I first heard the concept of Leaky Gut Syndrome in late 2017 when I was researching ways to get a flat belly. For a while, I always had a slight ‘pooch’ of a belly even though I am a young male who works out on a consistent basis so I decided to do some further investigation on the topic. It was then that I accidentally came across a YouTube video on leaky gut.
I found that a lot of the videos on leaky gut had symptoms that sounded familiar to me (I’ll describe these later on) and the whole idea of leaky gut made a lot of sense to me. I was intrigued.
If you’ve already researched leaky gut you’ll have noticed that there are different regimens, supplements and diets that you can try which supposedly heals and restores the gut to its optimal health.
Usually, I never attempt these types of diets, but from quickly looking over the prescribed leaky gut protocol, it looked like it would be beneficial to my gut and give it a detox in the meantime. So I thought why not?
After taking up my own modified version of the leaky gut diet and supplements, I can say that it worked!
I do feel that there could have been other factors at play in the healing which I will cover later on, but I think something within the steps I took did help.
In this post, I’ll describe the process, diet and leaky gut supplements that I took over a 6 week period which has helped improve the feeling in my gut.
* Please note that I am not a medical professional in any way. If in doubt please consult a doctor before trying anything listed in this post.
What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is when your gut lining has become damaged to the point where it gains too much intestinal permeability which then allows unwanted substances to enter the bloodstream causing a whole host of negative symptoms in the body.
Foods with large amounts of lectins (such as GMO & Gluten) are said to be responsible for damaging the lining of the gut and thus are the main culprits in causing leaky gut syndrome.
In addition, high amounts of sugar have also been cited as another cause for leaky gut as it promotes the growth of bad bacteria which create toxins that can further damage the gut wall.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Feeling bloated
- Allergies to certain foods
- Thyroid problems
- Constant tiredness and fatigue
- Joint pain
- Skin issues such as eczema, acne and psoriasis
- Digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Disease
- Weight gain
- Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
Leaky Gut Syndrome is Based on Theory Not Scientific Fact
It is worth mentioning that leaky gut syndrome is not an officially recognised medical condition but rather a theory that has become popular in the field of alternative medicine.
Over the past couple of years, the idea of leaky gut syndrome has spread quickly across the internet with many leaky gut guides and products appearing which claim to cure the problem.
Whether these products and guides actually cure leaky gut cannot be known with certainty for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the condition of leaky gut may not even exist.
Secondly, the dietary changes, supplements and protocol of the leaky gut diet may be helping people who have other gut issues (such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome) besides leaky gut but have not been previously diagnosed.
Therefore there is no real scientific evidence available to say if leaky gut is real.
Isn’t This Post a Contradiction Then?
As I said earlier, I looked at several different leaky gut diet plans, supplements and guides and decided that it couldn’t hurt to try it anyway.
At the point of time of choosing to take part, my diet wasn’t particularly good so I thought a months detox could only do me good whether leaky gut is a real thing or not.
I also was experiencing some of the reported symptoms of leaky gut such as bloating, skin issues and allergies so it was worth trying.
How to Heal Leaky Gut: The Treatment Plan
The idea behind healing leaky gut is to repair and restore the damaged gut lining. This is done by first eliminating any damaging foods from your diet, followed up by eating foods or supplements that can help restore the nutrients that are needed for a healthy gut.
Due to my relaxed manner in approaching the whole idea of healing leaky gut syndrome, this also led to my extremely relaxed approach regarding recommendations from the ‘experts’ on the prescribed leaky gut diet and supplements.
I pretty much took in a lot of basic information on the leaky gut treatments and did what I felt was best within the constraints of the diet. In other words, I did not follow many of the laid out leaky gut treatment plans to the ‘T.’
There are so many different plans that are laid out on how to heal leaky gut that it can be overwhelming. I decided to whittle down my source of information to two pieces of content. These are the two videos that are laid out below.
Leaky Gut Supplements: Which Should You Take?
The first video covers foods and supplements, however, I paid most attention to the supplements mentioned. It would be worth watching this short video to learn how each supplement contributes to healing leaky gut as well as recommended brands.
I will cover each leaky gut supplement in brief and how and when I took them.
Digestive enzymes are included in the leaky gut regimen as a means to give your stomach a much-needed break and allow it time to heal whilst on a leaky gut diet. They also help your gut absorb more of the nutrients, minerals and vitamins from your food.
- EVERYDAY ENZYMES: Good health begins in the gut;...
- BALANCE AND COMFORT: Specialized blend of enzymes...
- NUTRIENT ABSORPTION: Make sure you're getting the...
I don’t think it matters too much which brand of digestive enzymes you buy as long as there are enzymes that break down the most common food types (e.g. Amylase, Protease, Lipase). If you are feeling a little more picky and want a good brand of digestive enzymes, you can read this article on the best digestive enzymes.
You can also take HCL separately as mentioned in the video, but I found that if you look around you can find that some digestive enzyme blends that include HCL in their formulas.
- Uniquely formulated, full-spectrum high potency...
- Supports the stomach’s digestive capacity &...
- Gluten Free, Non-GMO
I would take digestive enzymes whenever I was about to eat a meal, this would literally be a minute or so before eating. Different enzymes brands may have different suggestions on when is the best time to take them, so make sure to pay attention to the instructions.
I continued to take digestive enzymes throughout the 6 week period and then cut down on them after this period was over. Since I still have a bottle left over I now take these whenever I feel have had an extremely heavy meal.
L-Glutamine is said to help your gut lining repair and regrow.
- Pure pharmaceutical grade L-Glutamine
- Lab tested for verification & guaranteed purity
- Promotes muscle growth & prevents muscle loss
I took L-Glutamine as a powder and bought a cheap generic brand. I took a fairly large scoop of the powder and drank it down with my daily smoothie once a day. As I understand you can also take L-Glutamine by mixing the powder with plain water in a glass.
- Builds connective tissue in hair, skin, and nails
- Helps regulate the body's metabolism
- Bio-active product containing 90 percent protein
I took the brand as suggested in the video which is Collagen Hydrolysate by Great Lakes which contains Glycine and Prolene which are important amino acids that are important for healing the gut. I would take one scoop of this in my smoothie once a day.
Even though I am no longer on the leaky gut diet, I have decided to continue to take this supplement in my daily smoothie.
Probiotics are meant to help your stomach to regain a balance of good bacteria.
For probiotics, I went with VSL#3 as mentioned in the video above. VSL#3 probiotics are slightly different in that they are available in both capsule form and as a powder. If you buy the powder it will need to be refrigerated.
I took VSL#3 in powdered form two times a day. I drank it with plain water, once in the morning and then again in the evening.
When choosing a probiotic, you want one with a high number of bacterial strains (indicated by the CFU number) in your probiotics. VSL#3 has 450 billion which easily surpasses most other probiotic brands. That being said VSL#3 is not cheap but I was willing to pay a little more in order to make this diet worthwhile.
- 112.5 billion live lactic acid bacteria per...
- Highest available concentration of beneficial...
In the end, I liked these probiotics so much that I wrote a review on VSL#3 and still use them to this day even though I have finished my leaky gut diet.
Leaky Gut Diet: What Should You Eat?
The leaky gut diet I followed barely resembled anything close to what most people recommended. I did for the most part what I wanted with the main intention to eat healthily over a 6 week period.
If you are serious about changing up your diet to heal your leaky gut, then the video above suggests some of the best foods to incorporate into your diet.
Most of the advice surrounding a leaky gut diet lays out the following recommendations (also mentioned in the video above):
- Bone Broth
- Home Made, Yoghurt, Keifer
- Fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut
- Wild caught fish such as salmon
- Steamed vegetables
- Flax seeds
Out of the suggested advice I only really followed the part on eating salmon and steamed vegetables.
I didn’t follow the parts which mentioned the yoghurt and eating fermented vegetables such as Kimchi as I was hoping that taking the probiotics in supplement form would be a suitable substitute.
I also did not take bone broth. Bone broth is highly recommended because it is thought that boiling or cooking the ligaments of certain meats such as chicken and beef, will release certain amino acids and minerals (Prolene and Glycine) that are effective in healing a damaged gut lining.
However, again I skipped this step with my hope being placed in taking L-Glutamine and the Great Lakes Gelatin supplement (mentioned above) to provide me with these amino acids.
I have noticed that you can buy bone broth powders and formulas on Amazon, however, I never tried these. There was no particular reason for me in skipping the Bone Broth step other than me being lazy!
My main focus was to eat healthy by cutting out:
- All junk food
- Unhealthy carbs
- Processed foods
- Alcohol (although I am not a drinker anyway)
- Milk (large amounts of dairy)
- Refined sugars
I ate mostly store-bought fresh soups, fruits, salads, steamed vegetables and healthy meats and fish. Flavourings for my food were kept extremely simple with it mostly being in the form of butter with a pinch of salt.
All in all, there was nothing particularly special about the diet I took. It was simply an effort to make healthier choices than I normally do for at least a month!
Results and Final Thoughts on Leaky Gut
I write this around 6 months after trying the regime mentioned above for 6 weeks and I can say for sure that my gut health has improved.
Before undertaking the plan whenever I’d finish a meal, I would never feel particularly settled in the stomach afterwards. This was not something that ever bothered me because I had always had this feeling. I thought it was normal.
I never had pain or anything like that, just a slight general feeling of something not right as if my stomach was grumbling and a little unhappy with the food.
Now I don’t get that feeling anymore, and even 6 months down the line of not taking part in the regime (apart from still taking probiotics) my tummy still feels good.
In addition, the bloating and gas has reduced too. Another added benefit is that my lower tummy pooch has also flattened out although this may also coincide with the fact that I have been working on rectifying my weak core too!
The funny thing about my whole leaky gut diet is that I didn’t even know I had an uncomfortable feeling in my tummy after meals. It was only after that I noticed my stomach felt much better, after all, I was at the beginning only looking for a way to get a flatter stomach!
Was It Leaky Gut or Not?
The most important question to ask is whether I had leaky gut in the first place and if so was it this leaky gut treatment plan that made the difference into the benefits I have gained?
The unfortunate thing is I don’t think I could ever be sure I had leaky gut in the first place. As mentioned earlier leaky gut syndrome is a proposed theory with no scientific evidence behind it so it isn’t as if I was officially diagnosed with it. Therefore I can’t really conclude with certainty that a leaky gut diet works and will work for everyone.
I think that anyone who undertakes a month of healthy eating and cutting out bad food they once ate will, of course, feel much better in their health as well as in their gut. Could the leaky gut diet work or was it down to the fact that I was simply making healthier choices in my diet?
It is interesting that the symptoms of leaky gut are similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gut health-related issues. It is my opinion that I have always had some issue with my gut health that was most probably related to some form of IBS or a disproportionate balance of bad bacteria in my gut.
Based on this analysis I feel that it may not have been the diet plan overall that helped, but the strong dose of probiotics (in the form of VSL#3) that I took. There is some evidence that suggests that probiotics do help with IBS and symptoms of bloating. But again, I cannot know for sure that it was the probiotics!
As I write this I realise that this is probably the worst conclusion known to man. It’s not really the best conclusion, in fact, it’s not really a conclusion at all. But If you feel that you are experiencing some of the leaky gut symptoms and want to try the diet then if it is medically safe to do so why not?
Somewhere down the line one of the steps of the leaky gut diet plan could help you out as it was in my own case and hopefully it will! If it doesn’t at least your body gets a month of healthy food and a thorough detox!