The term “leaky gut” speaks for itself. The main purpose of the gut is to break down food and absorb nutrients that help the body, the series of organs beginning at the mouth and ending at the anus, function. If the gut is unbalanced, bad bacteria can leak into the bloodstream, causing the immune system to become irritated. This can lead to minor health issues such as “bloating, cramps, fatigue,” and “food allergies,” and major complications such as “diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis” .
It has been proven that the Western diet has a “high content of fat and refined sugars”  which increases the risk factor of inflammation in the digestive tract. Taking care of your gut and avoiding imbalances will help you to avoid later health complications, but how do you treat a gut that is already leaking?
Zinc is one supplement that has been used to strengthen intestinal walls in patients with Crohn’s Disease, a disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Zinc assists the parts of your body that produce new cells, and repairs organs that are damaged. It is both “safe and well tolerated”  and can be taken orally.
Another supplement that has been shown to have large involvements in “maintaining intestinal barrier function” is vitamin D. Studies show that when there is an abnormal development within the part of the body meant to absorb vitamin D, it can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
The last thing we will discuss is NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs are widely known and used worldwide. Some common NSAIDs are ibuprofen, naproxen, and indomethacin. These drugs are said to “increase gut permeability by approx. 3-fold” , which means that they increase your gut's ability to be ruptured. Long-term, NSAIDs can contribute to the “development of significant gastrointestinal bleeding” . As important as it is to know what will help, it is also even more crucial to know what will make conditions worse.
So overall, zinc and vitamin D are two supplements that have been studied and show results of positive gut health, while other drugs such as NSAIDs can break down the gut’s walls, causing leaks. There are other supplements out there that can also help with gut health, but zinc is the number one way to go.
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2. Michielan, A., & D’Incà, R. (2015). Intestinal permeability in inflammatory bowel disease: Pathogenesis, clinical evaluation, and therapy of Leaky Gut. Mediators of Inflammation, 2015, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/628157
3. Sturniolo, G. C., Di Leo, V., Ferronato, A., D’Odorico, A., & D’Incà, R. (2001). Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in crohn’s disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 7(2), 94–98. https://doi.org/10.1097/00054725-200105000-00003
4. Playford, R. J., Macdonald, C. E., Calnan, D. P., Floyd, D. N., Podas, T., Johnson, W., Wicks, A. C., Bashir, O., & Marchbank, T. (2001). Co-administration of the health food supplement, Bovine Colostrum, reduces the acute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability. Clinical Science, 100(6), 627–633. https://doi.org/10.1042/cs1000627
Author: Kayjah Taylor
Editor: Lauryn Agron
Health scientist: Asselah Saiyed