Beneficial gut bacteria are the latest darlings of neurological health as researchers continue to uncover new and fascinating roles they play in our level of happiness, serenity and emotional well-being. Incredibly, a lack of specific types of gut bacteria (or excess of harmful microbes) are associated with autism, irritable bowel and chronic fatigue syndrome, along with a range of mood disorders — including anxiety, depression and poor response to stress. These microorganisms are so powerful that if they become imbalanced in the gut, it can mean the difference between living a joyful life or one where we can barely drag ourselves out of bed.

On top of that, cutting edge research just released by Northeastern University in Boston discovered a species of gut bacteria that “eat” brain chemicals — in this case gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. What has scientists excited about the finding is the results of the study add to a growing body of evidence that show gut bacteria profoundly effect our brain and mental health.

How GABA Works

When normal levels of GABA are present in the brain, you feel calm, at ease and sleep well. On the opposite end — when you don’t have enough of this important neurotransmitter — stress, anxiety, nervousness, irritability and insomnia take over. You can also struggle with panic disorders, depression, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, hypertension, dry skin and emotional issues associated with PMS. What’s more, inadequate levels result in poor digestion, bloating, flatulence and malabsorption since GABA stimulates secretion of digestive enzymes.

One way GABA reduces stress and other health complaints is by preventing nerve impulses linked with anxiety from reaching the motor centers of the brain. It also decreases beta brainwaves, while increasing alpha brainwaves. The first are associated with concentration, attention and alertness, but become imbalanced during periods of stress, which can lead to anxiety, insomnia and depression. In contrast, alpha brainwaves are produced when we’re engaged in meditative activities like yoga, t’ai chi, focusing on one task at a time, falling asleep and, yes, during meditation.

GABA is manufactured in the body by converting L-glutamine into glutamic acid or glutamate. Next, the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase steps in and converts glutamate to GABA. But for this enzyme to do its job properly, it needs the active form of Vitamin B6 — Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P). Zinc and the amino acid taurine also support the process.

Nutrients that increase GABA levels:

L-theanine — A plant-based amino acid found abundantly in green tea which encourages alpha brainwaves and strengthens response in GABA receptors.

Inositol — Part of the B-vitamin group, it can help reduce anxiety and depression by enhancing the ability of GABA to attatch to benzodiazepine receptors.

Magnesium — An important mineral that is severely lacking in modern western diets. It’s estimated that up to 80% of women, and 70% of men, have a magnesium deficiency — which is associated with anxiety, panic disorders, apathy, poor attention span, depression, insomnia, irritability and nervousness. When magnesium levels are adequate, the mineral activates GABA receptors.

Noni fruit — Native to French Polynesia — and traditionally used to ease nervous disorders — the fruit helps to calm anxiety by binding to GABA receptors in the brain.

Chamomile — Known to balance moods, this medicinal herb has sedative properties due to the flavonoid apigenin, which attaches to benzodiazepine and GABA receptors.

Other helpful herbs include valerian, kava, ginkgo biloba, passionflower, skullcap, hops, lemon balm and magnolia bark. Moreover, cultured and fermented foods — like yogurt and sauerkraut — naturally contain GABA. The same for fava beans, reishi mushrooms, sunflower seeds and tomatoes.

GABA, Gut Microbiome and Mental Health

“Although research on microbial communities related to psychiatric disorders may never lead to a cure, it could have astonishing relevance to improving patients’ quality of life.” ~Domenico Simone of George Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia.

A 2011 study showed the gut bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus significantly altered GABA activity for the better in the brains of test animals, and also improved their stress response. A subsequent study found the effects vanished when they severed the vagus nerve — a “superhighway” of sorts that connects the gut to the brain — leading the team to conclude there is a strong correlation between the “gut-brain axis” and emotional health.

And now scientists at Northeastern University discovered a specific bacteria in the gut (called Bacteroides fragilisKLE1758) that actually consumes GABA. “Nothing made it grow, except GABA,” said researcher Philip Strandwitz last month. The next step is to seek out other types of gut bacteria that eat or even produce GABA. He plans to study their effect on the behavior and brains of lab animals. There’s hope such research will eventually help create effective treatments for disorders like anxiety and depression.

~ http://wakeup-world.com/2016/08/24/scientists-discover-gut-bacteria-that-eat-brain-chemicals/



Fermented food has made a comeback in recent years, partially thanks to the popularization of Weston A. Price teachings. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi aren’t considered to be the most appealing types of food; however, research exploring these and other fermented products on gut, brain, and body health has revitalized public interest.

The fermentation process encourages essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish. This makes fermentation a good source of probiotics for vegans, since many fermented foods are plant based. Vegetables are submerged in a salty brine during preparation to kill off dangerous, pathogenic bacteria. The good bacteria break down lactose and other sugars and starches in the food, making digestion easier. And once they reach your gut, they continue to help break down food and keep out bad guys like E. coli and C. difficile.

The Best Fermented Foods

When it comes to fermented foods, your options aren’t limited to sauerkraut or fermented soy. There’s other fantastic options that are considered “fermented,” including tea, yogurt, and various vegetables. Here are the 9 best fermented foods you should be eating for your gut.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt has many benefits, mostly due to its rich probiotic content. Brands of yogurt that contain billions of live active cultures may support digestion, and some research indicates it could even benefit the skin. [1] Raw, unpasteurized yogurt is ideal if you can handle dairy. Personally, I tend to skip dairy altogether, but you can find dairy-free yogurt options at many stores these days, some of which are made from coconut and almond milk. Be sure you’re choosing yogurt that contains live active cultures, and try to choose plain, full-fat versions in order to avoid sugar. Yogurt that contains sugar can be counterproductive, as sugars feed pathogenic bacteria and contribute to sugar overload.

2. Natto

Natto is prepared with soybeans and is fermented so it forms the beneficial bacteria Bacillus. It’s an excellent source of calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin K2. You may not have heard a lot about it, but K2 is essential for heart health as it keeps calcium out of your arteries and gets it to your bones where it’s needed. Natto also contains nattokinase, a powerful anti-clotting agent that protects your heart and brain and lowers your blood pressure.

3. Kefir

Kefir is a bit like yogurt, except that it’s more of a drinkable consistency. Researchers report kefir may reduce irritation in the intestines, preventing toxins and other pathogens from getting into the blood. [2] If you’re choosing to drink dairy kefir, make sure it’s organic and isn’t loaded with refined sugar. There are options for making your own dairy-free water kefir, and many health food companies online sell kefir grains specifically for this purpose. You can also check out our recipe for making coconut milk kefir.

4. Kombucha

Made from tea, clean water, sugar, yeast, and bacteria, kombucha has become popular recently for its probiotic qualities. Its fizzy bite is also popular among those used to drinking soda. Research finds this fermented tea fights off E. coli and Staph bacteria in the digestive tract, possibly protecting against illness and aiding digestion. [3]

How to Make Kombucha - Copy
Learn how to make your own homemade Kombucha here.

5. Sauerkraut

Traditional sauerkraut preparation uses water, salt, and cabbage, and very little heat is applied to the final product in order to prevent killing off beneficial microbes. The sour taste comes from lacto-fermentation, or the breakdown of lactose by the probiotic bacteria native to the cabbage. A serving gives you a powerful dose of healthy probiotics that aid digestion, and research has found raw sauerkraut prevents cancer cells from forming. [4] Be sure to purchase raw sauerkraut, or better yet, make it yourself with organic cabbage and Himalayan salt.

6. Kimchi

This spicy Asian fermented cabbage, similar to sauerkraut, provides you with loads of probiotics. Extensive research indicates it contributes to colon health, lower cholesterol, better thinking, a stronger immune system, healthy skin, and weight loss. Additional research also shows it has anti-oxidative, anti-aging, and immune-supporting properties.

7. Tempeh

This Indonesian ‘cake’ has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, and because of this it is often used as a replacement for meat in many vegan recipes. Traditionally made from soybeans and a yeast starter, it undergoes controlled fermentation that makes it a great source of probiotic bacteria. Tempeh is also a great source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.

8. Pickles

Raw pickles, much like sauerkraut, makes for a great introduction to fermented foods. Pickles made by lacto-fermentation makes this a delicious snack and a great food for aiding digestion and supporting a strong immune system.

9. Lassi

Yogurt and fermented dairy play an important role in Indian cuisine. Lassi is made by combining yogurt and milk (or water) and sometimes fruit and spices to create a great probiotic-rich drink. It digests quickly, helps restore friendly gut bacteria, and soothes irritation in the colon. Again, I don’t recommend consuming conventional dairy, especially from cows. If you are going to drink lassi, it’s best to find a product using grass-fed, free-range goat milk. Goat milk tends to digest more easily. If you’re vegan, try finding or making lassi with organic coconut or almond milk yogurt.


Other Tips to Support Digestion

Each of these 9 probiotic foods will help restore balance to your intestinal ecosystem, but they’re not the only way to support digestion. Prebiotics, or foods containing inulin, sustain your current gut bacteria by providing them the foods they need to thrive. Probiotic supplements, digestive enzymes, and colon and liver cleansing are also great ways to support your digestive system.

What probiotic foods do you eat? Share your tips and recipes with us!

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

By Dr. Edward Group

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

In functional medicine, we believe that every system in the body is connected. Your digestive and hormonal systems, for example, aren't independent of one another. At the center of it all is a properly functioning digestive system.

When your gut is unhealthy, it can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Because 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea, and other chronic health problems.

10 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut

1. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea

2. Food allergies or sensitivities

3. Anxiety

4. Depression

5. Mood swings, irritability

6. Skin problems like eczema, rosacea

7. Diabetes

8. Autoimmune disease

9. Frequent Infections

10. Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD

The 4 R Program


1. Remove

Remove the bad. The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the gut, such as inflammatory foods, infections, and irritants like alcohol, caffeine, or drugs.

Inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and sugar, can lead to food sensitivities. I recommend an elimination diet as the starting point to identify which foods are problematic for you, in which you remove the foods for two weeks or more and then add them back in, one at a time, taking note of your body’s response.

Infections can be from parasites, yeast, or bacteria. A comprehensive stool analysis is key to determining the levels of good bacteria as well as any infections that may be present. Removing the infections may require treatment with herbs, anti-parasite medication, antifungal medication, antifungal supplements, or even antibiotics.

2. Replace

Replace the good. Add back in the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by diet, drugs (such as antacid medications), diseases or aging. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile acids that are required for proper digestion.

3. Reinoculate

Restoring beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria is critical. This may be accomplished by taking a probiotic supplement that contains beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. I recommend anywhere from 25 -100 billion units a day. Also, taking a prebiotic (food for the good bacteria) supplement or consuming foods high in soluble fiber is important.

4. Repair

Providing the nutrients necessary to help the gut to repair itself is essential. One of my favorite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining. Other key nutrients include zinc, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, and E, as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.

10 Signs You Have An Unhealthy Gut & How To Heal It!

~ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/

Our foods these days are filled with many added chemicals called intentional additives.

These may be artificial sweeteners,preservatives, colourants, flavourants, flavour enhancers etc. Some of these additives have been linked to health problems (such as cancer, asthma and hyperactivity) and have been banned in other countries. However, they are still allowed in our foods in South Africa.

Some of the more dangerous chemical additives to be aware of include:

Flavourants or flavour enhancers have been linked to asthma attacks, gout, hyperactivity, and allergies. The most well-known flavourant is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is found in chips, soups, cold meats, Bovril, Soya products, pasta-and sauces,stock powders and many other savoury foods. MSG has been linked to hyperactivity. It can kill nerve cells, resulting in diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Pregnant women, children and those with heart disease must be especially careful of MSG. MSG can sometimes be hidden under the name hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP). Wherever possible buy foods that have natural flavours.

Artificial sweeteners are found in many so-called “diet” products as well as in children’s fruit squashes, sweets, jellies, ice-creams and fizzy drinks. There are four commonly used sweeteners. Of these, cyclamate, saccharin and acesulfame may cause cancer. Aspartame may lead to mental retardation.

Many people have reported dizziness, headaches, epileptic-like seizures, and menstrual problems after ingesting aspartame. Artificial colourants are used in most children’s sweets, in fruit squashes, jellies,breakfast cereals, chips, jams, cheeses, cold meats (e.g. polony) and many convenience foods. All certified food colours in use today are of a class of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are suspected to cause cancer.

A well-known colourant which dyes food yellow (tartrazine), has been linked to cancer, asthma attacks, nettle rash in children, tumours, chromosomal damage and hyperactivity. It has been banned in some European countries. Whenever possible choose foods with natural colourants.

Preservatives are added to foods to make them last longer. Some of the preservatives to be aware of include:

 Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate which are used to preserve meat and are commonly found in cold processed meats, such as polony, ham, vienna sausages etc. They may cause stomach cancer. A number of studies have found that, if pregnant women eat a lot of meat which contains nitrates/nitrites, their children have a higher chance of developing brain tumours. There is also a link between nitrates/nitrites and childhood leukaemia.

 Sulphites are used to keep fruits and vegetables looking fresh.

They are used in dried fruits and in some fruit squashes (under the name sulphur dioxide). In America sulphites have been banned from most fruits and vegetables after at least 12 people died from having an asthma attack after eating food preserved with sulphites.

 BHA & BHT are added to oil-containing foods to prevent oxidation and retard rancidity.

According to the World Health Organization BHA may cause cancer.

 Carboxymethylcellulose is a stabilizer, used in ice cream, salad dressing, cheese spreads and chocolate milk. It has produced cancer in 80% of rats in an experiment on laboratory animals.

There are natural preservatives that can be used instead. Examples are vinegar, salt, sugar,rosemary, listeria and honey. Potassium sorbate can be used to inhibit mould growth. Lactic acid bacteria kill pathogenic bacteria.

Caffeine is found naturally in tea, coffee, and cocoa. It is also added to many soft drinks. It is a stimulant, raises blood pressure, may cause nervousness and insomnia (difficulty sleeping). It may also cause birth defects such as cleft palates, missing fingers and toes, and skull malformations. It is addictive.

Pesticides, although not an intentional additive, are found in much of our foods. DDT, which is still used in South Africa, has been linked to breast cancer. Try and buy foods which are labelled “pesticide free’ or “organic”. Wash fruit and vegetables well before eating - some pesticides are made not to wash off in the rain!

Spray & Cook and similar aerosol coating products contain propellants, which are known to cause damage to the nervous system and brain.

Food Packaging

Experiments have shown that when food is wrapped in plastic wrap, the chemicals in the plasticwrap are absorbed by the food. Some of these chemicals may cause hormonal problems, such as lowering the sperm count in men.

Bisphenol A is a chemical found in the plastic lining of some food cans. This chemical may leach from the can into the food inside the can. This chemical is a "reproductive toxicant" meaning it can affect the unborn foetus. Male laboratory animals exposed to LOW levels of bisphenol-A in the womb had enlarged prostate weight as adults, shrunken epididymides (sperm-carrying ducts), and reduced sperm counts.

Some tin cans are sealed with lead solder (lead-soldered cans have a thick, wide seam on the outside). Lead damages the kidneys and the reproductive system and can lead to Attention DeficitDisorder (ADD) in children and adults. Empty such cans immediately once you’ve opened them.

Buying Tips

Read labels! Buy products that are labelled “Preservative free”, “MSG free”, “Tartrazine free”,

“Pesticide free”, “Organic’ etc. (And while you are at it, why not also buy products which are “GMO free”, “cruelty free”, “hormone free” as well as “free range” animal products too?)

Wherever possible, buy organically grown food. Besides being free of chemicals, these foods have been shown to have a higher nutritional value

Try to use the alternatives to plastic products whenever possible. For example, buy food in glass, paper or cardboard containers. At home, avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap and avoid all PVC and styrene products.

Be especially vigilant when buying products for pregnant woman, children and people with already weakened immune systems (especially those who are HIV positive). The first 20 years of life are believed to be the most crucial in terms of preventing on contracting serious illnesses associated with chemical exposure.

Wherever possible avoid buying the following products:

 pesticides,

 foods which primarily contain flavourants, colourants and preservatives (such as some fruit

squashes, fizzy drinks, polony, most sweets & chips)

 air fresheners (unless they are free of propellants, formaldehyde and artificial fragrances)

 benzene

 leaded paint

 hair spray

 firelighters

 jeyes fluid

 spot removers

 Aerosol products (deodorants, hair sprays, furniture polish, Spray ‘n Cook etc), unless they

are pump action and do not contain propellant

 PVC toys, teethers, dummies or teat

 Perfumed products (for example, perfumed bleach or detergents, scented furniture polish,

perfumed lotions and face creams etc).


Disrupting The Microbiome Has Far-Reaching Consequencese Has Far-Reaching Consequences

I consider the genetic modification of our food to be one of the most disturbing developments of the last few decades. Genetic modification began when the Monsanto corporation, developed a weed-killing herbicide known as Roundup. The only problem was that Roundup tended to kill the crops as well as the weeds.

So Monsanto invented a genetically modified soy that was able to resist the herbicidal poison—the so-called "Roundup-ready" soybean. Farmers began to shower their crops with vast quantities of Monsanto herbicides, with potentially disastrous consequences for the neighboring soil and water, as well as for any livestock or humans who might consume the soy.

Genetic modifications developed quickly. Right now, a number of crops are grown almost exclusively in genetically modified form, including soy, corn, sugar beets, rapeseed (used in canola oil), and cotton (used in cottonseed oil).

I’d love to be able to tell you exactly what effect this has on our health, or on the health of the livestock fed with these crops. Unfortunately nobody knows yet.

We’ve only been doing this to our food supply for a relatively short time period and therefore we don’t have a comprehensive picture of how it affects us.

However, a number of disturbing pieces of information have come to light that suggest a need for caution.

Danish pigs, German cows, and other European livestock have suffered from various gut problems and digestive issues since the introduction of Roundup-ready soy into their diet. In some cases, the problems might be caused by the ways the soy damages the beneficial gut bacteria of the animals. In other cases, problems seem to result from the ways that Roundup, the herbicide used in conjunction with GMO crops, destroys beneficial bacteria while leaving intact the deadly bacteria that cause E.coli and botulism - which are reaching epidemic levels among European livestock.

Some evidence suggests that Roundup and similar herbicides destroy beneficial microbes that live in the soil, affecting the soil's fertility and perhaps also affecting the nutrient content of plants grown in that soil.

In 2010, Monsanto registered glyphosate as an antibiotic, so when we eat these foods, we are consuming antibiotics.

Why is your microbiome the key to your overall health?

Each of us contains a whole inner ecosystem composed of trillions of microbes. These bacteria outnumber our human cells by a factor of 10 to 1.

We begin developing our microbiome in the womb, as our mothers pass on bacteria to us during pregnancy. As we grow, we continue to acquire more bacteria – from our food and water, but also from our environment and from other people. These bacteria can be friendly, unfriendly, or a mix of the two.

We need the microbiome to keep our gut healthy because the gut is so vital to our overall health. Besides its role in digestion, it also helps us to process thought and emotion – so much so that it is often referred to as “the second brain.” When your microbiome is in good shape, your serotonin and other neurochemical levels are more likely to be optimal. As a result, you feel calm, balanced, optimistic, and confident and you are likely to sleep well.

The study of GMOs and of the microbiome itself is in it's infancy and we simply don't know enough. However, more and more evidence is pointing to the fact that keeping a healthy, balanced microbiome is key to overall health. Disrupting it by consuming GMOs, and conventionally or factory farmed meats, almost certainly involves some risk. When combined with other disruptors such as antibiotics and junk food, it is little wonder that very few of us reach adulthood with our microbiome in good shape.

However, there are steps you can take to repair the delicate balance. Here are a few places to start.

If you can avoid GMOs do so. A full list of GMOs can be found here.

Avoid junk food and processed food, almost all of which contains trans fats, GMO corn, GMO soy, or industrial seed oils.

Whenever possible, avoid antibiotics.

Add water filters to your home taps and drink filtered water whenever possible.

Take a daily probiotic, a capsule or powder containing friendly bacteria that can replenish your own microbiome, especially if you have recently taken antibiotics.

Eat fermented foods - saukraut, kefir (fermented milk), kimchi or other fermented vegetables - these contatin natural bacteria that also protects your microbiome.

Incorporate prebiotics into your diet: foods that contain the fiber on which friendly bacteria feed. Examples are; tomatoes, garlic, onions, radishes,leeks, asparagus and artichokes.

Common ailments such as weight gain, fatigue, aches and pains, illnesses and memory loss typically associated with growing older are by no means inevitable.

If you can bring your microbiome back into optimum balance, many if not all of these should be alleviated or even disappear.

by Frank Lipman, M.D.




Leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that millions of people are struggling with and don’t even know it. From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut syndrome only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can lead to many other health conditions.

According to research, the cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism could be leaky gut symptoms progression.

In this article, I will outline specifically how you can heal leaky gut syndrome and break through the health problems you’ve been struggling with.

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system.

leaky gut cycle chart

When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to.

Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.

leaky gut progression chart

Leaky Gut Symptoms and Progression

This leads to inflammation throughout your system and can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Syndrome X

leaky gut syndrome symptoms diagram


One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut — I recommend that you take a leaky gut test — can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing an allergic response.

This allergic response doesn’t mean you’ll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to one of the symptoms I’ve mentioned above. If left un-repaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

According to the Journal of Diabetes, there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes.

Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients including zinciron and vitamin B12.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are four main causes of leaky gut which include:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload
  • Bacterial imbalance

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains, sugar, GMO’s and conventional dairy.

The problem with un-sprouted grains is that they contain large amounts of antinutrients or nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mold and parasites.

This is good news for plants but bad news for your body. Your digestive lining is covered with sugar-containing cells that help break down your food. Lectins gravitate toward this area and when they attach to your digestive lining, it damages your gut and causes inflammation.


Causes of leaky gut diagram

Lectins and Foods that Cause Leaky Gut

Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts, your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins are more problematic. Some of the lectins and foods that cause leaky gut include wheat, rice, spelt and soy.

Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest. GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs. Also, gluten–containing grains will damage your intestinal lining and cause leaky gut syndrome.

So while you are working to heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease, stay away from all grains, especially ones that contain gluten like wheat. Once your gut is healthy, you can add back in grains that have been fermented and sprouted to eat occasionally.

Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 casein. Also, the pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying dairy that is raw and from A2 cows, goats, sheep, or buffalo.

Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system. Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad bacteria, which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.

Other Factors that Cause Leaky Gut

Chronic stress: It weakens your immune system over time, which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut. To reduce stress, I recommend getting more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive, uplifting people.

Toxins: We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS. I recommend buying a high-quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant-based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.

Dysbiosis: Finally, one of the leading causes of leaky gut is a condition called dysbiosis,which means an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. For many, this imbalance can begin at birth because of a C-section or because the mother didn’t have a healthy gut herself. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, tap water with chlorine and fluoride, and the lack of probiotic-rich foods contribute to this imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

Leaky Gut and the Brain

headache, migraine, physical health and the brain

Another topic I want to quickly discuss is how leaky gut can affect the brain. If you’ve ever seen a child with autism experience a mood swing, this can be caused by intestinal permeability. Gluten-free and casein-free diets have proven effective for many children with autism because these proteins can leak through the gut and then recirculate and act on the brain similarly to an opioid drug.

This is also why leaky gut syndrome has been linked to other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. So, in many cases, if you can heal the gut, you can heal the brain.

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

The good news is there’s a solution to healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut

  2. REPLACE with healing foods

  3. REPAIR with specific supplements

  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

Here’s the protocol I have used with my patients over the years that has helped them see incredible results.

Remember, the top foods to remove that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat, conventional dairy and GMO foods. The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, NSAIDS and antibiotics — but remember to always consult with your physician if he or she has prescribed these for you.

The Leaky Gut Diet and 5 Healing Foods

If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, you’re overdue to consider adopting a leaky gut diet. Here are the five foods and supplements to heal your leaky gut.

#1 Bone Broth – broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for three days to help heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease.

#2 Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut.  Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter and raw cheese are some of the best.

#3 Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are excellent sources.

#4 Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.

#5 Sprouted Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.

Also, consuming foods that have omega-3 fats are beneficial — anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon.

Top 5 Supplements for Healing Leaky Gut

There are many supplements that support your digestive health, but I believe the most beneficial leaky gut supplements are l-glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes, aloe vera juice, quercetin, NAG and licorice root.

#1 Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. I recommend getting probiotics in both food and supplement form. I see people all the time only follow part of the protocol in healing their leaky gut syndrome by removing the damaging irritants. But the part they often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.

So load up on BOTH probiotic-rich foods and take AT LEAST 50 billion units of probiotics daily from a high-quality brand.

#2 Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins are damaging your gut wall.

#3 L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.

#4 Licorice Root (DGL) 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. Take 500 milligrams twice daily.

#5 Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have also shown its effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis. Take 500 milligrams three times daily with meals.

If you can follow the above protocol, you are well on your way to healing your gut for good.

~ https://draxe.com/leaky-gut-diet-treatment/

The bodily process of digestion and absorption is one of the most important to our health. Hippocrates made this statement over two thousand years ago and it is truer today than ever.

What are the signs of unhealthy digestion?

  • Acid reflux
  • Throat and nose issues (clearing throat, runny nose, etc.)
  • Gas/bloating
  • Inflammation anywhere in the body
  • Skin disorders anywhere on the body
  • Negative reactions to food
  • Loose stools or constipation

Our bodies rely on proper enzymes and healthy microbes to work with pathogenic bacteria and to produce anti-bacterial cultures in order to strengthen the intestinal walls and to support our immune system.

Today we are challenged on many fronts: lifestyle and diet, deficient intestinal flora, stress, toxic chemicals in our food/water/environment, consumption of alcohol, and frequent use of antibiotics all deplete our healthy supply of beneficial enzymes and bacteria. This allows disease to take hold beginning with yeast strains. Supplementing with friendly bacteria help keep harmful bacteria from multiplying in our intestines

Poor digestion will eventually cause one’s health to break down. Some examples of this breakdown are listed below:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Food and general allergies
  • Autism
  • Chronic viral infections
  • Genital infections
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver cirrhosis and biliary disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Malignancy
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Mental illness
  • Clinical infections

The trend of mental illness is particularly disturbing and related to enzyme deficiencies.

One study found that enzyme loss is connected to a specific familiar neurological disease.

Another study examined the effects of lifestyle–including diet–on mental health, and found that diet is a crucial factor in synaptic plasticity and overall mental health.