Leaky Gut Supplements 101: Fibre, Zinc, Probiotics, and More
What does leaky gut syndrome mean?
Our intestine has a lining that selects what can get into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the intestines in a healthy gut have a very high resistance to harmful substances.
Now, if your intestines have high permeability, the toxic substances in them will leak through the intestine’s wall and into the bloodstream. This condition in which the permeability of the intestine is increased is known as a leaky gut syndrome.
A leaky gut syndrome is associated with several chronic conditions, such as:
- Skin conditions
- Food sensitivities
- Mental health conditions
- Autoimmune conditions
If you are affected by leaky gut syndrome, there are some supplements that you may take to feel better.
Supplements that help with a leaky gut syndrome
Research on these supplements has shown promising results in treating leaky gut syndrome.
Zinc is an essential element in most of the body’s metabolic processes. In addition, it is well-known for its immune-boosting capabilities.
A 2001 study found that supplementing with zinc strengthens the gut lining in people with Crohn’s disease.
2015 research suggests that zinc can modify the tight junctions of the lining of the intestine, helping to limit the permeability of the gut.
Glutamine is an essential amino acid. It helps to repair the lining of the intestine.
A study done in 2015 found that glutamine enhances the growth of intestinal cells (also known as enterocytes). Glutamine may also regulate the function of the intestinal barrier during stressful periods.
Researchers found that a small dose of oral glutamine can enhance the intestines’ permeability after intense exercise.
Collagen is a protein, an important one that occurs in most tissues of the body. It also plays a vital role in digestive health.
Your body digests collagen peptides with ease. Also, they are a more readily bioavailable form of collagen. In addition, a study conducted recently showed that collagen peptides could prevent further breakdown of the lining of the intestine.
A study conducted in 2012 using gelatin tannate showed that collagen has very potent anti-inflammatory properties in the digestive system. Gelatin tannate is a supplement that occurs naturally in collagen.
Probiotics play an important therapeutic role in treating and managing gastrointestinal diseases. Probiotics are microorganisms that improve the gut’s microbiome, with very positive effects.
A 2012 trial investigating the usefulness of a probiotic supplement after strenuous exercise found that zonulin, a gut leakage marker, was significantly lower in the group that took probiotic supplements.
Glutagenics is one of the most recommended probiotics. It features three key ingredients—glutamine, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), and aloe gel—that are designed to support the integrity and healthy function of the gastrointestinal lining. A healthy gastrointestinal lining is essential for proper digestion, immune function, and overall health. Glutagenics features 3.5 grams of the amino acid glutamine, which provides both a source of fuel and precursors for growth to the rapidly dividing cells of the intestinal lining.
Dietary fiber is an essential component of a balanced diet. Fiber improves the microbiome just the same way as probiotics do.
The gut flora typically ferments fiber—the fermentation results in the creation of butyrate, a short-chain amino acid. A 2015 study suggested that supplementing with butyrate may stimulate mucus production and improve tight junctions in the tract’s lining.
Symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome
Stomach upset is a common condition. Everyone experiences it from time to time. However, if it occurs frequently, there might be a more serious underlying factor. Other symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome include:
Other conditions can also cause these symptoms. Consult your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms. Further tests may need to be done to confirm the cause.
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with the leaky gut syndrome, supplements may be used to restore intestinal barrier function.
Some treatments and supplements that may help in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome include:
- Collagen peptides
The leaky gut syndrome can also be managed via dietary changes. For example, you can increase your fiber intake and decrease sugar consumption and other inflammatory foods.
Ensure that you consult your healthcare provider for guidance on adding supplements to your leaky gut management plan.
Chen, Q., Chen, O., Martins, I. M., Hou, H., Zhao, X., Blumberg, J. B., & Li, B. (2017). Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions. Food & function, 8(3), 1144–1151. https://doi.org/10.1039/c6fo01347c
Frasca, G., Cardile, V., Puglia, C., Bonina, C., & Bonina, F. (2012). Gelatin tannate reduces the proinflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide in human intestinal epithelial cells. Clinical and experimental gastroenterology, 5, 61–67. https://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S28792
Lamprecht, M., Bogner, S., Schippinger, G. et al. Probiotic supplementation affects markers of intestinal barrier, oxidation, and inflammation in trained men; a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9, 45 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-45
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Ifiokobong Ene is a Medical Physiologist, and a freelance medical writer. Ifiok brings his years of medical research experience to help consistently create high-quality, and engaging articles and products that uphold the highest medical standards. He is dedicated to making health and wellness information available, actionable, and understandable so that readers can make the best decisions about their health.