How to Heal Leaky Gut | Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes - Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes (2024)

Posted June 27, 2013 by Bill

How to Heal Leaky Gut | Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes - Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes (1)This post is a long time in coming… almost 2 years, in fact. It was two summers ago I first wrote about FODMAPs, and my intolerance to them. I discovered my sensitivity to these foods while Hayley and I were writing our first cookbook, Make it Paleo.

What are FODMAPs?

  • FODMAP stands forfermentable – oligo- di- monosaccharides and polyols.
  • Osmotically active, so, after ingesting, they drag water from the intestinal vessels into the intestinal lumen, thus causing diarrhea.
  • Fermentablefoods – degradable by intestinal bacteria yielding large amount of gases, like hydrogen or carbon dioxide, thus causingabdominal bloating

When an intolerant individual eats a FODMAP food, they experience severe discomfort, bloating, and sudden onset diarrhea. FODMAPs are foods that contain short chain carbohydrates. Unfortunately, these foods aren’t as easy to simply identify as a major food group like dairy or nuts. FODMAP foods can be found in all the food groups!

I’ve written three posts so far on my gut issues, so to get the whole picture, you can read the posts:

Part 1 (July 2011): Paleo and FODMAPs – Discovering my Food Intolerances

Part 2 (Sept 2012):FODMAPs and Gut Health – When Strict Paleo Isn’t Enough!

Part 3 (Oct 2012):Paleo and Leaky Gut – Shedding Light on my FODMAP issues

To paraphrase those three posts (but seriously, read them), an intolerance to FODMAPs is not a condition – it’s a symptom of a gut condition. In my case, that condition was Leaky Gut, and I wasn’t able to fix it by just eating Paleo. That may come as a shock to most of you, but just eating Paleo wasn’t enough in my case; and knowing what I now know about leaky gut, I’m guessing it may not be enough for most people. Over the course of the last two years, I’ve come to learn what was causing me to have IBS-like symptoms (Part 1). Last fall, I decided I was tired of just managing my symptoms and wanted to see a doctor (Part 2), which I recommend for anyone experiencing gut distress. After going through a stool test and getting a diagnosis from our family holistic doctor, I found out that I had Leaky Gut (Part 3).

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut is usually caused by eating foods with anti-nutrients, causing small perforations in your small intestine lining. Typically, people that eat or have eaten grains and legumes for a long time are prone to getting Leaky Gut. When you have Leaky Gut, small perforations in your small intestinal lining allow larger-than-desired food particles to pass through and enter the bloodstream. This leads not only to malabsorption, but it also triggers an ongoing immune response in your body. When the food gets through the lining in that manner, the body perceives it as invasive and initiates an immune response. This is problematic, because being on “high alert” all the time lessens the effectiveness of your immune system. As someone that got sick 4-6 times a year, I can attest to having a compromised immune system from Leaky Gut.

Diagnosing Leaky Gut

This is where things get interesting. Dr. Berez recommended that I do a stool test so that we could all get a better idea of what was going on in my gut. Leading up to the stool test, I had to eliminate any foods with probiotics for 2 weeks. This meant that I had to curb my daily kombucha addiction. In its place, I started drinking aloe water every day. Ironically, I believe drinking aloe water started the healing process in my gut even before I took the stool test. I started experiencing some symptom relief before the stool test, and was ironically symptom free during my 3 day sampling. I was worried the test would thus prove inconclusive. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, although my results did come back negative for a host of gut problems such as:

  • Candida
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Food Allergies
  • Pathogens, and parasites

What the test DID show was that I had great gut flora (go Paleo!) but I had a tremendous imbalance of Beta-glucoronidase from eliminating cruciferous vegetables (most of which are FODMAPs). This imbalance can lead to big problems if gone untreated, like colon cancer. Fortunately for me, that imbalance was just temporary from my avoidance of crucifers, so nothing to worry about. I also had blood work done at that time, which showed that I had a lot of food sensitivities (not allergies).These sensitivities included nearly all grains and dairy, which I’ve luckily avoided for several years now. It also included ginger, green beans, curry, and sunflower seeds.

Dr. Berez concluded that my gut disruption must be linked to Leaky Gut, which is a common problem for people to have that have followed a conventional, food-pyramid based diet (Which I did for 26 years of my life). I’ve had IBS-like symptoms since high school, so that part made sense. Dr. Berez concluded that my former gluten-filled diet constipated me enough to balance things out at times, thus not having an overwhelming host of symptoms, at least gastric symptoms. However, throughout my life, I’ve always felt sickly – getting colds and sinus infections several times a year, every year. A common cold would knock me out for 5-8 days, whereas it would take a healthy person 2-3 days to get over it. Immunity starts in the gut, and if you have a leaky gut, you have severely compromised immunity.

Healing Leaky Gut

Given the Leaky Gut diagnosis, Dr. Berez prescribed a host of supplements and med’s to start the healing process. (This is not intended to be medical advice, but just to relate my own experiences.)

  • Lycopodium (Homeopatic remedy)
  • GI Complete drink mix: slippery elm powder, marshmallow root powder, and aloe (drink 2x daily mixed with water)
  • Lactoinflamx: probiotic typically used for for crohn’s and colitis treatment
  • Calcium D Glucarate – to counteract the high Beta Glucoronidase levels
  • Add a lot of fiber back into diet (vegetables)

In addition to Dr. Berez’ protocol, I also continued to drink aloe water on a regular basis for the first 3 months of the healing process, and occasionally on an ongoing basis. I largely avoided coffee for 4 months, to avoid disrupting the benefits of the homeopatic remedy. I also largely avoided sugar in the diet, and followed a sort of relaxed GAPS diet. My basic meals were meat and veggies, with very little fruit. I drank a lot of bone broth, and slowly introduced FODMAPs back into my diet. During this time, we were working on our latest book, The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking – which has almost 100 great recipes for squeaky-clean Paleo eating.

How long does it take to heal Leaky Gut?

Dr. Berez said to follow the protocol for 4 months. I’ve heard others say 6 months. I even got a few people on our Facebook Page that said 1.5-2 years. In my personal experience, true total relief came between 5 and 6 months. Significant progress was noted 2-3 weeks into following the protocol, but episodes did not fully cease until a few months later. Being symptom free for me means I can now eat virtually all FODMAPs without any irritation (except red onion and shallot). I’ve been relishing the opportunity to have dishes with onions, garlic, coconut milk, avocado, and cruciferous vegetables that I haven’t had in many months. It also means that I’m not getting deathly ill several times a year. I’ve been sick only once in the last 9 months, and it was for 36 hours. I’m not kidding – I kicked a sinus infection inside of two days. That would have been a 8-10 day ordeal for me before healing my gut.

I was reluctant to write this post for a long time, as I wanted to be 100% sure I was at least on the track to getting healed. No matter what length of time you believe, all sources agree that fixing a Leaky Gut is not a quick process. From the time I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to the time relief from symptoms, it was about 6 months. Also understand that feeling relief from symptoms does not necessarily mean you’re “cured” … but following a Paleo diet will most likely prevent you from backsliding.

You have to be diligent with the supplements (particularly, in my opinion, the Aloe, Slippery Elm, and Marshmallow Root). If you have Diane Sanfilippo’s book Practical Paleo, there is a handy guide on page 88 for Leaky Gut. She describes the 4 R’s of Leaky Gut healing:

  1. Remove common dietary irritants
  2. Repair (what to eat, drink, and supplement with)
  3. Reinoculate with probiotics
  4. Reintroduce removed foods (for me, that was FODMAPs). *Don’t reintroduce junk!*

Last but not least, I’ll just harp on this one point. If you feel like you might have leaky gut or something similar going ongo see a doctor. I would have never been able to properly diagnose my condition without seeing Dr. Berez, and getting a stool test. It is a tricky condition to diagnose (despite being so common). Be patient. Eat the right foods. And don’t lose hope – it can be fixed!!

To read more about my story, check out parts 1,2 and 3!

Part 1 (July 2011):Paleo and FODMAPs – Discovering my Food Intolerances

Part 2 (Sept 2012):FODMAPs and Gut Health – When Strict Paleo Isn’t Enough!

Part 3 (Oct 2012):Paleo and Leaky Gut – Shedding Light on my FODMAP issues

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How to Heal Leaky Gut | Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes - Primal Palate | Paleo Recipes (2024)


What is the fastest way to heal leaky gut? ›

avoiding foods that commonly cause symptoms, such as sugar, gluten, and dairy. adding probiotics to repopulate healthy gut bacteria. eating fermented foods, such as pickles, yogurt, and sauerkraut, which can help heal the gut. considering supplements, such as L-glutamine, which may heal the intestinal lining.

What are the worst foods for leaky gut? ›

Diet for leaky gut syndrome
  • Refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta.
  • Glutinous grains, like barley, rye, and oats.
  • White sugar found in candy, baked goods, or cereal.
  • Dairy products, including milk, ice cream, and some cheeses.
  • Vegetable oils including soybean and canola.

Are eggs bad for leaky gut? ›

The leaky gut diet centers around whole, unprocessed foods with a focus on foods with nutrients that promote gut health. These include: Fruits and veggies. Eggs.

What is the best supplement for leaky gut? ›

Some supplements and treatments that may be beneficial in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome may include:
  • zinc.
  • L-glutamine.
  • collagen peptides.
  • probiotics.
  • fiber.
  • DGL.
  • curcumin.
  • berberine.
Feb 26, 2019

How I healed my leaky gut naturally? ›

This can include:
  1. eating a healthy diet.
  2. taking probiotics.
  3. limiting alcohol and NSAIDs.
  4. reducing stress.
  5. quitting smoking.
Sep 4, 2019

What foods reverse leaky gut? ›

Other foods that may improve gut health include:
  • vegetables such as eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and zucchini.
  • fruits including blueberries, grapes, oranges, papaya, and strawberries.
  • nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pine nuts.
Aug 20, 2019

Are bananas bad for leaky gut? ›

Bananas are considered one of the best gut healing foods for individuals with leaky gut. They are easily digestible and gentle on the gastrointestinal system. All these qualities makes banana a soothing choice for those with digestive issues.

Is peanut butter OK for leaky gut? ›

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune or thyroid disease or believe you have a leaky gut, you should avoid these inflammatory foods: Grains and pseudo-grains include wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, and more. Legumes such as lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, and soybeans.

What are the 3 gut destroying foods? ›

Here are three not-so-gut-friendly foods to watch out for that may raise your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  • Diet Soda. Artificial sweeteners in zero-calorie drinks may mess with your microbes, some researchers say. ...
  • Red Meat. What's bad for your gut can be bad for your heart. ...
  • Processed and Refined Foods.
Sep 7, 2017

Is cheese bad for leaky gut? ›

Tamburello says, “Avoiding dairy products is common practice for those with GI conditions because they can exacerbate leaky gut symptoms like bloating, gas and stomach upset.”

Is avocado bad for leaky gut? ›

Load up on probiotic-rich foods like coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi to win the battle against leaky gut. Healthy fats from coconuts, avocados, and ghee work to lower inflammation and restore blood sugar levels. In order to have a healthy gut you need probiotics and prebiotics.

Are potatoes bad for leaky gut? ›

According to Boyers, the starch in potatoes is resistant to digestion, which means it travels to your large intestine and acts as a probiotic, AKA food source for your essential gut bacteria. It also helps create fatty acids that protect the gut lining and prevent harmful substances from leaking into the bloodstream.

How I cured my leaky gut? ›

Making healthy lifestyle changes is the best way to aid in gut repair. Filling your leaky gut diet with whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides your body with essentials nutrients to repair gut health.

What is the #1 substance to help heal the gut? ›


Glutamine is the primary fuel source for enterocytes, the cells lining the small intestine. Common uses for glutamine include Crohn's disease, gastritis, and Celiac disease.

What vitamin deficiency causes leaky gut? ›

Deficiency in either vitamin A or vitamin D results in leaky guts. In addition to gut epithelial cells, the mucosal immune system is a target of vitamin A and vitamin D.

What 3 foods cause leaky gut? ›

This list has foods that can increase the prevalence of leaky gut:
  • Refined carbohydrates- white bread and other processed foods.
  • Cereal grains.
  • Sweeteners.
  • Bad vegetable oils- canola oil, margarine, and "vegetable" oil.
  • Legumes- beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, green beans, kidney beans, etc....
Mar 2, 2023

How long does it take to reverse leaky gut? ›

It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to fully heal the gut. After all, since Leaky Gut Syndrome does not develop overnight, curing this condition will take some time.

Is drinking lots of water good for leaky gut? ›

When you don't drink enough water, you might cause inflammation of the intestinal lining. This can lead to leaky gut symptoms such as bloating and cramps. If you drink a glass of water after every meal, you will help flush out toxins and help the digestion of the food you've just eaten.


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