Best leaky gut supplement
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where increased permeability of the gut barrier allows undigested proteins like gluten, toxins, and microbes into the bloodstream. When your immune system detects these foreign particles, the immune response will initiate systemic inflammation in your body.
Repairing a leaky gut is difficult and time-consuming. However, incorporating the right supplements along with dietary changes can significantly contribute to the mending of a leaky gut.
In this article, I’ll uncover the best leaky gut supplements that I have consistently prescribed to my patients throughout my years of practice.
What causes leaky gut syndrome?
The intestinal lining serves as a barrier to the diffusion of toxins, allergens, and pathogens from the gut into the circulation. Any factor that can cause barrier disruption can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
- Dysbiosis or imbalance between good and bad bacteria – A healthy balance of gut microbiota is crucial in supporting the intestinal barrier.
- Poor diet – including allergens and inflammatory foods, such as gluten, added sugar, genetically modified foods (GMO), dairy products, and alcohol.
- Chronic inflammation – This includes gut inflammation e.g. Inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, or systemic conditions like diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and aging.
- Toxin overload – medications like antibiotics, aspirin, NSAIDs, contaminated tap water, and pesticides are common offenders.
Symptoms of a leaky gut
- Frequent stomach upset including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, and altered bowel habits
- Chronic fatigue, loss of energy
- Headache, difficulty in concentrating
- Joint pain
- Food sensitivities
- Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema
Best supplements to help leaky gut syndrome
1️⃣ L- glutamine
When it comes to addressing leaky gut syndrome, L-glutamine is on top of the list because of its proven benefits. It serves as a vital fuel source for your intestinal cells and boasts anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are crucial for optimal mucosal barrier functionality. Moreover, it aids in preserving the integrity of tight junctions in the barrier, effectively thwarting the escape of bacteria and toxins.
A significant body of research has shown that glutamine holds great promise in protecting the gut from injury under various stress conditions and helps maintain the normal intestinal barrier function.
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome upholds a robust intestinal barrier. What makes probiotics remarkable is their ability to not only mend leaky gut but also address underlying issues like inflammation, dysbiosis, and bacterial overgrowth.
One study found that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species can decrease intestinal permeability. Probiotics enhance intestinal barrier function by promoting mucus production, antimicrobial peptide generation, and competitive resistance against pathogens.
For more info, you can check out my article: Best probiotics for leaky gut.
Collagen, a protein abundantly found in almost every tissue, acts as a glue that holds different parts of the body together including muscles, skin, blood vessels, and even the digestive system’s lining.
Its primary advantage for a leaky gut lies in its capacity to mend the fragile lining of the intestines.
A study confirmed that collagen peptides could ameliorate intestinal barrier dysfunction by preventing further breakdown of the tight junction proteins in the intestinal lining.
Zinc supplementation could be a highly inexpensive and safe strategy for treating leaky gut. In addition to being a well-known immune booster, zinc is a necessary element for many of your body’s processes.
According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, zinc supplementation has a protective effect on the intestinal epithelial barrier. Another study has also shown that zinc supplementation can tighten the “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease.
5️⃣ Fiber and butyrate
Incorporating more fiber into your diet is important when it comes to gut health. In addition to promoting healthy bowel movements, dietary fiber acts as a feast for probiotic bacteria and supports a healthy gut microbiome.
Moreover, when fiber is fermented by the gut flora, it creates a short-chain amino acid called butyrate which is a vital energy source for intestinal epithelial cells. By doing so, butyrate keeps your gut lining sturdier, preventing leaky gut from occurring.
6️⃣ Digestive enzymes
Your body naturally and constantly produces enzymes that break down the food you eat into smaller components. However, this natural enzyme production may decrease as a result of an unhealthy diet or conditions such as dysbiosis or infection, which are common causes of leaky gut.
By incorporating a digestive enzyme supplement into your routine, you can ensure that the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins present in your food are thoroughly broken down. This not only minimizes strain on your digestive system but also helps alleviate uncomfortable digestive symptoms associated with a leaky gut.
7️⃣ Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to build and maintain bones and keep your immune system working its best.
Recent studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation can also help strengthen the lining of your gut. Moreover, another study also found that higher intakes of vitamin D are associated with healthier gut microbiomes. All of these changes can help reduce inflammation and heal your leaky gut.
Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Fighting inflammation is key to healing a leaky gut.
Curcumin itself has low bioavailability (meaning that it’s poorly absorbed by the body), but when it is absorbed, it largely goes to the GI tract.
Several studies have also confirmed that curcumin could help to maintain the intestinal barrier integrity by effectively reducing inflammation.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, also known as DGL Licorice Root, has an anti-inflammatory effect on your intestines. It also increases the secretion of mucin which coats the mucus membranes in your intestines. This mucosal coating further protects extra leakage from the inflamed epithelial lining.
Clinical research on this is limited, but the benefits of DGL have been proven in people with peptic ulcers and IBD.
Other treatment options for leaky gut syndrome
You can make simple lifestyle changes to facilitate your gut healing.
- Stay away from inflammatory foods like processed foods, high sugars, fried foods, and saturated fats
- Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, fibers, nuts, seeds, lean meat and healthy fats (like avocado, salmon, oily fish)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your stress levels
Are leaky gut supplements safe?
For the general population,
As long as your leaky gut supplements are the ones that are well-researched and purchased from a reputable source, they can be considered generally safe.
For specific groups,
- People with liver disease and mental health issues should not take L-glutamine. There is also some concern that glutamine might increase the likelihood of seizures as it can interfere with the action of antiepileptic medications.
- Probiotics are generally safe for most people to take. However, if you have a compromised immune system (such as those on immunosuppressive or chemotherapy), probiotics are not for you.
- People who are on blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, are typically advised against taking curcumin because it can enhance the drugs’ blood-thinning effects, to dangerous levels.
If you have a leaky gut syndrome, the aforementioned supplements could be advantageous in reestablishing the proper functionality of the intestinal barrier. Moreover, it is crucial to acknowledge and implement necessary dietary modifications. It is strongly recommended to consult with a medical professional prior to incorporating any supplements into your treatment regimen in order to ensure optimal results.