Your intestinal walls are supposed to be bullet-proof, a wall between your body and the contents in your intestines. When this barrier is compromised, bacteria, toxins in the gut, as well as partially digested food penetrate the intestines and enter the blood, wreaking havoc in your body and brain. The food inside of your intestines is not actually inside your body, yet. As you digest your food, it slowly crosses the intestinal wall and enters into your bloodstream. One of its most important roles of your intestines is separating nutrition from waste. They are supposed to absorb the good stuff and keep out the bad stuff. Ideally, this means that waste is excreted instead of entering your bloodstream. But some individuals have a hole in their intestines - a leak.
Leaky Gut is a digestive disorder where holes in your intestines permit waste and unprocessed food particles through the barrier and into your bloodstream. Damage to the intestinal walls from food allergies, parasites, or inflammation are common causes of a holey gut. Fatigue, food allergies, a tendency toward melodrama, and/or skin problems are common side effects as your body strains to prevent these toxic materials from causing damage. Many seemingly unrelated symptoms can be traced back to the hole in your gut.
Effect on Liver & Kidney
The liver, kidneys, and immune system are responsible for cleaning up the rogue toxins that enter the bloodstream. The liver breaks up toxins, but detoxification takes a lot of energy. In leaky gut, your liver can be irritated by the sheer amount of toxins that flood your liver. This leads to liver fatigue, and ultimately, you feel generally fatigued as well, with limited tolerance for stress.
The detoxification process also generates a lot of free radicals and consumes a great deal of antioxidant stores like glutathione. These free radicals then end up in your bile. The liver releases bile into the small intestines to digest fats but, this is not an ordinary bile - this is now a toxic bile. That toxic bile then irritates the gut. The more it irritates the gut, the more it increases leaky gut. It's a vicious leaky loop that can leave you feeling loopy.
The kidneys are also taxed in leaky gut. The kidneys, like the liver, play an important role in detoxifying the blood and eliminate toxins through the urine. When your blood is overly toxic, your kidneys are overworked and you pee a lot. This can cause dehydration which limits your ability to produce enzymes and weakens digestion even further.
If the liver and kidney are unable to detoxify the blood, you may get rashes as these toxins enter into your skin. Your nervous system may be irritated. Toxins can easily accumulate in joints and induce joint problems. Toxic blood can also cause body odor and bad breath. Over time, the immune system will become irritated and hypersensitive as it tries to clean up the mess.
Leaky Gut - Effect on Emotions
Someone with leaky gut is often overly sensitive - this is a direct result of a stressed out liver, an over-reactive immune system, and an irritated nervous system. This sensitivity can come in many forms. They may have lots of food sensitivities making it nearly impossible to enjoy a meal without discomfort. They will be sensitive to any medicine, herb, or detergent. A single drink of alcohol may throw someone with leaky gut completely off center. Normal life drama may become epic catastrophe.
Physical lack of boundaries in the gut creates a mental lack of boundaries: a person with leaky gut may feel others' emotions as their own or be overly empathetic, because the system is so hypersensitive. The delicate sensitivity of a person with leaky gut is considered an imbalance in the subtle quality (sukshma guna) in Ayurveda.This sensitivity, combined with the sharp intensity that also characterizes those with leaky gut, makes for a fiery individual. You may feel like you are walking on eggshells when they are around!
Leaky Gut and Food Allergies
The immune system fights with any undigested food that happens to cross the gut barrier as well. Once considered normal by the body, the food has now become an enemy when it enters the bloodstream. Voila! A food allergy is born. With so much work to do, your immune system will be on high alert, hypersensitive and reactive, a perfect storm to create autoimmune disorders.
Food allergies also cause leaky gut. For example, if you are allergic to wheat and you eat some wheat with beef, as in a hamburger - it's going to cause inflammation, damage to villi, and leaking. The contents of your gut will leak into the blood and will cause an allergic reaction to the wheat as well as whatever you ate the wheat with - in this case, a hamburger. Now every time you eat wheat or red meat, you get an allergic reaction and that makes your leaky gut worse. Another vicious cycle!
Strategy to Support Your Body
Nobody knows why leaky gut has become more prevalent in modern times. Perhaps it coincides with pesticides and increased prevalence of allergies. There are tests that you can do to determine if you have leaky gut. One of the tests is a tale of two sugars. The molecules of the first sugar are really small and really easily absorbed by the intestines. The molecules of the second sugar are a little bit larger and more difficult to absorb. You ingest these sugars and follow up with a urine test. If there are lots of the large sugars in your urine, that indicates that you have leaky gut.
How do you plug the leak? Luckily, the intestinal epithelium - the cells that line the intestinal walls - have the fastest division and repair of any tissue in the body. Your intestines are therefore equipped to fix their own leak - how handy is that? This makes the potential to heal from leaky gut very likely.
To support your epithelial cells and repair a leaky gut, follow these simple steps under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner. Note, before making any changes to your health and wellness plan, always check with your medical doctor.
Eat easy to digest foods that lighten the burden on the digestive tract such as white rice, carrots, chicken, and sweet peas (chicken soup).
Reduce inflammation & restore the lining of the GI with anti-inflammatory herbs like amalaki, soothing herbs like aloe vera gel, and astringents like arjuna.
Reduce dysbiosis by feeding the good bacteria in your gut and starving the bad. Supplement with anti-microbial herbs.
Support the liver's ability to detoxify the blood by eating good quality fats, organic foods and avoid alcohol and fried food. Take liver tonic herbs like amalaki.
Keep the bowels clean.
Calm the immune system using adaptogenic, immune-modulating herbs, and hypoallergenic herbs like cilantro, guduchi, and reishi mushroom (ganoderma)
Support gut barrier with vulneraries that rebuild epithelial tissues
Augment your diet with these specially chosen ingredients below which may be useful for 'Leaky Gut Syndrome'.
Individual results vary depending the cause of your imbalance and by constitution.
Please research the ingredients below to find which are most helpful for you, and check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for medical care.
Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA HEAL 'LEAKY GUT SYNDROME'?
AVOID DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS THAT AGGRAVATE THESE EFFECTS
According to Ayurveda, one or more of the following
and biocharacteristics may aggravate 'Leaky Gut Syndrome'.
If you have an excess of one of these doshas or biocharacteristics below, Ayurveda recommends reducing foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate them.
Click on the biocharacteristic to learn what foods and
lifestyle habits should be reduced.
Symptoms Tell A Story
The first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms.
Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances.
Symptoms show you where your body is weakened.
Ultimately, all disease has a root in tissues too weak to defend itself.
Ayurveda describes these patterns of weakness using doshas & biocharacteristics.
If you notice a biocharacteristic or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms,
it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
FAVOR DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL EFFECTS
Everything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using biocharacteristics (gunas).
Biocharacteristics are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body.
Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism.
Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism.
For 'Leaky Gut Syndrome', you should select foods with the following biocharacteristics.
Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance.
FOODS TO FAVOR
CONDITION IN YOUR BODY
ABOUT CLEAR BIOCHARACTERISTIC
Clear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
An agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
An herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias. Generally, liver tonics are oily, cool, sweet, mildly sour, or has beta-carotene.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 4 - TISSUE DISEASE
If you have symptoms in this category it means your imbalances have overwhelmed your body's resistance causing a full-fledged disease.
Once imbalance reaches this stage it is more likely to cause acute or chronic conditions.
You might be tempted to focus your attention on fighting symptoms in this category, but dismiss earlier warning signs of imbalance - i.e. symptoms in the stage 1 category.
It is ideal to find and address the root causes weakening your system and remove them first.
This ensures you are not adding fuel to the fire of disease.
Once the root causes are removed, you can work on addressing the disease head on along with strengthening your body.
This typically yields a quicker recovery and prevents recurrence.
Ayurveda's preventative approach suggests you pay careful attention to every stage of disease development.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITS
The following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Leaky Gut Syndrome'.
See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type.
Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
Biocharacteristics of the 4,834 People Reporting Leaky Gut Syndrome
On average the biocharacteristics
of people reporting Leaky Gut Syndrome were more aggravated than 71% of other symptoms.
From the 4,834 people who reported Leaky Gut Syndrome in this research study of 74,671 individuals,
average deviation in biocharacteristic levels were the following:
Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic,
systemic approach, instead of focusing only on the disorder in question. Ayurveda
shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them
using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't
take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you.
Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an
exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?
Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type,
which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths).
It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders.
Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder.
It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of biocharaceristics (gunas).
For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc.
This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalanced biocharacteristics.
By eating an optimal diet that balances your biocharacteristics, your whole body is strengthened
and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease
are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies -
such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance
To get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body
type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so
by taking this quiz, you’ll get the best results.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.