory foods?” Inflammatory foods cause inflammation and leaky gut and lead to autoimmune disease.1 These foods include refined sugars, grains, legumes (beans), nightshades, and more. 

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune or thyroid disease or believe you have a leaky gut, you should avoid these inflammatory foods:

  • Grains and pseudo-grains include wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, and more. 
  • Legumes such as lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, and soybeans. 
  • Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. 
  • Gluten
  • Dairy

The two inflammatory foods everyone should avoid entirely are gluten and dairy. When you eat gluten,2 it travels to your small intestine, where it triggers the release of zonulin, a chemical that signals the tight junctions of your intestinal walls to open up.3 When that happens, you have a leaky gut. Thanks to the groundbreaking research of Dr. Alessio Frasano, we know that Zonulin signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open up. When that happens, you have a leaky gut.

Dairy also causes inflammation in a large percentage of the population, resulting in digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms, including acne, and a more robust presentation of autistic behaviors. I believe dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods in our modern diet, second only to gluten.

Two components of dairy tend to cause inflammation: the sugar (lactose) and the proteins casein and whey.4 Casein is a protein with a very similar molecular structure to gluten, and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well.5  

Now, let’s look at toxic foods. 

Toxic Foods

The primary culprit of leaky gut syndrome is toxic foods. Toxic foods are unhealthy for all bodies and should permanently be removed from your diet or, at the very least, consumed as little as possible.Toxic foods include: 

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • GMOs
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Additives, preservatives, and dyes
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Trans or hydrogenated fats
  • All processed food, junk food, and fast foods 
  • Packaged gluten-free or dairy-free foods that may have added sugars

Steps to Heal Your Leaky Gut

As I discussed earlier, leaving your leaky gut untreated can lead to autoimmunity or put you further along the autoimmune spectrum. As a functional medicine physician, I use the 4R approach to heal your gut. I successfully used this approach with thousands of patients in my many years of practice.


Get rid of everything that impacts your gut’s microbiome— inflammatory foods (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs), toxic foods (sugar, caffeine, and alcohol), and gut infections (Candida overgrowthSIBO, or parasites). For maximum support, add Gut ImmunIG™ to bind to the antigens that lead to dysbiosis and promote healing of the gut lining. 


Restore the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that get depleted by a poor diet, medications (such as antacids and antibiotics), chronic illness, or aging. Add digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.


Reintroducing beneficial bacteria to establish a healthy balance of good bacteria is critical. This is accomplished by taking a high-quality probiotic that contains beneficial bacteria such as the bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. I recommend a daily probiotic with 30 billion units for daily maintenance or one with 100 billion to support maximum digestive health and immune function. I also recommend Prebiotic Fiber Complete™ to feed the healthy bacteria. If you have SIBO, I recommend taking a soil-based probiotic and avoiding added fiber. 


Providing the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself is essential. My most comprehensive weapon against leaky gut is Leaky Gut Revive®, which contains powerful gut-repairing ingredients l-glutamine, aloe, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, arabinogalactan, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. With these ingredients, Leaky Gut Revive® nourishes and soothes your gut cells, restores your gut’s natural mucosal lining, and maximizes gut-mending fatty acid production. It also comes in a delicious strawberry lemonade flavor.

How Leaky Gut Revive® Helps

Leaky Gut Revive® has always been my go-to tool for gut health and is packed with a high concentration of gut-repairing ingredients that nourish and soothe your gut cells. It also comes in a delicious strawberry lemonade flavor. I look forward to drinking a glass of it every morning, and my daughter, Elle, loves it! It’s so refreshing. Let’s look at the ingredients of Leaky Gut Revive® and their benefits:


L-Glutamine is one of the most essential nutrients to restore gut health because it supports cell regeneration. This amino acid helps to mend the broken junctions in your intestinal wall so they can function normally.67 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.8

Larch Arabinogalactan

Larch Arabinogalactan is a fiber found in many plants, most commonly in the wood from the larch tree. It is a complex carbohydrate that supports healthy immune system function and is a free radical fighter.9 It also promotes healthy gut microflora and promotes gut mending fatty acid production, which is essential in repairing your leaky gut. 

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root has a high mucilage content, which covers your digestive tract with a protective lining. It can support your gut’s reaction to inflammation, impacting ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation. Furthermore, marshmallow root can help restore the integrity of the tight junctions in your gut wall.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) helps your body repair your gut lining and repair your gut by replenishing the mucus that creates a healthy intestinal barrier. DGL is made by removing glycyrrhizin — which can raise blood pressure — from whole licorice while retaining its nutritional benefits. Since the glycyrrhizin has been removed from the licorice, Leaky Gut Revive® will not increase your blood pressure. 

Slippery Elm Bark

Slippery elm is another effective herb for gut repair that has been used for centuries in the United States. It works to your advantage in three ways. It increases the mucilage content in your digestive tract and stimulates nerve endings to boost mucus secretion, neutralizing excessive acidity in the gut.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is soothing and protects your body. It helps your body replace the lost mucus associated with gut damage and leaky gut. Aloe vera supports your immune system, improves water balance within your intestines, and aids in controlling Candida overgrowth.10

The Final Word on Causes of Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut Revive® is a great starting point for anyone who believes they have leaky gut syndrome or autoimmune disease. 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.

Providing your body with the nutrients it needs to heal your gut is essential on your path towards optimal health. If you want a delicious way to start your mornings, Strawberry Lemonade Leaky Gut Revive® is a must-have! Simply add a scoop to 8 ounces of water, stir, and enjoy!

FAQs About Leaky Gut


What are the main causes of leaky gut?

The high prevalence of leaky gut is a direct result of our modern lifestyle. The toxic and inflammatory foods we eat, medications, infections, chemicals, and chronic stress are all causes of leaky gut.


Which foods are causes of leaky gut?

Inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy are considered one of the leading causes of leaky gut. Toxic foods including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods can also cause leaky gut.


What is the best way to heal a leaky gut?

If you’re wondering how to heal leaky gut and prevent leaky gut symptoms, I suggest everyone begin by following the 4R approach: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair.

Article Sources

  1. 5 Foods That Can Cause Inflammation. Cleveland Clinic. 2020.
  2. Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review. Anna Haug, Arne T Høstmark, and Odd M Harstad. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2007.
  3. Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases. Alessio Fasano. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2013.
  4. Mucosal reactivity to cow's milk protein in coeliac disease. G Kristjánsson, P Venge, and R Hällgren. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2007.
  5. Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet. Kimberly Kushner, BHSc. Mindd Foundation. 2012.
  6. Wasting and intestinal barrier function in children taking alanyl-glutamine-supplemented enteral formula. Noélia L Lima, Alberto M Soares, Rosa M S Mota, Helena S A Monteiro, Richard L Guerrant, Aldo A M Lima. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2007.
  7. Glutamine and the regulation of intestinal permeability: from bench to bedside. Najate Achamrah, Pierre Déchelotte, and Moïse Coëffier. . 2017.
  8. Effect of glutamine on Th1 and Th2 cytokine responses of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. WK Chang, KD Yang, and MF Shaio. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 1999.
  9. Arabinogalactan The Immune And Gut Enhancer. Dr. Alex Jimenez. Functional Health & Wellness Clinic. 2020.
  10. Aloe vera: Potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities. Arshad H. Rahmani, Yousef H. Aldebasi, Sauda Srikar, Amjad A. Khan, and Salah M. Aly. . 2015.