Leaky Gut 101: Does Your Gut Need Healing + The Bone Broth Phenomenon

TCM Classic — Cold and flu (and soup) season is looming about. We’re loading up on ultra-nourishing bone broth and refreshing our knowledge of the ancient elixir’s incredible benefits. We originally ran this story on leaky gut in 2015, but it’s the gold standard. We’re bringing it back just in time for fall…

We’ve talked about it a lot, and with good reason – bone broth, the modern day panacea, is here to stay. Whether healing leaky gut syndrome, boosting the immune system or simply improving our glow, this nearly forgotten traditional remedy has regained popularity recently thanks to the resurgence of both the paleo diet and ancient, traditional foods.

“Leaky gut syndrome” is a condition that comes up often lately in natural health circles. It’s often discussed in relation to the bone broth trend, since the gelatin in broth is purported to be healing for the digestive tract. Many natural health practitioners are pin-pointing a “leaky gut” as the root issue behind the chronic fatigue, bad digestion and nutritional deficiencies they’re seeing more and more commonly these days.

We recently came across Pete’s Paleo, a natural foods delivery service that offers a simple 30-day gut healing protocol. We met with owners Pete and Sarah Servold to hear more about their perspective on leaky gut syndrome and healing through food…

The Chalkboard Mag: What is leaky gut syndrome really? And which health problems are likely caused by the root issue of a leaky gut?

Pete Servold: Leaky gut is a condition in which the intestinal lining becomes too porous. This results in larger, undigested food particles and other toxins “leaking” out into the bloodstream. The reason that this is such a big deal is that the intestinal lining is the first line of defense for the body’s immune system. The body calls on the liver and then the immune system to fight off these foreign invaders. They likely won’t succeed and the foreign bodies are absorbed into tissues in the body resulting in inflammation (an immune system response). In turn, the body starts producing antibodies to fight off the invaders. In the case of food particles, this all plays out in the form of food allergies. The root cause of many food allergies is the leaky gut, not the food itself. The allergy is sometimes simply a byproduct of the body’s attempt to fight off the leaky gut culprits.

TCM: Why do you think this condition is being discussed so much these days? Can you explain some of the modern elements related to the condition?

PS: Modern elements related to this condition include: Diet (industrial processed foods, gluten), chronic stress (suppresses the immune system), inflammation (in the gut, especially related to low stomach acid – common misconception that we need to reduce acid in our stomach’s to make us feel better), medications (over-the-counter medications that irritate the intestinal lining) and yeast (Candida).

TCM: What symptoms and conditions are usually associated with a leaky gut?

PS: This varies greatly from one person to the next but can include multiple food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, chronic diarrhea or constipation, skin rashes, Candida and brain fog, among other symptoms.

TCM: How can people find out if this condition could be at the root of their personal health issues? How do you suggest that folks get diagnosed?

PS: Speak with a naturopath, functional medicine doctor, or certified nutritionist who follows a gluten-free lifestyle.

TCM: How can leaky gut syndrome be corrected? Where do you suggest people start?

PS: Always consult a professional for medical advice first. But our road map would include an anti-inflammatory diet, bone broth and gelatin, vitamin D and zinc, probiotics and maybe even some digestive enzymes.

TCM: Let’s talk about bone broth. We talk about it a lot on The Chalkboard, but give us your perspective on this ancient superfood.

PS: Bone broth is considered to be both a food and a medicine! It’s known to heal the skin, gut, GI tract, aid in digestion and help you beat that cold you’ve been suffering from. Because broth is an extract of connective tissue, it is great for ailments affecting, joints, bones, lungs, muscle and blood. Why? Because it’s made up of the same stuff we are, and it’s like hitting the refresh button. Incorporating bone broth into your established eating patterns can yield tremendous medicinal effects. A cup a day keeps the doctor away!

Here are the top benefits of drinking this stuff:
– Heals the gut lining
– Supports healthy digestion and nutrient absorption (bone broth should have a lead role in the book, Everyone Poops)
– Boosts the immune system (yes you can ditch all those nasty OTC cold prevention meds now)
– Strengthens bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and aids arthritis (ditch all your icy hot products and sip on some of our broth)
– Promotes healthy, glowing skin, nails and hair (so much cheaper than weekly facials)
– Helps aid autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease and multiple sclerosis

We like to sip it as a hot beverage in the morning before eating breakfast and season with salt, freshly ground ginger and lemon juice, or turmeric and salt, or mint and orange zest; sauté veggies in it to wrap your tongue in a bear hug of flavor; or use it as the base for epic soups from hearty chicken stock to pho.

Basically, bone broth is a modern day panacea and we’re happy to offer it as part of our delivery service. We also have several broth and stock recipes in our cookbook, Paleo By Season.

TCM: For those of us who don’t have leaky gut, filling nutritional gaps can do a lot for overall health. Are bone broth and gelatin are useful for everyone to eat?

PS: Yes. From beauty benefits to fighting off the common cold, gelatin can be beneficial for everyone.

TCM: You have a month-long gut healing program that consists mostly of bone broths and more gelatin in other forms. Talk to us about the diet and all that’s involved.

PS: We wanted to help people heal their gut as easily as possible. Our 30-day gut healing kit is meant as a supplement to an anti-inflammatory diet such as Paleo, GAPS, SCD, SIBO, etc. 

For our broths, we use bones from animals that were humanely raised on open pastures with clean diets free of antibiotics, hormones and grains. The broth is slowly simmered for 24-48 hours to extract as many nutrients and as much gelatin as possible.. We prioritize this above all else because what goes into the animal’s body goes into our body. We only use organic vegetables and herbs and our water is filtered, and our broths are free of gluten, dairy, soy, salt, preservatives, MSG, added flavorings and added colorings.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs. 

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