That 35 foot tube (also called the GI tract or the gut) going through the center of you has two purposes in life. It must allow nutrients to be absorbed at the same time it prevents toxins from being absorbed. If the structural integrity of the gut breaks down, if the gut gets leaky……then undigested food proteins and other toxins enter the bloodstream. Now we have a fine mess – multiple allergies, inflammation, and loss of immune function.

Seventy percent of the immune system resides in the gut. In Dr. Michael Gershon’s groundbreaking book, The Second Brain, I learned there are more neurotransmitters in the gut than there are in the brain!

So when we have a chronically ill patient, I begin by healing the gut. The following are some of the modalities I suggest:

Avoid excess alcohol. Avoid antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, sugar and hormones in your food. Shop at Whole Foods and eat organic foods when possible.

Eat consciously with your non-dominant hand and chew until your food is liquid. This is quite a daunting task..

Gingko protects the gut by reducing the oxidative damage in the gut due to free radicals. Take 300 mg. twice a day, 24 percent standardized extract.

Licorice root acts as a systemic anti-inflammatory and also has healing effects on the gut. Use deglycerrinated licorice (DGL) if you have high blood pressure.

Quercitin is a naturally occurring bioflavinoid (Vitamin C helper) that has anti-inflammatory properties. By decreasing the rapid onset of mast cells and basophils, quercitin stabilizes the gut and decreases permeability. Take 200 mg. two to three times a day between meals.

Glutamine is an essential amino acid that aids in the metabolism of gastrointestinal (gut) cells. 3000 – 10,000 mg. per day, in divided doses, between meals.

Vitamins and minerals – particularly the nutrients zinc, selenium (no more than 200 mcgs), Vitamin C, Vitamin E (only take mixed tocopherols or tocotrienols), the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, and the amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine. These all quench free radicals which assists in healing the gut.

Thyroid plays a key role in digestion. Decreased digestive efficiency may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

HCI supplements more commonly known as betaine hydrochloride. Work with a physician trained in functional gastroenterology on this one. Very often, your stomach needs more acid to alleviate your heartburn, not less stomach acid. If you have too little stomach acid, the LES lower esophageal sphincter won’t close……..then your food mixed with the little acid you do have….backwashes to your esophagus.

Digestive enzymes tonify the digestive system thereby breaking down large food molecules, decrease the amount of food sensitivities, inactivate dietary lectins, stimulate digestion, and halt the growth of dysbiotic microorganisms in the gut. Basically, what we are saying here is that enzymes arrest the process responsible for allergy. Enzymes are to be taken with meals AND between meals.

Raw food have enzymes. Chewing food fifty (50) times greatly reduces the need for enzymes.

Candida albicans ( a yeast which is a normal inhabitant of the gut) can overgrow, change form, send root like filaments which attach to the intestinal wall (creating holes through cell membranes), and release toxic waste products. The point is, overgrowth of Candida can substantially contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

Probiotics, the good bacteria, help repair and preserve the integrity of the intestinal mucosa (gut). Probiotic capsules containing billions of units of various forms of healthy bacteria are more effective in reducing harmful bacteria than yogurt. Take at bedtime on an empty stomach. They may be taken with meals as well.

Newsweek article dated 11/17/97 published a revealing article entitled Intestinal Fortitude explaining leaky gut, and getting us to think of it as an actual diagnosis. The article even explained that Giardia (a parasite) is known to cause tears in the intestinal wall. Unfortunately, the article offered no treatment with the exception of increasing fiber intake. But that was before the Millennium.