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tips for healing leaky gutOnce we improve our nutritional status, take foods out of our diet that may be creating inflammation, and eradicate any intestinal infections such as parasites, there are specific things that can assist in the healing of the gut lining. Once the gut is better healed, less immune activation will occur and the intestinal mucosal barrier will be able to provide a more complete divider between the gut, which effectively is the access point for the “outside world”, and the blood stream, which is the “inner sanctum”.  Here are some tips for healing leaky gut:-

Foods

  • Aloe vera juice – one of the most soothing and healing substances for the gut. It can be drunk in a little water, or added to a smoothie. Up to ¼ cup twice daily.
  • Slippery elm – if you can find the powder, mix it with some water into a gruel-like consistency, and consume within a few minutes. The paste will coat the wall of the digestive tract and is very healing. Can also be bought in capsule form if the powder is not available. 1 tablespoon mixed with water taken twice daily between meals.
  • Kefir – being full of healthy bacteria, kefir can be used for gut healing through its role in recolonization. ½ – 1 cup daily.

Nutrients

While I am predominantly focusing on how foods can be used to support digestive function, there are several supplements that warrant a mention in the area of gut healing. These include –

  • Marshmallow root – known as a demulcent herb, marshmallow lines in the intestinal wall and provides relief from irritation.
  • Licorice root – the deglycerrhizinated form will not increase blood pressure, but will coat and heal the mucous membranes. It is particularly good for esophageal irritation and reflux (in chewable form).
  • Zinc – a mineral that is essential for healing as well as boosting immunity. Zinc carnosine is the best form for healing the gut and also has H. pylori-fighting properties.
  • Glutamine – anti-inflammatory amino acid that is essential for the growth of the cells lining the intestines and gut healing.  Quite large doses need to be consumed – 3-4 grams daily.
  • Vitamin A – heals mucosa of the gut by increasing secretory IgA (the more prevalent immune cell in the gut); 20,000 IU as beta-carotene daily.
  • Digestive enzymes – helps break down food into smaller molecules so as to avoid the immune activation while leaky gut is being repaired

My Favorite Combination Products

GI-Revive – this is a blend of glutamine, citrus pectin, DGL, aloe vera, slippery elm and marshmallow – so it contains all the indicated nutrients for gut repair.  It comes as a powder or in capsules.

Glutamine Forte – for those have intolerances to anything in the GI-Revive, Glutamine Forte keeps it simple with glutamine and curcumin only (the curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory).

Gastrazyme – this blend contains vitamin U, chlorophyllins and vitamin A, so it’s a slightly different approach to the blends listed above, but I have seen it work really well.  It can be taken with either of the above for an extra comprehensive approach.

These healing foods and remedies are also good to use for a GI tract that has been inflamed and irritated by the harsh effects of antibiotics, gut infections and/ or irritant foods.  Care must be taken to avoid onward exposure to such irritants, as it is hard to heal a gut lining that is constantly being provoked.  Stools tests and food sensitivity tests might be helpful to check for ongoing stressors to the gut.  Gut healing is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.  I have read that when one removes gluten from one’s diet, it can take upwards of a year for healing to take place.  I would consider doing a regimen like the one above for a period of 3-6 months for mild to moderate cases and 12 months for severe cases.