Gut Health 200

Time to LEVEL UP friends! 

Part two on our gut health journey will walk through: 

  • how to tackle leaky gut and digestive issues
  • how to pick a probiotic supplement

I hope you find part two informative and useful! 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Y'all ready for some more education? 

Have you ever heard of leaky gut syndrome? It's more common than you think. If you have more than one food sensitivity you more than likely have leaky gut.

The cells that line the intestine are supposed to be connected tightly together. Leaky gut occurs when the "glue" that keeps them together has been destroyed and spaces open up between the cells. Toxins, microbes and even pieces of food can get into the body - no bueno. This can create many problems in the body, and can even cause auto-immune diseases. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

According to Dr. Leo Galland, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine these are some of the top symptoms you could be experiencing if you have a leaky gut:

  1. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  2. Nutritional deficiencies
  3. Poor immune system
  4. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  5. Excessive fatigue
  6. Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  7. Cravings for sugar or carbs
  8. Arthritis or joint pain
  9. Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  10. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's

So what do you do if you suspect you have leaky gut? Well first, we get down to what could be offending foods in your diet. We tackle this with (step 1:) an elimination diet.* 

For 3 weeks eliminate the following foods from your diet: gluten (and any grains that could be cross-contaminated by gluten), dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. Some advise to also eliminate shellfish and peanuts.  After the three weeks reintroduce one category at a time (every 4 days) to observe your body's response. Eat the food several times a day for 2-3 days and observe. If you have a reaction right away, you do not need to keep eating it. 

Step 2: If you identify trigger foods- keep them out of your diet for 6 months. The body is remarkable and can remember! Give it time to forget and most likely you will be able to add those bad boys back into your diet eventually.**

Step 3: Add in foods to heal the intestinal lining! Hello, probiotic beauties! See last week's post for a for an in-depth look at probiotic rich foods. More below as well. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, coconut oil, ghee, and foods rich in glutamine (animal proteins, beans, spinach, cabbage, parsley, etc) are great for this step as well. 

Step 4: Bask in your healed, glorious body! 

Add a probiotic supplement

vitamins and probiotics

Let's talk about adding a probiotic supplement into your life. Eating probiotic rich foods is not the easiest so unless you plan on making it a priority – supplementing is your best bet! Additionally, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above - you can target specific issues by what imbalance you are trying to recover from.  I won't go too depth here, but this article breaks it down by symptom. 

Buying a probiotic is notoriously difficult because there are so many out there, and its hard to be informed about every option out there. Here is what you should look for: 

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

Identify the best bacteria strains

You want to make sure you are getting diverse strains of bacteria- because we are all about well rounded gut flora! There is some debate on if "more is better", but some advise for CFUs” (colony forming units) in the billions. Instead focus on a variety of strains. A good brand will list them out. Some of the best strains to keep an eye out for are below:

B. longum

  • Benefits: maintaining the integrity of the gut wall, decreasing stress, memory improvement, helping relieve constipation

B. bifidum

  • Benefits: improves digestion of dairy foods, breaks down carbs, fat, and protein into smaller components so the body can use them more efficiently, boosts immune response, reduction in IBS symptoms and ulcerative colitis

L. acidophilus 

  • Benefits: supports a healthy balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria, immune function, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports nutrient absorption, improves digestion of dairy foods


An expiration date

An expiration date ensures that you are getting live strains of bacteria. Probiotics are not going to do you any good if the strains are dead. Without an expiration date listed, there is no way to tell if you are buying living strains or if they are already dead! Probiotics are not cheap, so don't skip this advice! 


Smart packaging

Moisture and heat can kill off microbes so it is important to make sure that the packaging will protect them!  You should store supplements in a cool, dark place but refrigeration is best. Some brands have developed amazing delivery systems that are shelf stable, but to be safe, opt for the fridge. 

Guys, this post was longer than anticipated, so I decided this is now a 3 part series! Our last section will tackle ways to get whole food probiotic and prebiotics into your normal routine! I hope you have enjoyed the series so far. Please leave me a comment here or on instagram if you have learned something new! Cheers! AHS

*As a reminder, I am not a doctor. I only play one on TV. Please consult with a healthcare provider when you undergo lifestyle changes.

** This is for food sensitivities. If you suspect you may have celiac disease or other autoimmune diseases, please consult a healthcare provider.