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Gut Inflammation and Leaky Gut: What You Need to Know

Ways to reduce leaky gut and help with gut inflammation

What is gut inflammation, and how is it linked to a leaky gut?

The buzz around gut health is real! If you don’t already know, your gut has an effect on quite literally every function in your body.

Yet, thousands of people struggle with gut imbalances and disorders, leading them to live with the consequences of various other health problems.

You deserve to be feeling the best in your body which starts with a healthy gut!

Making sure your gut is working in tip-top condition should be one of your top priorities, which is why we discuss everything you need to know about gut inflammation, the signs and symptoms, and how to heal your gut in this post.

Did you know our team of specialized dietitians can help you get down to the root cause of your gut issues? Book your FREE complimentary call today to learn more about how we can help change your life for the better.

What is Gut Inflammation?

Your gut is home to trillions of microbiota bacteria that carry out a variety of functions contributing to your overall health.

Some of these functions include nutrient metabolism, immune system regulation and natural defense against infection.

The ideal gut has a vast array of bacteria in many different types and forms. This diversity creates a robust and resilient gut that can withstand changes in nutrients or stress.

When your gut bacteria become unbalanced, a condition called dysbiosis occurs.

Dysbiosis is when there is a lack of beneficial bacteria giving the harmful opportunistic bacteria their chance to wreak havoc on your gut. This signals an immune response in your body, causing intestinal inflammation.

Your body’s inflammatory response is actually what allows you to stay alive and fight through injury and sickness, but when this inflammation is directed toward the gut, it ignites the flame for a slew of future health problems.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our full blog post on the gut-fertility connection.

How Does Leaky Gut Cause Gut Inflammation?

Leaky gut is one of those health problems that can result from chronic inflammation in the gut. Your gut is a gated passage for your food and other substances to be absorbed.

When your gut is in a constant inflammatory state, its walls weaken, and holes can develop. This opens the door for substances to pass right through even when they are not supposed to. This results in the condition known as leaky gut syndrome.

With leaky gut, fluid, toxins, and even the nutrients from your food can leave the boundaries of the gut traveling elsewhere and creating even more inflammation in your body. This can result in a variety of symptoms as a result of your body’s immune response to these foreign invaders who have made it past the gated walls.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Gut inflammation and symptoms of leaky gut

Many of the symptoms of leaky gut extend beyond your digestive system. These are correlations you may not have considered to be caused by your gut health!

  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas

  • Food allergies or intolerances

  • Brain fog

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Skin issues like acne, rosacea, or eczema

  • Hormonal imbalances like PCOS

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Autoimmune disease diagnoses

Since your gut has so many different axes and controls in your body, the inflammation it experiences is expressed in many different ways. Whether that be skin breakouts or mood imbalances, your gut health may be the culprit!

Leaky Gut and Hormonal Imbalances

If you experience a leaky gut, you most likely also have a hormonal imbalance. With leaky gut, your body is not able to excrete excess hormones through your feces, causing them to recirculate back into your body.

This is especially true with estrogen metabolism leading to estrogen dominance with the build-up of the hormones. This can further your hormonal imbalance and become another driver for inflammation. Read more about the hormone gut health connection in our Understanding PCOS and Gut Health blog!

What causes gut inflammation?

As mentioned, the loss of diversity in the gut microbiota is what can lead to inflammation in your gut! But what exactly can trigger the lack of diversity and, thus, inflammation to occur?

Your daily habits and environment are the biggest offenders, including:

  • Poor Diet. Eating a Westernized diet that is low in fiber and nutrients negatively impacts your gut bacteria by fueling the bad bacteria.

  • Food Sensitivities. Consuming foods that you are sensitive or allergic to can cause your gut to flare up in response. Some of these foods could include gluten or dairy, which can be inflammatory for a lot of people but is highly individualized.

  • Contact us to learn more about our food sensitivity testing services!

  • Toxic Foods. Food such as alcohol can be considered toxic to the gut, overwhelming it and resulting in inflammation.

  • Gut Infections. Common gut infections include small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Candida overgrowth, and intestinal parasites, which can cause an inflammatory response in the gut.

  • Environmental Toxins. You are constantly surrounded by an abundance of toxins from the food you eat, the beauty products you apply, the medications you take, and more. All of these toxins put added stress on your gut.

  • Stress. Your daily hustle of life can cause added psychological stress, which in turn impacts your gut.

Ways to Reduce Gut Inflammation

gut inflammation and ways to reduce it

Dealing with gut inflammation and leaky gut is not a problem that can be fixed overnight by some magic pill.

It takes time to rebalance the bacteria in your gut which needs to be done by finding and addressing the root cause that caused your imbalance in the first place!

There are five main areas to focus on when trying to heal your gut and reduce inflammation.

  1. Diet. The first step you should take to heal your gut is to remove foods that you know are a trigger for your gut. These could include any food sensitivities as well as ultra-processed foods and alcohol, which have a profound effect on the gut. At the same time, you should also start to add more gut-healing foods. These include:

  • Fermented foods

  • Bone broth

  • Anti inflammatory foods like those rich in omega-3 fatty acids

  • Prebiotic-rich foods: bananas, onions, leafy greens

  • Coconut products

  1. Rest. Getting adequate rest is an essential part of any healing protocol. You should aim for around 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night. Rest also means giving your gut a break from hard-to-digest foods. Consider cooking your vegetables during this time of healing, as raw veggies are particularly hard to digest.

  2. Exercise. While exercise is an essential part of any wellness routine, too little or too much can put strain on your gut. Focus on low-impact exercise to help lower the inflammation in your gut.

  3. Stress Reduction. I get it, everyone lives a hectic life, but this stress can truly be the make or break on your gut healing journey. Vagus nerve stimulation can help to reduce stress mentally and physically. Disclaimer: working with a therapist can help too!

  4. Supplementation. Supplementation is not meant for everyone and should not be done blindly. Talk with your practitioner or schedule a call with New York City Nutrition to learn more about what supplements are best for you!

  • Taking a probiotic can help to balance the bacteria in your gut.

  • L-Glutamine is a protein that helps build the lining of your gut and can help repair the damage from leaky gut.

  • Licorice root helps to maintain the intestinal lining.

  • Aloe vera juice is healing to the gut and helps to fight inflammation.

The Takeaway: Where to Start with Gut Inflammation

Having a healthy gut leads to a healthy life. Everything you eat and surround yourself with directly impacts your gut allowing it to constantly be changing.

Finding the root cause to identify what is driving your gut inflammation should be the first step to healing.

At New York City Nutrition, we use evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle recommendations to get down to the root cause of your gut symptoms and restore harmony in your GI tract.

If you need help on your gut journey, head over to our services page to schedule your complimentary call today!

Contact Us

Phone: (212) 328-0195

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