Case study: Healing leaky gut
By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Jacky is a 50 year old lady who came to see me for help with her digestive problems and overall health. Everyone in Jacky’s family had gut problems, which they put up with their entire lives. Jacky had read a lot of books about the digestive system, and she knew it wasn’t good for her health to continue living with her symptoms.
I could tell straight away that Jacky had a leaky gut. She didn’t just have one or two symptoms; she had nearly every single symptom. She was really a text book case. Leaky gut syndrome creates a lot of inflammation in the gut, and that inflammation spills out to all other parts of the body, creating all sorts of problems. Jacky was very unhappy with her low energy level. When she got home from work each evening she ate her dinner and then just wanted to lay on the sofa and watch tv. She didn’t have the energy or motivation to do anything on week nights.
Some other symptoms of leaky gut Jacky experienced:
- Iron deficiency
- Low vitamin D
- Cramps in her legs during her sleep
- Restless legs syndrome
- Unrefreshing sleep and exhaustion in the mornings
- Foggy head and poor memory
Each of these symptoms can be attributed to inflammation of the intestinal lining and consequent nutrient malabsorption. Of course, these symptoms can be caused by several other conditions, but when I considered Jacky’s entire medical history, I was certain that leaky gut was at fault.
Leaky gut syndrome is where the intestinal lining has become excessively permeable. This is bad because it means wastes in the intestines can cross through the gut lining into the bloodstream, placing an enormous stress on the immune system and liver. An inflamed gut is also less able to absorb vital nutrients such as iron and magnesium, leading to deficiencies.
My recommendations for my patient
- I asked Jacky to eliminate foods that can irritate and inflame the intestines. These include grains, gluten, dairy products, sugar and legumes. I asked her to base her diet on vegetables, salads, fruit, seafood, poultry, eggs and meat (preferably grass fed). I also explained the importance of including beneficial fats in her diet, since they help to reduce inflammation and also reduce cravings for sugar and carbohydrate. Suitable fats include olive oil, coconut oil, ghee and pastured animal fats.
- Jacky experienced several symptoms of magnesium insufficiency: cramps, poor sleep and fatigue. I asked her to take 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder before bed.
- Bone broth is healing and soothing to the intestinal lining. It greatly reduces inflammation in the body by repairing a leaky gut. Because it is rich in the amino acid glycine, it can help improve sleep quality if you drink a cup with dinner. I asked Jacky to drink a cup of bone broth each day.
- I asked Jacky to take 1 teaspoon of the Dr Cabot Ultimate Gut Health powder twice daily on an empty stomach. It contains glutamine, slippery elm, pectin and aloe vera to soothe the intestinal lining. It also contains the beneficial probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii, which does not require refrigeration.