By Millennia Ruth Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS
Dr. Millie Lytle will be teaching an 8-week series entitled Eat for Meaning Now: Lose Weight & Change Your Body in 8 Weeks (Thursdays, June 4-July 23).
Leaky gut syndrome is not a disease, it’s a functional and structural disorder that requires nutritional repair, not “treatment”. It’s a stage in the manifestation or development of other diseases, gastrointestinal and otherwise. If the gut is not repaired, systemic disease like autoimmune conditions, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, migraine headaches, depression and asthma can ensue. Each of these disorders requires gut maintenance, and most patients I see with these conditions has preceding digestive issues that were mistreated or ignored. The body repairs itself every day but if there are more agents damaging the cells than means to repair them then this healing deficit will cause leaky gut.
What agents damage the gut? Certain medications like NSAIDs, Aleve, Ibuprofen; Proton Pump Inhibiting acid blockers like Ranitidine, Prilosec, Nexium and Gluten, Antibiotics, pesticides/glyphosates/Roundup, food sensitivities and frequent histamine reactions, to name only a few.
Symptoms are current or a history of heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or IBS. Sufferers may also experience headaches not related to another known cause, fatigue, a growing number of food allergies or sensitivities and the inability to tolerate chemical smells, cigarette smoke and stimulants. A history of antacid, antibiotic and Ibuprofen use is also associated with a leaky gut. Patients sometimes express to me that their health is worsening and their sensitivities are getting out of hand.
What is leaky gut? It’s intestinal permeability. It may be caused by damaged to intestinal cells from eating the wrong foods, constipation and diarrhea, allergies,. It means that the gap junctions between the intestinal cells are not glued shut, they are torn open by a protein called zonulin, allowing proteins, drug and food metabolites, pesticide residues, hormones and other toxins to enter the blood stream. Whereas, epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a protein that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. Though it is widely distributed in the body, high concentrations are detectable in saliva. In order to increase salivary EGF, sit down for 20 minutes while you eat and chew your food thoroughly. EGF has also been shown to heal ulcers of the small intestine.
Nutrients for healing a leaky gut:
•Saccharomyces boulardii is a “yeast against yeast”, meaning it’s safe for candida and SIBO. It’s a non-harmful yeast, originally isolated from the surface of lichee nuts. It has been widely used in Europe to treat diarrhea. Clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of Saccharomyces boulardii in the treatment or prevention of diarrhea3,4. Usually it is not found in most probiotic supplements and never in yogurt.
•Probiotics such as Lactobacillus caseii var GG, or Culturelle, isolated and purified in Finland, has been shown effective in the prevention of diarrhea and in the treatment of colitis (inflammation of the colon). This strain also reduces the gut permeability (leaky gut) associated with infections. Live cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus significantly reduced diarrhea when given to patients during radiation to the pelvis. Another strain of Lactobacillus, given two weeks after radiation therapy, known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus reduced the need for diarrhea medication and the number of daily bowel movements among patients who had been experiencing diarrhea for more than two weeks. Radiation, whether therapeutic, accidental or diagnostic, induces diarrhea, which directly produces the loss of mucosal integrity.
•Glutamine is the most widely available free amino acid needed for the repair of enterocytes (intestinal cells), maintenance of intestinal metabolism, structure and function, has been shown to reverse all the gut abnormalities in patients when given intravenously. Oral L-Glutamine also repairs gut lining damage caused by chemotherapy or radiation. While cabbage and potato juice contain quite a bit of L-Glutamine that can heal the gut, it’s also available in supplement form.
•Glutathione (GSH) is the Mother of all antioxidants and responsible for repairing liver cells. A low level of liver glutathione is a common occurrence in leaky gut syndrome, contributing to liver dysfunction and liver cirrhosis and necrosis among alcoholics and immune impairment in patients with HIV/AIDS. The most effective way to raise liver glutathione is to take its dietary precursors such as NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine), ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) and MSM or (methionine); the best supplements for leaky gut are GSH and N-acetyl cysteine.
•Because leaky gut can be caused by too much histamine build-up that damages enterocytes, taking natural anti-histamines such as Vitamin C and Bio-flavonoids (Quercetin) before eating can reduce immediate inflammation. They may block allergic reactions which increase permeability. The flavonoids in milk thistle (silymarin) and in dandelion root (taraxacum) protect the liver as well by reducing inflammation and repairing damaged cells. Catechins, such as EGCG from Green Tea have been used in Europe to treat gastric ulcerations.
•If you are supplementing with dietary fiber, make sure you are taking hypoallergenic insoluble fiber and watch the amount. Too much insoluble fiber from psyllium, whole wheat or flax seeds may increase gut permeability when taken during a flare up. Choose cooked foods over raw, as well as soluble fibers from stewed blueberries, apples and cooked greens and squashes. Apple pectin, arabinogalactan from latch and FOS help ease bowel movements, heal the intestine and feed good bacteria. But be careful because quality and type matters, especially in those with food sensitivities, SIBO and Candida.
I hope you learned some good stuff about the gut. Just because your body repairs itself under normal circumstances, doesn’t mean YOUR body is repairing itself fast enough. While I always say to heal the body first with food is priority but depending on the stage of leaky gut, other health conditions and your ability to include the right foods and remove the wrong ones, supplements are usually required for a certain period of time. Healing any area of the body is a process. It takes time. While heartburn can be relieve naturally within a couple of week, I counsel my clients on the process taking 6 months to two years to resolve.
xox Dr. Millie
Millennia Ruth Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS
Original article with references found here: http://milliesays.com/?p=1911
Dr. Millie is in private practice at Mountain in Brooklyn or Tournesol Wellness in Midtown East. You can contact her at her website www.milliesays.com
Dr. Millie Lytle will be teaching an 8-week series entitled Eat for Meaning Now: Lose Weight & Change Your Body in 8 Weeks (Thursdays, June 4-July 23)