What Should You Eat To Heal a Leaky Gut?

April 5, 2012 in Categories: , , by

Print Friendly

(Created as a guest post for The Paleo Parents)

If you are concerned that you may have, or could develop, a leaky gut, then changing your diet to one that protects the gut is a natural next step for you.  If you are already battling health conditions related to having a leaky gut, then you will have to be more strict with your dietary choices and also address other lifestyle factors like getting good quality sleep, managing stress, finding time for low-strain exercise, and getting outside.

The first and most important thing to do to heal a leaky gut is to stop eating foods that damage and inflame the gut lining!  It can take six months or more for the gut to fully heal depending on the extent of the damage, the health of the gut microflora and your individual genetics (for people with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, recovery can take up to two years!).  Until the gut is completely healthy, it is important to abstain from all grains, all legumes, and all dairy products (some people may tolerate ghee and/or butter from grass-fed sources, but I recommend leaving it out for at least a month before trying it).  It is also important to avoid additives in processed foods (many of which irritate the gut) and refined sugars (which promote inflammation).  Some people will also need to eliminate vegetables from the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers of all kinds, and especially potatoes), eliminate egg whites (I actually rinse my egg yolks before eating them), and limit nut consumption (other than coconut and macadamias).  Changing your diet to avoid gut-irritating foods is critical.  But, it is also important to include foods that can reduce inflammation and help heal the damaged gut.

Eat foods that reduce inflammation.  It’s very important to be mindful of both your omega-6 and your omega-3 polyunsaturatedfatty acid intake.  Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which are found in large quantities in modern vegetable oils, meat from grain-fed animals, and many nuts and seeds, increase inflammation.  Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in large quantities in wild-caught fish, pastured/free-range eggs, and meat from pastured animals, decrease inflammation.  To help reduce overall inflammation and heal the gut, aim for a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid intake in your diet.  There are several ways of doing this:  you can make sure that all of the meat in your diet is exclusively from grass-fed animals (beef, bison, goat or lamb); you can eat plenty of wild-caught seafood; and/or you can supplement with a good quality fish oil. 

Vegetables are rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals which help control inflammation (and help with just about every other normal function of the body!).  Eating a variety of differently colored vegetables, a variety of dark green leafy vegetables, and a variety cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.) every day will provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals in a way that is easy for the body to absorb (no more need for a multivitamin!).  Fruits, especially berries, are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  However, most people will need to exercise some portion control with fruits due to the high sugar content.  I recommend eating vegetables at every meal (it can be a bit strange getting used to eating vegetables at breakfast, but it’s amazing what a difference it makes to how you feel for the whole rest of the day!).

It is also important to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D.  You can achieve this by simply spending some time outside in the sun every day, or from eating liver once or twice per week, or from supplementing with Cod Liver Oil or Vitamin D3 supplements.

Eat foods that restore gut microflora.  If you have a leaky and inflamed gut, chances are very good that your resident good bacteria are having trouble too.  To help restore their numbers and their diversity, eat as many different good sources of probiotics as possible.  You can do this by taking Probiotic supplements and changing brands every time you buy a bottle (the different brands all have different proprietary strains, which helps with increasing your gut microflora diversity).  Even better, you can consume probiotic rich foods, like unpasteurized Sauerkraut and other unpasteurized fermented vegetables, Kombucha Tea (my personal favorite), and coconut milk Yogurt or Kefir (which can be a little harder to find in stores but very easy to make at home).  All of these can be found at alternative grocery stores (like Whole Foods), and some can be found online, but all can also be made easily and inexpensively at home. 

Eat foods that promote healing:  As the body tries to heal itself, it’s important to provide it with plenty of good quality protein (needed to make all those new cells and connective tissues) as well as vitamins, minerals and good fats.  In this way, the best way to promote healing is to eat a paleo diet that includes wild-caught fish, meat from grass-fed sources, organ meat (preferably from pastured sources), and plenty of vegetables.  There are two other healing foods that are very important to include: coconut and bone broth.  Antimicrobial short- and medium-chain saturated fats, like those found in coconut oil and other coconut products, help to reduce overgrowth of bad yeast, fungus and bacteria in the small intestine.  Medium chain saturated fats are very gentle on the cells that line the gut since they can be passively absorbed without being broken down by digestive enzymes and used for energy without any modification.  This source of easy energy is very helpful for healing the lining of the gut.  Broth made from the bones of chicken, turkey, duck, beef, lamb pork and/or fish are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and contain nutrients which help rebuild the integrity of the digestive tract.  Most importantly, broth is rich in the amino acids proline and glycine, which help regulate digestion, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in every part of the body.

While these dietary changes may seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that making them will keep you healthy, put many diseases into remission, and prevent dozens of other diseases from developing.  For the vast majority of people, using diet to prioritize gut health will mean a lifetime of good health.  


I am pretty sure I have leaky gut since I cannot tolerate most foods digestive wise. I also have severe tongue issues and reactions with cuts, bumps, irritation, pain with almost anything I try to eat. I eat mostly cold cuts (Boars Head), some meats and of course cheese which I know I need to eliminate. I cannot do nuts, raisins, most fruits, really do not love veggies. I avoid most grains/glutens. I have the nosiest stomach, awful tongue, get dizzy with lots of foods, blurry vision, respiratory symptoms. I do take Vit D, probiotics, papaya enzymes and thyroid meds. I may have candida issues as well and was told no sugar, dairy, grains, but have not eliminated everything yet. I was also given Diflucan 200 mg for 60 days, but have only tired a few because I worry about liver issues. I am thinking there is no hope for me as I am so limited with what I eat already.

You may benefit from the recommendations in The Paleo Approach: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936608391?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1936608391&linkCode=xm2&tag=wwwthepaleomo-20. I also recommend finding a practitioner well-versed in Paleo and autoimmune disease if you haven’t already. Both http://www.paleophysiciansnetwork.com and http://www.primaldocs.com are excellent directories, and there will also be consultants available through The Paleo Mom in the near future. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I also had problems with sores in my mouth from toothpaste. I used to use Colgate total until I found out it had triclosan in it. Triclosan is an antimicrobial that basically kills off both good and bad bacteria indiscrimenantly. Which like our gut with antibiotics, leaves our mouths defenseless against bad bacterial invasions. I haven’t had a single mouth sore since I stopped using toothpaste with triclosan. They put that stuff in everything anymore and it’s thought that that maybe why we’re having so much trouble with antibiotic resistant super bacteria like MRSA.

I had a lot of problems with my mouth also. I Thought I might have a venereal disease. Turns out I found out that chemicals in regular toothpaste was the problem. Try switching to a natural one found in trader joes store, or the brand Tom’s

Good day kris, paleo and also gershon therapy is the best way to eat, also try L-glutamine powder, solal has a very good one, or try to find one that is atleast 3000mg (3/g) per measure, also super colustrum, and A Voggel’s mulkosan. And then the diet, it works!!

If you have systemic Candida, colonics fixed me up very quickly. I had 9 sessions in 5 weeks and it cleared it all out of my blood. Probiotics are important and fermented foods such as raw organic unpasteurized sauerkraut.

Did the pressure of the colonic not force the Candida through the gutwall more? I have read that this may happen. Kath White

I have had chemical sencitivty for a couple years,and I think leaky gut for over tweny years,having sencitivty attack to l glutamine,can anyone help.


You may want to try a supplement called l glutamine, its work wonders for me and I am experiencing symptoms similiar to what you are feeling. Best thing you can do, also bone broth as recommended above these really help as the intestinal wall is strengthened so making it more resiliant to these types of food allergies, insensitivies etc. I think there all a fad people have those kind of food all over the world its just that there intestinal walls are stronger as they consume these foods on a regular basis.

Thanks for all of the info! I just discovered all of the symptoms I have been experiencing are from a leaky gut. I was wondering, why is it that egg whites are not ok, but the yolks are?

I drink a lemon elixer in the morning (apple cider vinegar, lemon, and warm water) but now that I am trying to heal my leaky gut is this still ok to have? Thank you! I also see that you have a health coach from IIN on your team, I graduated last July! Congrats to her. It’s such a great program.

I had a food allergy test done to be absolutely certain that I avoided the foods causing my leaky guy and chronic inflammation. Lemon was one of my top offenders meaning I have the worst reaction to it out of the 14 foods that I reacted to (out of about 90). I’m not a doctor, and this blog may not be right for everyone so I suggest that you listen to your body (or see a naturopath if you can). However, I know that after I have reintroduced a reactive food after a few weeks of total elimination, I can tell right away if that food needs to STAY eliminated because of the pain in my gut…I hope that’s helpful to someone out there!

Hi kristyna I was just wondering where you got your food allergy testing done and how much it cost you roughly?

I’m pretty sure I have a leaky gut and would love to change my diet to heal it and inevitably feel much better. However just reading this is very overwhelming, is there a simpler less daunting way of formatting this info that I won’t feel like I’m not allowed to eat anything. Do you have a sample menu somewhere? Thanks!

You can get a free Paleo Quick-Start Guide with simple food lists and other useful tips by subscribing to Sarah’s newsletter (in the sidebar on the right if you’re on a computer). – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

What is your take on the approach if you have leaky gut and (non-symptomatic) SIBO? Is low FODMAP necessary in addition to the restrictions you provide in this post? Or should you just take the gut healing approach and the SIBO will resolve as part of that?

If you have been diagnosed with SIBO, then a low-FODMAP approach is highly recommended. However, if you’d like to start with Paleo and see how you do before making additional restrictions, that’s fine. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

my little boy has ezcema and we can’t seem to figure out the offending food..if i just try and follow this protcol will it maybe help him even if we can[t figure out the irritant?

I had gastric bypass (14 yrs ago), I have no gall bladder and I’ve been suffering with Fibromyalgia for 3 yrs. I’ve been following a low carb Paleo diet, with dairy (just cheese and very little butter), for the last 2 1/2 mths and have not lost any weight yet (I have 80 to lose) and I’m getting very depressed. How do I know if I have a leaky gut and is this why I’m not losing weight? FYI…I regained these 80lbs over the last 12 yrs, I stay hungry all the time because my food does not stay in my stomach for more than an hour or two and I belch almost constantly no matter what I eat.
Have you had any experience with Paleo after gastric bypass?

I have not personally spoken to anyone following Paleo after gastric bypass, but you may find someone on ThePaleoMomCommunity.com who is (registration is free, but you must confirm your e-mail address and post an introduction before being able to access the site). This post can help you troubleshoot: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/04/how-do-i-know-when-its-working-a-quick-troubleshooting-guide-to-paleo.html and you might also consider the autoimmune protocol: http://www.thepaleomom.com/autoimmunity/the-autoimmune-protocol – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I also wanted to add that you may want to look into digestive enzymes to address your missing gallbladder and the belching. Also, ox bile is essential for people who have had their gallbladder removed. I suspect that you would feel full after a meal longer if you were properly digesting fat, and ox bile will help with that.

Thanks for the reply. I recently learned I’m hypothyroid as well. Could there be a link between thyroid and leaky gut?

Absolutely! If you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (they say 90% of us that are hypo in US have Hashi’s). According to gluten expert Fasano, leaky gut is a required precursor to autoimmunity. I’m working on my gut in an attempt to put my Hashimoto’s in remission. It’s a long road.

My natropath thinks I have leaky gut. I suffer from fatigue. The delayed allergy test shows no food allergies. The skin prick allergy test shows I am allergic to every food. Except for a hive or two, on my face, per year I have never had an immediate or dangerous reaction to a food. What is the correlation between leaky gut and the skin prick allergy result? I thought it was the delayed allergy test that would show leaky gut.

Having a lot of allergies and inflammation can be a good sign of a leaky gut, which your skin prick results may indicate. The standard testing for leaky gut is a lactulose/mannitose test, but it won’t tell you if your gut is only a little leaky. You might consider an elimination diet like Paleo or the AIP to see how you do. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I have possible sjogrens syndrome. I have never had any gut problems, but decided to try the aip diet. After 2 months the symptoms have improved. I have introduced dairy; feel bloated. A little white rice; within 24 hours symptoms returned but only last 48 hours. Is it possible to not have any gut problems prior to the diet but get them when you reintroduce? Is this a sign of leaky gut? The uk seems backward when it comes to the route causes if autoimmune diseases. Do you know if any consultants in the uk?

Yes, it is a sign of leaky gut. I don’t know of anyone in the UK, but Sarah’s consultants at ThePaleoMomConsulting.com can work with you long-distance. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

[…] What Should You Eat To Heal a Leaky Gut? (Created as a guest post for The Paleo Parents) If you are concerned that you may have, or could develop, a leaky gut, then changing your diet to one that protects the gut is a natural next step for you. […]

I’m 23 years old and still have acne. I thought I was lucky not to get as bad acne as my siblings but then at age 19 I started majorly breaking out and now I have scars and still get break outs. Does this mean I have leaky gut?
I started doing the paleo diet a little more than a month ago and it worked great. I notice whenever I broke it I’d break out. How long do I have to do it and after I do it will i be able to once in a while break it for special occasions without falling back to the same state?

Everyone is different. You may find over time that the foods causing you to break out no longer bother you as your gut heals, or they may always be a problem. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

My 11 year old son has low bone density and small stature due to Celiac. How can I beef up his calorie and calcium intake while healing his leaky gut?? Help, please!

Hi Karen,
With respect to bone health, calcium isn’t the only thing that is important. In fact, you need Vit. D3 and K2 and Magnesium as well. An excellent supplement for the D3 and K2 is Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. My kids like it in the cinnamon flavor. In addition to that, a gut healing protocol like what PaleoMom recommends in her book or like what Diane San Fillipo describes in her book Practical Paleo would help his gut heal from the Celiac damage. Bone broth is an essential part of that and cutting out all grains. I’m sure those at Paleo Mom will have even more suggestions for you.

Best of luck.

Please do some research on the fermented cod liver oil. There are differing camps on this one and it’s important you have all the information you can before you make any decisions on which way to go.

If I am taking fermented cod liver oil every day do I still need to eat liver? I just cant get myself to eat organ meats (at least not yet)…

And on the flip side, when I finally CAN make myself eat organ meats, should I stop taking the cod liver oil on those days? Maybe it doesn’t matter…just want to be sure!

I followed the AIP this spring and now follow a standard Paleo diet after re-introductions. One of the things I have noticed during this process is that when I take a probiotic supplement or eat Saurekraut, I get constipated for 2 or 3 days. Why do you think this happens? I thought it was supposed to help not hinder. I am pretty regular on all other occasions.

Hi. I have no stomach issues apart from occasional gas. My bowel movements are quite regular. However I have multiple skin issues cropping up in the past 6 months all of a sudden. Dry Skin, eczema perioral dermatitis, alongwith extreme fatigue and I have depression for 4 years now. Could I have leaky gut despite not having digestive issues? Thanks

You can absolutely have leaky gut without digestive issues. I do. Skin issues like eczema almost always have a gut connection, and fatigue and depression can have a gut connection as well, though looking at thyroid and adrenals would be wise. Starting a gut healing protocol and doing a complete stool test would be a great start.

Thank you for the reply Ed. My thyroid function is fine though I haven’t gotten my adrenals checked and will definitely get them checked along with a stool analysis. And just got tested for food allergies today. I did have a slight reaction to wheat and milk both. Detailed discussion session with the doctor tomorrow. Let’s see what he says.

I’ve been seriously considering the Paleo Approach. Over 20 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS and told to go on a very strict diet … of lean meats (no beef), fruits and veggies … no dairy. I felt much better within 6 months and lost 20 pounds just by doing that. Then comes menopause … which threw my body completely out of wack again … and I haven’t been able to get back on track. Since then I have been diagnosed with RA, Fibro, and Osteo Arthritis … and in the process gained back 50 pounds. I’m currently on a long list of meds. I tell you all of this because I have 2 questions that I didn’t see addressed in your cookbook. I noticed in your 6 week plan, your meals have red meat. I have not been able to eat red meat for over 20 years. I had allergy tests and have found that I’m not allergic to anything, but I’m very sensitive to red meat. I know the balance of everything you have in the 6 week plan is very important, so what do I do if I can’t eat red meat? Also … since I’m on so many medications, won’t that throw the balance off as well? I could try going cold turkey and going off of all my meds, but I don’t think I would be able to prepare any of the meals you recommend because I would be in so much pain.

I have PPP (palmor/plantar psoriasis).
cannot take biologics because Methotrexate damaged my liver. I am making yogurt and water kefir and just started making milk kefir and trying to learn to make fermented veggies. Do you think the milk kefir will be harmful to me or helpful? I am really confused about milk kefir.

I have had digestive issues for years after being on allergy medication for years. Going organic and cutting wheat removed almost all of my allergies. However, I then started to have issues with a wide range of foods and seem to only be able to eat beef, pork and vegetables with no issues. I have had a lot of luck on the AIP protocol but still have my days where I don’t feel good. I still cheat here and there and have rice occasionally or hummus or kidney beans.

I would like to take it up a notch and complete a juice fast. Will the juice fast harm the process of healing my gut and if it is safe should I juice all veggies or mostly veggies and a bit of fruit? I completed a five day juice fast a year ago and it did not go well. I was worse at the end than the beginning but I believe I was juicing too many fruits and not enough vegetables. I think I was about 50 / 50 fruits and veggies. Any thoughts on whether an 80% veggie, 20% fruit juice fast or 90%, 10% will help or hurt?

Thank you Christina,

So would juicing be good one time per day of 80% veggies / 20% fruit? The reason behind the fast was to allow my body to use the energy for healing instead of digesting.


So are eggs ok? In the top half it says only the yolks and the author washes the yolks. Then later in the post:
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in large quantities in wild-caught fish, pastured/free-range eggs, and meat from pastured animals, decrease inflammation.
Thanks for clearing this up.


I was wondering if anyone had an answer for my question. I know its busy for everyone but your post was unclear.

Thanks for any help you can give.

why are grains and carbs excluded for leaky gut when (if you have low stomach acid) carbs are easier to digest vs. that 8oz of meat that usually sits in the body for 4 hours. If someone could answer that, that would be great. I’m on Prilosec so my acid is already being suppressed and I need simple things. I also be
I’ve I am gluten intolerant and nightshade intolerant.

Diet so far: white rice,jasmine rice, brown rice, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts (tablespoon olive oil) carrots, blueberries.

Also if through seeing what my body is ok with, (and simple carbs agree) what are some grains you would recommend. (Gluten free) is buckwheat a good one. I need some power house protein ones. And is it possible grains are not that bad for someone who has leaky gut.

Do you have any comments on how STIs like herpes can affect/ contribute/ to a leaky gut or complicate treatment? Any suggestions?

Still you feel your body deorganized. Your doc don;t know what it is and gives you dangerous medication?
Start with 2 books and then keep searching as much as you like.


I have been strict paleo since December 2014. I have been AIP since January with some cheats (chocolate, almonds and coffee on occasion-never any nightshades, eggs, seeds) and still have stomach aches and fluffy stools (easily break up and have a fluffy appearance and sometimes can see the food has not been fully digested) What else can I try? My gallbladder may be low functioning, I have hypothyroid, Celiac, and hypoglycemia which is the only thing that is better with the paleo diet.


I don’t usually post comments online; however, I’m quite desperate after two months of diligently trying to heal rosacea by following a combination of Sarah Ballantyne’s autoimmune diet and Terry Wahls protocol for healing autoimmune conditions. The initial progression of rosacea was very rapid, and it has slowed some, but I’m still experiencing daily flushing, constant stinging and burning, worsening of skin texture, and visible capillaries all over my cheeks, nose, and upper lip. I’m in my early thirties, and only three months ago, I had what appeared to be normal healthy glowing skin. In early January, I began experiencing stringing and burning on the right side of my face and immediately sought treatment. It was diagnosed as rosacea. From what I’ve learned, rosacea seems to be a little understood condition related perhaps to low stomach acid and leaky gut. I’ve been supplementing with hydrochloric acid and pepsin with meals and have eliminated gluten, dairy, grains, and all the suggested foods. I eat copious amounts of leafy greens, vegetables, flax oil, avocado oil, bone broth, grass fed meat, and wild caught fish. This is the extent of my diet. I do not drink alcohol, smoke, or take other medications. In addition, I drink herbal teas of nettle, licorice, yellow dock, burdock, dandelion, rosehips, chamomile, and milk thistle. I take DGL, olive leaf, Oregon grape, kelp, and fish oil as supplements. I also take a 90 billion count probiotic.

I was previously a healthy person; however, I’d been eating gluten for several months after being gluten free for seven years prior. I knew I shouldn’t have been consuming the gluten, but I never imagined the consequences would be so dire. I feel like I’m going to lose my mind some days. Never in my life have I not been able to correct illnesses or poor health with diet. I understand these things can take time, but I’m afraid my skin doesn’t have much time. I’ve got new capillaries showing through the skin every day, and the burning and stinging are driving me quite mad! Does anyone have suggestions? I couldn’t find anything about rosacea in Sarah’s book and was really disappointed as I’d invested in it hoping to find something. It seems there isn’t a lot of good literature about rosacea, and what I can find suggests taking toxic antibiotics or focuses on the cause being related to demodex mites, which I just don’t buy. This is definitely gut related, at least for me. Any help would be very welcomed. Thank you!

I’m sorry to hear you are still struggling on the AIP. The recommendations in Sarah’s book should help improve skin health, and there is a guide to troubleshooting in the back you may find useful. For personalized medical advice, Sarah has consultants available at ThePaleoMomConsulting.com. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Hi Christina,

Thanks for your response. I would love to take advantage of Sarah’s consultants, and so many other potentially helpful therapies. Unfortunately, I’m a single parent of three little ones and trying to get through my last year of university. I’m in the position of relying on the conventional medical system due to limited finances. I have Medicaid, which gives me access to conventional doctors; however, I’ve had absolutely no help through this avenue.

I’ve been encouraged to get on antihistimines and take antibiotics by Western doctors, both of which I know would be detrimental to my health. Thus far, I’ve relied on the help I received though the two naturopathic appointments I could afford, the books I was able to purchase, and my own time spent researching online for information about how to treat the leaky gut and rosacea. I’m not even certain if rosacea is technically an autoimmune condition, but since I believe its roots lie in leaky gut, I’ve decided to approach it that way. Conventional medicine seems to have little understanding of the disorder. It’s been a frustrating uphill battle to get good information.

Hopefully, by sticking to this diet, things will gradually improve, but it seems like each day my skin just looks and feels worse, which is very discouraging. So much of what is called for in the AIP diet is contraindicated with rosacea or causes flare ups. It seems I need to heal my gut before I can heal the rosacea, but, in the meantime, my skin suffers severely. So many contraindications on either side. For instance, I’ve been told to avoid meat and animal products for now, and I can see that they do cause the rosacea to flare up, but they are considered absolutely necessary in the AIP diet, so necessary that one cannot heal without them. This is so confusing. I’ve lost about ten pounds on a 5’8″ 125 pound frame, which is also of great concern when cutting out meat. I’m still consuming at least 5 to 10 ounces a day, despite it exacerbating the rosacea, because I do believe in the absolute necessity of protein; however, I’ve wondered if I should take an essential amino acid supplement in place of consuming meat, at least until the rosacea calms down. Maybe you can comment on that thought?

Haha, so I re-read that, and the last thing I wanted to convey was that it is unfortunate I’m a single mother to my little ones! They are what keep me in the here and now and grounded. They are my everything. What I meant to convey is that because I’m a single parent and trying to get through school, I’m very strapped financially and can’t afford to pay for anything extra. I’m sure that was eventually understood. 😉

Hi Therese,

You might be having a problem with yeast or SIBO, which is common with skin disorders. I’m not sure rosacea is an autoimmune disorder but rather a manifestation of a leaky gut (which untreated can lead to an autoimmune disease).

Rather than take on the AIP and low FODMAP diet, which is incredibly restrictive, you might want to simply undertake an elimination diet. This is the first step recommended by my naturopath and functional medicine doc. They provided me with the guide from The Institute of Functional Medicine but I did not find it went far enough. I am following the new book “The Elimination Diet” which is amazing and the most thorough approach I have come across. I love the Paleo Diet but it can be just as likely that red meat does not work well for you and quinoa or black beans are OK. The elimination diet is the best way to know what works for you. If after the first week of elimination you are not seeing any improvement, then cut out grains and legumes. Or, don’t include them at all, it will just be more restrictive. You can always challenge them in the reintroduction phase if you want to.

I would continue with the HCl supplements because that alone can be the solution. Cut out all your other supplements for now except for the herbal teas recommended in the book. You might be reacting to some of them, so you’ll want to introduce them one by one. Also, I recently realized that many HCl supplements are made from sugar beets, which are known to be mostly GMOs. So, worth trying out a new one from either organic beets or another source if that is what you are using (this might not matter at all but why take the risk?)

I am confident your symtoms will improve with the HCl and elimination diet. If you need to take it further, you can look into treatments for SIBO and/or candida once you are done. Dr. Allison Siebecker and Christa Orecchio are good resources for each, respectively.

Good luck!


I posted the comment above on 6th March asking for commentary on the differing recommendations from you and Chris Kresser. Can anyone respond please?


Hello Sarah (or Christina).

I actually feel my gut isn’t working properly but my symptoms are quite more serious that GI problems or something like that. My guess is pointing the eggs as the culprit and I’ll need your opinion in here.

I eat eggs for approximately 2 years at breakfast (2/3 a day) and It’s kind of a precious for me. However, since last May (when I had some really stressful moments) I started having some weird symptoms and some of them are still bothering me. Shoulder/neck pain, knee discomfort, etc (although I’m a gym practitioner) are the physical symptoms but the ones that really makes me worried are: Brian fog, Horrible short-term memory, Irritability, Lack of Patience, Lack of concentration and focus. I’ve never felt this before and my theory is that high cortisol and high stress levels from that time probably caused some kind of gut problems (gut permeability) which could eventually cause eggs sensitivity/intolerance (even knowing I’ve never had problems with eggs).

I would like to know your opinion about this.

Hi, I have leaky gut and chronic sinusitis from the leaky gut. I cured myself by eliminating dairy,gluten, coffee and doing a rotation with beef, fish and chicken AND TAKING SUPPLEMENTS

I don’t read a lot about cabbage – is it OK to have if you have leaky gut?
Lots of people find it hard to digest but that maybe a result of a poor diet?

Any thoughts……..

I have Hahimoto’s and SIBO- I also get hypoglycemic and have lots of sugar highs and lows- because of this I have been unsuccessful at eating AIP low FODMAP- because I get hypoglycemic without the carbs. Does anybody have any advice? I eat ground turkey, beef, chicken, fish- usually one of those with summer squash and sauteed greens. I guess I need somebody to tell me if the hypoglycemia will go away in a few days if I keep with the low carb. While I’m in the midst of it it feels like my brain is shutting down. How can I get past this and onto eating clean so I can heal?

I have Hashimoto’s, Celiac, and also SIBO and I have tried the low FODMAP AIP twice now. Both times, I get extremely hypothyroid, lose about 10 pounds very rapidly, my T3 level crashes, and I have to start eating a diet of about 50% low FODMAP carbs again in order to feel well. But this then might be preventing me from healing the SIBO. The GI doc prescribed Xifaxan, but it did not cure the SIBO entirely, and though SIBO symptoms are better on low carb, low FODMAP, my thyroid is worse and overall I am not functional, and it takes at least 2 months to recover from the crash diet. My SIBO has likely been present for at least 2 1/2 years.

I have been eating a modified paleo diet. I find that this year my usual spring allergies are non-existent and my breathing is not as labored. I have not lost weight but over all I feel so much better.
Now one of my friends is talking about the documentary “Forks over Knives” so I watched it. I am so confused. I plan on continuing my paleo lifestyle but how do I refute the fact that these doctors think plant based protein is better for you than animal protein. Also they are condemning oils and fats….I just don’t see how BOTH viewpoints can be correct…My coconut oils has saved my life as I have hypoglycemia and nothing worked until I started adding coconut oil and eggs to my diet.

In addition, fiber protects the gut while sweeping fungus, harmful bacteria and other pathogens quickly out of the system. Good options include organic psyllium powder, ground flax and chia seeds.

Several herbs are known to calm inflammation and the subsequent damage that occurs in the gut. Since leaky gut syndrome contributes to malabsorption of many nutrients, it’s important to supplement the diet. A, B, C and E vitamins are essential as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and coenzyme Q10. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is valuable for encouraging a healthy digestive system. Minimizing stress, gentle exercise, adequate sleep and slowing down during mealtime supports healing.

Thanks for sharing!

My naturopath said I have candida and leaky gut and have been doing the protocol for a while now, with great success so far. However, I need a new cookbook to get out of the boring food rut – with more creative recipes for such a limited diet. However, most leaky gut cookbooks use a lot of bananas, fruit, dates etc..which I cannot do with candida. And candida cookbooks use a lot of nightshades and tomatoes and other things that you can’t have on a leaky gut diet. Can you recommend a cookbook that covers both? Thanks


I went AIP 1.5 weeks ago and started taking prescript assist and eating fermented foods and I am having diarrhea and general stomach malaise.
I am thinking this may be die-off….I started from a fairly clean diet. Mostly paleo but some gluten-free grains and a bit of dairy (which I am extremely intolerant to).
Can you please do a post on some reactions that can happen when trying to fix leaky gut and switching to AIP and the reactions that can happen.

I bought Sarah’s book in the middle of my elimination diet and decided to adjust the diet to exclude nightshades, seeds and gluten until for another 2 mths. Essentially am following the aip. But, when I take chicken stock (boiled for 1.5 Hrs) and drank over 3 days, my fingers get stiffer and skin is a bit worse. I have psoriatic arthritis and thats how I came to do this diet. Why does it get worse on bone stock? I thought it should get better?

Kombucha Tea? do not drink this fermented drink, it greatly feeds the cause of leaky gut. Nowhere on your page do I see any mention of the cause of this condition. Namely ‘Candida Albicans’, this is what is growing in the gut and perforating the stomach lining. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter!

Stay up-to-date, never miss a post, and get exclusive content and coupons!

We will never share your information with anyone.