An often overlooked aspect of healing, Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition associated with increased intestinal permeability1. Growing evidence has shown that a leaky gut is linked with autoimmune disorders2,3 such as Hashimoto’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
The syndrome is distinguished by gaps in the intestinal walls that allow harmful agents like toxins and microbes, which would otherwise be discarded as waste, to pass into the bloodstream. If this overt permeability isn’t addressed it can lead to significant inflammation, which aggravates autoimmune disorders and other health issues.
I know this is the case in my own journey with MS.
A study published in PLOS ONE directly linked increased intestinal permeability with multiple sclerosis4. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden discovered that the intestinal tissue of mice infected with an MS-like disease not only showed indicators of a leaky gut, but also increased inflammation.
What surprised the team is that the intestinal mucous membranes became inflamed even before the mice displayed symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Since MS is characterized by inflammatory T-cells attacking the protective myelin coating of brain and spinal cord nerve cells, the cascade of intestinal inflammation demonstrated in the study is significant for those suffering from the disease.
Dr. Terry Wahls, author of “The Wahls Protocol” and a MS patient herself, agrees. She developed her dietary protocol to specifically heal leaky gut and has experienced remarkable improvement in her condition.
“More studies are finding that increased intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ has a role in the development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders,” she said. “Healing the gut, restoring normal intestinal permeability, will require increased attention to diet quality and food choices.”
I personally have found success in managing multiple sclerosis and inflammation with a ketogenic-style eating plan, while also alternating with cycles of an anti-inflammatory diet and intermittent fasting. You can learn more about these diets and how to fast in the article, “My Favorite Diet for Managing Multiple Sclerosis”.
Herbal Support for Leaky Gut
Herbal remedies are also important for healing a leaky gut. The following botanicals are outstanding for this purpose:
- Reishi: Used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years, Reishi is known as the “mushroom of immortality”. It exerts anti-inflammatory action that’s helpful for calming intestinal inflammation.
- Plantain: An all-around tonic for the digestive system, Plantain is anti-inflammatory and soothes mucous membranes—an ideal combination for relieving the symptoms of a leaky gut.
- Slippery Elm: Forming a protective layer in the digestive tract, Slippery Elm assists in helping the gut to heal.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom: A known antioxidant, Lion’s Mane helps to cool the inflammatory response.
- Turkey Tail Mushroom: Containing important prebiotics that balance the microbiome and control Candida overgrowth, Turkey Tail is another remarkable remedy for healing the gut.
- Marshmallow: A soothing herbal remedy for the digestive system, Marshmallow is an excellent herb for a leaky gut because it creates a protective layer over intestinal perforations.
All are found in my Leaky/Balanced Gut Tincture. This formulation is an easy way to help assist in the repair of the intestinal tract in order to restore the healthy function of the gut.
It has certainly played a pivotal role in my own MS healing journey.
One aspect is clear: if you are suffering from an autoimmune condition, managing inflammation should be a top priority. And addressing a leaky gut is an integral part of this process.
All the best to you in health.
- Schneeman, Barbara O. “Gastrointestinal physiology and functions.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 88 Suppl 2 (2002): S159-63. doi:10.1079/BJN2002681. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.
- Li, Chuanwei et al. “Zonulin Regulates Intestinal Permeability and Facilitates Enteric Bacteria Permeation in Coronary Artery Disease.” Scientific reports vol. 6 29142. 29 Jun. 2016, doi:10.1038/srep29142. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.
- Mu, Qinghui et al. “Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases.” Frontiers in immunology vol. 8 598. 23 May. 2017, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.
- Nouri, Mehrnaz et al. “Intestinal barrier dysfunction develops at the onset of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, and can be induced by adoptive transfer of auto-reactive T cells.” PloS one vol. 9,9 e106335. 3 Sep. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.
0106335. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/25184418/
Roll Up Your Sleeves and Do it Yourself?
Are you interested in making your own herbal remedies at home and learning about the many plants, lichens, and mushrooms you can find out your own back door? If so please pick up a copy of my book: "The Lost Book Of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine" today!