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The intestinal lining determines what substances can enter the bloodstream from the digestive tract. In a healthy gut, the intestines are resistant to harmful substances.
In someone with increased intestinal permeability, those harmful substances may begin to leak through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. This increased intestinal permeability is known as leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with several chronic conditions, including:
- food sensitivities
- skin conditions
- autoimmune conditions
- mental health conditions
If you have leaky gut syndrome, there are many supplements as well as other options that may help you feel better.
The supplements below have all shown promising research in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome.
Glutamine is an important amino acid. In the digestive tract, it’s best known for helping to repair the intestinal lining.
In a small
Collagen is an important protein that can be found in almost every tissue of the body. It may also play a beneficial role in gut health.
Collagen peptides are a more easily digestible and bioavailable form of collagen. A
Probiotics are well-known for their therapeutic use in the management and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. These live microorganisms help to improve the microbiome of the gut, which can have positive system-wide effects.
In a 14-week trial from 2012, researchers investigated the usefulness of a multi-strain probiotic supplement after intense exercise. They found that zonulin, a marker of gut leakage, was significantly lower in the probiotic supplementation group.
Fiber and butyrate
Dietary fiber is an important component of a healthy diet. Fiber works in a similar way as probiotics to improve the microbiome.
When fiber is fermented by the gut flora, it creates a short-chain amino acid called butyrate.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)
Licorice root contains almost
Curcumin is the plant-based compound that gives many familiar spices their bright yellow color — turmeric included. Many of the health benefits of turmeric are due to the presence of its active component: curcumin.
Curcumin itself has poor bioavailability, meaning that it’s poorly absorbed by the body. However,
Berberine is another bioactive plant-based compound that may be beneficial as a leaky gut supplement. This alkaloid has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Historically, berberine has been used in the
There are a few dietary changes that can be made to help in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome.
- Increase fiber intake. Naturally increasing fiber is one of the best ways to improve the important gut microbiome. Some ways to increase fiber include eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Decrease sugar intake.
Recent researchin mice suggests that a diet high in sugar may cause epithelial barrier dysfunction. Try to keep your sugar intake below 37.5 grams and 25 grams per day for men and women, respectively.
- Decrease inflammatory foods intake. Inflammation and intestinal permeability may be
linked. It’s best to stay away from too many inflammatory foods, like red meat, dairy, and other fried and processed foods.
Everyone experiences stomach upset from time to time. However, frequent and painful stomach upset may be something more. Other frequent symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include the following:
symptoms of leaky gut syndrome
- abdominal pain
- digestive issues
- frequent food sensitivities
Many other conditions can cause these symptoms. Speak to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, as your doctor may want to perform further tests.
Whether leaky gut syndrome is real or not is still a hot topic in the medical world.
Three of the tests that your doctor may use to diagnose leaky gut syndrome are:
- intestinal permeability (lactulose mannitol) assessment
- IgG food antibodies (food sensitivities) test
- zonulin test
The intestinal permeability assessment measures the levels of lactulose and mannitol, two undigestible sugars, in your urine. The presence of these sugars may indicate a breakdown of the intestinal barrier.
The IgG food antibodies test can measure both food allergies (IgE antibodies) and food sensitivities (IgG antibodies) in up to 87 different foods. Multiple food allergies may indicate a leaky gut.
The zonulin test measures the level of the zonulin family protein (ZFP) antigen. ZFP has been associated with the breakdown of the tight junctions in the intestinal tract.
If you’ve been diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome, supplements may help restore intestinal barrier function.
Some supplements and treatments that may be beneficial in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome may include:
- collagen peptides
Dietary changes for leaky gut syndrome also include increasing fiber intake and decreasing intake of sugar and other inflammatory foods.
As always, reach out to your healthcare professional for more information on adding dietary supplements to your treatment plan for leaky gut syndrome.