According to Dr. Andrew Weil M.D., “Leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, but evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines.” Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that we, as functional medicine practitioners, take very seriously, and strive to help combat with various remedies such as acupuncture and other Chinese herbs and medicines.
Leaky gut syndrome is also known as increased intestinal permeability. Still not totally convinced you understand what it is? Basically, it’s what happens when the intestinal lining has been damaged and is no longer able to protect your insides or filter the nutrients or other biological substances your body needs. As a result of this damage, things like bacteria and toxins, proteins and fats that have not been completely digested, and other waste may leak out of the intestines and make their way into the bloodstream. All of this leads to gastrointestinal issues like bloating, cramping, gassiness, fatigue, joint pain, skin conditions, and food sensitivities. Food sensitivities could actually even be a cause of the syndrome in the first place, as can chronic inflammation or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, excessive alcohol consumption or a weak immune system. Dr. Weil recommends treating leaky gut syndrome by a avoiding alcohol, NSAIDS, and the foods you are allergic to. He suggests eating lots of fiber and taking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus GG, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet which includes essential fatty acids like fish oil and GLA.
What you put in your body has a huge effect on whether or not you experience leaky gut syndrome. There are many foods that can help to improve your digestive health, including fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso), gluten-free grains (buckwheat, amaranth, brown and white rice, sorghum, teff, gluten-free oats), sprouted seeds (chia, flax), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil) and certain beverages (kombucha, bone broth, tea, nut milk). Avoid things like wheat-based products or anything containing gluten, processed meat, dairy, refined oils, artificial sweeteners, and junk food.
These are in line with our recommendations at Integrative Acupuncture as well, along with steady acupuncture treatments which can not only help treat leaky gut syndrome itself, but also relieve some of its symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea and food allergies.
If you feel like you may be suffering from leaky gut syndrome, our board-certified holistic nutritionist Georgette Schwartz is here to help you get better, and stay better. With Georgette’s help, you will know what foods to avoid, and what you can still enjoy, while working to get your gut health back in shape. Call us today at 561-819-0530 to schedule your first appointment.