Could Leaky Gut Be What’s Troubling You?

By Robynne K. Chutkan, MD, FASGE Assistant Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Hospital Founder and Medical Director, Digestive Center for Women

Posted on | By Dr. Robynne Chutkan | Comments ()

Are There Any Solutions?

There’s no miracle cure for treating leaky gut, but there are things you can do if you’re suffering from it that can help heal inflammation and restore the integrity of your gut lining.

An anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined sugars, dairy, gluten, alcohol and artificial sweeteners – some of the biggest offenders when it comes to inflammation – can be very helpful. Consuming lots of anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids in fish and nuts, and filling up on green leafy vegetables, high-fiber and fermented foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria is also crucial.

A robust probiotic that contains large amounts of good bacteria can help heal a damaged intestinal lining by restoring balance in the gut flora.

Supplements like glutamine have been shown in some studies to help with intestinal injury after chemotherapy and radiation and may be beneficial in leaky gut.

Most people will notice improvement within 6 weeks, although it may take several months and even years to heal a damaged intestinal lining in extreme cases of leaky gut. Because we’re still learning about leaky gut, many of the treatment guidelines are drawn more from anecdotal observation than from rigorous scientific studies. But they’re sensible recommendations that can lead to improvements in your overall health, whether or not you have increased intestinal permeability.

Leaky gut is one of those diagnoses that bridges the gap between conventional and alternative medicine, between what we can see and touch and what we can feel in our bodies. I refuse to believe that the hundreds of patients I see in my office with unusual and seemingly unrelated complaints are crazy, or just stressed out.

I believe them when they say they feel like they're being poisoned, or that they think there's a connection between all their symptoms, even though they don't know what it is. My hunch is that as our knowledge grows, the theories behind leaky gut will become the foundation for lots of diseases that are widely prevalent in our society, and millions of people will be in a better position to find relief from their suffering.

Article written by Dr. Robynne Chutkan
Author