Leaky Gut Syndrome has been receiving a lot of attention lately. It’s a serious and debilitating condition strongly linked to Candida overgrowth, as well as a number of many other digestive disorders such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is also thought to be a cause of certain food sensitivities and allergies. Many people find that their gluten or dairy allergies improve after a successful treatment for Candida.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Very simply, Leaky Gut is the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal walls. The lining of your gut is naturally permeable, as this is how nutrients pass from food into the bloodstream. The term ‘leaky gut’ is actually a case of ‘increased intestinal permeability’, in which various substances can pass through the intestinal wall.
Although the gut walls are supposed to allow a certain amount of nutrients through into the bloodstream, it’s when the ‘bad stuff’ gets through that we have problems.
This can happen for a number of reasons, but it is very often the result of a Candida overgrowth or some other form of gut dysbiosis.
Candida albicans is a yeast that lives naturally in the body, usually without causing any trouble. However, when Candida cells adopt their fungal form and begin to grow hyphae – the long branches that grow out of the fungus – they can wreak havoc on the gut. These branches invade the cells in your intestinal lining, creating inflammation and permeating the membrane that prevents harmful substances from leaking out.
If these openings become sufficiently large, they allow all kinds of toxins and undigested food particles to pass from your gut and into your bloodstream. The immune cells in your blood quickly identify these particles as foreign substances – simply because they’re not meant to be there! As a result, these immune cells alert the ‘headquarters’ that there’s a foreign invader in the body. Your immune system responds by acting to neutralize what it perceives to be a threat to your health. It does this by ‘attacking’ the invader – which can lead to massive inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissues. While this is meant to protect you, it also causes systemic inflammation.
One of the most amazing capabilities of your immune system is the way that it remembers infections. That’s why you only get chicken pox once! However, once your immune system has neutralized and eliminated those “invading” particles in your blood, it remembers exactly what they were. This means that the next time you eat that food, you might find that your body (specifically your immune system) has a reaction to it. This is the underlying cause behind many food allergies.
This is why the health of your intestinal lining is so important! Maintaining the health of this defense barrier is one of the goals of any good Candida treatment plan. In our Candida program we have included lists of foods and supplements that are designed to promote a healthy intestinal wall – both to prevent and repair damage.
How To Avoid Triggers For Leaky Gut Syndrome
The Candida diet means you’ll be avoiding many of the inflammatory, gut-weakening foods that can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome. These are some of the major causes of the inflammatory response:
Foods That Cause Inflammation (Avoid These!)
- Processed foods (or those with contain additives, preservatives, and other man-made ingredients)
- Gluten. Some glutinous grains may worsen intestinal permeability. Switch to grains such as buckwheat, millet or quinoa, or consider dropping grains from your diet entirely.
- Corn (very difficult for the gut to break down)
- Non-organic dairy products
- Unfermented soy
- Legumes and lentils
- Highly processed vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower, canola)
- Refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Non-organic animal products
Other Causes (And How To Avoid Them)
While we can’t always avoid stress completely, we can minimize its effect on our life. Some easy stress-relieving techniques include yoga and meditation. Just 15 minutes of meditation a day can help to switch your body from ‘fight or flight’ mode to ‘rest and digest’ mode, which activates healthy repair functions. Regular daily exercise also helps to relieve stress – even if it’s just a brisk walk.
Poor Gut Bacteria
Too much bad bacteria in the gut can lead to dysbiosis, which in turn can increase your risk of Candida. Probiotics are essential for restoring the balance of good bacteria in the gut, and are also shown to strengthen the gut lining against leaky gut. Take a quality probiotic supplement and/or add fermented foods to your diet such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and natural yoghurt. Try to avoid foods that claim to have probiotics but actually contain a lot of sugar.
Our air, food, skin products and even water can be filled with chemicals and pollutants. All of these things have to be filtered out by our body’s detoxification pathways (the liver and the skin). If these become clogged, more toxins build up – triggering more inflammation in the body. Although you can’t dodge all toxins, you can give your body a helping hand by drinking pure, filtered water, using only organic/natural skin care products and eating organic foods.
Heal Your Leaky Gut For Good Health Inside And Out
When trying to heal an inflamed, damaged gut, the Candida diet is the best place to start. By adding a few gut-healing foods such as probiotics, and taking time out to ‘de-stress’, you’re on your way to fully repairing your intestinal lining.
It’s also important to cut out the inflammatory foods mentioned above (especially sugar and alcohol!) and be sure to include a gentle source of fiber in your diet. If it’s not possible to eat only organic foods, at least try to ‘eat local’ and reduce the amount of artificial additives in your diet.
As your Candida clears up, you should find that your Leaky Gut Syndrome repairs itself too. The Ultimate Candida Diet program contains lots of advice on repairing your gut and avoiding inflammatory foods.