Healing the Gut

Yes, my dear followers, there is life after leaky gut syndrome. I recommend doing this protocol while doing an elimination diet. Oftentimes, people say "they went gluten free but didn't feel better", and often times it is because they either were not 100% gluten free OR their gut never got the opportunity to fully recover. In this blog post I am going to give you the tools you need to heal your gut, but I must preface this with a warning: 
                                                                                above all else listen to your body!
While these things work great for most of the cases I have encountered, no two people are alike. I have met people who made their gut problems temporarily worse doing one or more of these things. The key, as with anything in life, is to listen to your body. If something makes you feel worse stop doing it. Furthermore, if one of these things doesn't agree with your body it's a good indication that you should get checked out by a doctor and managed by them rather than a blog. Without proper testing you simply don't know for sure what is going on inside your body, but it has been my personal experience that these things work for most people. For example, some critters like candida actually use glutamine as a substrate for growth, and thus may be exacerbated with supplementation.

The trouble is that you can't walk into a normal doctors office and ask them to help you with your leaky gut. As with much of what I talk about on this blog, 95% of doctors won't know 95% of what you now know, so they will most likely tell you to go home and eat gluten because it's all in your head. Finding a doctor who knows what we know can be a little cumbersome, but it is absolutely crucial if you want to get results and feel better.

If you think your case merits individual management I recommend you do the following:
Go to http://carrickinstitute.org/ and contact them to find a Chiropractic Neurologist near you. This link used to provide a search feature, but the website is currently down. While on the phone, tell the person you specifically would like to find someone who is versed in Functional Medicine as well as neurology. If the people at the institute can not provide this additional information, do not be bashful about calling the individual offices and asking if they do functional medicine, too. You can also try a simple google map search of the phrases "functional medicine" or "functional neurology", but it will not be as effective. There are different flavors of doctors who practice functional medicine, and the flavor dictates the type of treatment they will use. Some doctors are really into heavy metal testing and chelation, which for reasons that will be made apparent in another blog post I do NOT recommend. MDs using functional medicine are good, but may tend toward the use of more pharmaceuticals than many would prefer. The nice thing about going to a DC who does this stuff is that they can not prescribe medications so that route generally is a last resort, in which case they will refer you to an MD. Call me old school, but I think drugs and surgery should be the last resort treatment. Not only that, but finding a DC through the neurology program ensures that the chiropractor will tailor your treatment to what is best for your brain as well as your spine.

Another point I have to make about going to see a doctor and being managed professionally is the quality of supplements you will get. Don't get me wrong, I have gone to Whole Paycheck many times when I am too impatient to wait for my regular supplements to come in... but often times they are not the same. Yes, vitamin D is available at every drug store, but is it a good quality product that you will be able to absorb and use? Many of the supplements doctors like me work with go to great lengths to test their products and ensure that they are optimally absorbed. For example, many of the Apex products I use have been emulsified with things that have been shown in the research to enhance absorption and effectiveness. These products are only available through licensed healthcare professionals, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the down side, it means that these products are not widely available to the public, and it requires people to work with (and pay) a doctor. The blessing side of the story is that these products are strong and not to be taken lightly. I have personally seen what pharmaceutical grade supplements are capable of when they are taken willy-nilly (by myself or other people who still have at least half a clue), so I would hate to see this stuff get into the hands of the general public who doesn't know exactly what they are doing.

Now, let's talk about what you can do today to get that leaky gut of yours back under control!

The "4 R Gut Program" is something that is easily googled, so I won't spend too much time on it... But here's the scoop: the four Rs are in order of importance and the order you should do them in.
Remove the stuff that's causing the problem. This may be a food, a critter, stress, alcohol, or a drug!
Replace the stuff your body should be making, at least for the time being. This may include digestive enzymes such as pancreatic enzymes or stomach acid in the form of Beatine HCl! You need all these things to properly break down your food.
Reinoculate, which is a fancy word for "recolonize your gut with good bugs"... i.e. take a probiotic!
Repair. Help speed up your gut's repair processes by taking supplements such as these and you'll be on your way to a healthy functioning gut in no time!

1. Vitamin D is not only great for your immune system, but it has been shown to increase the expression of tight junction proteins in the gut, which helps to repair the "leaks" between cells [1]
2. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is preferentially used by the gut epithelial cells as fuel and may not only aid in repair, but prove to be protective to future epithelial damage [2]
3. Herbs that soothe and coat the gut such as licorice root, slippery elm and marshmallow root will help protect the gut while it heals.
4. Antioxidants such as omega-3s, curcumin and resveratrol will help get rid of any residual inflammation that the other Rs and supplements could not tackle.

Less leaky every day,


[1] Kong, J. Novel role of the vitamin D receptor in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2008 Jan; 294(1):G208 (PMID 17962355)
[2] Iizuka, Masahiro. Wound healing of intestinal epithelial cells. World J Gastroenterol 2011 May 7;17(17):2161-2171 (PMID 21633524)

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