Ultimate Guide to the Best Supplements for Leaky Gut

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Struggling with digestive issues, bloating, or unexplained fatigue could indicate leaky gut—a condition where a compromised intestinal lining allows toxins to enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation and various health problems.

In this post, we’ll explore the science behind leaky gut, its impact on overall health, and how targeted supplementation can help restore gut health by repairing the intestinal barrier, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy bacteria growth in the gut microbiome.

Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition where the tight junctions of the gut lining loosen, allowing undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. Digestive enzymes play a vital role in decomposing food and ensuring the digestive tract functions at its best.

However, a disruption in the gut barrier can negatively impact the digestive system, impair nutrient absorption, disrupt the integrity of intestinal cells, and over-activate the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune conditions.

To prevent or manage leaky gut, consider making dietary changes (such as incorporating fiber-rich foods and avoiding processed foods), practicing stress relief techniques (like meditation or yoga), and exploring leaky gut supplement options under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

The Science Behind Leaky Gut

Our dietary habits and choices can impact intestinal permeability and the release of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Research has shown that obesity can increase intestinal permeability and circulating LPS levels by up to 71%, potentially due to inflammation caused by an obesogenic diet. Consuming any meal, regardless of its content, can trigger a rise in LPS, known as postprandial endotoxemia. Alcohol intake can also increase gut permeability.

Leaky gut is linked to a higher risk of inflammation and disease. However, personalized diet plans have proven effective for managing leaky gut in older adults. [1]

Role of Nutrition in Gut Health

A healthy, balanced diet is crucial for gut health, providing essential nutrients for optimal digestion. A high-fiber, low-processed food diet supports a healthy gut microbiome, vital for overall well-being.

Fermented foods or probiotic-rich options enhance digestive health by introducing beneficial bacteria. When combined with a nutrient-dense diet, supplements can offer additional support for maintaining gut health and promoting wellness.

11 Best Supplements for Leaky Gut in 2023

Supplements can help manage leaky gut, offering targeted support for improved gut health. The following gut health supplements can enhance intestinal function by providing essential nutrients and promoting a balanced gut environment.

Probiotics

Including probiotics in your diet can improve gut health and overall well-being. Research indicates that consuming probiotics can effectively alleviate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, surpassing the effectiveness of a placebo. [2]

Colostrum

Colostrum boasts impressive benefits for both digestion and immunity. Its unique antibodies have been shown to reduce symptoms of diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli effectively and may even decrease the risk of HIV infection.

Alanylglutamine

Research shows that alanyl-glutamine supplementation is more effective than glycine placebo in reducing intestinal permeability among people with HIV who have experienced diarrhea in the last two weeks. [3]

Quercetin

Boosting the intake of probiotics, polyphenols (like quercetin), fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids can alleviate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms. This nutrient-rich approach can even achieve disease remission for some patients, whether through food or supplements. [4]

Whey Protein

Whey protein powder is easily digested and has proven benefits for muscle growth and weight loss. Glutamine, found in whey protein, may also help reduce intestinal permeability. [5]

Fish Oil

Although one study did not find any significant impact on intestinal permeability, there is evidence that fish oil and plant compounds can effectively combat liver inflammation. [6][7]

Lactobacillus casei

By adding Lactobacillus casei to a rat’s diet, their gut health was shown to improve. Meanwhile, mice who consume 0.05% Lactobacillus casei Shirota for four weeks can effectively counteract insulin resistance caused by a high-fat diet without altering their body weight. [8][9]

Turmeric

Curcumin, a key component found in Tumeric, has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in enhancing gut health. In one study, curcumin supplementation led to a reduction in ulcerative colitis symptoms. [10] Additionally, curcumin can alleviate symptoms associated with Crohn’s Disease. [11]

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm, valued for its stomach and intestinal relief and anti-inflammatory properties, is typically ingested as a tea to remedy ailments like sore throat, constipation, and IBS. Research suggests combining slippery elm supplements and herbs can alleviate leaky gut symptoms such as abdominal pain and constipation. [12]

Polyphenols

Polyphenols have been proven to alter gut microbes and their performance. This is beneficial to gut metabolism and immunity and also provides anti-inflammatory advantages. [13] Also, a study of older adults consuming a polyphenol-rich diet showed improved gut barrier integrity.

Collagen Peptides

Collagen is a protein that forms our skin, cartilage, bones, and connective tissues. In addition to its physical benefits, collagen is known to improve digestive health, relieve bloatedness, and enhance stomach health. [14]

Choosing the Right Supplement for You

When investigating supplements for leaky gut, it is essential to consider several key factors. Begin by determining the specific nutrients the body is deficient in or requires more of, and research various supplements and their key ingredients to identify the best product for you. Additionally, be aware of any potential interactions between medications or supplements, especially if currently taking prescribed medications.

A tailored approach to gut health is important since leaky gut presents differently in each individual. Consulting with healthcare professionals such as doctors, registered dietitians, or nutritionists before making significant changes to supplement or medication intake is essential. With proper guidance and careful consideration, finding the right supplement for leaky gut can be crucial to overall health and well-being.

FAQs about Supplements for Leaky Gut

The following questions often arise when delving into the world of leaky gut supplements:

Q: How long does it take for supplements to heal leaky gut?

A: The time it takes to heal leaky gut using supplements can vary, depending on individual health conditions and the severity of the issue. Generally, improvements may be noticed within a few weeks to several months of consistent supplement use.

Q: Can I take multiple leaky gut supplements at the same time?

A: It is possible to take multiple leaky gut supplements simultaneously. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to ensure compatibility and avoid potential interactions.

Q: Are there any risks or side effects associated with these supplements?

A: As with any supplement, there may be risks or side effects associated with leaky gut supplements. Depending on the specific supplement and individual factors, these can range from mild digestive discomfort to more serious complications. Following recommended dosages and consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen is essential to minimize risks.

Conclusion

In conclusion, prioritizing gut health is crucial to your overall well-being. A healthy microbiome offers numerous benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and better mental health. Supplements can play a significant role in supporting a balanced gut ecosystem.

Combined with healthy habits like eating fermented foods and reducing processed food intake, supplements can be a helpful addition to your wellness journey. Always consult your doctor before starting any new regimen to ensure its safety and effectiveness. We hope this information empowers you to make positive changes and prioritize your gut health for a healthier life.

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.