Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Restorative Health Solutions blog!
Today, we are going to be talking about the third stage of the leaky gut protocol: Repair Phase. We have talked about putting the fire out by removing the opportunistic bugs, inflammatory food proteins and toxins/chemicals (remove phase). Then, we added in digestive enzyme and HCL support to make sure we are breaking down our food to its simplest components so it is easily absorbed (replace phase). Now, we are going to talk about repairing the gut or “rebuilding the house.”
At this point in time, the immune system should hopefully be calmed down enough to initiate the healing process. Although healing can start to occur on its own, supplementation is usually needed to be able to speed up the repair. The reason why time alone can be tough to ensure proper gut repair is because SO many things can cause the barrier in the gut to break down again.
How Do I Repair My Leaky Gut?
In this phase, we put a lot of emphasis on supplements that have been shown to promote healing of the barrier system of the gut. However, it is still important for us to address the diet and lifestyle portion of the protocol so we ensure that we aren’t doing things that promote a breakdown of the barrier.
The diet and lifestyle factors to consider are:
- Staying on an anti-inflammatory diet or avoiding foods you are sensitive to
- Getting 7-8 hours of good, restful sleep
- Controlling your stress load as much as possible
- Not drinking too much alcohol
- Staying positive and not focusing on the negative things in life
What Supplements Are Typically Recommended During the Repair Phase?
- Vitamin A
- Deglycyrrhized Licorice Root Extract
- Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)
By far the most famous on the list for restoring the GI barrier is L-glutamine. L-glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that the body is able to make it. However, with leaky gut present, the body won’t likely make enough to promote significant healing of the barrier.
Colostrum is an overlooked supplement for leaky gut. The colostrum we use acts like a lint roller to the bacteria/pathogens and toxins of the gut by binding to them and helping the body get rid of them. This supplement can also be used in the remove phase to minimize die-off or herxheimer reactions since it binds to the pathogen or toxin instead of letting it enter circulation and cause a reaction.
Vitamin A and zinc are essential for proper immune function. Vitamin A is also critical for supporting the mucous membrane of the GI tract. Since the mucous membrane of the gut is where your first line of defense lies, then you can see why it is so important for addressing leaky gut and attempting to rebuild the gut.
Deglycyrrhized Licorice Root Extract helps promote a healthy esophageal lining, helps maintain a healthy mucosal surface in the stomach and also supports overall GI health.
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) are fatty acids that are produced by fermentation from bacteria in the gut after ingestion of dietary fiber. The fiber is considered to be a prebiotic that essentially fuels the “good” bacteria of the gut and promotes bacterial diversity.
All of these supplements will each have their part in restoring function in the GI barrier. The goal is for the tight junctions between the cells to heal, tighten back up and pull the cells closer together again so only vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other essential nutrients can pass from the gut into the bloodstream.
If I Take All Of These Supplements, How Do I Know If I Still Have Leaky Gut?
At the first visit, we typically suggest running an intestinal permeability blood test to determine if you have leaky gut.
As a reminder, here are the tests we typically use to rule in or rule out leaky gut (intestinal permeability):
- Vibrant Labs Intestinal Permeability Panel
- Cyrex Labs Array 2 Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen
After completing the entire leaky gut protocol, we will usually run this test again to see if your leaky gut markers have normalized or if we still have work to do. However, we still have two more phases of the protocol to address before retesting in a typical leaky gut case.
The repair phase of the protocol typically lasts one month, but can last two or more months in more severe cases. If the leaky gut is coming from an autoimmune condition like Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, that’s a different story. First off, there is no cure for autoimmunity. Our goal in these cases is to improve the lab findings, slow down inflammation and balance the immune system as much as possible.
When the repair phase has been properly addressed, we then go onto step 4: The Reinoculation Phase.
In our next blog, we will go in-depth about the reinoculation phase, why it’s so important and how you can help this phase with your lifestyle even after supplementation.
What Can Restorative Health Solutions do for You?
At Restorative Health Solutions, we strive to get to the root cause of the symptoms/condition and help patients reach their optimal health. We also guarantee to replace the one-size-fits-all approach with a personalized plan for YOU! If you or a loved one is having any suspicions of leaky gut or is interested in getting a thorough and complete work-up, we’d be happy to help. To schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of the doctors, please call 952-479-7801 or CLICK HERE to fill out our contact form.