11 Best Leaky Gut Supplements in 2023

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Leaky gut syndrome is a complex digestive disorder with a wide array of symptoms. Its effects can range from minor tummy troubles to systemic inflammation and decreased immunity. Left untreated, this condition can have serious long-term health consequences—making it especially important that you recognize the signs, take action to diagnose leaky gut syndrome, and begin the proper treatment regimen for your individual needs.

There are various approaches available, including dietary modifications, lifestyle changes like reducing stress levels, and certain supplements that are beneficial in managing leaky gut syndrome – today, we’ll discuss 11 of these best leaky gut supplements for 2023, which, when combined with a comprehensive treatment plan, reduce symptoms significantly while improving your overall health.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition where the lining of the intestines becomes damaged, allowing toxins and undigested food particles to pass through into the bloodstream. Digestive enzymes are crucial in breaking down food and maintaining optimal function within the digestive tract.

However, leaky gut syndrome happens when the intestinal barrier, which acts as a gatekeeper for our digestive system, becomes compromised, disrupting the integrity of intestinal cells. The intestinal wall plays a crucial role in digestion and overall health by selectively allowing nutrients to be absorbed while keeping harmful substances out.

The gut microbiome can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being. A disruption in gut health can hinder the body’s ability to fight infections and obtain adequate nutrients from food, ultimately impacting the quality of life. In short, a healthy gut is vital for a healthy body, making it crucial to understand and address issues like leaky gut syndrome.

Symptoms and Causes of Leaky Gut

Characterized by digestive issues, fatigue, joint pain, and skin problems, leaky gut can be challenging to diagnose. Causes may include poor diet, stress, excessive alcohol, and certain medications. To determine if you have leaky gut, consult a healthcare professional who can assess your symptoms, identify the root cause, and recommend tests if needed. Recognizing potential leaky gut symptoms and causes is vital for addressing the condition and improving overall well-being.

The Science Behind Leaky Gut

The science behind leaky gut reveals strong evidence that our dietary habits and choices can impact intestinal permeability and the release of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Research indicates that obesity can increase intestinal permeability and circulating LPS levels by up to 71%, potentially due to the inflammation caused by an obesogenic diet.

Interestingly, consuming any meal, regardless of its content, can trigger a rise in LPS, a phenomenon termed postprandial endotoxemia. Similarly, alcohol intake, whether moderate or excessive, can also increase gut permeability. Regarding other health conditions, leaky gut is linked to a higher risk of inflammation and disease. Personalized diet plans have been shown effective for managing leaky gut in older adults. [1]

Can Supplements Really Help Leaky Gut?

Supplements can play a vital role in restoring gut health by targeting various aspects of the digestive system. They can help repair the intestinal lining, promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, and reduce inflammation. By providing essential nutrients and compounds that support gut barrier function, supplements assist in healing leaky gut and preventing the passage of harmful substances into the bloodstream. Incorporating the right supplements into your daily routine, alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle, can significantly improve gut health and overall well-being.

The Most Effective Supplements for Leaky Gut

Below is an overview of the most effective supplements for leaky gut:

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria in the gut that can improve overall health. Studies have shown that taking probiotics can significantly reduce symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) compared to using a placebo. [2]

Colostrum

Colostrum has promising advantages for the digestive and immune system. Its antibodies can diminish diarrheal symptoms caused by Escherichia coli and lower the likelihood of being infected by HIV.

Alanylglutamine (better known as L-Glutamine)

Among individuals with HIV who experienced diarrhea in the past 14 days, alanylglutamine supplementation was superior in decreasing intestinal permeability compared to placebo (glycine). [3]

Quercetin

Studies show that consuming more probiotics, polyphenols (such as quercetin), fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids improves symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In some cases, patients have achieved disease remission through increased intake of these nutrients, whether through food or supplements. [4]

Whey Protein

Whey protein powder, known for its high digestibility and research-backed benefits for muscle growth and weight loss, can potentially decrease intestinal permeability. This effect is attributed to the presence of glutamine in whey protein. [5]

Fish Oil

While no specific effect was detected in one study regarding intestinal permeability, fish oil, and plant compounds have been shown to fight liver inflammation. [6][7]

Lactobacillus Casei

Feeding rats supplemental Lactobacillus casei has been shown to improve intestinal permeability, while mice fed a diet containing 0.05% Lactobacillus casei Shirota for four weeks can reverse insulin resistance caused by a high-fat diet without changing their body weight. [8][9]

Turmeric

Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that may help in improving leaky gut. According to a study, curcumin supplementation reduced ulcerative colitis symptoms. [10] Additionally, it can reduce symptoms associated with Crohn’s Disease. [11]

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is a type of tree with properties that can help alleviate stomach and intestinal issues and reduce inflammation. Its inner bark is commonly consumed as a tea to treat ailments such as sore throat, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Reports suggest that slippery elm can assist with gastrointestinal problems. In two individual trials, participants who took slippery elm supplements and other herbs and substances reported improved symptoms like abdominal pain and constipation. [12]

Polyphenols

Studies have shown that polyphenols affect the makeup and function of the microbes in the gut. They positively impact gut metabolism and immunity and possess anti-inflammatory properties. [13]

Collagen Peptides

Collagen is a protein abundant in the body and helps form the skin, cartilage, bones, and connective tissues. Many people use collagen to improve their digestive health, experiencing better digestion, reduced bloating, and stomach health. [14]

How to Choose the Best Leaky Gut Supplement for You

Consider ingredients, quality standards, and intended purpose when choosing a leaky gut supplement. Opt for reputable brands with transparent practices. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement to ensure it’s tailored to your unique needs and medical history.

Frequently Asked Questions about Leaky Gut Supplements

Leaky gut supplements often spark a few common questions.

What are the potential side effects of leaky gut supplements?

Potential side effects can vary depending on the specific ingredients used, but generally, they’re minimal when taken as directed. However, monitoring your body’s response and consulting a healthcare provider if you experience any adverse reactions is essential.

How long does it take for leaky gut supplements to work?

The time it takes for leaky gut supplements to work can also differ, but typically, noticeable improvements may occur within weeks to months of consistent use.

Can you take leaky gut supplements while on other medications?

Discussing this with your healthcare provider is crucial, as certain ingredients could interact with medications or affect their efficacy. Always prioritize professional advice to ensure a safe and effective approach to improving gut health.

Conclusion

In conclusion, supplements play a significant role in managing leaky gut by supporting the restoration of gut health, reducing inflammation, and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. They can be a valuable addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle in addressing the challenges of leaky gut.

However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen to ensure the most effective and safe approach tailored to your unique needs and medical history. By taking charge of your gut health and seeking professional guidance, you can work towards a healthier and more comfortable life. Thanks so much for reading.

REFERENCES:

[1] Nicole Hidalgo-Liberona, Raúl González-Domínguez, Esteban Vegas, Patrizia Riso, Cristian Del Bo’, Stefano Bernardi, Gregorio Peron, Simone Guglielmetti, Giorgio Gargari, Paul Antony Kroon, Antonio Cherubini, and Cristina Andrés-Lacueva Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2020 68 (44), 12476-12484 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.0c04976

[2] Asha MZ, Khalil SFH. Efficacy and Safety of Probiotics, Prebiotics and Synbiotics in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2020 Feb;20(1):e13-e24. doi: 10.18295/squmj.2020.20.01.003. Epub 2020 Mar 9. PMID: 32190365; PMCID: PMC7065695.

[3] Leite RD, Lima NL, Leite CA, Farhat CK, Guerrant RL, Lima AA. Improvement of intestinal permeability with alanyl-glutamine in HIV patients: a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arq Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan-Mar;50(1):56-63. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032013000100011. PMID: 23657308.

[4] Malinowski B, Wiciński M, Sokołowska MM, Hill NA, Szambelan M. The Rundown of Dietary Supplements and Their Effects on Inflammatory Bowel Disease-A Review. Nutrients. 2020 May 14;12(5):1423. doi: 10.3390/nu12051423. PMID: 32423084; PMCID: PMC7284960.

[5] Benjamin J, Makharia G, Ahuja V, Anand Rajan KD, Kalaivani M, Gupta SD, Joshi YK. Glutamine and whey protein improve intestinal permeability and morphology in patients with Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Apr;57(4):1000-12. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-1947-9. Epub 2011 Oct 26. PMID: 22038507.

[6] Mokkala K, Pussinen P, Houttu N, Koivuniemi E, Vahlberg T, Laitinen K. The impact of probiotics and n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on intestinal permeability in pregnancy: a randomised clinical trial. Benef Microbes. 2018 Feb 27;9(2):199-208. doi: 10.3920/BM2017.0072. Epub 2018 Jan 18. PMID: 29345158.

[7] Song L, Zhao XG, Ouyang PL, Guan Q, Yang L, Peng F, Du H, Yin F, Yan W, Yu WJ, Yan H. Combined effect of n-3 fatty acids and phytosterol esters on alleviating hepatic steatosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease subjects: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Br J Nutr. 2020 May 28;123(10):1148-1158. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520000495. Epub 2020 Feb 14. PMID: 32054543.

[8] Isolauri E, Majamaa H, Arvola T, Rantala I, Virtanen E, Arvilommi H. Lactobacillus casei strain GG reverses increased intestinal permeability induced by cow milk in suckling rats. Gastroenterology. 1993 Dec;105(6):1643-50. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(93)91059-q. PMID: 8253341.

[9] Naito E, Yoshida Y, Makino K, Kounoshi Y, Kunihiro S, Takahashi R, Matsuzaki T, Miyazaki K, Ishikawa F. Beneficial effect of oral administration of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on insulin resistance in diet-induced obesity mice. J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):650-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04922.x. Epub 2011 Feb 1. PMID: 21281408.

[10] Holt PR, Katz S, Kirshoff R. Curcumin therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Nov;50(11):2191-3. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-3032-8. PMID: 16240238.

[11] Holt PR, Katz S, Kirshoff R. Curcumin therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Nov;50(11):2191-3. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-3032-8. PMID: 16240238.

[12] Hawrelak JA, Myers SP. Effects of two natural medicine formulations on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1065-71. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0090. PMID: 20954962.

[13] Kumar Singh A, Cabral C, Kumar R, Ganguly R, Kumar Rana H, Gupta A, Rosaria Lauro M, Carbone C, Reis F, Pandey AK. Beneficial Effects of Dietary Polyphenols on Gut Microbiota and Strategies to Improve Delivery Efficiency. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 13;11(9):2216. doi: 10.3390/nu11092216. PMID: 31540270; PMCID: PMC6770155.

[14] Abrahams M, O’Grady R, Prawitt J. Effect of a Daily Collagen Peptide Supplement on Digestive Symptoms in Healthy Women: 2-Phase Mixed Methods Study. JMIR Form Res. 2022 May 31;6(5):e36339. doi: 10.2196/36339. PMID: 35639457; PMCID: PMC9198822.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.