Your digestive system, nicknamed "the gut," is comprised of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), and your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Your GI tract is made of hollow organs that run from your mouth to your anus. The lining of a healthy gut smoothly carries, digests, and absorbs the food you eat so that your body can utilize valuable nutrients and excrete waste. In the best-case scenario, this works like a well-lubricated engine. Unfortunately, chronic stress, medications, processed and inflammatory foods, alcohol, cigarettes, and other hormone changes can disrupt the lining of your gut. This can cause nutrients and other predigested substances to escape or "leak," and this causes an inflammatory response in your body that can be experienced as bloating, pain, cramps, acid reflux, irregular stools, joint pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and insomnia. The medical world has come a long way in understanding the importance of the gut on health, but if you go to a conventional doctor, you may have never heard of a leaky gut. Just know that if you hear the term "malabsorption" or "increased intestinal permeability"—it’s the same thing.
If you experience three or more of the symptoms above, ask your doctor for a stool, blood, or breath test to assess your bacterial load and nutrient deficiencies. But you don’t have to wait for the results to take action. There are several natural nutritional and supplemental remedies you can start that come without side effects and offer fast relief. Here’s my top seven.