Leaky Gut Part 2 – Testing & Solutions
In my last blog, I explained all about leaky gut. This very strangely named condition is a fairly common gut irregularity that can lead to a variety of gut and systemic (across the body) ill health and imbalances.
In today’s blog, I’ll explain how you can test for leaky gut and nutritional and supplemental approaches that are helpful solutions.
If you would prefer to watch my LIVE video on Leaky Gut – Testing & Solutions simply click play! (Podcast version will be available next week on my podcast page).
Let’s take a look at the testing available for Leaky Gut.
If you’ve read Leaky Gut Part 1 you’ll know that I explained how Leaky Gut occurs.
The cells lining the gut should be bound together with tight junction proteins but these can become damaged, creating larger gaps between the cells.
This allows toxins, viruses and other pathogens to cross into the bloodstream. It also allows partially broken down food to pass through, triggering an immune response. A strong gut lining would only allow fully digested food to pass through.
The protein responsible for the tight junctions is known as zonulin. It is possible to test for higher levels of zonulin in stool samples but not all tests include this marker so check carefully beforehand.
Another test commonly used is the mannitol and lactulose urine test. Since lactulose is a large sugar molecule it shouldn’t readily pass through the gut into the bloodstream (and from there eventually via the kidneys into urine), but mannitol should pass through. So high levels of lactulose alongside mannitol can indicate a positive leaky gut marker.
Some companies may suggest that food intolerance testing is a reliable indicator of leaky gut but there can be other reasons; such as poor digestive capability, that can give rise to raised food intolerance results.
My Personal Choice
Stool testing using Invivo GI EcologiX test is my test of choice.
Why? Because leaky gut in itself is not that helpful unless you can address underlying reasons for it to occur. There may also be inflammation to address, raised levels of toxic bacteria or parasites, raised levels of bacteria that like to feed off the mucosal gut lining (and therefore damage it) or depleted levels of commensal beneficial bacteria.
It’s so important to look at the bigger picture rather than just one aspect of gut health in isolation.
Stress is so damaging to the health of the gut and we know of the gut-brain axis and its two-way communication. Psychosocial stress activates this gut-brain axis and can lead to damage of the gut mucosal barrier.
Any activity that can help you to relax and create calmness is an essential aspect of the healing process. Whenever you feel stress levels start to rise, this is a time for deep breathing exercises, qi-gong, tai chi, yoga, a simple walk or sitting in fresh air.
Also consider meditation, positive visualisation, crystals, essential oils, singing, reading, calming music, Bach flower remedies. Anything that helps you to relax.
The more options you have at your disposal the better. That’s why I love to recommend deep abdominal breathing as it can be done anywhere and anytime of day. The more you can learn to recognise your body’s signals of rising stress, the greater are your chances of doing something about it, to bring you back into the parasympathetic state of calmness.
There is usually an element of inflammation alongside leaky gut.
Aim to remove inflammatory foods such as sugars, excess grains, all refined grains, vegetable oils and processed foods. Gluten is a potential trigger, so remove gluten foods (wheat, spelt, barley, rye, couscous).
Increase anti-inflammatory compounds like turmeric (cook with olive or coconut oil to increase the absorption of the active compound curcumin). Golden Milk tea is a soothing drink made with turmeric, ginger, coconut oil and nut milk as an alternative to coffee.
The essential fats EPA and DHA found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) are anti-inflammatory and really important, not only to help calm inflammation but to help generate new epithelial cells.
Also, plant compounds rich in polyphenols and bioflavonoids like green tea and apples (eat daily as a sugar free puree) or all dark coloured berries and pomegranate.
Gut Healing Nutrients
One of the most well known nutrients for the health of the gut barrier is L-glutamine. It’s an important fuel for the epithelial cells and there is plenty of research to back this up.
Zinc (found in shellfish, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds) has been shown to strengthen the gut barrier.
A good quality multi-vitamin and mineral should be included for its all-round nutritional support as other nutrients like Vitamins A, C, D and E and minerals like selenium and magnesium are also important.
Pre and Probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics are important with any potential gut disorders.
There are so many alternative supplements on the market it can be hard to know what to choose.
The strain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus has a wealth of research for a healthy gut. Other research suggests that a broad spectrum product is most beneficial.
I recommend supplementing 20 billion flora daily, whichever product you choose.
Unless you have the information to show whether your gut microbiome is really depleted and which strains are lacking then it is difficult to advise on the best course of action. But probiotics are important to longer term health and I would supplement for 3 months.
Prebiotics are increasingly used to support gut health as these provide the fuel to feed the gut bacteria. Prebiotic fibres are found in vegetables so as a minimum choose a wide and diverse range of plant based foods and ensure your vegetables are well cooked. This takes the strain off digestion and potentially harming an already damaged gut wall.
There are other soothing herbal supplements but it is best to work with a qualified professional to help advise you.
As with all gut disorders, there is no one approach that works the same for everyone. The approach needs to be tailored to meet your exact needs. And you need to be patient as it can take time to put right what may have taken months – even years – to be damaged.
If you think you may be suffering from Leaky Gut or a digestive issue please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can book a free 20/30-minute discovery call with me simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, call me direct on 07730 513303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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