I’m currently focused on a gut healing protocol again because, well, I’ve realized it is a much slower and more involved process than I initially thought. And if I’m being honest, the fact that my symptoms and blood work hasn’t massively improved over the past year and I still have a high level of antibodies – it’s pretty indicative in my mind that my digestion still needs work because as I’ve stated earlier, leaky gut is one of the main causes of Autoimmune disease.
A quick precursor – As always, I’m doing this under my doctor’s supervision and I recommend that anyone dealing with an autoimmune disease find a holistic nutritionist and / or a functional doctor to work with to help with your approach and dosages. Ok, supervision rant over.
No grains. Period. Gluten is one of the worst things for damaging your stomach lining. I’ve written about the havoc Gluten causes here. Gluten causes the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart the tight junctions holding your intestines together. Research is beginning to show that some other grains like maize could also have a similar effect. Either way, grains are harder for our bodies to digest, so when you are healing I think it’s best to avoid. Sugars and processed dairy can also contribute because of their high acidity and ability to raise bad gut bacteria.
Aloe Vera Juice. Aloe Vera Juice has many amazing trace minerals and vitamins in it that help to heal and repair the gut. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help an inflamed digestive tract and also helps soothe and relax the tract, helping with reflux. Aloe Vera has antibacterial and Anti-viral properties and is a prebiotic as well so it can help to remove bad bacterial overgrowth that might be contributing to the damaged GI tract.
Bone Broth: Bone Broth is literally a wonder drink for overall health, especially gut health. Dr Axe’s great article details the benefits, but to excerpt a few here: “It contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, gelatine, glycine and glutamine. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy), helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.”
Gelatin: I add Great Lakes Gelatin to my diet as much as I can. I’ve created the following delicious Paleo Panna Cotta breakfast / dessert recipe just to find another way to include Gelatin into my day. A few other yummy ways
Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral for maintaining intestinal wall integrity. Supplementing with Zinc can tighten gut permeability. Zinc is essential for growth and healing for cells with a rapid turnover, like the cells of the small intestine.
Licorice Root: To quote Dr Axe again ‘Licorice Root is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum’. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress.
L-Glutamine: L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. Unlike many of the other amino acids, it is unique, because it is the primary fuel used by the cells in your gut lining, so they eat it up and repair themselves!
Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are essential because they help break down food particles so they do not physically irritate the gut lining or activate the immune system. By breaking the food down, enzymes are also helping to extract individual vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients so the body can use them as the raw materials it needs.
HCI tablets or Apple Cider Vinegar taken before meals: HCI or Apple Cider Vinegar helps to boost Hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, which again is critical to digestion and breaking down food. This is a new fact to me: People with hypothyroidism like yours truly, often have low hydrochloric acid levels due to underactive hormones and that will absolutely affect digestion. This is a no brainer – help to ensure you are properly digesting your food whilst promoting healing.
Eat your Protein: The gut barrier needs good protein to heal. Protein’s amino acids are the building blocks of your body!
Lowering Stress: To paraphrase Dr Hedberg,‘The most important thing, probably just as important as the physical aspect of healing, is managing stress. A lot of people have leaky gut because their stress levels are causing havoc’. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which I have talked about previously, and it eats away at the intestinal barrier. It’s all about R&R people!
These steps can be done in any order, or built upon as you master one. It’s always good to introduce steps in the way that suits you and will ensure that you stick with it, so don’t overwhelm your body or your budget or your routine. Do what makes you comfortable. That said, I’m an ‘all-in’ kinda gal so you’ll find me taking a concoction of pills with my breakfast that looks like this:
I’d love to hear from anyone who has been focusing on Gut Healing and if they have been trying any of these steps, or any others! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love to your guts.