How Improving Your Leaky Gut Can Improve Overall Health

Keeping a healthy microbial balance in your gut is crucial for your whole body function. These microbes help maintain homeostasis and disable harmful substances. Their presence on the intestinal lining allows for appropriate absorption of nutrients and the removal of toxins [2]. But when exposed to, for example, chronic stress and constipation, toxin exposure, poor diet, or antibiotic consumption, a lot of the microbes are killed. As a result, the gut is exposed to the “bad” bacteria  that essentially cuts holes in the intestines, leading to this so-called leaky gut syndrome. Now, the food particles consumed along with potential toxins, leak into the bloodstream. When your immune system encounters these displaced substances, it attacks and this causes inflammation and irritation [1]. 

Causes behind leaky gut

While there are numerous causes to this syndrome, some of the possible reasons could be due to: 

  • Genetic predisposition [2]
  • Treatments [4]
    • Chemotherapy medications
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Radiotherapy 
  • Bowel lining can be irritated by other factors as well 
    • Poor diet 
      • Modern diet: the standard American diet in particular, which is high in sugar, saturated fats, and low in fiber, may also initiate irritation [2]. 
    • Overconsumption of antibiotics [4]

Consequences of a leaky guy

  • Certain conditions that are associated 
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases, for example, Crohn’s disease [4]
    • Intestinal infection, such as salmonella [4]
    • Celiac disease
      • Triggered by the ingestion of gluten (in wheat, barley, rye) and causes bowel inflammation [3]
    • Type 1 diabetes [3]
    • Asthma 
      • While the mechanism is not fully understood, wheezing can be triggered by food consumption in some asthmatic children, and perhaps the increased intestinal permeability in asthmatics could influence susceptibility to allergens in the environment [3].


While leaky gut isn’t an official medical diagnosis, there are ways in which improved digestive health can help overall health:

  • Removing foods such as, sugar, gluten, and dairy products from the diet [1].
  • Removing foods that cause inflammation, such as alcohol and processed foods [2]
  • Replace the above with gut enriching fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut [1].
    • Probiotics can also help in repopulating your gut with good bacteria [1]. 

General foods to improve digestive health [5]: 

  • Fruits and vegetables - grapes, bananas, cabbage, broccoli
  • Roots - potatoes, sweet potatoes 
  • Sprouted seeds - chia and flax seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Healthy fats - olive oil, avocado, coconut oil
  • Fish - tuna, salmon
  • Nuts 
  • Herbs and spices
  • Gluten free grains - amaranth, rice, teff, buckwheat


  1. Camilleri M. Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut. 2019;68(8):1516–26. 
  2. Campos M. Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you? [Internet]. Harvard Health Blog. 2019 [cited 2021Jan28]. Available from:
  3. Fasano A. Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology. 2011;42:71–8.
  4. "Leaky gut syndrome" [Internet]. NHS Choices. NHS; 2018 [cited 2021Jan29]. Available from:
  5. Raman R. The Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid [Internet]. Healthline. 2019 [cited 2021Jan28]. Available from: