What You Can Do to Plug the Leaks

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Stop taking drugs that are known to produce leaking, primarily antibiotics and NSAIDs. if you have a condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, that will not allow you to stop NSAIDs, you should take phosphatidylcholine with your medication. There is some evidence that when the two are combined, NASIDs bind to the phsophotidylcholine, preventing them from causing problems. While this has not been proven as yet, there is strong suggestive evidence and little to lose.

You should always take a probiotic supplement before, during and for three weeks after taking antibiotics.


Glutamine is an amino acid that acts as a major fuel for the small intestine. Biochemically, it is converted to glutamic acid and then to alpha-ketogluterate, which goes on to form ATP for energy. Normally, I do not advise supplementing with glutamine because in the brain it is also converted to glutamic acid, where it can contribute to excitotoxicity, but because of the severity of the leaky gut problem, a short-term course of glutamine is less dangerous than the problems associated with this disorder.

Glutamine also has been shown to lengthen intestinal villi, thicken mucosa, and increase IgA secretion. In cases of radiation and chemotherapy injury, glutamine has produced significant improvement in gut healing.

Dietary Fiber

While glutamine is the main fuel for the small bowel, the short-chained fatty acids N-butyrate, proprionate, and acetate are the colon's main fuel. Combining N-butyrate and vitamin E succinate has been shown to reduce colon cancer rates dramatically, as well as to improve colon function.

A good source of N-butyrate is oat bran and as a pure supplement called ButyrAid (www.advantagenutrition.com). Oats are also good sources of beta-glucans, the immune stimulants, as well as glutamine.

This omega-3-fatty-acid component protects the gut by reducing inflammation. Recent studies have shown that fish-oil supplements can significantly reduce the recurrence of Crohn's disease. It also may reduce colon cancer, but you have to be careful. DHA is also polyunsaturated, and therefore subject to extensive oxidation. When oxidated, it may potentially increase colon cancer rates. It is very important always to take vitamin E with DHA and to keep the DHA in the refrigerator, to prevent oxidation.


Most flavonoids, as we have seen, are powerful and versatile antioxidants and inhibitors of lipid peroxidation. They also bind excess iron and reduce inflammation. This makes them very important for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Quercetin (found in onions, tea, cranberries, and apples) is a powerful histamine inhibitor, not only making it a great supplement for hayfever and sinusitis, but also for leaky gut. Mast cells in the gut, which secrete histamine, promote the development of the leaky gut syndrome.

Flavonoids from green tea extract, primarily catechins, not only reduce inflammation and protect against free radicals, but also inhibit the growth of Clostridium, a very bad bacteria, and promote the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both good bacteria.445

Probiotic Supplements

A good replacement supplement should contain all of the species of good bacteria, including Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Each organism has a different function, and they also inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Both directly and indirectly, they reduce the leaky gut problem, improve secretory IgA production, and suppress yeast growth.

Saccharomyces Boulardii

Similar to baker's yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii prevents Candida albicans from translocating from the gut to lymph nodes in the abdomen, preventing the yeast from invading the rest of the body.

Food for the Good Guys

FOS, or fructo-oligosacchrides (a union of one molecule of sucrose and three of fructose), is a complex molecule found in many foods, such as Jerusalem artichokes, onions, honey, beer, oats, and bananas. Normally, only the good guys can use these sugars for growth, but the nasty organism, Klebsiella, can also utilize it. This organism is associated with the leaky gut syndrome and ankylosing spondylitis. It is best to culture the stool before taking this supplement, just to make sure that no Klebsiella is present.

Finally, it is important to avoid excess simple sugars in your diet since they promote dysbiosis, especially yeast overgrowth.

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