Leaky gut and how to prevent it

Sandhya Gugnani

Sandhya Gugnani is a practising Nutritionist and started her career in 1997 trained at Dietetics Deptt at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
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What is a Leaky Gut?

An unhealthy gut lining which results in cracks or holes in the intestinal lining allows toxins, partially digested food or bacteria into the bloodstream. It triggers inflammation and affects the gut flora and immune system, playing a major role in several chronic diseases. It causes bloating, gaseous, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, food sensitivities, skin problems and even weight gain.

Who gets it and why?

It could be a genetic predisposition where one is more sensitive to changes in the digestive tract or gut.

Secondly, diet and lifestyle play an important role in gut inflammation. A diet low in fibre, high in processed foods, and high in sugar and saturated fats. Chronic stress and excessive alcohol consumption may increase intestinal permeability.

Excessive use of steroids or any nutritional deficiencies like vitamin A, D and zinc mainly can contribute to the leaky gut syndrome.

How to prevent it?

Limit intake of refined, processed foods and sugary products.

Take fermented foods in the diet like yoghurt, kimchi, kefir to name a few. 

Increase intake of prebiotics and probiotics foods to ensure good gut flora.

Reduce stress levels, meditate, do yoga, deep breathing or any form of exercise. A minimum of 7-8 hours of a sound sleep. 

Certain lectins are toxic and can increase gut permeability if consumed in excess and in raw form. Lectins are found in the highest amount in legumes and grains and can be eliminated by cooking at a high temperature.

Butyrate is an important short-chain fatty acid which has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer functions that support digestive health and act as an intestinal barrier. High fibre diet helps to boast butyrate production which promotes healthy gut lining. Rich sources of fibre are present in whole grain, legumes, oats, onion, mushroom, and garlic which encourages butyrate-producing bacteria to thrive in the colon.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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