This blog post talks about one of the most important questions in digestive health: how long does it take to heal leaky gut? Read and find out.
In this article:
- What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
- What Causes Leaky Gut?
- How Do You Know If You Have a Leaky Gut?
- Can Leaky Gut Be Cured?
- How Long Does It Take to Heal Leaky Gut?
- What Is the Fastest Way to Heal Leaky Gut?
- What Are the Best Foods to Eat?
How Long Does It Take to Heal Leaky Gut? And Other Questions to Repair Digestive Health
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
To answer the question “how long does it take to heal leaky gut?” correctly, you need to know more about it first. What is a leaky gut?
Other people call leaky gut syndrome intestinal permeability. It also perfectly describes what is happening in your digestive tract, especially your small intestine.
Your small intestine performs many functions.
- Metabolizing or breaking down macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates
- Maintaining a healthy gut flora for good digestion
- Absorb nutrients from food
- Help distribute these nutrients to the cells in the body
To deliver these nutrients, the small intestine has a junction in its walls. You can picture it as a wall with small gaps.
These gaps allow nutrition to pass through and enter the bloodstream. Sometimes, though, this junction weakens or loosens.
When this happens, it lets toxins and some microbes from the gut flora into the bloodstream.
The medical community doesn’t recognize leaky gut syndrome as an official diagnosis. Some evidence, though, suggests it can occur.
This condition may increase the risk of different chronic diseases such as:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Allergies and food intolerance
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Mental disorders like depression
- Inflammatory bowel disorders
What Causes Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut happens when the lining becomes permeable. According to Today’s Dietitian, one of the possible reasons is a protein called zonulin.
This works as a gatekeeper of cells, controlling what goes in and stays out. The article mentioned studies that associate it with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
It may also contribute to celiac disease. It is a medical condition in which the immune system attacks the intestinal wall when it senses gluten, a protein found in grains.
Another potential cause is digestive plaque. Much like the oral plaque, this one includes possibly harmful bacteria and fungi that line the intestinal walls.
The plaque serves as their shield to protect them from death. In turn, they can multiply, throw your microbiome out of balance, and destroy the intestinal junction.
Other risk factors include:
- Poor diet, especially excessive consumption of added sugars and processed food
- Medications, particularly antibiotics
- Chronic inflammation
How Do You Know If You Have a Leaky Gut?
The leaky gut syndrome can manifest in many ways. It can share symptoms with other known diseases, which makes it difficult to determine.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut? You may already have such a problem if you experience the following:
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Changes in weight
- Changes in the bowel movement
- Bloating and gas
- Changes in the eating pattern
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Skin problems such as eczema or acne
- More frequent allergies or food sensitivities
- Joint pain
- Difficulty in concentration
What is eczema? It is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by intense itching, redness, flaking, and cracking.
Can Leaky Gut Be Cured?
Perhaps one of the vital questions before “how long does it take to heal leaky gut?” is whether it is curable.
Since this is not an official disease, the term “cure” may not be the most ideal term. What is clear, though, is that many people can recover from it or manage the symptoms better.
How Long Does It Take to Heal Leaky Gut?
How long does it take to repair leaky gut? The answer is it depends.
A 2007 study said that it may take around 12 weeks for an injured intestinal mucosal lining to heal. It is likely if you have a food allergy, sensitivity, or autoimmune condition.
A 2005 Canadian research cited a much longer recovery period. In this study, the researchers worked with patients with celiac disease.
Since gluten triggers the disease, the patients had to maintain a gluten-free diet. The team found out their intestinal permeability became normal after a year of following such a meal plan.
Meanwhile, a 2013 study published in Nature revealed that the composition of the gut bacteria changed after three days of eating a healthy diet.
This change doesn’t mean you no longer have leaky gut syndrome. Instead, it may indicate you need only such time to promote healing.
In the end, every person’s body is different. For some, it can take only a few weeks while others need years.
The healing process is also not linear. There can be good days (or weeks) and bad ones.
Your ability to manage the symptoms and control your digestive health is what matters more.
What Is the Fastest Way to Heal Leaky Gut?
Again, there’s no timeline on the healing process of the leaky gut syndrome. But you can learn how to fix leaky gut to help accelerate your recovery.
Dr. Microbiome shares some of the most basic steps to treat a leaky gut. These include the following:
- Manage your stress.
- Eat the right kinds of food, such as probiotics and prebiotics.
- Get more sleep.
- Remove processed foods from your diet.
- Consume a digestive enzyme to help digest the food.
What Are the Best Foods to Eat?
Diet is one of the foundations of digestive health, so let’s focus on that for a while. What should you eat?
As mentioned, consume more probiotics and prebiotics:
- Probiotics are microorganisms that are good for the body, so you need to add them into your gut. Excellent sources are kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
- Prebiotics are the food for the good microbes in the gut. Most of the fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal are prebiotics.
The secret to a healthy digestive system is not only the number of microorganisms but also their quality. The more diverse they are, the better.
For that, you can consider complementing your diet with supplements. One of these is the Nourish Regimen, which is a bundle of probiotics and prebiotics.
Another food to add to your leaky gut diet is bone broth, which has:
- Collagen, which is a structural protein that helps repair the damaged intestinal junction
- Amino acids like glutamine, which strengthen the lining
How long does it take to heal a leaky gut with bone broth? There’s no definite answer to this.
The good news is you can incorporate bone broth to your diet in many ways. You can add it to your soups and drizzle some into your salads.
You can also buy its powdered form and add it to your smoothies or juices. If you’re looking for more recipes, get a copy of Total Gut Balance.
It’s a book by one of the world’s leading microbiome researchers, Dr. Ghannoum. It provides you with in-depth information about leaky gut and includes some free guides to jump-start your healing.
Now, back to the question: how long does it take to heal leaky gut? The answer is it’s not definite.
Rather than focusing on when, turn your attention to how to fix leaky gut. Consistency is the best trait to see progress.
How do you take care of your gut? Share your tips in the comments section below!