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How Do You Heal Your Leaky Gut? Ready To Move On!
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How do you heal a leaky gut? I am intolerant to many foods now. Including most grains (I can eat rice), citrus, soy, dairy, tomato, chicken (yeah....chicken), peanuts, chickpeas, potatoes. I went gluten light (thought it was gluten-free, oh the learning curve) two years ago after much frustration with the medical community. I didn't even consider celiac as a possibility.

Since then, my symptoms got worse and worse. I get all the digestive problems, horrible acid reflux, migraines, and brain fog. I finally went completely and strictly gluten-free about 4 months ago. I also cut out dairy and soy at the same time. Just started cutting out corn. This has helped dramatically. However, I am still having reactions and I am scared of developing more and more intolerances.

I am at the point where the medical community can't do much for me. It is not an allergy and I can't make it past 3 days on a gluten challenge to get a diagnosis. I am doing an endoscopy in a month but I doubt it will show anything as I've been gluten light for a long time and gluten-free for awhile.

So, I am trying to move on from the need for a diagnosis. Even the celiac specialist I am seeing agrees I am having a gut-immune response which he believes is leaky gut. So, that means I have something to go on.

So, what can I do? I was going to start probiotics. I would love some allergen-free (including CORN-free) recommendations. What else have you found helpful? I really just want to start focusing on healing so throw your ideas my way! Thanks everyone!

--Mary

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Hi Mary,

WOW this sounds familiar. I'm in much the same boat: I can eat maybe five foods without any problems, and the only safe protein source is tuna...so I can only eat a little bit of it because of the mercury content. I'm really looking for options here.

At the beginning (I went on the GFD three weeks ago), I could eat nothing. I can't even eat the things on the introductory SCD and GAPS diets. I ordered probiotics and digestive enzymes, but they take a month to get here by mail.

What I did was 1) soak all grains for 24 hours (basically a small fermentation process) and 2) ferment some pickles and sauerkraut. The first one makes the grains easier to digest when I do cook them, but it doesn't work for everything. I can finally handle white rice (and I can do polenta, though that's not an option for you), and I plan to try quinoa. But I still malabsorb beans, no matter how much I ferment them first. The more seriously fermented foods -- pickles and sauerkraut -- are my probiotics. I hear kefir works great for people, too (I have some kefir grains on order, since they don't sell it in the stores here), and obviously you can do yogurt if dairy is OK for you. A form of kefir can be made without dairy (the dairy version is pretty lactose-free but not casein-free).

Because of all this, I can eat rice casserole with tuna and also polenta with almond milk. I'm looking into soaking nuts, which may work since I can handle almond milk but not almonds (a test showed I'm not allergic to almonds). Many people here find good things with coconut milk.

So, I would suggest, first, a food allergy test, so you can separate out the stuff that will never work from the stuff you are just malabsorbing now. But it's not necessary; just nice to know.

Then I would suggest getting some active probiotics, digestive enzymes, and some vitamin/mineral supplements (D3, iron if you need it, etc.). There are all kinds of suggestions here (the Newbie 101 thread especially), but I'm looking into Celiact, since it seems to have these and some good vitamin blends. One person recently said it helped her. Fermented stuff like yogurt, kefir, homemade pickles/sauerkraut/etc. are also probiotic, but not as strong as the pills.

Then I would try soaking the grains you want to try including. But you may prefer the Paleo diet, SCD, or GAPS approaches, which are pretty much grain-free. Lots of people on the forum love these diets and say they worked wonders with their leaky gut. I'd do it, but I malabsorb all other starches and I'm too skinny to survive a ketogenic diet. Can you handle proteins? So far, only tuna is safe for me, and I'm looking into gluten- and soy-free medical drinks to help me out. Some people here have suggested some.

Last, you may want to read up on fructose malabsorbtion. Googling around will get you a wealth of information.

I suffered through 5 weeks of eating tons of gluten every day for my testing. It wasn't pleasant, but it was nice to say goodbye to all the foods I'll never eat again. Just a thought, if you can manage it.

Anyway, there are lots of people here with better advice than me, so hopefully you'll get some good responses from the real experts.

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I am doing a rotational diet to try to heal up leaky gut simalar to that.

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I am doing a rotational diet to try to heal up leaky gut simalar to that.

I was reading your post and just thought maybe an IC diet may help. It helps with acid reflux, not on purpose. But it helps not have acidic foods in your diet and maybe that is part of the problem since you said you have GERD. Look up the diet online or pick up a book. It helps me.

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I believe the first step in healing a leaky gut is to stop causing further inflammation. So long long as your body is still being irritated by foods you are consuming, it will not have the chance to heal. With that said, here is what I would do:

First, do an elimination diet and remove any foods you find yourself currently reacting to. Once you have removed all foods you are currently sensitive to, the next step would be to do a 4 day rotation diet with the foods you can still tolerate.

The purpose of a rotation diet is to prevent further food allergies/sensitivities from developing, by not over-exposing yourself to foods. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cCMXT24J24, when one has a leaky gut they are more prone to developing new food sensitivities, since incomplete food particles are entering your bloodstream, and your body seeing them as foreign develops antibodies against them.

Once you have a successful rotation diet where you are no longer provoking reactions, then I would look into supplementation. The supplements I have seen most recommended for healing leaky gut are

Probiotics

L-glutamine

Zinc

omega 3 fish oil

I have a thread detailing my current rotation diet which you may find helpful - http://www.celiac.co...-sensitivities/

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This is what helped me:

Day 0: full day fast, well hydrated, get a suntan, not sunburn

Day 1- 180: gluten free, milk free, alcohol free diet of real foods (Autoimmune paleo diet), antiinflammatory lifestyle (sleep, no stress, some but not too much exercise

Day 181 and beyond: I can eat what I like, even gluten with no ill effect but I will stic to gluten free alcohol free anyway.

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what is fermenting?

Hi Mary,

WOW this sounds familiar. I'm in much the same boat: I can eat maybe five foods without any problems, and the only safe protein source is tuna...so I can only eat a little bit of it because of the mercury content. I'm really looking for options here.

At the beginning (I went on the GFD three weeks ago), I could eat nothing. I can't even eat the things on the introductory SCD and GAPS diets. I ordered probiotics and digestive enzymes, but they take a month to get here by mail.

What I did was 1) soak all grains for 24 hours (basically a small fermentation process) and 2) ferment some pickles and sauerkraut. The first one makes the grains easier to digest when I do cook them, but it doesn't work for everything. I can finally handle white rice (and I can do polenta, though that's not an option for you), and I plan to try quinoa. But I still malabsorb beans, no matter how much I ferment them first. The more seriously fermented foods -- pickles and sauerkraut -- are my probiotics. I hear kefir works great for people, too (I have some kefir grains on order, since they don't sell it in the stores here), and obviously you can do yogurt if dairy is OK for you. A form of kefir can be made without dairy (the dairy version is pretty lactose-free but not casein-free).

Because of all this, I can eat rice casserole with tuna and also polenta with almond milk. I'm looking into soaking nuts, which may work since I can handle almond milk but not almonds (a test showed I'm not allergic to almonds). Many people here find good things with coconut milk.

So, I would suggest, first, a food allergy test, so you can separate out the stuff that will never work from the stuff you are just malabsorbing now. But it's not necessary; just nice to know.

Then I would suggest getting some active probiotics, digestive enzymes, and some vitamin/mineral supplements (D3, iron if you need it, etc.). There are all kinds of suggestions here (the Newbie 101 threadespecially), but I'm looking into Celiact, since it seems to have these and some good vitamin blends. One person recently said it helped her. Fermented stuff like yogurt, kefir, homemade pickles/sauerkraut/etc. are also probiotic, but not as strong as the pills.

Then I would try soaking the grains you want to try including. But you may prefer the Paleo diet, SCD, or GAPS approaches, which are pretty much grain-free. Lots of people on the forum love these diets and say they worked wonders with their leaky gut. I'd do it, but I malabsorb all other starches and I'm too skinny to survive a ketogenic diet. Can you handle proteins? So far, only tuna is safe for me, and I'm looking into gluten- and soy-free medical drinks to help me out. Some people here have suggested some.

Last, you may want to read up on fructose malabsorbtion. Googling around will get you a wealth of information.

I suffered through 5 weeks of eating tons of gluten every day for my testing. It wasn't pleasant, but it was nice to say goodbye to all the foods I'll never eat again. Just a thought, if you can manage it.

Anyway, there are lots of people here with better advice than me, so hopefully you'll get some good responses from the real experts.

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AmeliaF, I have huge problems with all protiens, I have to really chew them into practically a liquid and only eat them early in the morning when my stomach acid is really powerful. You can take the major amino acids in their pure already broken down form and then you wont have a reaction to it bcca powder has the major ones in it. I haven't been eating at all after 6pm, that is helping a lot. Then you get both the protein you need to heal and the rest your small intestine needs to heal.

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what is fermenting?

It's letting bacteria process some of the food before you eat it. It's a traditional "cooking" process that is still in use today. It's how yogurt, pickles, and wine are made, for example.

It can be a way to break down the foods before you cook them so that they're more easily digested or a way to get live bacterial cultures into your diet -- the same as a probiotic pill, but on a smaller scale. Almost all shelf-stable grocery store foods in the States have been irradiated so they no longer have live cultures, but you can buy yogurt, kefir, and some others. To get pickles, sauerkraut, and the like with live cultures, you have to buy them in special places or make them yourself. But they are very very easy to make.

Here is the best online resource I've found on it:

http://www.wildfermentation.com/

I have this guy's most recent book -- it's good, but many of the recipes are also on the site.

If you want serious results, I suggest freeze-dried or refrigerated probiotics. But fermented foods are a good thing to have in your diet for digestive health (or so I hear) and they are crazy delicious.

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AmeliaF, I have huge problems with all protiens, I have to really chew them into practically a liquid and only eat them early in the morning when my stomach acid is really powerful. You can take the major amino acids in their pure already broken down form and then you wont have a reaction to it bcca powder has the major ones in it. I haven't been eating at all after 6pm, that is helping a lot. Then you get both the protein you need to heal and the rest your small intestine needs to heal.

Thanks--very helpful!

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I wonder if digestive enzymes would help you. i've been taking one with my meals for probably 15 years - and they are what allow me to eat without an upset stomach 90+% of the time. The gluten-free one that is mentioned in Newbie 101 (linked above,) is called Digestive - there is "Digestive Basic", "Digestive," and "Digestive Gold," each one progressively stronger with more enzymes. I started with the Gold and it was too strong and upset my tummy. Then i tried the Digestive, and today i bought the Digestive BAsic. Hopefully that will be the right strength. I also take Schiff's Lactose Advantage Therapy - one-two pills a day.

Truly, without these props i'm hardly able to eat anything either. with them, i eat an almost normal diet.

I live in a city of 50,000 in the NW and was able to find multiple stores in town that sell both of them. If you haven't tried them, i'd sure encourage you. I suspect I have a leaky gut - my mom's doc had her giving me orange juice starting when i was 2 weeks old. oddly enough, i vomited clear across the room and the doc had her switch to grapefruit juice, and then tomato juice. she seemed convinced that i needed vitamin C. The result is that i'm allergic to citric acid and all things citrus. But i have a list of other food allergies and intolerances too. All i know is that those digestive enzymes and the lactase enzymes have made a world of difference in how healthy i feel and the variety i can eat.

also, if you think you don't have enough stomach acid, you can buy it in a supplement. I tried them once but they gave me an odd buzzy feeling in my stomach - felt like a chem lab carafe! The digestive enzymes helped me a lot more.

initially i got all of this stuff at a GNC Health Food store, but when i had to switch to gluten-free (the GNC digestive enzymes are not gluten-free) I went with the Digestive from another local healthy-foods store.

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