9 Steps to Perfect Health – #5: Heal Your Gut

healthygut

All disease begins in the gut.

– Hippocrates

Hippocrates said this more than 2,000 years ago, but we’re only now coming to understand just how right he was. Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

In fact, many researchers (including myself) believe that supporting intestinal health and restoring the integrity of the gut barrier will be one of the most important goals of medicine in the 21st century.

There are two closely related variables that determine our gut health: the intestinal microbiota, or “gut flora”, and the gut barrier. Let’s discuss each of them in turn.

The gut flora: a healthy garden needs healthy soil

Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.

The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. In fact, you could say that we’re more bacterial than we are human. Think about that one for a minute.

We’ve only recently begun to understand the extent of the gut flora’s role in human health and disease. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. Dysregulated gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections

Antibiotics are particularly harmful to the gut flora. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use causes a profound and rapid loss of diversity and a shift in the composition of the gut flora. This diversity is not recovered after antibiotic use without intervention.

We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed and are born to mothers with bad gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora may predict overweight, diabetes, eczema/psoriasis, depression and other health problems in the future.

The gut barrier: the gatekeeper that decide what gets in and what stays out

Have you ever considered the fact that the contents of the gut are technically outside the body? The gut is a hollow tube that passes from the mouth to the anus. Anything that goes in the mouth and isn’t digested will pass right out the other end. This is, in fact, one of the most important functions of the gut: to prevent foreign substances from entering the body.

When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable (i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”), large protein molecules escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Studies show that these attacks play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and type 1 diabetes, among others.

In fact, experts in mucosal biology like Alessio Fasano now believe leaky gut is a precondition to developing autoimmunity:

There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases including [celiac disease] and [type 1 diabetes]. Therefore, we hypothesize that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop autoimmunity.

The phrase “leaky gut” used to be confined to the outer fringes of medicine, employed by alternative practitioners with letters like D.C., L.Ac and N.D. after their names. Conventional researchers and doctors originally scoffed at the idea that a leaky gut contributes to autoimmune problems, but now they’re eating their words. It has been repeatedly shown in several well-designed studies that the integrity of the intestinal barrier is a major factor in autoimmune disease.

This new theory holds that the intestinal barrier in large part determines whether we tolerate or react to toxic substances we ingest from the environment. The breach of the intestinal barrier (which is only possible with a “leaky gut”) by food toxins like gluten and chemicals like arsenic or BPA causes an immune response which affects not only the gut itself, but also other organs and tissues. These include the skeletal system, the pancreas, the kidney, the liver and the brain.

This is a crucial point to understand: you don’t have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut. Leaky gut can manifest as skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, heart failure, autoimmune conditions affecting the thyroid (Hashimoto’s) or joints (rheumatoid arthritis), mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, depression and more.

Researchers have identified a protein called zonulin that increases intestinal permeability in humans and other animals. This led to a search of the medical literature for illnesses characterized by increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Imagine their surprise when the researchers found that many, if not most, autoimmune diseases – including celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease – are characterized by abnormally high levels of zonulin and a leaky gut. In fact, researchers have found that they can induce type 1 diabetes almost immediately in animals by exposing them to zonulin. They develop a leaky gut, and begin producing antibodies to islet cells – which are responsible for making insulin.

In Step #1: Don’t Eat Toxins, I explained that one of the main reasons we don’t want to eat wheat and other gluten-containing grains is that they contain a protein called gliadin, which has been shown to increase zonulin production and thus directly contribute to leaky gut.

But what else can cause leaky gut? In short, the same things I listed above that destroy our gut flora: poor diet, medications (antibiotics, NSAIDs, steroids, antacids, etc.), infections, stress, hormone imbalances, and neurological conditions (brain trauma, stroke and neurodegeneration).

Leaky gut = fatigued, inflamed and depressed

Here’s the takeaway. Leaky gut and bad gut flora are common because of the modern lifestyle. If you have a leaky gut, you probably have bad gut flora, and vice versa. And when your gut flora and gut barrier are impaired, you will be inflamed. Period.

This systemic inflammatory response then leads to the development of autoimmunity. And while leaky gut and bad gut flora may manifest as digestive trouble, in many people it does not. Instead it shows up as problems as diverse as heart failure, depression, brain fog, eczema/psoriasis and other skin conditions, metabolic problems like obesity and diabetes and allergies, asthma and other autoimmune diseases.

To adequately address these conditions, you must rebuild healthy gut flora and restore the integrity of your intestinal barrier. This is especially true if you have any kind of autoimmune disease, whether you experience digestive issues or not.

How to maintain and restore a healthy gut

The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all of the things I listed above that destroy gut flora and damage the intestinal barrier. But of course that’s not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections. Nor did we have any control over whether we were breast-fed or whether our mothers had healthy guts when they gave birth to us.

If you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:

  • Remove all food toxins from your diet
  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc., and/or take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Michelle says

    My Father in law is 90 and has been suffering from excess H pylori bacteria in his stomach. He was treated with a hefty dose of antibiotics but his diet needs to be changed. I was advised that all his meals should be in puree form, no garlic or citrus fruits, no alcohol nor coffee. This is a big deal for me becos we are spanish and our diets are very full of meats and stews and condiments. I need help with an easy weekly diet for him. Any ideas ? Thankyou xx

  2. says

    I had been suffering from a candida overgrowth. I didnt actually realize that until someone pointed it out. I started taking products from Plexus. Plexus Slim, Bio Cleanse, and ProBio5. Since starting these products I have felt fantastic. These are the most natural products you can find to assist with getting healthy. I had been on many medications for migraines, stomach issues, depression and anxiety, I am now off all of my prescriptions. A clean gut makes a huge difference in assisting with kicking these prescriptions. The Bio Cleanse is a natural Cleanse, easy on the system, and it oxygenates and energizes your body. ProBio5 is an incredible probiotic, it does not need to be refrigerated. It contains 5 powerful pro biotics, one of them Bacillus Sporogenes, produces the preferred form of lactic acid that is capable of releasing energy to resynthesize ATP( with out the involvement of oxygen) and is called anaerobic glycolysis.
    If you have any questions about Plexus, I would be happy to help. cvmartin16@comcast.net

  3. Stefeni says

    I was trying to respond to Alisa comment but I can’t find it. I guess this can go out to everyone:) For years, I was going back-and-forth from low histamine foods to low oxalate & etc. Then I took a test 23and me to validate my biggest issue was sulfur foods which is pretty much most vegetables and fermented foods. I do very well with Epson salt baths, and in the last couple of weeks have felt the difference but still narrowing to a few things that aren’t working. My system doesn’t simulate or process sulfur, so my body gets overloaded and then creates hives & cystic on my face. Also did an allergy test to find that I can’t eat foods that are high in salicylic acid or foods with latex (bananas pineapples & avocados).
    https://www.23andme.com

    • Jessica says

      Stefani –

      Thank you for sharing your insight and experience. I’ve been in the process of eliminating foods, too, based on my own experiences with them, and feel like some of my symptoms have become worse since I began eating paleo-ish a few years ago (for instance, I have developed very red eyes that I didn’t have prior to my paleo days and my nose still runs like crazy). I know I can’t tolerated histamine-rich food (kombucha and the like would make me bloat up and give me a racing pulse). I’m wondering if I have issues with sulfur rich foods, as well, because as a child I reacted badly to sulfa drugs and could not take them for illness. I eat cruciferous veggies daily, along with plenty of meat. Actually, the one day I went on a protein-fast (ala Bulletproof Diet), my nose didn’t run at all! Don’t know how to reconcile with that…do stop eating meat on the paleo diet??

      Anyway, I’m curious to know what role the epsom salt have. Do they somehow minimize the symptoms you are experiencing?

      Thank you!

  4. Stefeni says

    Chris don’t know if you read comments anymore BUT if you do it sure would be nice to have the most current comment at the top versus having to completely scroll down to the very bottom. Also, to be able to click on the link that’s sent to our email, and for it take you to the comment that you’re wanting to reply to. Other wise, you can’t find it unless you scroll through every comment which is extremely time consuming if it’s not the last comment at the VERY bottom. It’s just not user-friendly how you have it set up. Thank you

    • Catherine Wessling says

      Thanks for pointing this out Stefeni, they should have been showing newest at the top. We fixed it, so new comments are again at the top of the comment section.

  5. Mr. Seysmore says

    Eliminate ALL dairy products and coffee, teas, sugar carbonated drinks. Try active probiotics after fasting for a day, drink lots of clean water (slowly) and see if you don’t start feeling better in just few days. Celery juice has been beneficial to some as well. Gut luck!

  6. Gunilla says

    Hi,
    I have got an autoimmune condition and I am eating autoimmune paleo. I got a question regarding tapioca which sometimes show up i AIP recepies. But know I learned from you site that tapioca cross react with gluten? So tapioca is out of the diet then? And what about yucca, isnt that the same as tapioca?
    Hope you can sort this out for me.
    Kind regards
    Gunilla

    • says

      Hi, tapioca is a starch and so is best to avoid if you have an auto immune condition, also don’t eat yucca either. You need to heal your digestion so I would recommend that you try and avoid all starchy foods if possible. The autoimmune paleo is a good diet to follow. I don’t know how far you are on the diet but until your digestion is on the mend I would eliminate the starchy foods. Hope that helps you.

  7. Heather says

    I have not read through all the comments, but if this is a repeat question, I do apologize! My daughter (7)has been allergic to dairy since she was born. She is on the highest end according to her allergist. Anaphylactic reaction to ingestion(even a small amount of dairy baked into something) and hives due to contact of dairy substances. She has severe seasonal allergies, asthma and in the past few years has added more foods to her allergy list (per scratch test and blood test)….egg yolk and whites, apples, carrots and soy. She has also experienced many bouts with pneumonia and sinus infections and even experienced a rough case of e. coli just a couple years ago. I am interested in starting her on probiotics but I am very concerned about there being any dairy in (grown on) probiotics. Can anyone recommend a probiotic that would be safe for a child with a severe dairy allergy? Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Heather, you could try and make your own yoghurt which has trillions of good bacteria in it. I buy full fat milk and bring it up to 180 degrees in temperature. Use a steel pan and sanitise with boiling water first. I then let the milk cook to around 110 degrees and mix with a probiotic yoghurt starter sachet. You can buy in health food stores or online. You need to then keep it at an even temperature for at least 24 hours. You could plug in a slow cooker to warm it up and then turn it off, put the yoghurt into a container and put inside the slow cooker and wrap in a towel for 24 hours. This will incubate the yoghurt really well. I use a yoghurt maker that you plug in and it stays at the right temperature for as long as you need. You can buy on Amazon. This yoghurt is fermented longer than usual yoghurt so breaks down the lactose into a more digestible form. Hope that helps.

    • Christina says

      I don’t have a probiotic suggestion but I would recommend looking into NAET treatments for your daughters allergies. I’ve have seen the results firsthand and it is miraculous. It can be expensive but I promise you it is money well spent. Good luck. Also the GAPs diet can help.

    • Beva says

      I find that organic kefir should help your daughter even if she is allergic to milk as people with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate kefir.

      • Bren says

        NO-dangerous advice to dispense. This child is ALLERGIC to DAIRY, not lactose. Some who are sensitive to dairy may be able to tolerate milk kefir, but there are other reactive components like casein, yeast…

    • Bren says

      Heather, you are asking the right questions in search of healing for your daughter. Hope you are aware that a compromised system requires starting with small amounts of any probiotic. Perhaps a food or drink source might be easiest way to gauge for reactions. OTC probiotics are likely to have unreliable “dosing” numbers, i.e, labels touting 25 billion of 8 strains may have that number at production time, but deliver a very small fraction into the lower GI. There are refrigerated fermented beverages at Whole Foods that include teas, juices, waters (Kombucha). If no refrigerated source is near check health food section at your grocery. One sweetened tea tastes similar to sparkling apple cider: Kombucha Wonder Drink Peach with organic red tea (no caffeine), oolong tea. There are also non-dairy yogurts, kefirs made from coconut or almonds.

      Best wishes for you and your girl in finding answers that work!

    • Ana says

      Hi Heather! Do you have allergies? I would strongly recommend taking your daughter to a certified Naturopathic Doctor (ND). There are only 5 Naturopathic Medical Schools in the US and 2 in Canada. Sounds like her immune system is overloaded, and could be caused by herbicides, pesticides, perservatives, additives and/or environmental. And perhaps allergy medication she might have taken. I would suggest eating ORGANIC and NO SOY, dairy and gluten free diet. Vegetable juicing (organic) to cleanse the body and is quite nutritious. No refined food. The fremented food/drinks will aid in the gut flora as well. Oil or oregan helps heal some gut issues, but I would suggest talking to an ND first. While she is healing, her diet may be extremely limited, but in the long run, I believe she will be okay. The ND I saw was wonderful in helping me heal after cancer. Seriously, please look for an ND or an MD who believes in integrative medicine. Seriously, you need to do a drastic changed for your daughter to heal. All the best to your daughter!

  8. Bob says

    Chris, Are you familiar with the disease CRMO (chronic recurrent multi-focal osteomylitis)? Have you successfully treated any 12 year old females with this condition?

    • Jana says

      Bob, I had never heard of your daughter’s condition until now. Some natural alternatives that come to mind are kyloic garlic, protandim, and use of a cool laser light. The laser light is assuming she has been cleared of the possibility that it could be a form of cancer. I use a vetrolaser brand. Of course, you should consult with her physicians before adding anything to her treatment plan. Best wishes to your daughter.

  9. Jason Baker says

    A great sight. Reading that I am not alone in dealing with heali issues has truely helped. I have chronic eczema all over my body – I’m basically constantly itching.
    Have established that the problem is most probably stemming from a leaky gut with a candida overgrowth. Also have adrenal stress and very low function, probably from dealing with my sudden and devastative drops in energy with huge doses of caffiene.

    Question; Does anyone have any specic ideas on eczema in relation to gut heal etc

    Thank you

    Jason

    • Bren says

      Hi Jason-
      Have you had allergy testing including igG for delayed reaction to what you are consuming? My son seemed to flare in response to peanut butter.

      Good luck in your search.

      Bren

    • Paul says

      Hi Jason
      I’m 38 and suffered my whole life with eczema. The only true change I’ve seen is by elimination diet. Took my diet back to basics with fruits veggies and filtered water. I cut dairy, meat, caffeine and alcohol. I noticed a difference instantly. I then began reintroducing foods after a few weeks. I still keep off dairy, rarely eat meat, alcohol or caffeine. I found corn, corn starch, corn syrup, popcorn etc causes instant flairing. I used to eat more paleo style now I’m high carving with clean unrefined foods. This has worked, dandruff gone, belly gone and my skin is calm and clearing up. Watch a movie called Forks over Knives, that has a lot of helpful advice also.

    • says

      Hi Jason, yes I agree, you need to do an elimination diet. The main ones will be gluten, wheat, dairy and starchy foods like rice and potatoes. Heal your leaky gut with bone broth and make a fruit jelly with pure grape juice and gelatin and eat 3 times a day and bone broth 3 times a day to heal your gut. I think once you have healed your gut and started eating more vegetables and no processed foods or sugar, things should calm down a bit for you. It will take time for your body to heal though. For your adrenals, take a good B vitamin supplement, zinc, magnesium, selenium. You need good fats too like coconut oil and omega 3 supplement. Get your minerals by eating sea salt.

      • Bren says

        Not that simple. Bone broths, homemade from pastured beef and organic chicken can be high in glutamates that flare symptoms. There are variations, but I would research GAPS diet-best to start there.

  10. Cora de Fluiter says

    Hello Chris, you write that Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods can contribute to unhealthy gut flora.
    I am trying to find the scientific research that proofs this. I can not find this in your articles. Can you help me?

  11. Jenah says

    I have read a number of these post. I have been raked over the coals for the last few years trying to heal my gut. The healthier I ate the sicker I got. I was drinking home made goat kefir, eating sauerkraut, drinking green smoothies and green juiced drinks. Taking all kinds of herbs, oil of oregano. I stopped eating out in dec of 2011, only eating organic whole foods, most of my meat was home grown grass fed. Veggies grown in my garden. I ended up with leaky gut. From my research, the fiber in raw green drinks worsens an already sick gut, raw veggies have toxins like oxalates in them that destroy your gut flora and puts toxic crystals through out your body. Sauerkraut acts like an opioid (think opium) in many people with gut issues. One teaspoon of sauerkraut juice will put me in a vegetative state for 3 days. Fermented foods are very high in histamines and make matters worse. Sadly for me, I was taking / drinking lots of kefir a day and it did not cure my leaking gut, I only got worse. I was also on the blood type diet for two years prior.

    In February of 2013, I started getting all my mercury, crowns and root canals removed. I started the GAPS diet. It made matters worse. The bone broth made glutamates, which I reacted to, I also reacted to the sulfites and oxalates in the foods recommended . After six weeks of soup I stopped the diet. I started doing a low oxalate diet, which helped until I started dumping oxalate toxins. Note to self, don’t go low oxalate over night, it’s very painful when you release them. By July I have all my dental work done. Things are still going downhill. Possibly because I do not take anything to remove the mercury. I start taking MSM, and my hair starts falling out by the handful.Since dec 2013 I regularly do water fasting. In September I take two different types of allergy test. Pretty much everything I was eating I was reacting to. I also find I have salicylate sensitivity. I go on a 4 day rotational diet. I now have 10 foods I can eat. I start dropping weight like crazy. I started taking clay from California earth minerals. Within two weeks, my bowel movement start improving, my brain fog lifts. My intestines start feeling better. By the five month mark I am able to eat more food per meal, still limited to ten foods. My hair has gone from 250 hairs down to 30 hairs a day. ( hair loss can be a sign of sick gut )I am having new hair growth. My fingernails are growing again. The cracks in my tongue are healing ( search for tongue diagnosis ) my muscle tone is back. My energy is getting better and better. I still have weeks of detoxing periods , but I also have weeks of no detox periods. Before, I was detoxing for weeks and would have a one day repreave. It is now 8 months of being on the earth minerals, I can feel myself coming back. The things I take are blue bonnet Betaine hcl with pepsin, digest spectrum enzymes, magnesium malate powder, two tablespoons of California Earth mineral ( two hours away from meals or pills) I soak daily in epson salt baths. I am very cautious of taking anything, try to stay on my 10 food diet. My foods are:
    Day one: chicken, winter squash , brown jasmine rice rice cake with hazel nut butter
    Day two: bison, spaghetti squash , brown jasmine rice, rice cake HNB
    Day Three: duck , apple sauce (made with cameo apples) BJRice, RCHNB
    Day four: elk, black eyed peas, BJRice, RCHNB
    I had to take my chances and eat rice and the hazelnut butter everyday because I was starving. So far so good.
    They say it takes about two years to heal the gut, but along the way rest of my body is healing.

    Hopefully this helps someone who has similar problems.

    • Bren says

      Jenah, what an arduous journey! I am encouraged that you are finallyseeing light at the end of the tunnel. Is your dentist a natural med doc? If not, can you find a natural practitioner to help you with a detox regime? (And evaluate hormone levels.)

      I have also experienced greens (high oxalates) toxicity and cannot tolerate fermented foods or diluted Braggs organic apple cider vinegar. An herbalist recommended acv, but did not explain detox symptoms that might be experienced. Felt like food poisoning.

      I suggest you research the source of brown rice you are using. Brown rice has higher arsenic contamination than white. I realize you have to eat SOMETHING, but since you are consuming it daily you might try to rotate with an ancient grain like Quinoa. I got very ill by day 3 of an elimination diet of rice (brown and white) and lamb. Allergist/immunologist suggested I might have been experiencing detox, but in retrospect I realized I had reacted badly to jasmine rice on prior occasions.

      I understand your reluctance to deviate from your ten safe foods, but to stay on such a restricted diet will likely cause a sensitivity to most of them. ESPECIALLY likely since you know your gut is compromised.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with California Earth Minerals–that’s something I had intentions of researching!

      One last suggestion: Consider rotating your sources of magnesium. Experiment to avoid loose stools. L-theonate and taurate taken orally work well for me with epsom lotion and magnesium oil topically.

      Good luck in speeding your healing!

      • Jenah says

        Bren,
        I went to a some what natural dentist, he removed my two root canals and one crown tooth, then flaked out on me on the fourth tooth I wanted pulled. It was a crown with mercury filling under. This was the same area when I talked on a cell phone would shoot what felt like laser beams thru my head, also would get buzzing in my head if I went under certain power lines. This dentist would only take the crown off and replace it with a temporary crown. So on to dentist number two, he basically held me captive in his chair for 45 minutes trying to persuede me to have a 2000.00 crystal implant put in. It was only when I was getting up to leave that he decided he would pull the tooth. It took three minute. On to dentist 3. He did an ok job of removing my mercury fillings, he used all the precautions they are suppose to, and removed the filling in the order that dentist 1 said needed to come out. But he did not tell me to use anything to help pull the mercury out of my system, and if it’s like oxalates, when you remove the item from your diet or system you start detoxing it. I really should have been using the clay before I had any dental work done.
        When I went to dentist 1, he made me go to a somewhat natural doctor. ( February of 2013 ) he did all his muscle testing, told me which tooth needed to come out first, told me I had parasites, and a very bad liver, then prescribed a chemical wormer. When I read up on it online, first precaution was don’t take if you have liver problems. So I did not take. When we spoke about my leaking gut, he told me “good luck trying to find something to eat” gave me no help or suggestions. I made hubby go with me to all my appointments. Bye the third visit hubby says to not tell the dock the main problems and to only say a few secondary things, like brain fog ect. So in my exams he completely misses all my main problems and prescribes over 200.00 in synthetic vitamins for the secondary problems. To me he was like one of those cheesy psychics who pump you for info then go off of that. Had he learned any thing from my exam he would have known things were worse. So in the mean time, I speak to another lady who just went to these two docs and spent over $10,000.00 to get “fixed”.
        Doc 2, in September, had me do all kinds of test. By this time I am reacting to most foods and telling him I can not take all this stuff, he prescribes 250.00 worth of vitamins which I do not buy, then gets pissed at me because I bring my ” body gaurd” to all my visits. My main intent was just to get allergy testing done. I wanted both allergy and intolerance testing. He had a new company that tested for more foods, so we did that, but he failed to tell me it was for intolerances only. He tried to get me signed up on his NAET program, but the research I did on it, did not prove to really help many people. He would not do a sample on me to see if it worked. Each food could take 3 visits @ 50.00 per visit, wanted me on his office 3 times a week.
        So on to doc 3. I was honest and up front from the beginning and told her all I wanted was the allergy test. Her next opening for new client was not for 4 weeks, so I ask if I can prepay for my visit and g ahead and get the lab work done for my allergy test. She agrees. We have a few more conversations. When she realizes that I am not going to be buying any of her vitamins she cancels my appointment and holds my results over my head. I have to call the lab and have them send me the results. So yes I have seen doctors and the only help I got was in transferring money from my pocket to theirs.

        I will check out my source of brown rice. I do rotate occasionally with white sushi rice, but feel like it messes with my blood sugar if I eat it to often. I can not tolerate any other kinds of grains.

        I was eating all different kinds of foods last September , then started with the salicylate rash when I ate blueberries . When I cut out all the histamine, sali, oxalate, glutamate, sulfur, dairy ect foods did I start feeling better. A while back I ate a cherry , I got a small rash on my back, 3 days later I pitted the cherries that we had picked. My fingers were in the cherrie juice and I absorbed thru my skin. By that night I had a huge rash on my back that was moving around my under arm onto my chest. The pain was very deep muscle pain and I could not take anything for it. Hot baths, heating pad and massage chair, were my only help. 2 weeks of that and the welps started going away. I have tried different foods and find I react, and with my cherry experience, it’s a very difficult decision on weather I want to go thru that just to see if I can “tolerate” a different food. Some people take histamine type pills so they can eat histamine foods. My thoughts are if your body is reacting to them and you put a band aide over the problem and don’t heal the problem, you are doing a much greater disservice to your body by continuing to feed it stuff it’s telling you it does not want. My 10 food diet will not be forever. At some point when my gut is healed with the ingestion of the clay and staying away from foods that my body rejects, I will be able to enlarge my food selection.
        The only magnesium I could find that did not have additives to it is the magnesium malate powder that I am currently taking. I will look around and see if I can find some thing else. I have no issues with it cramping, or loose stools. I also rub on magnesium oil. But have not since my cherry experience be cause of the bumps on my back and the sweet burning pain one gets when the oil is rubbed on a raw spot.

        Thanks for your words and help..
        Be blessed
        Jenah

        • Bren says

          Good Golly-you HAVE been thru the ringer! Sorry you have had so many poor experiences with your dental and medical practitioners. (It’s ludicrous that we separate the two.)

          I’m contemplating removal of a crown that is silver underneath. How did you learn what the composition was?

          I’m glad you didn’t eat 2 cherries! So, did Doc #3 order the IgE allergy testing? If not, the most expansive list for the buck is probably from GreatPlainsLaboratory.com. BTW, you can do the NAET muscle testing by yourself–holding substance between certain fingers. Helpful to have someone else apply the resistance pressure.

          Can’t find the site now, but a doctor decades ago
          did successful allergy testing by putting a tiny dab of foods and other substances just one or two at a time on patient’s skin at bedtime and then checking for site reaction next day. Might be interesting to try when you are ready to reintroduce a food that you were previously able to tolerate.

          You are wise to have suspended the magnesium oil–The Ancient Minerals site confirms that yes, we can be allergic to magnesium. I reduced my application frequency as I’m pretty sure it was the source of an itchy, burning rash (not an application area).

          I am praying for restoration of your health.

          Bren

          • Jenah says

            The test I had done were the leap, it only test for sensitivities, and from Meridian labs which test for IgG and IgE. I am glad I got both done because there were several discrepancies between the two. One said I had no problems with oats while the other was a complete avoid. I spoke with the doctor on call at leap and he told me if one says you react then still avoid. He was pretty shocked at the difference between both test.

            I did not know what was under the crown until he removed it. I traced back the sick times in my life, and they were all following dental work.

            I use to have my chiropractors muscle test me for foods. One food was coconut flour. Two different ones said it was safe to eat, but when I did, I would get pins and needles in my feet and hands.. Several other things were tested ok to eat but were not. Normally when I introduce a food, I do the pulse test. ( take pulse, eat a little bit of the food, wait ten min, sit still for two min, take pulse again, if pulse is 10 points higher, more than likely you are reacting. When I ate the cherry my heart started racing immediately. You can look up Dr, Cocoa pulse test and get the specifics.

            Thanks for all your help… Seems like the only way we heal is by listening to each other and bypass the money grabbers who no longer look at you as patients but as walking dollar signs!

            Jenah

            • Anna says

              Hi Jenah

              If you are looking for help to detox from Mercury Seagreens brown seaweed supplement does an excellent job of carrying heavy metals out of the system, I have been using it for 2 years now and I wouldn´t be without it. All the best on our healing journey :-)

    • Stefeni says

      Have you ever taken the test 23andme? Similar to you, I have to take Epson salt bath which I have found I don’t simulate sulfur, so I can’t eat sulfur foods which was discovered through the 23andme test. My allergy test showed that I can’t eat foods that are high in saylic acid. So for over a year I was avoiding foods high in histamine and that wasn’t even my problem.

    • Ana says

      Jenah,

      Organic Chlorella (without soy) either via powder for smoothies or in pill form (mercola.com) has been known to remove mercury and other metals from the body. It also has other wonderful properties.

      I emphasize ORGANIC because nowadays tour food unfortunately has so many pesticides, herbicides, and GMO.

      So sorry to hear about your ordeal with the dentists and doctors. May I ask what state you live in? I live in MA and found a wonderful certified Naturopathic – Dr. James Belanger in Lexington, MA – who battled cancer himself. He helped me tremendously after my battle with cancer, where the chemo treatments left me so weak. It’s been 1.5 years and I feel and look great. I could not tolerate Tamoxifen, so he put me on Calcium D-Glucarate amongst other supplements. I am fortunate my insurance carrier paid for all of my blood work with the lab Dr. Belanger works with. He took very thorough blood work that my own doctors don’t do. And I do a lot of research to ensure I’m on the right path as well. So i am fortunate to have him here.

      I also read books and subscribe to Russell Blalock, MD newsletter, who is a retired neurosurgeon, and believes in naturopathic medicine. Very informative information, and very true. Even PubMed accredits his writings.

      I am going to look into the intestinal cleanser you mentioned.

      All the best!

  12. Bren says

    I am fearful of including fermented foods as I have IC flares from even small amounts of diluted Braggs apple cider vinegar and acidic fruits . Does anyone have experience with fermented foods exaccerbating interstitial cystitis? Reactive to milk and eggs. Off gluten, but do use tapioca based substitutes. I use a 50 billion count 10 strains probiotic during flares and take 15-30 billion other days, but golly, that’s just a drop in the bucket. Making my bone broths-what other strategies to help heal the gut?

    • Denise Forehand says

      I have started using ProBio5 & Biocleanse (a very gentle cleanse – not what it sounds like)! Oh my goodness!!!! If I had only found this combination sooner…..I have suffered from allergies, UTI’s, many other things, excema, depression, etc….ONLY until I started working on clearing up my GUT, did these problems start disappearing! Plexus has changed my life & as a nurse, I’m making it my mission to help others!!!

      • Bren says

        Thanks for sharing your experience. The ProBio5 formula has low numbers compared to my probiotic for the price. I’m already taking magnesium in two oral forms and topically (magnesium oil). Magnesium oxide is cheap vs the Biocleanse “formula.”

      • Jen says

        Before healing the gut with supplements or diet, it is very important to clean out the gut first. This makes the healing experience so much more smoother without the severe symptoms of a “healing crisis”, that discourages people from continuing their journey to better health. It’s like when one wants to redecorate a room, they must clean out everything first, then fix and repair the damages on floors and walls, before redecorating with new items.

        Cleaning out the gut first prepares it to receive healing herbs, supplements, and diet to repair, nourish, and balance the intestinal environment. Going on certain diets, taking supplements, etc, without first doing a good cleanse can cause uncomfortable reactions as the body is trying to heal. It’s sad to see people get discouraged by these reactions and give up, when doing a simple cleanse first, makes all the difference in the healing experience.

          • Jen says

            An intestinal or colon cleanse. There are many products out there, but I tried one called Blessed Herbs. This product worked great and they have a really good reputation. You can google it. Also, I’ve heard of a milder cleansing product called Oxy-Powder Intestinal Cleanser, which I’m planning using for maintenance. The Blessed Herbs cleanser is for a yearly, thorough cleanse. and the Oxy-Powder one is a milder one that can be used regularly on an “as needed” basis for maintenance.

            Many years ago, my husband developed symptoms of Fibromyalgia, along with chronic fatigue, brain fog, etc. after being put on an antibiotic therapy for 6 months (which later we realized he shouldn’t have even been put on). That totally caused an imbalance in his digestive tract, which led to this autoimmune disease. Of course, we did not know the cause of his symptoms for many years. Only after hours of my own research did I realize the cause of his health problems and what I need to do to help him get better. He was the most healthy person there was, but just one mistake from a doctor caused us years of needless suffering.

            I learned that toxins, whether it be from drugs, processed foods, environment, etc. are the cause of our intestinal imbalance. This imbalance is what leads to just about all of our modern day auto- immune diseases. If we fix our gut, the SYMPTOMS of these diseases will automatically disappear. Years ago, we tried to use herbs and supplements with diet to help him improve his health. He had really bad healing reactions at the beginning. He did improve somewhat. But it wasn’t until years later, when we tried the cleanse first, before using supplements, that he really improved tremendously. And the healing experience was much more pleasant by doing the cleanse first.
            These conditions are supposedly incurable—well yes, thru drugs, they are definitely incurable. They just TREAT the SYMPTOMS and then cause other health issues from the side effects! But if we give the body what it needs, it can utilize it to cure itself.

  13. says

    Thank you for the awesome article! You explained it so much better than I ever could. Leaky Gut is a huge problem and I am so glad to see others working to spread the knowledge on what it causes and how to heal it, especially since it was such a huge part of my life for so many years before I healed naturally. Thanks again!

  14. Carmen says

    Hi Everyone, last year I worked very hard to meet a deadline. Straight after I developed Hyperthyroidism. My endocrynologyst prescribed Carbimazole, 10mg a day, but I didn’t improve and after three months increased the dose to 20 mg a day. After a month I felt rather dizzy! Now I am in South America and went to a naturepath and she put me on juices, raw vegetables, nuts and two artichokes a day. After three weeks I felt the blood results showed I was far worse! Then I stopped the naturepath diet and now I am consulting a homeopath. I feel a bit better but I still tremble, so I am not well. Can you suggest what can I try that will restore my health? Thanks. Carmen.

  15. Sara says

    Hi everyone! I started the GAPS diet a week and a half ago in hopes of clearing up leaky gut/SIBO and all of the side effects that comes with these issues. I’m doing fairly well. Still on Intro Phase 1.

    Any advice on how best to reintroduce foods? I suspect I have a FODMAP issue as well given my food intolerances and sensitivities, so I’ve been living off of bone broth, sauerkraut juice, and boiled chicken and beef. I’m eager to try the Phase 1 veggies, but not sure how given that most all of these foods were giving me problems. Advice?

  16. Patty says

    Hi,
    I have been struggling with gut problems since I was born. I am a twin. My sister never gets sick. Me, I’ve been sick most of my life. I am now 56 and still searching. I eat great. I take probiotics and I see a nutritionist. I have lots of FMS symptoms. Leaky gut, etc. I now have new very strange symptoms. I get numbness and tingling around my whole body. I can’t sit or lay down for more than a few hours without everything going numb. I have had every test in the world. Latest was a spinal tap. Everything always comes out normal. Does anyone have these symptoms and does anyone have any advice for me?

    • Bren says

      How scary this must be! And frustrating to spend much of your life jumping thru healthcare hoops. Have any of your MDs suggested this is neuropathy? If so, I hope you are trying an Rx “medifood” called Podiapn-supposed to help rebuild nerve pathways.

    • Leslie says

      I have two possibilities for you, based on my own experience. I found that after lying or even sitting down my arms or legs would go numb. It was a circulatory issue, and daily cod liver oil cured it. It also greatly improved the dry skin on my feet. Also, last December I was getting tingling and what I would describe as electrical shocks down my leg. I have heard that multiple sclerosis sometimes presents that way. My family has many autoimmune disorders and that is one I don’t want to experience. It was the final straw that made me give up gluten (which I’ve struggled on and off with for years). It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had slip ups but only experienced the “shocks” once since then. I should also mention I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after my third child was born and by chance figured out that it was dairy products that were the culprit. When I gave up dairy the pain vanished as well as low grade depression I didn’t know I had. Good luck to you in your search for health. I am exactly your age and know how hard it can be to figure out what will help. But it’s worse not to try!

    • Syl says

      Perhaps also check your teeth. Did you have root canal treatment ever? Implants? Or a diversity of metals in your mouth? Google around this topic, your symptoms remind me of what I read about some folks with root canal treatments which resulted in problems. Not everyone gets those problems from rc it is really different for each individual.

  17. Bhagwan Goklani says

    I are in my sixties, I get flatulence quite often. I have read articles about taking lemon juice with warm water to reduce acidity. I have been taking lemon juice with warm water. My urine ph was 8. I am not sure if my stomack is acidic or alkaline. What should I do to reduce gas production.

    • Bren says

      By 50 our enzyme production drops to ’bout half. A good multi-enzyme formula will help you digest proteins (protease), fats (lipase), milk (lactase), carbs (amylase) and fiber (cellulase). Complement with a good probiotic. :)

  18. Jose crofts says

    Hi lo was born with poor digestive tract. Small intestine weak . Constipation jjoint pain suffer fatigue when I exercise I feel pain in my hip shoulders .lol experience poor concentration. I take probiotic, L Glutamine, gluten free . Rat green smooth I the morning. Eat veggies. Cutting Ogg wheat and yeast. No yellow cheese or eggs. Hopefully inflammation settles and gut improves. Ha en any suggestions?

  19. Voice of reason says

    Question 1.

    If you could only eat 4 foods what would be the best for your digestive system.

    Question 2.

    Green tea is on all the must drink for best health lists. Is this because it helps the gut processes.

  20. Voice of reason says

    I Accept the idea of the gut being the source of tons of health problems and how manufactured foods have raped America’s well being. I have several questions.
    1. Will cutting out manufactured foods greatly improve your health.
    2. Then will cutting that kind of foods intake in half or more improve your health even more. Less to digest or foods to cause problem so to speak.
    Sub@windstream.net

  21. Beverly says

    C-section delivered – infant gut colonized by bacteria in OR suite/hands of surgeons and nurses, rather than mom’s vaginal canal. Not breastfed. Lots of genetic SNPs that could block methylation pathways. Symptomatic of many of these conditions all my life. Tried just about everything. Best solution for me is aggressive B12 replacement therapy with injections/patches/high dose sublinguals – but not cyano, or folic acid, since that seems to pool in my blood. Hydroxocobalamin/Megagolinic all the way for me baby. B12 Deficicency seems to be at the root of so many of these conditions, even hypothyroidism, since the body cannot detoxify the hydrogen peroxide byproducts of T4 to T3 conversion if there is not enough glutathione in your system, as manufactured by B12 and folates, among a few other things…….if I had to wait on an MD to help me get what I needed, at age 57, I am sure I would be inpatient for early dementia/Alzheimers…….stupid, stupid, stupid, unethical medical profession!!!!!

  22. shaunda says

    I’m just starting this journey with the “5R” Gastro Plan, I have to start off slow with deleting things in my diet that I have been eating for years. I don’t want to give up so easy. today was pretty much ok, i’m a very picky picky eater, don’t like vegetables, but i do like fruits. .kind of lunch and dinner meals do you have in mind. i’m ok with drinking water all the time. trying to stop using milk or sweetened cereal for the and first week. I have to keep myself pre-occupied with things because i’m a sweet junky and a late night eater. but as of today. i’m starting to stop eating after 9pm and getting better rest. I set a new bed time too. PLEASEEEEE HELPPP

  23. liz says

    so, on the list of what to do to fix gut issues, I have only 3 I can actively use. I am on a super limited diet due to food intolerances—only kale, meat, white rice, salt and olive oil. REALLY. What is my priority move then? first a parasite cleanse? Idid one, but had trouble getting to a full dose and feel I should redo it since parasites were found in my test…….. then probiotics? I would appreciate any advice.

    • Trish says

      As it was explained to me, the liver needs to be detoxed and to not worry about other types of cleanses for parasites, etc. That once the liver is cleansed the body then goes about cleaning house.

      Liver detoxing methods/protocols can take various forms – herbal cleanses, liver supporting supplements and/or tonics, cleansing foods, coffee enemas. Personally I lean toward liver supporting foods.

      My practitioners told me that once the liver is cleansed and strong the body is then freed up to heal the way it was designed to. Um, medically I have no idea how to define that any further, but I am following the guidance of these practitioners. They say no matter the issue, the body tackles it better with a healthy liver. The more liver supportive foods that worked for my body, the more foods I was able to eat. My hormones are balancing, as well as other improvements. But my inflammation from a lung infection and compromised digestive system, and my fatigue, are serious enough however that I have to take further cleansing steps. So I just thought I might share that liver health/liver strength appears to be a factor in the overall healing process. Apparently, we’re all bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. As we detox from wheat and dairy etc. with better nutrient rich foods we then release stored toxins. Help the body to clear them out via a liver detox protocol, and then the body can heal better.

      By the way, thanks to the reader for the wheat withdrawal link. It explained what happened to me when I quit gluten and all grains in late fall of 2012. Now I finally have an answer to the calve cramps.

      Best health to all.

  24. Alec says

    Hi, I have been recieving your emails and reading your very interesting articles and comments. I am in a bit of a quandary though. About 10 weeks ago I gave up ALL wheat products (to give up Gluten) and had the worst time with the withdrawal symptoms: (just a brief list)
    stomach in SUCH pain, bloatedness, all the aches and pains of flu without flu, stress, dramatic weight-loss 82 kilo to now 72.5K
    I had side pains and back pains, till finally I decided to go BACK to wheat. NOT in a big way, but bread, less slices, and some cerial, very little. It was WORSE!!! I had all the pains of withdrawing, with other stomach pains and pain under my lower ribs. I lost so much magnesium and salt that I had cramps permanently in my calves (I was quite heaklthy before this all happened and NEVER suffered from cramps).

    I had had enough, I went to the docter after I beleive my immune system went so low (apparently because of the wheat withdrawal), as I NOW had allergies to dust!!! NEVER had this in my life untill I gave wheat up. I now cough so bad and have to hoover every day. It was soo bad I went to the doctor for the respiratory prolem, where I almost choked from the coughing, I now have a “puffer” :( and I find I may have a stomach ulcer or possibly kidney infection due possibly to the dramatic weightloss.

    I have just had a series of bloodtests then was urgent requested to go to the hospital for an ultra scan of my stomach and bladder.
    I am 56, I beleive this was alll a mistake at my age. I think most doctors have never heard of what you are talking about, especially in England, I had to complain about 2 doctors before I got a doctor who would give a dam to take the interest, and he is flumuxed!! I have given him printouts of your comments and of this page http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/09/surviving-wheat-withdrawal/ but they look at me as if I am an idiot and how dare I research this myself.

    Personally I wish I had never given it up…. BUT I read articles like this one and it scares me that we are alll BASICALLY unhealthy!! And it is so hard to know what to do.

    Last comment: you mention antibiotics and ant-acids are bad for the gut. The doctor has given me antacids for my problem, and will likely need to give me a course of antibiotics if its an ulcer…… what is one to do???????

  25. Erik says

    Just thinking out loud here… But if the human gut holds 100 trillion bacteria, and those 400 species are specific to the environment of the human gut, would probiotics supplements make any real difference? After all, the species in probiotics are not cultured from the gut so how would they survive in the gut and what are they doing once they get there? Also, the billion or so that are in one supplement tablet is just a fraction of 100 trillion. The fraction is so small compared to 100 trillion it is hard to imagine having much if any impact.

  26. Danielle Neye says

    I am 50 years old and have never had any allergies but recently I have had allergic reactions to anything that has a seed in it. Tomatoes, avocados and mustered seeds to name a few. A friend told me to look into leaky gut. I think maybe that’s the problem. I have very poor medical insurance and I just don’t know what to do. Any help on were I could start would be great. Thanks danielle

  27. Alechia says

    I am relatively new to the understanding that gut health leads to whole health and I have a lot of questions. Our children were all born naturally, and I breastfeed/breast all of them (until at least age 3). However, they all had eczema, the middle one self -clearing at age 2, but the oldest continuing still at 6, and the baby just developing it at 4 months this past week. We’ve been eating fermented foods for years, but recently upping the variety and quantity. We also follow the grain and nut protocols in Nourishing Traditions. I took probiotics during the pregnancies of our two younger children, though i had antiobiotics during delivering for the first two. I am heartbroken that child #3 has developed eczema despite a natural homebirth and no antibiotics. I think i must not have any decent flora to pass them. What else can I do to improve my flora? How can I get the baby’s flora to establish as healthy (and clear the eczema)? What about the 3 and 6 year olds? Can I shift their flora, and our family’s in a more positive way?

  28. Janice says

    A little help please! When trying to add digestive enzymes, what am I primarily looking for? It makes my head swim at the prospect of trying to understandings all the ” claims”!!!

  29. Jeri Kay says

    Great article Chris. I discovered that this was my problem after years of declining health and six months of constant colds/flu/viruses, aching joints and general lack of health. Having hit my “health bottom”, following the 2nd round of antibiotics in an inappropriate, but medically predictable response to chronic illness. Trying to treat the yeast infection that followed, I stumbled onto the answers you discuss.

    A mere 2 weeks into a repair regimen, I had regained vitality, had energy for the first time in years and was losing those impossible inches around my back and belly. I caution people who want to jump into a very strict regimen. For many, the inflexibility of some popular fad diets dooms them to failure, and is, honestly, unnecessary. You didn’t get this way overnight, and you aren’t going to fix it all in one day. I recommend just starting to look at sugars, alcohol, and anything “white” that converts into a sugar equivalent immediately (white starches) as “Poison”. Eliminate them. I add 2 glasses of my tonic: 8 oz of water with 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, a small drop of maple syrup, juice of 1 lemon and cayenne pepper. You get used to the taste and begin to like it. I munch on sunflower seeds to get me through the craving/manic urges to eat things I shouldn’t. Also, at the same time, I add 2 probiotics – a good, wide spectrum bacteria mix, and a quality yeast (good yeast) rebuilder, like Florastor, with Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium, and Fish Oil supplements morning and night.

    This has worked for me, without severe diet rules or complicated processes, and as such, can see myself maintaining these habits indefinitely.

    In Health -

  30. John Ann Owens says

    My son is 39 yrs.old and has had Colon Cancer.He was deemed cancer free in May 2013. He loves sweets and consumed alot of Butterscotch candy losenges over a 2-3 month period. He wound up with what the Dr.s thought was Crohn’s or Ulcertive Colitis. He has been on med.s for 3 months, has leaky bowels and a bad rash on his bottom. Nothing seems to be helping . We are open to any and all suggestions.I honestly think it had something to do with the large amounts of the candy, he wasn’t this way before.

  31. warmsmartcookie says

    Thanks so much for the article. I have severe gluten sensitivities and wondered what you thing about using whey protein when doing body building. I am wondering if anyone has experience using whey and its impact on the gut.

  32. Caette says

    It is possible to acquire a leaking gut after hernia surgery with mesh in that some how the gut is permeated? My ex’s blood work has shown auto immune characteristics after mesh surgery along with peripheral neuropathy as a symptom.

  33. beaker says

    I’ve seen some research that shows wheat bran is a good source of food for bifidus strains of bacteria, boosting bifidus quite a lot. I seem to have much better stool quality since going on 1/2 cup of wheat bran daily (type4, good color and moisture content), before going on the bran I was stuck with slow transit and type one. I tried a number of alternatives such as Psyllium, ground flax, chia or hemp seed and more. Nothing seemed to help until I gave bran a try and I was back to my old regular self within 3 days.

  34. SWarner says

    I read allot about eating fermented foods to heal leaky gut…what’s an alternative if you can’t eat fermented food?

  35. Kim says

    My mom is in her 50s and was recently diagnosed with what her doctor is calling an extremely rare form of hypothyroidism. It’s NOT Hashimoto’s – he told her that the form she has afflicts 1% of those with hypothyroidism, and possibly fewer than that. Sounds like it’s genetic. She takes a little pill to help with her symptoms (mainly extreme exhaustion) but I refuse to believe that she can’t be helped by diet, especially recommendations mentioned in this post. She already kicked her diabetes to the curb by cutting out most gluten. Can you offer any insight? I’d love to help her, and also stave off any possibility of me inheriting this in the future. Thank you.

  36. Mary Ogg says

    Leaky gut syndrome, carpel tunnel, soft bone density, weight loss, adrenal gland fatigue, constipation, hasimoto’s. low somach acid, sadness, lack of sleep, work place stress, pneumonia, that pretty much sums up my last year.
    I encourage you to never give up, keep looking and you will find the right answers that fit you or your loved one you are caring for.
    In the beginning I could only tolerate 10 foods: chicken and broth with garlic and onions, parsley sea salt, green beans, pears, pecans and quinoa. I missed 3 months of work. I was sensitive to salicylates ( natural inflammation foods there is a long list), night shades (tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers, eggplant) , proteins (brown rice, peas, dairy, eggs, red meat.)
    A natural path doctor encouraged me to go on an elimination diet.
    I eliminated corn, soy, wheat dairy, eggs, sugars/sweeteners, alcohol,
    Always wrote a food diary, compared it to symptoms, and how I felt. Adjusted my diet accordantly. When I started blended smoothies I had to cook any vegetable and greens. And rotated greens every 3 days or so. I can only tolerate swiss chard and all leafy greens, but spinach and kale will start getting brain fog, fatigue lack of sleep, all over again.
    She gave me probiotics, vitamin D3, Calcium/magnesium, multi vitamin and drink lots of water (non-chlorinated)
    In the last year I’ve had days with no symptoms. I look back at my diary to see what I did or did not do.
    Researching on the internet I learned I had to tailor the information for me. It;s been a trial and error process to understand the ever changing me.
    Acupuncture has helped. Heal your Body by Louise L Hay
    was another fascinating way of healing. It’s a mental approach to thinking about getting well.
    Keep researching, learn what foods do for you.

  37. Angela says

    Hi there, I am from New Zealand, I recently had gastric sleeve surgery (bariatric surgery) I am very confused as to which probiotics/digestive enzymes to take, there are soooo many on the market and I really need and want top quality, could anyone give me any suggestions? I am able to get products from the states via Iherb. I will also be incorporating Coconut Kefir into my daily routine to help with gut etc, thanks :)

    • says

      I too take coconut. I have been taking Probio5 daily. It has truly helped me. I am now an ambassador for Plexusslim because of the quality of our products. You can go to my website: http://www.plexusslim.com/cheryl56 to learn more about our Probio5 and other all natural products that are amazing. If you would like to contact me, please email me at cheryl.rhmf@charter.net. I would love to help you find a great Probiotic. Probio5 is of high quality. Hope you can try it and hope you begin to feel better.

  38. elvira says

    Hi Chris

    When you have high traces of metals such as mercury, barium, aluminium and copper. And a unbalanced gut flora, which do you tackle first?

    • Mercman says

      I’d also love to hear your thoughts on gut flora/permeability with respect to mercury. From what I’ve understood the mercury is taken up far more with a leaky gut, starting a cycle of mercury worsening the gut flora (& permeability?) – further increasing the mercury uptake..

      I was recently blood tested to > 60 ng / mL mercury.

  39. Peter says

    Hi Chris,

    Is there a way to heal a leaky gut when you suffer from histamine intolerance? I have been trying to heal my gut for a while now but recently found out that the foods I was using were actually making me worse. These foods (e.g. bone broth, fermented foods etc.) are the ones that are highly recommended by yourself and other experts on healing a leaky gut.

    Thanks

  40. Wendy Wayt says

    Hi, Chris,

    Microwave popcorn is my comfort food on bad days. Work is very stressful. The popcorn is organic and they use palm oil. I smother it in Kerrygold and sometimes grate Romano or Parmesan on it.

    How bad is it?

    Thanks,

    Wendy

    • Deb says

      Corn cooked in any method is usually not good for us. I would think twice about that snack. Read anything that Chris or Rob Wolf or Mark Sisson or any of the other leaders in clean eating have said about corn.

  41. Heidi says

    Hi Chris,

    I am a type 1 diabetic and am working to heal my gut. To keep my blood sugars at the proper level, I eat close to a ketogenic diet (egg and dairy-free). You mentioned eating fermentable fibers. The ones listed spike my blook sugar too quickly to keep it below 120. Is there a good low carb source of fermentable fiber other than the ones you listed?

    • gerry says

      Try unmodified potato starch. Start slowly and build up to 3/4 tablespoons a day. You can add it to yoghurt, juices, etc. There’s lots of info on it out there. Think Chris has written about it before. Search under resistant starch. Best of luck!

  42. says

    Chris – How damaging to the gut is alcohol like wine or distilled spirits? I totally see how beer and sugared drinks are evil due to the grains, gluten and sugar. But does alcohol itself cause/exacerbate leaky gut?

    • says

      Hi Fredrick,

      There a quite a few studies that show alcohol will increase gut permeability in animals and humans. More specifically though, ‘binge drinking’ has been shown to cause leaky gut in humans. A recent study linked elevated blood alcohol levels with pro-inflammatory bacterial particulate (endotoxin). This bacterial-endotoxin is able to get inside the sterile compartments of the body through the leaky gut that Chris discussed in this great post.

  43. Irene says

    I notice lots of comments here,the only thing I did not notice is the mention of coffee enema.I was told by my homeopathic all those supplements or healthy foods would not help much if your liver or colon is congested and clog.It’s like applying supplements and foods on taferlone coating frying pan, it just slide off,and not able to be circulate to the systems to do it jobs.He said that we must do 4 steps in order to get better.First take out the trash ,second replenish,third able to digest foods,and fourth heal.Coffee enema remove trash,probiotic,fermented foods good bacteria,replenish and good enzymes to digest foods,fourth used high quality colostrum to heal leaky gut.

  44. Gary says

    I have what has been diagnosed as chronic rhinitis and get a sinus infection almost every 60 days. My Dr. has been prescribing an antibiotic called Levofloxacin to treat my condition. It takes about two weeks of this anti-biotic to make the sinus infection to go away and then within 60 days it is back again. How can I break this cycle. I have cut out glutin, eat lots of fresh fruit with a concentration of bananas, apples and oranges and eat very little red meat. Any suggestions?

    • Tina says

      Hi Gary,

      Your situation is very close to my heart as my step-son has suffered from “nasomotor rhinitis” since he was a toddler. On his mother’s side, she chooses the western medicine approach which advocates for treating symptoms with sprays, pills and when the sinus infections come, and boy do they come, he is bombarded with antibiotics, killing off all of his good army of bacteria and leaving him more and more vulnerable with each and every (stronger) dose.
      My husband and I follow what his naturopathic doctor prescribed when his mother took him to her out of, I think, a moment of desperation (for her), nothing else was working. She had his food sensitivities tested with a blood draw, along with his immune system. He came back showing no allergies and a SEVERELY compromised immune system. The doc said that it was because his immune system was fighting so hard that it was too busy to recognize what he was sensitive to, and if we calmed down his immune system by modifying his diet, allergies / sensitivities would start coming up. Well, guess what? The next test after a couple of months of a clean diet he showed lots of sensitivities.
      Which led us to the next step. The sensitivities were potentially caused by a leaky gut and there was some kind of an infection that his body was fighting somewhere because the immune system still showed compromised. Unfortunately before we could get him well his mother switched back to a western doctor that gave him more sprays, pills, etc. If you put a picture of him side by side from the summer of 2011 (11 years old) when he was on a clean diet and thin, happy and active, to today (13) eating whatever he wants, he looks like a different person. In my mind he is the equivalent of a 60 year old man. He goes through at least a roll of toilet paper to blow his nose with every day, is borderline obese and on crutches because there is something wrong with his growth plate (gee, I wonder why??). The Naturopath warned that his body was so busy fighting off these perceived “invaders” (food sensitivities) that he had little left to do the growing that he was supposed to do.
      Sorry to go on so long, but the long and the short of it is that the best thing you can do for yourself is to follow a diet that Chris Kresser, Amy Myers, MD, Robb Wolf, Jordan & Steve (from SCD Lifestyle) or so many others that advocate a paleo-like, clean diet that is personalized to you, to get you free from reactions. Get serious about it. See a functional medicine doctor (www.functionalmedicine.org). Take the time, spend your money, don’t think twice. Listene to podcasts like crazy!! You think it’s bad now, but you may just may be at the beginning of the rat hole nightmare. Look down the hole, but turn around and run! You don’t want to do down there… diabetes, autoimmune disorders, migraines, the list just doesn’t stop.
      As a side note, I had my allergies tested when he did his second test just so he wouldn’t feel alone. Guess what? Tons of allergies – I had a leaky gut! Now after changing my diet and treating the fungal infection in my gut (thank you Peruvian jungle) I feel better than I EVER KNEW I could feel. You just don’t know bad until good comes along sometimes.

      All the best health to you…

      P.S. Oranges cause mucus, you might see what happens when you cut them out. And then read Chris’ book and I am SO interested to see how you feel after 30 days of a clean diet. I swear you will eventually not need antibiotics anymore. And that will be just the beginning…

  45. Rose says

    Can we really get our good condition back from leaky gut? cause I’ve been using supplement (contain l-glutamine), probiotics, and now I consume a spoon of VCO/virgin coconut oil (even i’m not sure bout this one, cause no one told me this could work to leaky gut but at some point i believe it could be, so i give it a shot and it has been 2 days since i consume it like 3 times a day as it recommended.)
    but all of them haven’t show a change in my body. so here i am, questioning whether i can be able to get rid of leaky gut or not?

  46. says

    A good vegan diet with high percentage of raw vegetables can heal numerous problems and studies show you can become the healthiest in the population. By good I mean diversity and low / no sugar / wheat and processed foods. You have to be aware of the probable need for Vitamin B12 supplements due to sterility in the western food production system which prevents the vitamin produced by micro-organisms being transported to humans – however, this may be consumed with Algae, Sauerkraut, Miso-soup). Do the research (e.g. China Study), find out about the ignorance and myths still around (e.g. protein, calcium, iron – which are actually all available in sufficient quantities in the vegan diet) and I recommend it for the sake of your health, animal compassion and a sustainable future on Earth. It’s all connected, folks!

    • Maria says

      I feel so much better after going Paleo and making sure to have adequate amounts of fish/seafood, poultry and red meat in my diet. I wish I had done this years ago. A cascade of health problems have cleared up since I started, including a normalized digestive tract.

  47. Lucinda says

    Love your blog Chris.

    Please i’d like to know what someone suffering from hidradenitis suppurativa can do to control or manage it. I’ve been suffering from HS for 8 years now and it keeps getting serious. All the doctors do is give me antibiotics which i’ve stopped taking when i found out about the side effects. I’m suspecting that probably it’s caused by this gut issue. I don’t know what to do because it’s affecting me pretty badly.

    • Barbara says

      The Hidden Plague – by Tara Grant is specifically about healing HS, and contains a ton of information about dealing with the misery of the condition, the general lack of information in the medical community about how to treat it effectively.
      Tara has HS and has managed to put into remission.

      A very tough health problem to deal with. Best of luck to you.

  48. hoa says

    My 7 yr old daughter has been having stomach pains for 2 months now and we have no answers. Have tried prevacid and levsin with no success. She is now on Klaire labs probiotic (ther biotic complete, 25+ CFU) once daily. She has a dairy and nut allergy. The assistant from Klaire labs told me that the probiotic should be ok for her even if she has a dairy allergy bc it does not contain milk/casein. She hasn’t gotten better and has missed 25+ days of school. We’ve also started her on a Chinese herbal tea to aid digestion. We are trialing her on a specific carb diet excluding grains from her diet. Today we will be seeing a dietician who will go over blood lab results. She has had blood work done testing for h-pylori (?), pancreatitis, and other inflammatory conditions. She was originally taken to the ER where they did an x-ray and diagnosed her with constipation. That has since cleared up but she is still having abdominal pains, complains of weakness, and sometimes that her head hurts which she states is “nausea”. She is on a calcium/magnesium/Vit D3 supplement bc of her dairy allergy. Is there anymore I can do for her?

  49. Claire says

    Hi! I’ve just had to give my daughter, 2 1/2 yrs antibiotics for the first time as she has a chest infection. As I have my own issues with leaky gut, this is a concern to me. What can I do for her, being so young, to help restore gut flora? TIA

  50. Rebecca says

    Hi Chris,
    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s 11 years ago but i’ve been lucky enough that my illness is pretty mild. A recent colonoscopy showed that I have a small area of inflammation which is bleeding a little and my doctor wants to put me on medication. I have followed the SCD diet on and off since being diagnosed but I have been on it strictly for 3 months now. Do you have any advise on how I might be able to deal with this issue in a natural way? I have no other symptoms at the moment and I would rather not take medication if avoidable. Any advise would be really appreciated.
    Kind Regards
    Rebecca.

  51. Thomas says

    Hi Chris,
    I’m in the UK – a very small little island within the UK to be exact. My access to cutting edge, or even accurate medical assessments is limited to say the least.
    I’ve started following a LCHF type diet, with some paleo and bulletproof type principals (including the coffee each morning)
    I have been eating a lot of eggs and I think I may have developed at the very least a sensitivity to them.
    There is a local Chinese medicine practice that say they can measure my sensitivity / allergy to food. They take hair samples and send them to lab. Is this a viable and accurate measure, or simply a waste of money?
    How do you suggest I get my allergy/sensitivity and gut health tested reliably?
    Kindest regards
    Thomas

  52. Kevin says

    Hi tania. Ive read oregano oil for blasto can help 6/8 weeks. Look it up on internet . Best of luck , im in same situation

    • LV says

      Hi Kevin,
      I just posted a reply to Tania’s giardia problem. I had the same problem when I was pregnant and couldn’t take antibiotics. I researched and found that raw garlic is the best natural treament for giardia and it works. 3-4 large cloves of garlic, 3 times a day, for 5 days. It is much faster than 6-8 week treatment you mentioned. Just read what I wrote to her above. I hope you are feeling better.

  53. Denis says

    I heard about leakygut recently and thought it is a new type of sickness. After that I searched the net and found this video ( http://t.co/gLqFqWDBw2 ) which describes most of the symptoms I have. One of the mmost frstrating problem for me is the sound my belly makes when I refuse to pass wind. It is almost unbearable especiallyin class. But does this all natural approach work? Thx.

    • says

      I don’t have any experience with her program but I did watch the video. My thought is that you could probably find a very similar gut restoration program in a book at the library. Off my head, here are two: Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger and Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride. I’ve read both. My library always has quite a waiting list (popular subject) for them but they are worth it. Each of these folks have a website with alot of help…for free. I’d suggest saving the $40 for now and checking out the Clean Gut site as it has a free pdf that states his recommendations for supplements (here’s where your $40 could go!) and another with recipes. Also, Clean Gut can be purchased in audio format from Audible.

  54. Mike says

    I was told to take antibiotics for a bite, I wasn’t told it would kill all my natural bacteria as well, now I have extreme pain due to improper function of the digestive system, and now I read this article ” Antibiotics are particularly harmful to the gut flora. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use causes a profound and rapid loss of diversity and a shift in the composition of the gut flora. This diversity is not recovered after antibiotic use without intervention. ” so basically I am doomed, nice to know. I might as well eat a bullet now and save myself this suffering.

    • says

      Hey Mike,

      Don’t despair! It’s good that you know what caused your problem. There are already a lot of ways to restore gut bacteria known. If all else fails, you could get a fecal transplant. I’ve been hearing amazing recovery stories about these.

      You could start with much easier things like probiotics and fermented vegetables and all that. Lots of things to do. I take a daily probiotic, and I realized my leaky gut/candida comes back when I forget to take it. That should be some evidence that it actually does something. Cool, huh?

      Hope you’re doing well.

      Sincerely,
      Rob

  55. Tania says

    Hi Chris
    I know this is an old post but I am desperate to find out how to treat parasites (as you mentioned to do so). I have tested positive to blastocystis hominis and giardia. I can’t find anyone who knows anything about how to treat this effectively. Is antibiotics the only option?
    Regards
    Tania

    • LV says

      Hi Tania,

      I was 7 months pregnant when I had giardia (from contaminated drinking water). I was scared to take the usual antiobiotics, because I didn’t want it affecting the baby. I started researching some alternatives, and found one that truly worked: raw garlic. I was very skeptical at first, but I read studies that found garlic to have anti-fungal properties and is even lethal against parasites and amoebas. Sorry I don’t have the links but you can google it to find the scientific journals online.

      So I tried it – it is not the best tasting remedy, and you’ll probably smell like garlic for a few days. But it is nothing compared to the benefits of keeping your good gut flora intact, and not having the problems that many talk about on this forum from awful antiobiotic side effects.

      The recommended I took 3-4 large cloves of garlic, 3 times daily, for 5 days. Yes 5 days is a long time to eat garlic but you need a constant stream of the substance in order to kill off all the parasites/amoebas. You can mince it and mix it with honey so it tastes better, or just chop it up smaller and swallow them whole like pills. IT WORKED. I can remember feeling better after the second day, so I foolishly decided to stop taking garlic (i hated the way it tasted) but of course the symptoms came back because I needed to treat it longer. As soon as I ate raw garlic, within 5 minutes the cramping and gas pains stopped. So I just sucked it up, and finished the last 3 days, and was GIARDIA FREE. it was awesome and my baby didn’t have to be affected by it. I hope this helps.

      • Tania says

        Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.
        Unfortunately I have an allergy to garlic so this would not be an option for me.
        But, yes, I have heard that garlic is quiet powerful. Not sure what to do. My husband and 3 children have also tested positive for blastocystis.

    • Terri says

      I will be glad to tell you how to cure parasites. The best book to pick up on the subject is by Hulda Clark and it’s called The cure for all Cancer. She will tell you that Cancer is caused by having parasites and she has one of the best parasite cleanses for people and for pets, since a lot of people get parasites from their pets. The book is pretty old so you would probably have to order it.

      Also the quickest way is to just pick up a cleanse by Brenda Watson in the health food store. I think it is called Paragone.

      Hope this helps,
      Terri

  56. Mel Jolet says

    I was recently prescribed Macribid for a UTI which did nothing for infection so was then put on CIPRO for 7 days. About a week after completing CIPRO i began having lower right abdominal pain with lower back pain. Thought it might be a kidney infection from the persistent UTI, but U/A and blood work showed no infection. It’s been over 2 weeks and though the pain/discomfort has decreased, it is still there. A friend suggested it was the CIPRO that has caused this. I am now also having discomfort in across my stomach about an inch over belly button. Do you have any suggestions for me? Anything would be greatly appreciated.

    • Harald says

      Mel.
      UTIs are a program of nature and are created by the body to be able to ‘mark your territory’.
      If you have issues involving your territory, taking a cue from Nature (wolves), one needs to assert oneself to retain it. In Nature, and we are part of it, that means marking it in the fashion of dogs. That is why it effects the urinary tract. We are, however, also civilized human beings and we resolve these issues somewhat differently. But biologically speaking, we DO have to resolve this biological conflict and do whatever it takes to resolve this conflict, if possible, permanently.
      Don’t use chemicals to resolve a biological conflict.-
      http://learninggnm.com .

    • Rene says

      Cipro is very dangerous! It belongs to a class of drugs called Fluoroquinolones. They are actually Chemotherapeutic antibiotics. This class is so damaging because it damages the mitochondria / DNA & inhibits the Cytochrome P450 enzymes of the liver to detoxify chemicals we are exposed to. The threshold of adverse reactions varies from one person to the next. However often it is a delayed reaction. This is a disgrace that it is given to the public….but the damages are real and do not go away after stop taking this medication. Levaquin, Avelox are also in the same class. The injury is systemic effecting the muscoskeletal system, tendons, ligaments all over the body. It is a terrible tragedy how causally this class of drugs is handed out. Avoid steroids & anti inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs. Will cause more damage. Dmannose is a safe effective alternative for UTI. Cipro does great harm to the gut as well. It is a systemic injury…….meaning everything. CNS, PNS, Autonomic Nervous System, eyes, gums, teeth, skin, pancreas, gallbladder……dreadful.

  57. Lynn says

    Hello Chris,
    I’m currently on a juice fast of 6 months with added bone broth as I feel. The reason for the fast was because of chronic mega illness from two tick bites ( same time). It’s been 3 years sense I was bit and I’ve been working hard to get a handle on this. I stared the fast because it was the only thing I have not tried. Before the fast I was having pain everywhere, muscles, joints, bones, chilling headaches, and unrelenting spiking fevers. 3 weeks into the fast the fevers slowed down and stopped. Now after 6 months, I have thoughts of stopping this fast, however when I’ve made attempts to introduce a whole food ( blended, watered down). veggies or fruit that I currently juice already, I would with in 2 or 3 hours start to have returning, spiking fevers, marked joint pain and some headaches as well. This has been repeated 5 or six times now. I can juice and I’m fine, zero fevers, less pain. I’m suspecting there is something wrong with my intestines or lining. I’m juicing organic veggies, sweet potatoes, yams and some fruits. I make the bone broth all organic as well. I’m at the end of my knowledge here and looking for some insight. Thank you for any ideas you may have for me.

  58. Laura says

    Hi Chris! Amazing website! I want to know if intolerance to FODMAPS can be overcome? I have been on a Paleo diet for 6 months, have cleared an H. Pylori infection and am doing a strict GAPS protocol, and trying to eliminate all FODMAPS. It feels like there’s not much left to eat since I’m also allergic to nuts, citrus and nightshades….I had a stool test, showing e.coli overgrowth in abundance, which I’m working on with Lauricidin, Para Biotic Plus, Interfase plus, prescript assist probiotics, Custom Probiotics D-lactate free version, S. Boullardii by Klaire labs, Thorne D3…I don’t know what else to do, but being allergic to so much stinks. When I eat something that breaks down to fructose, I can’t take a deep breath. Please let me know if this can be overcome. I’m fine with staying paleo, but not fine with the lack of vegetables and fruit. I eat nearly no fruit, which makes for a bland, blah diet. Thanks so much for your help!

    • jc says

      Hi Laura-did you clear h pylori naturally or you used antibiotics? thank you in advance for getting back with me!

  59. need help... ugh says

    I have question regarding the fermented foods that help the good gut flora/bacteria. Wouldn’t these also make the bad gut bacteria grow? Please advise….

  60. Alberto says

    hi, my digestive system is worthless, i need help ive been to the doctor and they just took an x-ray of my stomach and told me i was full of shit and gave me a laxative, worthless doctors!!!!!, so i need to take this matter into my own hands before i die, i never heard of anyone getting an intestine transplants, so im really on my own if you can save my life, man i would do anything, im having alot of symptoms like, headaches, sharp pinpoint pain in the stomach and lower back, and i have super loss of appetite like i be hungry as F*CK and put a plate of food in front of me and my appetite is gone! my body doesnt tell me when i have to go and have a bowel movement i have to just sit there and wait, im serious dude i need help cuz the doctors are worthless, they didnt even tell me what to do or what to eat, he just gave me laxatives :/ i need a digestive system genie to help me restore my bowel movements, im getting super skinny plz help

    • Khadija says

      Give vegetable juicing a try. It’s amazing how it fixes the digestive system and the body. Throw in any vegetables like kale, beets, chard, carrots, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, peppers etc..even parley and cilantro. Keep vegetables unpeeled, just washed. Also make sure they are organic. Black seed oil or just black seed also heels the body too. Hope this helps. Get well! :)

  61. Lisa says

    So, I’m late to the dance but new to Kefir making. I’ve been kefir-ing coconut milk because of my dear thyroid (meaning no dairy) but have to refresh the grains with milk periodically anyway. Here’s the conundrum….dairy is said to be an unhealthful food because it contains enzyme inhibitors that increase gut permeability but kefir has probiotics that improve gut health (which I’d like). So…if someone (like me) is trying to heal a leaky gut, can that one use kefir cow milk, kefir goat milk or just stay on kefir coconut milk?…I’ve tasted a tiny bit of the kefir cow milk that came from the grain refreshing and it was MUCH better than the coconut milk version. thanks.

  62. Ana says

    Hi Chris,
    I’m not one that takes antibiotics or medicine unless I feel really sick. I was recently prescribed CIPRO for a UTI and I really feel like it destroyed my stomach. I’m constantly nauseous, cramps, mucus in my stool and urine. At this point I’m really upset because I asked the doctor if it’s safe while breastfeeding and he said YES. I came home and for some reason I decided to take her off breast milk while on CIPRO and my 4 month old’s doctor said that CIPRO is one of the antibiotics that they ask moms to stop breastfeeding with. If I knew all the side affects of it I wouldn’t have taken it. I took it for 7 days…one every 12 hrs and I feel like it took away some symptoms but made others worse. Can you please help me out…what SPECIFIC probiotics can I take. I started drinking alot of Kefir…which kind of Kefir do you recommend? I’m a stay at home mom and I need to be able to function while taking care of baby…CIPRO has turned me inside out :( Please help! So sad that there are so few doctors out there that you can trust!!!

  63. Heather says

    I am learning so much in recent years…. my sons 3 yrs and 7 months have leaky gut/food alergies/intolerances. I think itlinks to my poor gut/immune health because before getting pregnant with th 3 yr old I had full blown pneumonia and took antibiotics for 6 weeks. At the time I knew nothing of natural health/probiotics, etc. My first son (born before my pneumonia) is 6 and has no issues at all. I have never had the same digestion or immune system since… I am taking a lot of steps to try heal my sons and myself and have been learning so much. Thank you for these “9” steps articles, I appreciate how well they explain rather than just dolling out advice. I am curious, though, as to why there’s no mention of taking enzymes? I know we don’t get all that we need from our diet and have been looking into them but the variety and research is overwhelming. My 3 yr old is off dairy/egg and I am nusing my 7 mon old so I have been off dairy /egg/wheat/gluten for the last 6 months. His tummy is so senditve there’s a whole list of other foods I avoid (bananas, lettuce, cabbage, apple/orange juice, to name a few…) because he gets severe gas pain and diarrhea/constipation if I eat them. The only baby foods he tolerates are sweet potatoes and pears. (Carrots gave him diarrhea, peas constipation…) I really want to heal his gut so any advice is helpful! Thanks again!

  64. says

    for anybody with leaky gut and candida the body ecology is the way! and the book teaches you how to starve the yeast and rebuild your inner terrain! I had that battle after i was given antibiotics. Doctors are not educated on the importance of gut health. like chris said we are more bacteria than humman.
    you can’t rebalance your gut unless you remove heavy metals first specially mercury!! candida loves mercury.once you bring the metals down your body starts to heal.

  65. PJB says

    I wholeheartedly agree that maintaining a healthy gut is integral to being a healthy person. I am, however, confused as far as the autoimmune diseases relate to this. I have been diagnosed with RA. It tests in the blood. If an unhealthy gut caused me to have RA, would it not go away when I correct the problem? Would that then reflect in a blood test? Would I then no longer be considered to have RA?

  66. Jocelyne says

    I have been suffering from asthma for approx. 30 years and my condition has been worsening in the last 3 to 4 years because of frequent bronchitis. I was always short of breath, coughing really bad, going up a flight of stairs would make me cough for an hour etc…. As time went on, I could see myself having to quit my job and be on oxygen in a near future. In April 2012, my doctor advised to take kefir to boost my immune system. I started that same day. I didn’t see any improvement in the beginning but after 5 weeks, I came home from work one night with a very high fever that lasted approx. 24 hours. After that, I started to see an improvement every day. Within approx. 2 months, I was like a new person. No more coughing, no shortness of breath, I was able to decrease my medication by 50% ! We’re already in January and I didn’t have any bronchitis yet this winter. Last summer I was able to bike, play golf etc. I take approx. 3 tablespoons of kefir every day. To this day, I still have a hard time believing that your lungs can improve so much with something that helps your digestive system.

  67. Denise says

    Do you have any advice on how to gain weight with a leaky gut?
    I have zinc/copper imbalance, some heavy metals, adrenal exhaustion, and react to pretty much every food. I’ve lost 35lbs from trying to eliminate the offending foods and trying to eat paleo, and can’t seem to gain it back. I’ve been trying a lot of ghee/chicken broth and recently grass fed butter and red meat, and taking enzymes (Plant based), probiotic supplements and making my own sauerkraut, but progress is slow and I’m trying to avoid ending up in hospital on a nose feed because my BMI is dangerously low. I have type 5 stool, I think from too much fibre – winter squash, carrots etc, or maybe im just intolerant to them. I’ve been craving protein which i’ve bumped up, but I know that won’t help me gain and I’m worried about my body being too acidic. I can’t seem to find a good fat/protein/carb ratio that balances my stool/blood sugar/puts weight on. I’ve been considering millet (if I sprout it) to help me gain, as the nose feed would be full of E numbers/soy leicthin/maltodextrin/etc so I figure grains and omega 6’s from the dark chicken meat I’ve been eating for zinc are the lesser of the two evils. But I need to put on some lbs ASAP. any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  68. Tricia says

    I believe anti biotics that I took back in Sept destroyed all of my good bacteria in my stomach becasue I have been suffering from chronic hard passing stools since. The urge to go is slighty there but the stool is hard and will not come out. How can I restore the becateria in my stomach? Doctors just keep telling me I am constipated and to take miralax every single day. I know the anti biotics messed something up and I want to fix it. I do not want to be on miralax everyday for the rest of my life.

    Any help would be great!

  69. Charly says

    Hello Chris, I’m 51, m, and have suffered from stomach issues for most of my adult life due to a poor diet and stress, now the pain in my stomach (lower left side) is unbearable, years ago I had various procedures by a G I Doctor from barium enamas to colon endoscopy very invasive to say the least, he snipped a sample to perform a biopsy and after all was said and done, he came back with IBS…I’ve visited natural paths that tell me I’m healthy despite being over weight (75 lbs), I gave up on the medical community and the health and wellness groups as well, my family all claimed it was psychosomatic…these last few weeks have been so painful and bloating and bloody stools + fatigue are killing me …I’m afraid it’s U.C. or C.D. or worse…I want to be healthy for my young daughter…could I still reverse this and live a normal life??

  70. Seeking says

    Chris,

    You stated: “Research over the past two decades has revealed that…an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.”

    I’d like to see some studies which explain how an unhealthy gut contributes directly to autism and diabetes. Often times people like to say, “Those with autism tend to also have Celiac disease,” but that doesn’t say anything about how a leaky gut could be the cause of their autism; in fact, it could be either way; it could be that autism causes leaky gut.

    And a leaky gut could just be one of many, many factors that leads to autism. But you seem to think there is a more direct causative effect going on. You almost seem to say that leaky gut causes autism.

    I’d like some more solid proof and you seem to have it.

    • Michael says

      See here: http://www.microbialinfluence.com

      There is research showing a link between lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of gram negative bacteria in the gut and autism. Role of leaky gut, mercury, and relation to LPS toxicity is explained too.

      I’ve had generalized anxiety disorder and ASD social inwardness my entire life, to the point of having huge difficulty holding conversations and maintaining eye contact. Also, huge food sensitivities to gluten and dairy. Mother worked in a dental office handling mercury for amalgams before I was born. Paleo with grass fed raw meat (no it never makes me sick) has massively helped. In fact, I got my first girlfriend at 24 years of age after three years on raw paleo diet. :)

      There is definitely a link between the gut and autism spectrum.

  71. says

    If a person is FODMAP sensitive, what does one do with the advice “Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc…” Would it be better to start with just a probiotic? Are fermented FODMAP foods less of a problem?

    Any attempt to reintroduce a FODMAP food as part of an elimination/challenge test has resulted in runaway gas, pain, and other symptoms that last for a couple of weeks after removal and now I am reluctant to even experiment with anything from this class of foods.

    Thank you!

  72. Suzanne says

    Hi Chis,
    Thanks for all the good info. Been fighting depression and food allergies for years and am finally on the right track thanks to generous information people like you are publishing.
    Classical medicine is still in the stone age.
    Keep up the great work!

  73. Terry says

    Recent research also shows a connection between GMO’s and leaky gut, as the pesticides engineered in corn and soy fed to animals and humans literally eats holes in our stomach and intestines. Autism is now also being linked to leaky gut, as people with autism commonly have gut inflammation and illness.

  74. Anonymous says

    If you have leaky gut or other gut symptoms you may have Celiac Disese, this can be treated by going totally 100% Gluten Free. There is a simple blood test that you should demand your doctor order if you have symptoms, as it could save your life.

  75. Sunnysidemom says

    I’m curious what your thoughts are on soaked grains? Also, is it necessary to purchase expensive probiotics to heal the gut flora, or can one acheive this by drinking water kiefer and eating fermented veggies? Thank you much for your time!

  76. Jessica says

    Hi Chris,

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on using Siberian Ginseng to help with adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. I’ve been very lethargic on-and-off for quite some time. Signs point to adrenal fatigue and I’ve taken a number of steps over the past couple of years to combat this as well as heal my gut (including no grains, dairy, legumes; eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day; cutting way back on the number of high intensity workouts each week; managing stress, etc.). I started to feel much better after adding a B-complex supplement to my breakfast. I’ve also looked into Siberian Ginseng and have read that it contains long-chain sugars called glycosides…will these long-chain sugars help in gut healing?

    Thanks for your time and knowledge,
    Jessica

  77. says

    Dear Chris,

    If you suspect you have leaky gut and want to heal it will raw milk kefir help or hinder? I am trying to sure my osteoarthritis.

    Many thanks!

  78. Diane says

    What do think about taking food grade diatomaceous earth for it’s health benefits? Is there a risk of getting cancer when taken long term?

  79. Noreen Murphy says

    Chris, is there a soy-free, lactose-free formula for babies, one that doesn’t contain fructose syrup. My grandson is 4 months old. He’s currently on lactose-free formula (since he was six weeks old for suspected lactose intolerance or sensitivity) which is soya based. All lactose-free formulae here in Ireland appear to be soya based. He now seems to be reacting to the formula. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  80. Chris Kresser says

    Sean: a stool test is usually a good start. Must be a reputable lab, preferably one that uses DNA/PCR technology. A lot of false negatives with the typical labs.

  81. sean says

    Chris, i love your blog, this is all fantastic and really thorough.
    I wanted to ask, how does one treat internal pathogens like those you mentioned without knowing about them? what is required in order to find out?

  82. Mindy says

    Do you know much about the effects of metformin on gut health? I know it gets in the way of absorbing vit B12 and makes my lactose intolerance even worse. I used to be on it to treat PCOS, but went off while breastfeeding. Now that my son is weaned, I’m trying to re-educate myself on the benefits/risks. There have been a number of studies showing improvement even for non-obese, but I just wonder if it will wreck my gut.

  83. says

    Hey Chris – Love your work please keep it up!

    Could you clarify your response to colon cleansing above, does that include the many different “therapeutic” enemas talked about around the web? For example coffee enemas for liver detox? Thanks!

  84. Chris Kresser says

    I’m not a fan of colon cleansing. There’s no evidence of “toxins” stuck in our digestive system, nor that colonics help remove them. Colonics do, however, remove a lot of healthy gut flora, and they can be quite harsh. People have different opinions on this subject. This is mine.

  85. says

    Hi Chris – Great article yet again. You don’t seem to touch too much upon colonic treatments or colon cleansing to help get rid of the “toxins” that are essentially stuck inside our digestive system. Is it worth taking a further look into this kind of treatment to help cleanse the gut? Do you have first hand experience?

  86. says

    i am beyond convinced the gut is the path to health for everybody. if one can figure out whats wrong with their digestion, they will have health. seems once obesity or thyriod problems etc all of it set in, the problem is long established already with an unhealthy gut

  87. says

    I take a organic probiotic that has worked better than anything else. Its helped my gut issues, my child’s issues and my mothers IBS. Its available worldwide but is bought from here http://www.organic4u.com.au Its called inliven. It has the foods in it that processes the probiotics better, and being certified organic, its very pure. I just add it to juice or a smoothie.

  88. Goni says

    Hi nice post

    I’m from Portugal and I would like to tell that there is a blog written in spanish called “Nutrición Primitiva y Salud Integral”, http://nutriprimal.blogspot.com/ ,
    in which the author is just translating this series of articles, namely 9 steps to perfect health, to spanish without telling the readers that they are yours.
    Very strange, maybe you want to do something about it.
    Best wishes I amire your work

  89. E says

    I second Felicia’s comment on the negative aspects of birth control. I am currently on the pill and curious of any negative factors.

  90. Mary Branscombe says

    Interesting to see more detail on this. In the 90s I had severe IBS symptoms, from stress and eating chicken-mushroom-mayonaise sandwiches for lunch for nearly a year (well, almost ;-) In desperation I ended up doing strict Hays diet food combining and avoiding dairy, yeast, alcohol (and as a consequence very little wheat) and after a few months I was able to get back to eating just about anything; I’ve often wondered what the mechanism was for defusing the food senstivities and ‘leakiness’ could fit.

    Any thoughts on whether this issue would have an impact on asthma, especially adult onset? my husband has coughing (rather than wheezing) asthma irritated by nasal drip (no more adenoids), and while the leukinase-inhibitor immunosupressants are a huge help it would be interesting to see if diet can help reduce the minor attacks he still has…

  91. says

    I was on antibiotics for a good number of years so I can definitely attest to the ‘powers’ these drugs have on me — a weak digestive system, loose stools and lots of gas. Unfortunately, I only knew about the link much later. The doctors that put me on this path were most probably as clueless as me about the consequences and the alternative safer treatments available (there are as I found out years later). So if you’re on long-term antibiotics, you should really question why and find out other less destructive alternatives. If you look hard enough, there usually are. Don’t rely 100% on your doctor; do research on your own. Thankfully, the damages I’ve sustained were not so severe to the extent that they were completely irreversible. Now I regularly take probiotic foods like tempeh, kimchi and natto to restore my gut flora and avoid foods that give me bloating and gas (like beans). Thanks for writing about this topic, Chris. More people should be aware of the consequences of taking antibiotics for prolonged period of time.

  92. Matt says

    Excellent post Chris,

    Can you hazard a guess why sauerkraut might be problematic for some? I seemingly get instant brain fog, stimulation, salivating and oddly cravings. The best I can come up with is a possible histamine, suplhur reaction.

    Due to also avoiding dairy, are there any other whole food probiotics you would recommened?

    Thanks,

  93. Susan says

    I think you mean yuca (YOU-kah) rather than yucca (YUCK-ah). It’s almost impossible to eat a yucca root…very fibrous and not really edible. Yuca, on the other hand, is delicious.

  94. says

    Hi,
    You said that birth control can contribute to unhealthy gut flora. I have been trying to look up exactly how that happens, but I haven’t found an answer. So how does taking the pill harm your gut? I have long questioned whether or not birth control is really a good idea, so I would really like to understand this aspect as well.

    • catherine says

      Oral contraceptives contain oestrogen which makes Candida grow. That’s a simple answer; it’s probably much more complicated than that.

  95. says

    Hello everyone. I have had psoriasis for the past 22 years.

    I have just come off a drug called cyclosporine which gave me around 90% clearance, however I didn’t get on with the side effects.

    On Saturday I am starting a gluten free diet to see if that will help. I am writing about my successes/failures with this approach at http://www.healthyhappieryou.co.uk/2011/02/can-a-gluten-free-diet-clear-my-psoriasis-part-1

    I would be interested in getting any tips or advice from any of you that have tried this approach before Smiley

    Warmly,

    Richard

  96. says

    Hi Chris,

    Great article! I’ve been following a custom version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet where I eat about 3,000 calories a day of 60% fats, 30% proteins, and 10% carbs consisting of fats, meat, veggies, and very small portions of raw fruit (like 10 raspberries). I’ve been following this very strict regimen for almost 2 years now.

    Before the diet I was a mess from Celiac Disease with severe leaky gut and bacterial overgrowth. Going gluten free didn’t work at all. But now that I’ve been on my version of the SCD Diet I feel incredible with more energy, mental clarity, and better health that I’ve ever had in my life. Perfect poops everyday.

    My friend and I even wrote a book about how we tweaked the SCD Diet to heal our guts and have helped many people with Celiac, Crohn’s, UC, and IBS do the same. This stuff works for so many people with autoimmune and digestive diseases… especially if you avoid dairy and egg.

    I also wanted to add that I made huge strides with digestion once I started taking Vitamin D3, digestive enzymes, Betaine HCL, and 200 CFU’s/day of an 11 strain probiotic. And you’ve written some great content about that in the past.

    So thanks for doing what you do! I always look forward to your knowledge.

    Jordan Reasoner

    • Lisa Gordon says

      Hi Richard, just came across email on Chris’s site where you stated that you had just got off the drug”cyclosporine. I was curious if you had a big glare-up after going off the drug and how the gluten free diet is going. I know it’s been a couple of years but I just came across it now. Thanks, lisa

      • lisa says

        funny my name is lisa gordon as well and I do suffer from psoriasis and was curious if you had any tips for me?
        thank you

    • Julia says

      Jordan, what is the name of your book? Do you have a website? I am interested in how you tweaked the SCD? It is so nut based?

    • Leanne says

      Hi Jordan,
      I just read the chapter of your program. I am confused about why you say your program is good for people who avoid dairy and eggs…” This stuff works for so many people with autoimmune and digestive diseases… especially if you avoid dairy and egg.”
      In the Intro Diet, eggs seem to be one of the main food items. I cannot eat eggs. What would you suggest?
      Thanks

      • Tina says

        Jordan and Steve’s website is scdlifestyle.com

        It was what helped me get started on my own journey of taking charge of my health and navigating my personal issues.

        They explain in their book, emails, videos and website the background of how the SCD diet works and who it can help and why. It also tells you how to tailor the diet and lifestyle to your own needs (including the many who have sensitivities to foods such as eggs, dairy, nuts, etc.). So, although the intro diet says to go ahead and have your eggs for breakfast, it may not be the best idea for everyone (including me). My husband can eat eggs every day. If I have one bite I get flu-like symptoms that last an hour or more. However, my husband is sensitive to dairy, and I can tolerate butter and heavy cream.

  97. Harald says

    Sauerkraut would be a very good food, if ‘they’ did not insist on pasteurization. The salt in making it becomes part of one’s intake requirements and basically, if one ingests too much salt, the body responds by making one thirsty in order to bring the salt content of the intercellular space back to the .09 percent level.

    • Maria Bjornsdotter says

      Nope, there is plenty of non-pasteurized brands of sauerkraut to buy out there. Wholefoods sell several and they also carry non-pasteurized Kim Chi. But it’s expensive. Of course Chris is talking about non-pasteurized sauerkraut though. And it’s super easy to make. You really do not need that much CELTIC SEA SALT (which by the way does not make you thirsty if too much is ingested, unlike refined supermarket crappy salt) in a batch to make a good sauerkraut.

      • Jessica says

        I’m making sauerkraut at the moment in a mason jar, it is very inexpensive to make yourself. You can determine how much salt you use and there is no pasteurization involved, just let it sit for a week and it’s ready to eat!

  98. Angela says

    HI Chris
    Thanks for your response about fermentable fibers. What would you recommend in lieu of fermentable fibers since they are not allowed on a low carb/GAPs diet?

    Angela

    • Julia says

      Yes I am also on the GAPS diet and wonder about the same issue. Are there probiotics or an alternative you suggest? Or do you include some fermentable fibres in your version of GAPS for your clients?

  99. Harald says

    Hi Chris.
    Thank you for your article, which points the way to improve one’s habits. –
    I have an issue with the numbers; in North America, of course, it is customery to call a number with 6 zeros a million, with nine zeros a billion and with 12 zeros a trillion and so forth. This is incorrect, strictly speaking. When a million acquires another set of six zeros it would become a billion i.e. twice the group of zeros. A trillion would have 3 sets of 6 zeros. This is the custom in Europe including Britain. Enough said about this. –
    Diabetes type 1 is often caused by the ACT of vaccinating, or any other violent act by a ‘grown-up(?)’ upon a small and helpless child. The child suffers a DHS, a biological conflict forming a Hamerscher Herd (HH) and effecting the Langerhans cells of the pancreas. It LOOKS like an autoimmune response, but it actually is a part of a SPECIAL Biological program of Nature we are all born with. The reasoning is, that there is not enough insulin production to have an effective defense response, therefore more of these cells need to be made. This would take place upon resolution of the conflict and this part of the pancreas would have more cells to enable the body to mount a more effective defense of itself. –
    Generally speaking, while a lot of research is being done, the initial perspective is more often than not, backward. The responses of the biological body, are being looked at as the causes and a hypothesis is made to explain something, which for all intents and purposes, has been mis-identified.
    Germanic New Medicine has been propagated using only 5 Biological Laws of Nature, whereas the conventional ‘wisdom’ works with over 5000 (and counting) hypotheses. Learn more about this here:
    http://learninggnm.com .

  100. Adam says

    Great article Chris. Sums up my experience with autoimmune issues. Once I started avoiding toxins (specifically gluten) and taking a quality pro-biotic, my psoriasis and eczema went away for the most part (occasional flare-ups when I stray from diet). Both also improved my hypothyroid symptoms to the point I experience less brain fog and can go through most days from 5:30am to 10pm without a nap.

    I added high quality colostrum from grass-fed cows about two months ago, and it’s really helped too. Not sure what your thoughts are regarding that supplement, but I recommend it.

    • lisa says

      I suffer from psoriasis and was wondering if you saw a flare up when you drink coffee, diary meat? How long did it take to clear up your psoriasis. I hear coffee enemas help but have not tried that yet.
      thank you

  101. says

    Great post, and great blog Chris! Thanks a lot for a ton of useful information! I love this series especially. I have a question – is the idea behind taking fermentable fibers to promote the growth of good bacteria?

    • Los says

      I know people might think its gross! But the best way to restore your gut flora is by getting a fecal implant by a healthy donor! Research it they are having great success in Europe best health to all!

    • Jade says

      Not very much salt at all…it’s added in the process as it breaks down the cabbage cell walls. Its easy to make yourself once you get the hang of it. I found a recipe online. Good quality salt should be used anyway ie: like Maldon

  102. Chris Kresser says

    Angela: fermentable fiber = soluble fiber. They are long-chain glucose polymers (polysaccharides) so they’re not allowed on the GAPS diet. By definition, anything with a prebiotic quality is not allowed on GAPS because they’re all polysaccharides.

    • Arabella says

      Hi Chris, and thank for your v.helpful blog and list of tips to heal the gut. BUT From reading most of the posts it seems there’s a catch 22 situation: How can a leaky gut be improved or better still healed by introducing fermented foods if the problem is also histamine intolerance. (Can you recommend anything ? Is cutting out wheat and eating a personally tailored ‘pure’ diet or broth fast enough without replacing ‘good’ gut flora from fermented foods or pro-biotics ( from ‘fermented’ dairy products). I ask because I’ve developed severe hives on my face and chest after a course of antibiotics. It was double triggered after an hour gardening in the spring sun ! It gets worse after the usual histamine rich foods so I ‘m trying to manage it by eating my personalised version of a histamine free diet and fingers crossed the red bumpy welts have subsided enough to make me feel I can face my students (I’m a teacher) but I feel that a leaky gut is the route cause. I have ordered some probiotics (and quercetin) but I really don’t want a histamine flare up by taking them ! Would appreciate your professional advice and/or the readers comments…(By the way I read an interesting bowel cleansing tip that taking a castor oil capsule after it’s been in the freezer it bypasses the stomach and goes straight to the end of the gut where it purges – what about doing the same thing with a probiotic ? it would bypass the stomach and go straight to the gut with less chance of an allergy – no ?)

      • Jan says

        Arabella, I discovered my histamine intolerance when I was taking probiotics, drinking water kefir and eating lots of fermented veggies to heal my leaky gut. It was horrible. Food would go right through me and the generalized pain was intolerable. I became depressed to the point of considering suicide. Thanks to my inner voice I discovered the problem. I took an antihistamine right away and it was like magic! All my symptoms disappeared.

        I knew I needed a probiotic so I went searching for a low histamine brand and found Prescript-Assist. It is soil based. I love it! Expensive, but well worth it. A bottle lasts me a couple of months as I don’t need to take it everyday. I also take about 12 grams of l-glutamine daily and have just started taking a couple teaspoons of diatomaceous earth. I’m doing quite well now as long as I maintain a low-histamine gluten free diet.

  103. Dana says

    If you read the attachment parenting/pro-breastfeeding literature you will find discussions of the development of the infant gut. Apparently, babies come with leaky guts–the cells of the mucosa have spaces in between them, naturally. Those gaps close at about six months of age. Breastmilk coats the mucosa and plugs up the gaps, as it were, without causing harm. It is believed this also helps train the infant’s immune system.

    Now think about all the parents out there giving solids to their babies at four months of age. What’s the most commonly introduced first food?

    Not that formula before six months of age is a tremendous idea either. It typically contains corn syrup solids and vegetable oils.

    • Léa says

      Dana, the breastmilk provides lots of things to the baby’s gut, which if baby has NEVER ingested anything but human milk, is already well lined with tons of intestinal flora of the best kind. The breastmilk contains something like 150 kinds of HMO’s (Human Milk Oligosaccarides) which are not for the baby, but for nourishing the intestinal flora in the gut. This healthy gut, well-nourished because nothing else is given to disturb it (eg: water, artifical milk, foods before age 6 months…) will not let germs, bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. through to be absorbed. They might attach to the flora, thinking they have reached the baby’s cells, and then turn up in the diaper. This is the first line of defense that babies have against disease and why exclusively BF babies are statistically much less likely to be sick. Some foreign matter can never-the-less cross into the blood during the digestive part however, like cow’s milk protein, which has been ingested by the mother and it passes into her milk to the baby. His symptoms (eczema, for example), should lead to the mother eliminating milk products from her diet. The immature gut matures when the baby is around 6 months, as you say, and there is less chance that unwanted proteins will pass into the baby easily. This is why one should not give solids to babies before they are ready.

  104. Angela says

    Hi Chris
    I’m on a low carb/GAPS diet to deal with chronic yeast overgrowth and h.plyroi overgrowth and I can’t have sweet veggies or starches like yams, sweet potato, etc. Are there other sources of fermentable fiber? Also, I have not come across this term before, can you describe what you mean by it?

    Thanks for another great blog post!

    • Michell says

      Try water kefir, try brands such as Kevita found in natural food stores. I am DF and rely on this. I now make it myself, google it and learn more. It’s good stuff! In addition to this add raw sauerkraut to your salads or meals along with digestive enzymes. This regime has helped me tremendously.

    • says

      Hi, Angela, Sorry that you are experiencing high yeast growth. I too had yeast. I overcame my yeast problem by taking two Probio5s in the morning and two at bed time on an empty stomach. I also cleanse daily. I became an ambassador for Plexus Slim just because of my results from our amazing products. Please take time to go to my website at http://www.plexusslim.com/cheryl56 to read further about our products. They are all natural. If you want to discuss our products further, please call me at 985-320-2132 or email me at cheryl.rhmf@charter.net. I would love to have you have the same experience as I have.

  105. Clarissa says

    Hello Chris,

    I have been following your series with great interest. I have followed a strict paleo diet excepting the inclusion of a small amount of high fat pastured dairy products for about 5 months. I have struggled with chronic facial hives and rash for several years and, if anything, these have gotten worse on the paleo diet. I started a dairy-free challenge a few days ago, and if I don’t see an improvement within the next couple of weeks, will try an egg-free challenge. Because of the dairy-free challenge I am reluctant to add kefir or yogurt to my diet. Any recommendations on specific brands of probiotics? There is a bewildering assortment out there.

    • Seroflorus says

      You may have luck with using a milk kefir scoby (“grains”) to make your own coconut milk kefir. I currently have rash from dairy but can use this very well. If you decide to try it, get the grains (not starter) and put them in a little more milk for one day, then rinse them and put the grains in coconut milk (I recommend the canned kind with just coconut milk and guar gum). Let it sit until you just see some clearish liquid on the bottom (this is ‘whey’). Pour through a strainer and put the grains back in their glass jar. add some fresh coconut milk, leave it for another day. Drink the semi-liquid that got through the strainer. Also, we use Ultimate Flora and have worked up to 50billion dosage.

      • says

        I am not sure if you will get this as it has been awhile since you posted but check into the histamine intolerance. Some foods have alot of histamine in them and cause symptoms. Fermented foods are one of them along with proteins such as meat..especially leftovers! A google search will bring you lots of info on this. Good luck!

        • Nick says

          You hit the nail on the head here. Histamines. This is the first thing my naturopath told me to try and eliminate.

          I get severe sinus swelling as a result of eating foods that contain gluten. Had it for years and never knew what it was despite all the trips to my regular doctors, GI examinations, etc…

          First day I went to a naturopath, they told me to do an elimination diet and slowly add back histamine containing foods one by one to see what caused a reaction.

          Also they had me start taking Pharmax fish oil for anti inflamation, Pharmax probiotics 25 billion, and acacia fiber.

          I think many people do not realize that something as simple as a tomato can cause problems from releasing histamines. Definitely look into histamine releasing foods!

    • Lynae Eakett Greene says

      Hi,
      I strongly recommend checking out the book “The Plan” by Lyn-Genet Recitas. It is a specific and speedy elimination diet, which allows you to discover which foods cause an inflammatory reaction with your body chemistry. I am currently un-employed, so I haven’t been able to afford to complete the 20 day process. But the 6 days I was on it were amazing. I have Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia and IBS, the symptoms from all three were gone or greatly improved. I discovered one of the foods that gives me immediate trouble, corn. Hope this helps. You can get the book on amazon for around $20. And if you google Lyn-Genet Recitas she has a website that offers consultations, and you can email them for advice on getting started.

        • says

          I have. I loved growing up on New England heritage corn. Alas, it is a cereal grain and has many issues as an allergen, as a source of spiked blood sugar, more… I’ve spent 30 years in clinical research and more recently in practice of clinical nutrition (*not* the dietitian/nutritionist dogma). Plants from the grass family, GMO or heritage, e.g. corn cane, sugar from corn or cane no matter how raw… all have an inflammatory property.

    • says

      I’d say you can make almond, soy, sunflower, cashew basically and nut milk from the fresh raw seeds. You won’t be having any issues with hives on your face or mucus for that matter.

    • Casey says

      Would fermented goods work? From my understanding so far though, they use sugar or milk in the cultures-both theoretically problematic. So, I don’t understand how it converts to beneficial for our sensitive system. I’ve been struggling with how to keep natural cultures in my diet while eliminating my problematic foods. Milk, corn, glutenous-grains, soy, and certain fruits. D’Adamo’s blood-type diet chart’s have really helped me understand why my body does good/bad with different foods. I’m currently on my journey to figuring out if I can heal my leaky gut and get back to digesting my nutrients better. I was hoping to find a guide that thoroughly describes the process of healing the gut barrier, and regenerating villi and micro-villi. Onward with my search.

      • Casey says

        Oh, also, I had read somewhere that whole foods tend to contain beneficial bacteria in their natural state (vs. being fermented). So, for now, I’m banking on that and just doing my research on the rest of the healing process.

      • Tess says

        Casey, if you’re sensitive to milk, try fermented vegetables like sauerkraut instead. Heck, try fermented vegetables even if you’re not sensitive to milk. They have a lot of beneficial bacteria, and it’s a different selection of bacteria than you get in the fermented milk products.

        However, you should understand that just because a ferment calls for sugar, that doesn’t mean you’ll be eating a bunch of sugar. The sugar is for the bacteria. They eat it and then it’s mostly gone.

        In addition, fermenting hard-to-digest foods like milk or soy gives bacteria a chance to break down the problematic substances (like lactose), making the resulting product much easier to digest. Extensive fermentation can even substantially break down gluten.

      • Peche says

        The GAPS book might be helpful to you. Goes into great detail about how the GAPS diet heals your digestive system.

      • Los says

        Read the body ecology diet by Donna gates ! She also has a web site! By learning and following the diet restored my gut and villi. But it takes time and your discipline to eat real food it the garbage we where born into.. Best of health to you!

    • rylee says

      Make homemade bone broth at home with the bone marrows exposed.

      Live off the broth and your gut will heal and seal!!! You are inflamed because of all of the things you are eating.

      See more information at

      http://www.gapsdiet.com

      • Swarner says

        Hi…I was told broth is VERY high in Glutamate, so avoid it. At this point, I basically can’t eat anything! I’ve attempted to avoid certain foods but if it’s not the food I’m reacting to it’s the environment. Nothing seems to work or change my skin from getting hives or being inflamed …no dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, grains, sugar, histamines, salicylate…you name it; I’ve eliminated it & no improvement. I take probiotics, digestive enzymes & colostrum for my gut…nothing :(

        • says

          Hi Clarissa,
          It seems you have a super trigger-happy inflammatory response so I would suggest taking (purified) EPA & DHA omega 3 fish oils in a 70:30 ratio. Aim for at least 500mg EPA & 150mg DHA every day. As EPA has the most powerful lowering effect on ‘pro-inflammatory cytokines’ in the body and improves the balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6, I hope this could eliminate your facial hives within 10 days.
          Good luck!!
          Daniele

        • Natural Natalie says

          L-glutamine heals the gut lining. It is an amino acid & works! Dr. ohhirra probiotics is the best to take. Speaking from personal use & experience.

        • Chris says

          Sounds to me like your stressed. Stress plays a major role in all illnesses. You have to learn to reduce your stress or you will never cure a leaky gut or anything for that matter.

        • oumayer says

          Hi,
          Saw your comments on the website. Just wanted to let you know that I had hives all of a sudden and for 8 months the doctors and specialists could not figure out what it is. The only thing that worked was an anti histamine “T-Day” and “singulair” .
          I was taking T-day twice a day, with Singulair at night (cos it causes drowsiness). This just kept the hives at a distance , but anytime i miss a dose, they come out with a vengeance.

          Anyway, my life had been miserable to put it lightly !

          So after all the allergy tests and vaccines, other medical and dermatologist visits,I searched the net and found out a lot of interesting things.

          Firstly, I tried apple cider vinegar , diluted in a glass of water daily for a week. It did not do much. But when I rubbed the apple cider vinegar on the hives, they stopped itching. I stopped this after a week as it was not really helping or even making a little bit of difference to my condition.

          Secondly, I started Probiotics 12 Billion(per capsule) x 3 per day for 4 weeks.
          In addition, a mouthful of Honey daily in the mornings.
          This made a lot of difference. I reduced the anti histamines dose to just a tablet of T-day daily.
          My life changed, i felt more energetic, increased libido, more alert, less fatigue and joint pains etc.

          However, after 4 weeks, i decided to reduce the dosage of the Probiotics, and the hives started re appearing, but i must say not as vengeful as before the probiotics. So I’ve re-started the probiotics again and feeling much better again.

          Anyway, I hope my experience would help you.

          If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

          Regards

          Oumayer

        • A says

          Hi, I just want to send my support! I’m going through the exact same thing. I’ve pared down my diet to basically just low histamine, low oxalate, low starch veggies, but now my stomach is constantly bloated. I know we’ll find a solution. Stay strong!

        • says

          I’ve just started taking probiotics and have developed terrible cystic acne along my jaw line – NEVER had anything like this in my life, but just read that a few people do have this reaction to probiotics – maybe they’re what’s causing your hives?

        • Ash says

          Hi —

          If you have severe sensitivities to foods, that’s an indication that your gut flora is extremely messed up and that usually happens after taking many antibiotics (such as clindamycin and other powerful antibiotics which I can’t remember the names of at the moment), or through a really compromised immune system.. I’ve been there and I’m still trying to “heal” my gut from the damage from the past 8 yrs. I’ve got a mild form of colitis and crohn’s and all these other digestive disorders which have not been diagnosed officially but I know they exist. The most important thing is get to know your body, study it, study the foods which help and hurt your body.

          I’ve gone on very simple meals, such as mostly home cooked dishes and only simply foods. Some examples of foods that I eat are:
          1. Baby banana food for age 1-2 yrs (this really helps w/the healing and I always keep several of these on hand in case of an emergency or any pain/discomfort I experience). In addition I try to eat a banana every day.
          2. Baby rice cereal which comes in banana and apple flavor, I eat this in the morning sometimes. For some reason, I can’t eat anything that’s made from oats.
          3. California sushi rolls (w/o avocados) – I can only tolerate “cooked” fish. I try to avoid the risk of stomach cancer by avoiding raw fish since my body’s inflammation is already really high most of the times (determined by the sedimentation rate) and I can’t digest fats from avocado very well either.
          4. I make use of lots of different lentil flours (Dumplings in yogurt, bread, fritters, etc). They can be purchased at any South Asian/Middle-Eastern grocery stores.
          5. Lactaid whole milk and coconut milk (anything w/o carrenegan, not sure if I spelled that correctly).
          6. Grilled/baked fish/chicken. If I’m making anything w/gravy, I use very simple ingredients such as 5-6 spices (ginger/garlic, cayenne, salt, cumin, blk peppercorns, etc).
          6. Rice grains/rice noodles.
          7. I can only tolerate white breads n w/o HFCS and if I’m using any condiments, like ketchup or anything, they have to be w/o HFCS as well. I try to make my own sauces/condiments or get light mayo/mustard when eating outside.
          8. When I get hives, I drink green tea (2-3 cups a day), although it makes me lose a lot of weight, but my hives clear up. Topically, I rub the inside of the banana skin, it helps a lot w/hives healing/soothing process.
          9. Cooked/steamed vegetables (due to my colitis issues). Baked yams/sweet potatoes w/cayenne/blk pepper/salt/olive oil, green beans, turnips, eggplants, etc.
          10. Most importantly, I drink yogurt shakes or eat sauces made from yogurt, frozen yogurt, (try to have some yogurt everyday). Even though I’m lactose intolerant, I don’t have issues w/yogurt. For centuries, my whole family generation grew up on eating yogurt, and they all have/had great immune systems and my aunt said it’s due to the yogurt. My mom used to make yogurt at home , but I haven’t tried that yet.
          11. I can tolerate almond and walnuts in small quantities.
          12. Last but not least, I avoid any foods more than 1-2 days old. I cannot tolerate yeast very well and that increases the bad bacteria in my gut and anything that’s even one day old will start growing yeast, unless it’s kept in air right container.

          I’m not a doctor but I’ve been to all the specialist you can name in the directory w/o any results that are helpful. I chose not to live on steroids and antibiotics. I’ve researched a lot on my own and I’ve become my own doctor and that’s what we all have to do, especially if there’s anything chronic we are suffering from. Study your body, your symptoms and what your body reacts to and learn to “manage” your illnesses. Start your day w/water, just even 1 glass and give your body time to “fast” for couple of hours so it heals a little bit.. I do not believe in eating small meals through out the day because I think our organs need some rest too .. I try to eat a balanced meals 2-3 times a day (good fat, some protein, light fiber, and some carbs (non-sugary)). If I get hungry, I snack lightly on nuts. Fasting definitely starves the yeast overgrowth in our bodies and helps to make our bodies absorb the other nutrients well (on an empty stomach), therefore, healing and helping the gut restore the good bacteria.

          Best of luck in health and God bless!

        • Alisa says

          I have had chronic urticaria and angioedema for the past 2 years. I have been to doctors all over the world and have been misdiagnoesed several times. My hives are so bad that they are more like welts and every doctor I have been to says they have seen nothing like it… so I understand the pain you are in. I am currently Gluten Free, Dairy Free and on a Low Histamine diet, along with taking Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, DGL, L-Gluatmine and Quercetin. If you haven’t taken Quercetin I highly recommend it. I also recommend you trying a Low Histamine diet. I am still battling with my hives but have only been on this new lifestyle for about a month and I am seeing slow improvements.

    • Angie says

      Hi there –
      I have often heard it said by nutritionists that sauerkraut is THE BEST probiotic, especially if you make it yourself. It’s super easy to make – just get a head of organic cabbage, chop it up, punch it in a bowl, sprinkle salt on it, let it sit for half an hour, then put it in jars with a bit of salt water and let it sit on your counter for a week. If you’re looking for a drinkable probiotic, you can make water kefir with just organic sugar and water. The grains are easy to deal with and you can buy them at culturesforhealth.com. I have made both of these and they are incredibly easy.

    • says

      hives sounds to me like some sort of reaction to a food your body does not like…can be anything. Bio-individuality! I would do coconut kefir and coconut kefir water. Also an elimination diet to find out what is causing the hives….or an IgG test.

      • Bren says

        Sorry, but an IGg test is just a snapshot. One could test for hundreds of foods, additives, seasonings and still not get valuable info. Btw-some foods are cross-reactive and may bother you primarily when consumed with another trigger.

        In the time it would take to see an allergist, get blood draw and then wait for test results you could implement the early phase of GAPS. Good luck!

    • Eli Guzman says

      Hello !!! I was reading your comment …
      I suffer from dermatitis.. & I mostly get it on my face.. It’s painful when u don’t know how to treat it… It’s know as a chronic disease but u can control that as so u know managing your stress & with diet..
      I keep it under control with a organic, gluten free & 90% vegan diet ( I say 90% because sometimes I eat eggs, but they are organic & free range )… Besides that, I DONT eat a bite or sip anything with dairy & gluten since are known to trigger a leaky guy.. I take enzymes & probiotics, I do a lot of green shakes… & it happens sometimes that I’m under a lot of stress, then I get a dermatitis flare up. I fight it with water fasting and ACV or/& juicing for a minimum of 3 days, then I start reintroducing solids but must be mostly raw… Basically I do a detox … Then on the outside I take care of it with coconut oil, calendula cream & baths with baking soda … I like to share my journey because I know how hard it is to live with this…
      Anytime any recipe for cooking or advice, contact me.
      yadirtrye24@gmail.com
      Or follow me on Instagram
      ELLIE_YADI_GUZMAN

      • Maggie says

        You may want to also clean out your liver with liver flushes or coffee enemas. A lot of times skin conditions can result from liver congestion. The other issue could be that you have not fully killed the bad bugs in your gut. I had perioral dermatitis and eczema on my face for 6 months, despite my super healthy diet. I went to an integrative doc who does kinesiology and he told me it was bad bugs in my gut and gave me oil of oregano to take twice a day under my tongue. On day two, the perioral dermatitis and eczema cleared and has not returned for 3 years.

    • Andreea says

      Try the raw vegan diet and if you feel you can’t let cooked food go then do a mostly raw stricty vegan diet(no animal product whatsoever) and get into juicing at least once a day(fitlife juicing site will help you get started).I hope this helped.if you are interested in some science facts on the vegan diet and why animal foods are bad for you then visit nutritionfacts site

    • Lia says

      You might be histamine intolerant. I am and I find it’s very difficult to pin down because it builds up in your body to a spilling point instead of triggering a reaction right away. Also the histamine load of foods varies greatly, though these are the food mostly considered with reactions: fermented foods! cured, smoked, canned and leftover! meats and fish, aged cheese, alcohol, especially wine, chocolate, tomatoes [especially canned and not to fresh soups and sauces], spinach…So as you see, a lot of paleo/primal staples.

      People report different symptoms. I personally get bloated, tired and a runny and stuffy nose. But I’ve heard a lot people talking about skin rashes and hives!!! So I was alarmed when I read your post and thought this might be helpful.
      [Sorry for false grammar and mispelling, english is not my mothertongue]

      PS: Dont be shocked by how many foods contain histamine. You should try a low histamine diet to calm your body down and see if it helps, but on the long run I could personally get away with eating very fresh meat & veggies…and can throw in some higher histamine foods now and then. But everyone is different, mine is not so severe I guess..

    • Jo Grant says

      So the just of what he is trying to represent is complete. What you need to do is that once your gut is comprised it’s possible to react to things that you are sure are good for you but make you feel the same. Go take the Elisa antibody test. The Dr can order it. It most likely isn’t covered by the insurance but it saved my life. I was unable to get around and going down hill fast. Diagnosed with RA Endometriosis, IBS, and adenomiosis. Basically I hurt BAD ALL THE TIME. The rheumatologist suggested I stop nursing my infant (which I now know helps you to produce important hormones that helps you heal) to start a regimen of A HEAVY drug. Twice monthly blood tests to ensure that my kidney/liver function was adequate. I was frustrated and read until my eyes hurt. I wasn’t sleeping then anyway. Stumbled across a study about pediatric RA and it stated that the effects could improve with allergy assessment. I personally asked for it and to my surprise. .. I am allergic to eggs, bakers yeast, brewers yeast, bananas (which I was eating daily), wheat and apples. I was floored. Sad . And in denial but I removed this from my menu and presto remission. PLEASE PERSIST … NEVER GIVE UP B-)

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