How to Heal and Seal the Gut

Healthy gastrointestinal function is crucial to good health and vitality. Parasites, inflammation, low levels of good bacteria, poor diet and allergenic foods can all contribute to poor digestive function. Damage to the lining of the intestines can affect digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients –resulting in fatigue, autoimmune diseases, allergies, bloating and abnormal bowel movements. The rates of chronic inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel disease, allergies and reflux are all on the rise –making the focus on healthy digestive function even more crucial.

Leaky gut syndrome

Leaky gut may be contributing to poor digestive health and symptoms of allergies. This very common syndrome refers to the hyperpermeability of the intestines where toxins, microbes and undigested food particles easily slip through these large gaps into the bloodstream where they can cause disruption to our immune system, among many other things. A healthy intestinal barrier comprises of tight junctions which prevents these particles from entering the blood stream along with a layer of healthy bacteria. Following a heal and seal protocol will reduce the symptoms of chronic diseases and improve overall digestive wellbeing.

Who would benefit from digestive support

Most people would benefit from daily digestive support, particularly those who have:

  • Reflux, heartburn, nausea and gastritis
  • Feel bloated and gassy
  • IBS, constipation and diarrhoea
  • Ulcers and inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract
  • Allergies, eczema or an autoimmune disease
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Fatigue and trouble concentrating
  • Overweight or obese
  • Suffer from chronic health concerns

The heal and seal essentials

To heal and seal the gut requires a change in diet, monitoring stress levels and taking supplements that help to reduce inflammation and promote repair of the gut lining. It may also involve reducing levels of unhealthy microbes such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and yeasts such as Candida.

Mastic Gum

Mastic gum from the Pistacia lentiscus tree has been used traditionally in Greek medicine for 2500 years. It can help to relieve stomach ulcers and inflammation caused by Helicobacter pylori infection and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis. It provides fast relief of gastritis, upset stomach and heart burn. Research has uncovered that mastic gum has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, liver protective and gut healing properties.Bioceuticals Intestamine contains mastic gum, slippery elm, aloe vera, curcumin from turmeric and glutamine. These key products help to relieve a wide-range ofgastrointestinal discomforts. Bioceuticals provides products which are only available through your health care practitioner.

Slippery elm

The powdered inner bark of the slippery elm tree has been used in traditional western medicine for its soothing and healing properties to the layer of mucous membranes in the gut. It contains high levels of mucilage which form a gel-like layer— reducing inflammation in the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines. Slippery elm can help relieve constipation, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, reflux, heart burn and irritable bowel syndrome. Considered a prebiotic and fibre supplement, slippery elm assistances in normalising bowel function, removing toxins and promotes healthy levels of beneficial bacteria.Slippery elm can be found in powder, capsule or tablet form. If you prefer the convenience of a tablet Thompson’s slippery elm tablets can be chewed to provide fast relief from upper digestive concerns such as reflux, heartburn or indigestion.

Glutamine

Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is vital to the cells lining the intestines—maintaining their structure and integrity. It is therefore an important nutrient for the intestines to build and repair, helping to heal ulcers and leaky gut. Involved in liver and cellular detoxification, glutamine assists in reducing oxidative damage during metabolic stress.

Aloe vera

While many people think of aloe vera for sunburn it can also be taken internally to reduce heat and inflammation. The main constituent in the inner leaf gel called acemannan, provides antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant activity. Like slippery elm and mastic gum, aloe vera is rich in mucilage and enhances the formula in Bioceuticals Intestamine. There aren’t really many products like this which provide such comprehensive support.

Because working on healthy gut function is an ongoing thing, the above products are safe for long-term use. If you’re taking any medication or other supplements, just take 2 hours apart due to the fibre content having a potential interaction.

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Immune and antimicrobial support

Another helpful product is Bioceuticals Armaforce which may be indicated for people who require antioxidant support, suffer frequent infections and have sluggish digestion. Zinc is an antioxidant mineral required for healing and repair. Andrographis, the ‘king of bitters’ helps digest food, support the liver and tackles any infections in the gut. Olive leaf is great to reduce free radical damage and in reducing unwanted microbes and parasites that cause dysbiosis.

Probiotics

An essential step in promoting good digestive health is supplementing with an excellent quality probiotic. Probiotics assist in the reduction and removal of unhealthy microbes in the gut, while supporting many other areas important to immune and gut health. While there are many different strains available Naturopathica Gastro Health Daily Probiotic is a good all-rounder. It contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii), a healthy yeast that prevents and treats infectious microbes that cause problems in the gut. Other shelf-stable strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria that can help to repair intestinal lining are added to the formula and don’t require refrigeration. It’s an ideal product to take every day and an essential item for travelling to avoid picking up nasty bugs.

Heal and seal diet

It’s important to identify and remove allergenic and intolerant foods from the diet. This can be achieved via testing and guidance through your naturopath. Otherwise it’s advisable to follow the recommendations listed below to promote heathy digestive function:

  • Eat loads of fruits and vegies as they are easy to digest, provide high amounts of nutrients and contain fibre for healthy bowels
  • Protein provides nutrients needed for repair and cleansing. Include nuts, seeds, lean unprocessed meats, fish, eggs and lentils
  • Avoid wheat and for some people dairy too, as these foods are common intolerant foods which contribute to leaky gut, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating
  • Eat wholegrains such as oats, rye, barley, brown rice and quinoa in small amounts for their fibre content
  • Eat organic to avoid the harmful effects of pesticide residue on gut integrity
  • Drink plenty of filtered water to keep hydrated
  • Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and stimulate the bowels if constipated

Practitioner Only products available by recommendation from your health care provider

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