What Should You Eat To Heal a Leaky Gut?

April 5, 2012 in Categories: , by

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(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.  


Hello, thank you for this post! Do you recommend the 25 billion or the 50 billion in the probiotic? Also, I saw some concerns about refrigeration with the recommended probiotic. Amazon doesn’t ship these refrigerated. Will this make them less effective?

Not all probiotics require refrigeration. For those that do, it shouldn’t matter too much if they are shipped without as long as you keep it in the fridge when you get them. I would recommend going lower dose because you can always ramp up how much you take later if you need to.

This will be my second question on your blog. So first of all I want to thank you for doing all the research for us and sharing your personal experieces. What you are doing is helping lots of people (including me, in the Netherlands). Thank you for all your time and effort!

So up to my second question:
In this post you recommend to restore the gut flora. One of your suggestions is to eat Kefir. However, Kefir is made from milk which crossreacts with gluten. Does Kefir not crossreact with gluten?

Unrelated, but I feel the urge to share my personal succes story:
Before reading anything about paleo I had been of dairy, grains, nuts, legumes, dairy, the deadly nightshades, and most fruits. This helpt my eczema and geographical tongue a lot (actually the geographical tongue was my teacher for most of the things). However my asthma and fatigue didn’t disappear until I completely cut out the grains and crossreactors from my diet last week. I noticed a dramatic increase in mental energy the first day already! I used to be exhausted out of nowhere, while right now I sleep less, wake up energised and stay awake throughout the day.

I do wonder about how and when to reintroduce some of the foods (especially fruit and nuts). Would you recommend to stay on this diet for about six months to let the gut heal and only then start reintroducing the foods? Is there a risk in reintroducing non gut irritating food (which I assume fruits) are sooner than that?

Thanks, Roel

I should be more specific. When I talk about kefir, I really mean coconut milk kefir or water kefir (although some people can tolerate raw grass-fed cow milk kefir or goat milk kefir). Since writing this post though, it seems as though yeast is a common gluten cross-reactor and those with gluten-sensitivity and/or celiac disease are likely not to tolerate kombucha or kefir due to the yeast content.

Six months sounds like a worthy goal, but you might not have to wait that long. Some people are able to start reintroducing as early as one month. I generally recommend that you should wait until you see substantial improvement in your symptoms (which you have already) and then very slowly reintroduce one thing every 4-5 days so you can watch for reactions. The only issue with introducing fruits is that often skin conditions are sensitive to blood sugar fluctuations (basically, when your blood sugar goes high after eating a lot of carbs). If you keep the amount of fruit fairly low to start, that should help. Otherwise, fruits should be fine to reintroduce as soon as you feel ready.

Good luck! And let me know if you want to write up your story for a Real People, Real Paleo guest post on my blog! 🙂

I’m trying to heal my leaky gut, but I can’t even eat any veggies or fruit. I can eat bone broth, stewed meats and fish, a little avocado, coconut oil. The veggies are not digesting at all. I make my bone broths with veggies, then take the veggies out before I eat it. I had to do this last spring, but then seemed to be able to eat moderate amounts of cooked vegetables and fruits over the summer—even a little bit of raw fruits and veggies—as well as some fermented veggies. But now it’s back to square one, it seems. Have you heard of this? I see how long you say it takes to heal leaky gut, so maybe I just shouldn’t mess around and stick to bone broths with all veggies removed for two years.

There may be a connection to stress, activity or vitamin D that is what meant you were better in the summer. We’re you outside more? More active? Less stressed? Getting better sleep? All of this can tip the balance. So, it might not need to be that you are eating broth and meat for 2 full years, but just until you get the other factors together. Are you taking a vitamin D3 supplement?

I have thought about the vitamin D3 / change in sun exposure connection. I live in Colorado, so I get tons of sun in the summer, and barely any in the winter because we are so north. I still get outside daily, but it’s often in the dark now (early morning, or after work), plus it’s cold so my skin is covered up! I am currently taking 10,000 mg D3, hoping to counter the lack of sun exposure with the seasonal change. Stress, activity, sleep are all about the same, I’d say. Stress management is one of my constant challenges, and a high priority. Since finding your site, I have started the AI protocol (I’ve been paleo for about 10 years), so there were some significant modifications for me: no coffee, alcohol, chocolate, nightshades, yeast (no more fermented veggies or kombucha). Some other things I was thinking of trying: I need to find a good pro-biotic, and I’m thinking of trying a L-glutamine supplement. I have celiac.

One other thing: since my leaky gut problem developed, my cholesterol levels have gone up. The break down is: LDL 151, HDL 91, TRT 37. Total 249. I think this is my liver trying to deal with leaky gut, and the inflammation.

By TRT, I assume you mean triglycerides? If so, I look at those numbers and think they look really good! Triglycerides of 37 is outstanding and is the most important of those three numbers to look at. HDL of 91 is also outstanding. LDL is high compared to what a doctor wants to see, but there are two types of LDL. Large, fluffy LDL are beneficial. Small dense LDL are the bad ones. If you are eating a lot of coconut or palm oil, you likely have more large fluffy LDL which is making your number look higher but is actually a good thing. Actually, your numbers don’t look that different from mine (my LDL is 121, HDL is 98, TG 41). There’s also some evidence in the literature that higher cholesterol (especially with low triglycerides) is associated with a lower risk of cancer in women.

L-glutamine would be very good to try. I buy the straight powder and just mix it with some water. General guidelines are 3-5g per day on an empty stomach (ideally in 2-3 doses). I’m playing around with a soil-based probiotic right now and I quite like it (I’m taking prescript assist). Have you had your D3 levels checked? I take 10-12,000 D3 per day and it works fairly well for me. I tried taking 50,000 every 5 days and didn’t like doing that. And I hear you on the stress. That may be the biggest piece to your puzzle. Have you tried mindful meditation? You commit 5 minutes every day to sit somewhere quiet and comfortable and just focus on your breath. If thoughts come, acknowledge them and let them go, and just focus on breathing (you can do a complicated breathing pattern to help, like in for 3 counts out for 5). I do alot of breathing practices through my yoga classes and I really do find them helpful for reducing stress.

Agreed about my cholesterol numbers! I did a bunch of research after these results came back and my doctor said she wanted me to go on statins. I said no way! Luckily she’s very open and read the information I found and backed off from that recommendation. Plus I have absolutely no risk factors. My D3 levels were good (can’t remember the number), but she thought I could stand to supplement over the winter. You are so quick and responsive. Thank you. Yesterday I bought some L-glutamine, and an allergy-free pro-biotic from Jarrow. Next time I’ll try the prescript assist, since it’s good to switch. Mindful meditation is a good idea. I get strenuous exercise every day, and I also do a nice slow nature walk every day. I know stress is a big part of the puzzle, because I regularly get acupuncture (and take some chinese herbs—who knows what they are but my chinese doctor knows his stuff—and he’s always talking to me about stress management), and my digestion is dramatically better afterwards, with a gradual decline until my next appointment. Oh and I do eat a ton of coconut oil, but have not tried palm oil. Do you recommend palm oil?

Red palm oil has even more antioxidants and vitamins that coconut oil, with a similar fat profile. It’s a very distinct flavor so it takes some getting used to. I do recommend it.

Yes it’s important studying to become a health coach and all the factors are important u need a balance in your life like career, relationships,friends, happiness,spirituality etc..

I have just discovered your site and am so glad that I did!

I have had chronic gastrointestinal issues for 2 years. I had no food intolerances 2 years ago, but now I have discovered that I have 26! My doctor said that the food intolerances weren’t a medical issue. I found a different doctor who ran tests that determined I had a massive intestinal yeast overgrowth. (My score was as high as the test would go.) I went on an anti-yeast diet of just healthy meats and vegetables, and my symptoms improved dramatically.

The only problem that I still have is that I often feel like my throat is blocked or closing up. I seem to feel this for 2 days straight, and then it gets better for 2 days. I have an endoscopy scheduled for next week.

Here is my question–should I follow the paleo diet without nuts and the other irritants for two years to heal my leaky gut? I am willing to do this, but I am concerned that eating so much meat will give me high cholesterol.

Also, after my leaky gut is healed, should my food intolerances improve? I have some basic ones such as banana, garlic, and black pepper, and avoiding those things is difficult. Also, I worry that while I am healing, I will develop more food intolerances to the foods that I am eating more frequently now.

I’m not sure what would be making you throat feel that way. Maybe a new food sensitivity? or inflammation from acid reflux? Hopefully the endoscopy will show something (and that something is easy to fix!). Yes, I think paleo without nuts and other irritants (like hot peppers) for an extended period of time (might not have to be 2 years, but I’d bet on at least 6 months to a year) is a very good idea. Don’t worry about your cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief, eating saturated fats and cholesterol doesn’t increase your blood cholesterol. Sugar does. And since you’re going to be eating so few sugars and starches following this plan, your cholesterol is very likely to improve dramatically. I think the best paleo book for describing cholesterol is Sweet Potato Power, but you also might enjoy checking out Dr. Attia’s website http://eatingacademy.com/ .I think he has something like a 10-part series explaining cholesterol. Yes, after your gut has healed, many if not all of your food intolerances should improve if not disappear completely. It is possible that you will develop more food inolerances while you are healing. To avoid this, you can rotate your foods (1 week on 2 weeks off) which can be challenging when following such a limited diet, but doable (the easiest way to do this is to have three separate lists of foods and do each one for a week). Also, it might be worthwhile getting a food sensitivity test done every few months just to check (I know that adds up, but even doing it once in about 6 months will probably be worth it). I hope this helps!

Hi Melissa,
I’m sorry to barge in on your thread–do you remember what test your doctor ran to detect the yeast overgrowth? I am dealing with GI issues as well and I believe it has to do with yeast however, my doctor does not seem to believe in leaky gut or the gut’s effect on the rest of the body so it has been a very frustrating situation. Also, have you been able to reintroduce foods successfully?

I seen a natropath & did a energy test holding these 2 bars& them picking me with a pen thing with a acupuncture needle got the results for so many things was great & seen I had leaky gut& I flammation& recommend me foods to eat& not to eat & what my Irritants were & sensitivities & was amazing.Happy I did this. I’m studying to become a health coach with INn nutrition & love the work that we will do to help people & support them on there goals & changes to a better happier life Inna natural way. they also say after 1 month u can reintroduce 1 food& see how it goes

Thanks so much for your reply. Do you recommend the one week on two weeks off for my meat and fish consumption too, like pork one week, then beef the next, then bison the next, etc? I would think that might be a challenge.

If you’re really worried about food sensitivities, that is the standard recommendation. You could do pairings to give more variety. Like pork, beef, and whitefish one week. Oily fish, bison, and chicken the next week. Lamb, turkey and shellfish the next week. You could even stagger so that you don’t always have the same three pairings. Actually, I would try and have some kind of oily fish all the time. Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring, etc. By the time you start thinking about seafood being each a separate species, it starts to sound like some great variety.

Hello Sarah
you mentioned macadamias. Are they less irritant than other nuts ? Should we soak them a little to make them easier to digest?

Butter is not only healthy fat but also can contribute to curing leaky gut syndrome as it contains butyrate which decreases intestinal permeability and improves gut flora. If not tolerating look for lactose free butter or use ghee ( if prepared correctly contains minimal amounts of lactose and casein) which can be used as cooking fat too.

I have a strong yeast intolerance, which makes it difficult to find a good probiotic or to eat things like sauerkraut or other fermented veggies. I also have a milk intolerance which makes milk a no go. What would you recommend for me to improve my gut flora? Thanks!

I also have a candida/yeast issue like Melissa and appreciate your recommendation of Kirkman Biogold.

I have osteoporosis as well and wondered if the Paleo diet will be helpful for this? Is the acid in the proteins (meats, seafood, eggs) reduced to alkaline by all the veggies so calcium is not pulled from the bones? Thank you so much.

I have had skin condiditons since I hit puberty, but my diet was lacking nutrients and very SAD then, I managed to clear most of my back acne since senior year, but am sure my body is messed up from antibiotics I took when I was 15. I’m now 19 and have been trying to heal myself naturally for years!!! I am an athlete, and I have taken so many antifungals and probiotics, and eat healthy. I don’t even know if I have a leaky gut or candida, or what is causing my skin issues anymore. I feel as if I took too much vitamin D, and then I just went to the Caribbean. My face skin has little bumps all over it, and I have my keratosis pilaris like usual. I want to be able to eat some rice and not freak out if it causes my skin to flare up. I just don’t know how to get enough calories, heal my gut, and not spend on all my money on my college budget. Thank You! I always take some probiotic, i’m taking culturella right now, and was going to do a coconut oil enema.

I would suggest starting the reading (or listening to the podcasts) everything Chris Kresser has written about gut-brain-skin axis (his blog is chriskresser.com). You could definitely be taking a more powerful probiotic, maybe add a soil-based probiotic. How is your digestion? You could look into digestive support supplements (like digestive enzymes). Great sources of carbs for atheles include sweet potatoes, parsnips, plantains, taro root, lotus root, yucca, and squash. Of course, if you have candida, those dense starches will make things worse, and then it would be better to stick with fruits as your carb source. Eating coconut oil will help dramatically with energy too and reduce your need for carbs. You might also check out Prof. Loren Cordain’s books

Thank You! I find I do so much better off mostly carbs, and some meat. I can even go a day or two without meat sometimes. I’m afraid I have so many deficiencies from puberty and not eating right, and imbalances from getting too much of one, like Vitamin D over A and Zinc. I don’t know if I have candida, I have some skin problems…so I am assuming I do…, maybe I just have leaky gut? I never get vaginal yeast infections, just white discharge, and I am waiting to see after my period if I have gotten rid of it once and for all. I also incorporate a lot of coconut products into my diet…even some pure coconut milk ice-cream, which still has anti-fungal properties, so I don’t think it would harm my healing. I’m trying to eat a little bit of brown rice twice a day, I dunno if this is also detramental. I just don’t really know what I can eat on leaky gut, and candida healing, and how I will know when to stop thissss. Cause It would be silly to eat all those lovely carbs, like yams, and not even have candida and heal, but not to cause I just don’t know. I’m also worried about white potatoes and insulin spikes until my body heals? I should probably just test them when I do decide to eat them. I mean some green apples with cinnamon, stevia, and goat milk kefir sounds so good!

I was also wondering YOUR take on nuts and phytic acid and antinutrients. Why would we eat them or crave them if they have anti-nutrients? Like I crave chocolate a lot, but I’m afraid to eat it, just like rice and such cause of these antinutrients.

Candida is a possibility and so are bacterial overgrowths, each of which cause a leaky gut. I recommend eating a variety of meats, fish, fruits and vegetables–variety is key to getting everything you need. If you want to eat rice as a carb source, polished white rice has fewer anti-nutrients. I think nuts are fine in lower quantities. Phytic acid stops you from absorbing the minerals from your food but doesn’t leach them from your body. Excessive phytic acid can be a gut irritant though and nuts are fairly high in omega-6 fats, so think about limiting to 1-2 ounces per day. Chocolate is also high in phytic acid but also high in antioxidants so go ahead and have a little (1 oz or less) of very dark chocolate (80% or higher). Chocolate cravings are often due to magnesium deficiency, so upping your green veggies or taking a magnesium supplement will help too. You could be having food cravings for a variety of reasons, but a common one is not eating enough fat or mineral deficiencies from not eating enough vegetables. It sounds like you need to eat more proteins too… how about fish?

Yeah, I feel like I am so deficient! I started taking a zinc supplement, my right eye keeps twitching. I should eat more meat, organic if available! Thanks!!

Think u should See a natropath recently seen one & have leaky gut& I flammation & its bin going on for a while & didn’t see it & Dr’s don’t no about this & don’t diagnose or say U r Fine- I have a few Ppl who have said the same& I studying Inn nutrition to become a health coach & learning on a lot of theories& a touch of everything & I crave chocolate & I am magnesium deficiency as to why I crave chocolate & the test they have at natropath can tell U a lot it helps believe me& it will make your life way better if you get the test done. They say 80% of Ppl may have leaky gut but no symptoms Isint that weird. Hope this helps

I think that many, many people dealing with leaky guts have dairy intolerances. If you happen to know that you tolerate it well, then I think it’s fine. But, I think the number of people (with gut health issues especially) who tolerate it well will be in the minority.

I wd like to cur emy allergy, cur emy leaky gut bu ti dont know to eat bananas.. I weight 62kg i am slim but do i have to avoid carbs beacuse i have leaky gut? It suck beacuse i dont weight much… I heard that fruits are bad when you cure leaky gut? beacuse …

Hi there, I love your blog because it explains things so very simply and understandably. I have a question. I think my case is very similar to Crystal Ivy, skin issues on face but I do have many other symptoms like low white blood cell count. I want to do the autoimmune paleo protocol but coconut oil, many green vegetables, broth, sauerkraut are all out because one of the results of my leaky gut is salicylate sensitivity (that’s what my naturopath said). And I really feel better on a low salicylate diet. But I have been reduced to eating just fish, lamb and rice (yes not allowed on paleo but I don’t feel good eating so much meat to get the calories as my liver is weak). How can I get more good fats and probiotics into my diet to heal my leaky gut???(I can’t do any dairy as well and many brands of probiotics seem to cause a skin flare!)

There are plenty of low salycilate vegetables that you can eat, including those usually used to make kraut. This is a great resource: http://salicylatesensitivity.com/about/food-guide/vegetables/ and I would also more recommend checking out my post on salicylate sensitivity (under Paleo modifications). What about animal fats? Lamb tallow? And you’re getting great fats from the fish you are eating. He do you handle winter squashes for your carbs instead of rice?

Thanks for all of the information and answers to reader’s comments. Like the above reader, I am salicylate sensitive…I am also currently histamine and FODMAP sensitive, which makes eating a challenge. Because the three lists eliminate so many foods between them, I do include sprouted buckwheat and quinoa instead of being strict paleo. I’m hoping that when my leaky gut clears, that these sensitivities will also clear. Do you have recommendations for this limited diet? I cannot do cultured veggies or drinks due to the histamines, and can only do a 2-3 hour broth…unfortunately limiting some healing choices. Most fruits and veggies are also out, due to salicylates and FODMAPS. I’m supplementing with chlorella, probiotics (not sure what the best brand would be) Cod liver oil, Vit C, Vit D, digestive enzymes and occasionally bentonite clay.

Ugh, that doesn’t sound like fun. What type of digestive enzymes do you take? Many people find improved ability to handle some moderate FODMAP veggies with plant enzymes (since they help break down the fiber) and that might help provide you with more options. Since broth is a challenge, have you tried taking a collagen supplement (I like Great Lakes brand). You could also try L-glutamine to help restore gut barrier function. I’m not a fan of chlorella (it’s an immune stimulator and it’s cell wall has very similar proteins to e. coli). The only other thing I can recommend is lots of organ meat to provide vitamins and minerals to help provide the nutrition your body needs to heal. And SLEEP! That will make a tremendous different to increase the amount of sleep you get. All three sensitivities should improve as your gut heals.

I appreciate the ideas! I hadn’t thought of collagen and will look in to that. I forgot to mention I am taking the L-Glutamine…hopefully it is doing good work in there:) I am most excited to read about taking plant enzymes with the FODMAPs. Indeed, that would increase the fruits and veggies I can eat, since there are a few low-mod salicylate and histamine foods which I am currently avoiding due to FODMAPs (whether salicylates, histamines or FODMAPS, they all manifest in hives, interestingly enough). Even though I take enzymes with all meals, perhaps if I use a more plant-specific formula with FODMAPs it will provide relief. Do you recommend one in particular? I will look more into the chlorella…and appreciate your input on that..although in my case it really seems to have helped with many symptoms…such as from liver toxiicity and adrenal fatigue…perhaps the magnesium in it is the main reason…do you recommend a certain magnesium supplement? Again, thanks so much.

Doesn’t any form of buckwheat contain too much saponins and protease inhibitors for people with leaky gut aiming to heal it ? Is there a preparation method to render saponins and protease inhibitors in buckwheat harmless ? Also, does buckwheat contain harmful lectins like other grains and if yes is there a preparation method to render the lectins in it harmless ? Today I received another e-mail from Chris Kresser with a sourdough buckwheat recipe and I started searching the internet to find if fermentation or another preparation method made it harmless and here I am. Below is the link to the recipe:

Also I’d be glad if you explain how chlorella is less than good. Should we limit chlorella use or totally avoid it ? I use about a third of a teaspoon of chlorella and a third of a teaspoon of spirulina after I eat a fillet of atlantic mackerel(with some garlic and lemon) to eliminate the toxins and to get some GLA(chlorella has it as far as I know). I also have autoimmune disease.

Fermentation followed by cooking does remove most of the antinutrients in buckwheat as well as make it more digestible, but it is still not a food I would recommend for someone with autoimmune disease, unless your disease is in full remission and you are at a reintroduction phase. Chlorella has lipopolysaccharide in its cell membrane. The culprit with sprirulina hasn’t been identified, but it’s a Th1 stimulator.

Is it ok to eat Bacillus Subtilis fermented legumes other than soy like natto for some also ? And whom ? Does it render lectins and saponins and protease inhibitors(writing this because legumes are also classified under food grains in wikipedia) harmless ? Thanks

I’ve found this link, is paleomomdotcom.wordpress.com yours ? I’ve read you suggest Anonymous with neuropathy and burning from eating meat natto and tempeh as protein sources to consume. Neuropathy has autoimmune and suspected autoimmune types, so I assume eating natto is allowed in autoimmune protocol though it may be less than ideal. I fermented some small white beans once just like it’s done to soy to make natto, I will ferment lentils next time, probably pink ones for some astaxanthin. I consume it only about a heaping teaspoon a day. I do not try natto because soy has worse antinutrients and is uncomparably more estrogenic than other legumes.
Thank you very much, this site alone has a big impact on my health

So, can I take away from this that once my leaky gut is healed, my food allergies will disappear?
I suddenly developed horrible digestive reactions to eggs, dairy, and gluten which caused unwanted weight loss. Ive been working with my naturopath and I’ve taken L-glutamine and probiotics and cut those foods out for two months. When I tried to reintroduce gluten, it made me sick. I want hope that this isn’t a forever thing.

True allergies are unlikely to go away completely since the body’s memory for allergies is very long, although they should improve. Food sensitivities and intolerances are much more likely to go away once the gut has fully healed.

Mine show up on a blood test as moderate allergies. The reactions I have are severe and were immediate after eating. When I took the two month break and then tried gluten, it took 24 hours before the reaction. I’m feeling so depressed and like I’m missing out since I can’t eat any of my favorite foods. Since my allergies are immune mediated (my s-Iga was 26), would that change your thoughts on my situation? Providing I can get it back to a normal number? I really appreciate your responses. I feel alone in my world dealing with this.

Heather, what are you eating? I’m a mess..my GUT, metabolism and hormones are seriously a mess. I’m underweight, so fatigued and achy that exercise is impossible. VERY digestively uncomfortable. Binging at night (I know, I know)..finding it very difficult to be strict with diet…NO grass fed sources or raw stuff here where I live…I HAVE to make due to grocery store stuff…I have to work within my means and not be obsessive. Ironically massive late night binges , yet underweight. Constipated OR some diarrhea that is really not healthy/gross and that has food in the actual stool 🙁 I don’t know what to do anymore. I need a freaking meal plan 🙁
Can someone email me? I just am so LOST !!!

You will probably find this odd as most health specialists recommend consuming olive, coconut and fish oil, however…I get blemishes from all 3 of these.
If I eat any of the above oils and any kind of nuts or seeds I get blemishes within 12-24 hours. Even teas of all kinds cause a break out. I have been monitoring this for the past 3-4 years and it has been very consistent. My skin will stay completely clear until I consume the above fats or any kind of teas (hot or cold) I have also noticed I break out from salsa as well.
I am 54, weigh 105 pounds at 5’3. I have always been thin as I almost never eat grains & have never been fond of bread & rarely eat processed foods. I occasionally drink red wine and eat 88% endangered species chocolate and eat grass fed beef plus wild caught Alaskan salmon, organic chicken & lots of raw and cooked vegetables; the only carbs I eat is usually a piece of fruit and a sweet potato; so maybe I am too low on my carb intake? If I eat more than a normal serving of fruit I get bloated and gassy and my body doesn’t tolerate any kinds of legumes as they make me boated and miserable therefore I almost never eat them. I have recently been drinking raw goats milk that I acquired from a local farmer and wonder if that is something I should discontinue. All the other symptoms however have been active for the past 3-4 years whereas I have only been consuming the goats milk for about 6 months. (1/4-1/2 cup 4-5 days a week in my organic decaf coffee)
I did eat and drink poorly in my earlier years, so I suspect my liver isn’t in the best of shape!
Since all of these oils are supposed to be so healthy, will I be deficient if I can never consume them? I have taken Total EFA off and on (when I remember to order it) and it has NEVER caused break outs; so what’s up with that? Total EFA is a mixture of flax, primrose & borage oil, by Health from the Sun. I also put fresh ground flax seeds in my salads a few times a week which doesn’t seem to bother me. I use Himalayan salt plus I get regular salt off and on from straying; such as occasional popcorn at the movies, etc. I also get plenty of sun and take Vitamin Code supplements for women, bioastin and ubiquinol but I wonder if I am even absorbing them due to possible digestion problems…………..
Any suggestions would be very much welcomed; thank you!!!!
I also noticed you mention probiotics however I read this on the curezone website:
How to Heal Leaky Gut

Avoid probiotics while your guts are leaky. The leak lets lactic bacteria in where they should not. And this is extra work for your immune system which has to get rid of them.

Acne is one of my biggest foods sensitivity symptoms, so I don’t find it strange at all. You’re okay with salmon but not fish oil? I think if you are eating good quality meats and some fish or other seafood in your diet, then I don’t think you’ll be missing any essential fats.

Probiotics can help restore the gut barrier function faster and regulate the immune system.

thank you! YES, I can eat salmon but not fish oil pills. I think it could be because salmon is a solid food and it’s not straight oil going in my stomach; just a hunch. How do you feel about quinoa? I occasionally eat that in place of bread crumbs when making salmon patties since it is a natural food and a seed as opposed to a grain.
Can’t wait for your book to come out!!! : )

Hm, I wonder if it has something to do with fat digestion… have you tried ox bile supplements? I’m not a big fan of quinoa since it’s so high in protease inhibitors and saponins, but if you tolerate it well, then I think it’s okay.

I have always suspected I have problems digesting fats but it didn’t understand why I can consume the Total EFA oil but not the other fats; wonder if its the balance in the Total EFA/type of fat.
which of these would you recommend?
these: http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Super-Enzymes-180-Tablets/856
or just plain oxbile?

The Now Foods Superenzyme is one that lots of people like (I’m not familiar with the others so I can’t comment on them). It has HCl in it which is contraindicated in those with history of ulcers, taking NSAIDs, or with blood clotting disorders, or severe esophageal damage from reflux. But, if you don’t have those risk factors, it’s a great all-in-one type supplement. I really like Thorne Research lab products (they also have an all-in-one type product) and think they are probably the best quality digestive support supplements on the market. You can also check out the supplements section of my a-store: http://astore.amazon.com/wwwthepaleomo-20

Hello thank you very much for this wonderful article. I have leaky gut and I believe I have a candid problem as well. I want to try to heal my gut however, I cannot tolerate any meats without having a pretty nasty reactions especially fish. I have cut night shades lowered my fruit intake and I current take 30 bill probiotic 2-3 tbs of coconut oil and zinc I plan add 5000 ius of d3 this week and alot more time in the sun. I have sever eczema and I would really like to clear it up.uk have been to 2 alternative medicine practitioners and way to many dermatologist
I really don’t know what to do any more. I am also intolerant to wheat, dairy and eggs. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Hello thanks for your reply I have introduced a digestive enzyme into my regimen, how I’m still very much afraid of trying introducing chicken back into my diet after my last reaction to it. I am going to attempt a very small amount of turkey today wish me luck :). Any other suggestion please feel free to let me know thanks.

I need help with leaky gut and gerd, im taking l glutamine and fish oil, blending veggied juicing, but it dont seem to help, I cut out gluten and wheat, and im.breathing n walking, I have symptoms all over my body, inflamatioonns, not digesting, acid reflux, my valve doesnt close,

I recommend looking into digestive enzymes (both pancreatin and plant enzymes). If you aren’t dairy and legume free, those would be my suggested next targets diet wise.

I am currently gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free diet because they all showed as sensitivities from testing. I have been following this diet for a few months and have lost weight and feel less bloated but still feel really fatigued and have frequent headaches. I am starting a Paleo diet today and am hoping that will assist in how I feel. I have several autoimmune diseases, including interstitial cystitis, hypothyroidism, endometriosis, hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue. My question is, I think I could have candida issues and was wondering if I should be eating fermented foods with a yeast sensitivity and possible candida? I have read mixed reviews on this and have been taking one tablespoon of inner-eco dairy free pro-biotic kefir each night before bed and am not sure if I could be. Also I was wondering if I should be eating sauerkraut since it is raw and I have autoimmune issues. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the information you provide!!!

The probiotic yeast in fermented foods does not cause or worsen candida overgrowths. In fact, the reverse is true and they can help control overgrowths. However, if you had food sensitivity testing done and have a food intolerance to yeast, fermented foods may be a problem for you.

i dont drink milk or ice cream, but i was eating eggs and some yogurt too, i cant digest anything , i only eat once a day at noon because the second meal gives me great acid reflux, its been almost a year now and i am not well, i stay away from alcohol caffeine, tobacco, sugar, fried foods and junk foods, i am out of options for eating, ive been blending veggies and juicing them but i starve at night and my stomach makes noises in the morning, i am on 2 different enzymes to help me with digestion, i drink green tea a lots of water, nothing seems to hlep, my immune system is stressed out weak and so are my organs as the toxins are in the blood stream and are giving me all kinds of issues swelling, how should i eat breakfast lunch and dinner, or should i fast, i only weigh 165lbs now, dont have much more weight to lose…

What if you try breakfast and dinner? Spacing the meals 9 or 10 hours apart? Are you eating grains? legumes? those are very hard to digest. Fish is the easiest to digest protein. Juicing is a good option, but I would also suggesting trying stewed meat and veggies (stewed to soft) and fermented foods to see how you do with them. I also would recommend looking into the autoimmune protocol (especially the part about focusing on nutrient density since your body is likely not absorbing enough from your food, so lots of liver, oysters, salmon, sauerkraut…)

not familiar with the autoinmune protocol but that is part of my problem my inmune system hurting myself, toxins and undigested foods in the bloodstream, stressed out organs inflamation everywhere, i dont think i coucld do a juice fast for too long i would be too weak and skinny, my face is lost all fat and cheeks and my eyes look deep, today i ate chicken with steamed veggies and then i had watermelon, 4 hours later i blended some veggies and made a juice out of it and it gave me reflux and stomach problems so i just had some baking soda with water to calm the acid and to alkalize my body, how do i patch the holes in my intestines and my stomach, how do i decrease the inflamation and how to i get back to normal digestion?

Often too little stomach acid has the same symptoms as too much. I suggest reading my page on the autoimmune protocol, my post on FODMAPs and my post on stomach acid as places to start.

My wife has just started on l-glutamine (and we will be starting her on slippery elm gruel, just ordered) as we strongly believe she has leaky gut (ip test results will be back in a few days) as a result of candida following an intense round of three different kinds of antibiotics. We are also rotating different brands and strains of probiotic supplements, have her using digestive enzymes with every meal, and just started her on a B6 supplement.

We do have a couple of dietary challenges and would welcome any feedback:

First of all, we are both vegetarian (she is mostly vegan…some dairy content, if it can’t be avoided, might be acceptable, but she absolute will not eat meat, fish or poultry, and direct animal products like gelatin are not acceptable). Therefore, bone broth, fish, etc., are not options.

Secondly, following the antibiotic treatment and onset of candida she developed a serious intolerance to salt. If she consumes significant quantities (even Himalayan or Celtic) she will absolutely begin to retain water in her upper abdomen (she likens it to the feeling of having “wet sawdust” packed into a ball in her upper abdomen), followed by swelling in her ankles, then legs. This got so bad that at one point we had to go to the ER and get IV Lasix. Anyway, the salt sensitivity obviously creates further diet restrictions, including avoiding most fermented products (I know she kill for some sauerkraut).

So she’s basically eating vegetables ( lots of cabbage, peas, spinach, broccoli, squash), as well as homemade organic almond butter (this doesn’t seem to bother her), homemade tahini, avocados, and she seems to tolerate Granny Smith apples and bananas. She eats small amounts of pure chocolate (baker’s chocolate), and sometimes a corn tortilla (we make sure they are pure corn and have lime in them).

When she had the first candida onset…which I determined after some research, I’d never heard of candida before then…she couldn’t eat anything without having serious stomach pain. I took her off of processed sugar and she was able to eat without any pain within a day. The salt and various food sensitivities started later, after it appeared the candida had cleared up and we got lax about the diet.

Anyway, as I said, any input or feedback is appreciated , thanks in advance.

Sounds like quite the set of challenges. All I can really say is that the body needs protein to heal, that the protein in fish is the easiest to digest and for your body to use (followed by meat), that the body can’t heal if it’s deficient in vitamins or minerals, and that the two diet factors with the greatest corrective influence on gut microorganisms is omega-3 intake (long chain DHA and EPA only, not ALA), and fiber (which your wife is getting plenty of). You’re wife could try spirulina for the DHA (but it can be an immune stimulator, which might cause more problems) and agar for the glycine (but still missing lots of other important amino acids).

Hi Love the information you provide. Started eating Paleo 2 months ago but still have some cheese. I have had Ulcerative Colitis for 20 years and OCD all my life. Just been to see a functional doctor and was diagnosed with leaky gut insulin resistance and adrenaline exhaustion. I would love to start having bone broth daily but just finished reading excitotoxins and I am very concerned about the free glutamines in bone broth. My mother has alzeihmers. I don’t notice any reactions when I digest free glutamines but can they still be affecting your brain without giving you symptoms?

Free glutamate sensitivity has never been validated in the scientific literature, although there are plenty of people who report symptoms. If you don’t have any symptoms, it’s not something you should be worrying about.

Just stumbled across your blog… My son just turned 1, is still breast feeding, also eating some solids (no grains). When he was born, I was put on antibiotics and he was super fussy “colicky” etc for many many months…a few months ago he started getting eczema around his hip/leg area. I went to the local health food store and purchased some refrigerated baby probiotics and some fish oil. This did seem to help. I had also switched him to cloth diapers a few days before the eczema appeared (as I believe the heat of being outside wearing a thick hot cloth diaper caused his eczema to appear) so I stopped the cloth diapers and will start those back when it starts getting cooler outside. I’m thankful that I’ve researched enough to know that it was my damaged gut flora via the antibiotics at birth etc causing his problems and I’ve also decided that my gut is damaged too (I’ve had off and on skin problems etc randomly). Anyway, I’d like to heal my sons leaky gut and mine as well. I’m wondering what advice you can give to help get me started on this healing path for us? The only grains I’ve been eating are gluten free Oates for breakfast, also we both eat baked sweet potatoes daily ( what would we eat instead of this carb?). I do not eat a lot of sugar already, I have a very clean mostly organic diet, grassed beef, wild caught salmon, no processed foods. I will cut out night shades. I don’t eat much dairy except occasional organic Greek yogurt. I’m trying to learn how to ferment but I feel so lost, confused and overwhelmed! Would I not use whey bc omitting dairy from diet? CN I use a scoop of my sons baby powder probiotic as a starter culture? I feel like I have no idea what to feed my son now ( majority of his diet is avocado, banana, sweet potato, organic corn, grassed beef, wild caught white fish, watermelon, spirulina). Thank you in advance for any suggestions/advise you have or any links/pages/ info to help me figure out a plan of action to get my baby and myself healed! Again thank you, Suzi PS do you mean eat raw egg? As in the yellow center? Or boil? Sorry I’m confused but learning!

There’s no reason to give up sweet potatoes (they are not nightshades, see my post from today). There’s also lots of other great carb options out there, like winter squash, plantain, lotus root, parsnips and taro. I would suggest cutting out the spirulina since it can stimulate the immune system. Can you add oily fish to both your son’s diets? The omega-3 content is very helpful. For yourself, eating more greens may help and maybe introduce something like broccoli to your son? For fermentation, I suggest starting with wild fermentation (ingredients are typically vegetable, salt and water). Fermented by Jill Ciciarelli (which I recently reviewed) is a great resource (and yes, you can use dairy free probiotics as starters, but if you do wild fermentation, you get more variety of probiotics). Eczema can often be linked to food sensitivities, so dairy may be a culprit here too.

Hi, I`ve been sick for years now and have gluten allergy. My doctor now thinks maybe i have a leaky gut and probably parasite or fungus infection. I have lived on a 80 % raw food diet. eating a lots of spirulina, kamut gress, chlorella, raw cacao, rice bran, coconut oil, etc. I have also eaten some seafood, and chicken, maybe i have eaten meats 3 times a week. And then i have had a lots of legumes, nuts and seed. When i was on this diet where okay in my joints, we have lot of autoimmune illness in our family, like rheumatism, arthritis, fibromyalgia etc. And i was not so bloated. No i started paleo diet, to try heal my leaky gut and get better, since the raw food super food diet didn’t work for me, because of the leaky gut. But now eating this food, my joints hurt a lot aging, I’m swollen, my stomach is inflated and i feel really bad. I don’t know what to do. I currently only eat different kinds of fish, shrimp, lamp, beef meat and veggies. Trying the four days rotation diet. It seems like i cant digest the meat at all, I’m almost constipated. And i know that meats/ fish/chicken are acidic and thats why my joint hurts, as well as the protein is in my blood because of the leaky gut. The only thing i cant eat is vegetables, but that is not enough. This is really confusing since i dont know what to eat anymore, one is good for the other, but it again makes something else worse. ?? Do you have any experience with this? Especally how to live pale diet/heal leaky gut and still and have healthy joints, and little acidic environment in the body?

Thank you for a great blogg, and answers! GBU
Love E

Well, many of the foods that were your staples hinder digestion (either by reducing stomach acid or blocking digestive enzymes) and stimulate the immune system. I would suggest keeping your meat portions smaller (fish is easiest to digest protein) and taking digestive enzymes (probably pancreatic enzymes also labelled as pancreatin, see my a-store for specific recommendations in the side bar). Then, chew your food very thoroughly, eat in a relaxed environment, don’t rush out the door as soon as you are done eating, get lots and lots of sleep.

Hi! Thanks for all the info 🙂 I do have a question though (which might sound repetitive) I was recently diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome, and I am aware of all the stuff I can no longer eat…generally speaking…but it’s very confusing sometimes…a lot of sources seem contradictory! I’d like to know whether or not I’m allowed to eat bananas and melons…help please 🙂

Hi, i just started my leaky gut diet, and i am wondering if taro is ok to eat ? ALso, is there any other starch food that i can eat so i wont go hunger?

thanks in advance for the help!

Hello, I have a question : ) I heard that meat, eggs and dairy ferment in the intestines and create intestine stones easily. Doesn’t it actually make it harder for the intestine to heal? I’ve read a lot about the Paleo diet and Ayuverdic diets and some people claim that meat is always going to ferment and cause bad bacteria overgrowth, others say that meat does the opposite, some say that grains are healthy and some that they’re not. And somehow they all have a scientific explanation for everything. Who is right? ; ) It really takes away my peace. I have a leaky gut and am about to start a herbal treatment for Candida overgrowth and don’t know what to eat during that time, because of some many different opinions..

Well, clearly I believe that eating meat is essential for health. I have a PhD in medical biophysics, did medical research for 4 years before opting to be a stay-at-home mom and back up everything I say on this site with current scientific studies. I’ve spent the last year working on a book with specific nutrition recommendations for those with autoimmune disease and it contains 1200 scientific references backing up every single statement I make. I believe the science supports the Paleo diet, eating quality meats, quality fats, and lots of vegetables and fruit. When people claim a scientific explanation, it’s important to look to see if they quote studies. I know that it can still be hard to evaluate whether those studies are legit (and certainly lots of these quoted studies are not peer-reviewed studies and not published in reputable journals), but I can assure you that everything I talk about on my site and in my book is very well researched and I’m always up front about what isn’t fully understood in the scientific literature yet.

Oh, and as an aside, the best things you can do to correct candida or bacterial overgrowth is eat a diet very rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (seafood, the more the better), vegetables (more for the insoluble fiber than soluble), eat probiotic foods (like sauerkraut), and get tons of sleep and manage stress.

I would like to reintroduce beef into my diet, but I was wondering if you recommed dry
aged grass fed beef or wet aged grass fed beef? Also, I follow low histamine diet.

I have been on a candida diet, taking probiotics, taking antifungals, and milk thisle for 4 months and I am feeling much better. However, I have developed either an allergy or sensitivity to eggs. ABout 30 minutes to an hour after eating it my stomach burns horribly. I was thinking about taking Intestinew, but I read that glucosamine can feed Candida. Is that true? If so, what other supplements could I take to help heal my gut?

i just hate all the nonsense going on this article about leaky gut, i am a suffer myself, and all i can eat comfortably is rice, yet my body still can distuiguish different brand of rice which sucks when people treated me like a physcho when i told them i can not only taste but also responds differently to different brand of rice. no red meat of fish works, any form of fat especially vegetable cooking oil is disasterous for me. only chicken as protein, however i can also tells the different brand of chicken, some makes my hands swell, some makes my brain stuck, i guess its the water they chilled the chicken. the cure for leaky gut is not simple ABC or supplement this or that, think about this your body already rejects food which is natural or untainted, will they accepts supplement which after much process and extraction lost its natural form with tons of synthesised stuff, no way, my friend no way. i tried all the digestive ensyme all making bloating worse and causing fatigue flu like syndrome, i tried l-glutamine, which is the worst nightmare, it bring my digestive system to a complete halt. now, i stopped trying, and after years of lessons of failing every experiment, i have learned to stick to my rice diet which is life saving. and hopefully one day i could cure but it’s very unlikely. sometime something just doesn’t have a cure, leaky gut is one of them. if you said you cured it that’s because you are not a true sufferer at all, period. stomach pain is not leaky gut, it has to be immune response which is tough to alter, you simply born with it.


When it’s this severe, the autoimmune protocol is where to start (under autoimmunity menu, and also cut out the highest reacting foods from sensitivity testing) along with loads and loads of sleep, stress relieving activities (like medication, yes vetted in the scientific literature). There’s complete food lists coming in the book which will be helpful for ideas for new foods. You can try DGL (look for a capsule and not a lozenge), L-glutamine, magnesium and maybe vitamin C too as supplements to help boost healing. Also, if not eating tons of glycine-rich foods (like bone broth, anything with skin or off the bone, organ meat, and seafood), then a gelatin or collagen supplement may be helpful. Also, vitamins A and D are critical for restoring barrier function to the gut (and skin and every other barrier), so pasture-raised lard, grass-fed tallow, seafood, or something like fermented cod liver oil. High omega-3 intake (ideally from fish since what you need is DHA and EPA, and fish protects those fats from oxidation, but fish oil is okay for a short period like 4-6 weeks and you can get some highly purified fish oils that you may be able to take even if you’re allergic to fish). The last thing is digestive support supplements (also explained a little more in the autoimmune protocol post) are a very good idea, since with celiac, you are almost certainly not absorbing nutrients from your food well (which makes it harder to heal) I hope this helps get you started…


the only cure for leaky gut is avoiding the food that cause the trouble. paleo or low-carb diet serves no function but to lose weight. fat and protein are essential for the body to function however wreak havoc on your digestion and often the trigger of food allergies. leaky gut often ties to a weaken digestive system which compromise your ability to absorb the nutrition and transfer to energy. weight loss is often the case, as for me I have lost my weight to 90 pounds a very dangerous level for a 24 grown up 5.10 male. so you need something easy to absorb and be able to supply some the basic energy expenditure. that means you need starch which is most easy energy source. gluten of course is off the list, so you must be looking at white rice (which I thought is best of best), potatoes and other high carb food which can power you up. a meat and veggie diet will kill your digestion because it’s common sense that they are hard to process for intestine and require much longer and harder digestion time. you won’t feed a steak to people whose stomach is hurting. so is fat, they are essential for your body, however they are the trouble maker to cause autoimmune response, for me non cooking oil works, and the red meat which has high fat content is killer too. you can easily relate to someone perfectly healthy with good stomach complain they’re sick because the lunch they ate is too oily or greasy.

my point is that we should stop feeding false suggestion of diet to food sensitive or allergies or leaky gut patient. there’s no simple formulated diet other than eating the food you are comfortable with and try to be versatile. and make sure you eating enough carb, not meat, because carb is what modern human needs to function, that’s what transfer us from cave man to highly intelligent species. we can’t deal with the intensity and load of modern work with a low or no carb diet. on the contrary, the elite group of people like athletes, scientists all have the tendency of consuming a large high carb diet. ask marathon runner, swimmers, body builder their diet. so are digestive weaken individuals who desperately need to stop weight loss and low energy condition. paleo diet is for people to lose weight and those who thought it was cool, not a cure for leaky gut or other food allergies. it was sometime very misleading.

I am a suffer of multiple food allergies, celiac disease leaky gut and etc, I have tried everything, all the supplement. I almost died of weight loss last year, and the only cure I find is to eat white rice and other meat like chicken(red meat and fish all cause trouble) and veggie to get my weight up. so lessons are you are going to listen to your body and lessens the amount of supplements you took, because the supplements are more than likely to trigger some response from your immune system.

I know in USA and western world, rice will always be frowned upon, as people always thought it as an oriental thing and foreign thing. but I thought it was a life saver, because that’s the only starch I can possibly eat and I ate lots of it because I am a Asian. there is no bad thing about rice. I don’t know why it gets unfair share of critizem or unackknowlagement. try rice, you will be amazed at it. do get those without fancy enrichment,


Thanks so much for taking time to respond to questions. I have leaky gut and have been paleo since the middle of September (a horrible papular/pustular case of Rosacea led me to research and I found the paleo diet). I think I had a yeast overgrowth as well. I spent Sept-part of November getting rid of the yeast overgrowth and am now working hard to heal the leaky gut.

I take Glutamine, aloe vera and a probiotic on an empty stomach a couple of times a day. I’m also taking digestive enzymes and DGL.

I am taking other supplements to support liver function.

I’ve often seen the time frame to heal leaky gut listed as 3-6 months. I think I will know when the gut is better when I stop having flares on my face. But, I never see if I should continue supplementation of glutamine and enzymes after that. Am I looking at a lifetime of taking these supplements?

If your diet is nutrient-dense, devoid of foods that cause a leaky gut (like grains), and you are getting enough sleep and managing stress, you should be able to discontinue your supplements. The exception would be something like B-vitamins if you’re a C667T MTFHR, but other than that, these are all to boost healing and shouldn’t be required one you’re healed (again, if diet and lifestyle are good)

I have leaky gut and adrenal fatigue (and possibly candida-I have tenia versicolor on my back and crave sugar) and have to be very careful to get adequate sleep and keep my blood sugar level which can be hard on such a restricted diet. I was on a no gluten/ no grain, protein and veggie diet with probiotics, dig. enzymes, garlic, coconut oil, cod liver oil and just started back up with l-glutamine for 6 weeks, but would have a cup of detox tea (caffeine-free) every night with Stevia. I also had chocolate a few times. Could this have been the reason that I never fully healed? I thought I was good and then I instantly had a reaction from eating out at a restaurant. For the last 6 months I have followed the same protocol, but with a few slip ups and find I am still having issues. …skin rashes, stinging in the veins in my legs, fatigue, serous gray , puffy circles and bags under eyes .(NO digestive problems except overactive bladder-I get up about 7 times a night-effects my sleep adversely as you can imagine). I always think I have gotten to a good place and so will allow myself some organic yogurt or rice or nuts (at home..always gluten free from the store- I never eat out anymore) and then skin rashes and fatigue come right back. I have no money and no insurance and all this supplements and eating like this is seriously effecting my life and I am so frustrated! I am about to again attempt the diet you recommend without the dairy and nuts (because of the acid)-strictly veggies, meat, low sugar fruit, but am wondering what you thought of using coconut palm sugar? I suppose it still acts as a sugar even though its source is coconut? If I have candida, would it feed off the it? I find that a cup of tea keeps me from losing it! Also, I was thinking of doing a colon cleanse with a formula that has phyllim husk, bentonite clay, marshmallow root and slippery elm. How do you feel about cleansing the bowels to detox any chemicals, fungi or parasites? Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated!!

P.S> I have noticed that getting to bed between 10-11pm (and at least 8 hours of sleep) and getting outside for Vit D helps tremendously. It is all seems to be linked,,the adrenals, the thyroid, the digestive system, the bowels…

Are you eating any seafood? High intake of long-chain omega-3 can help with correcting gut bacteria (along with lots of veggies and some fruit), and can help with things like gut-brain axis and regulating the immune system. Also, with the anti-microbials you’re taking and avoiding fruit (are you eating starchy vegetables?), you might not be eating enough fiber/starch to feed normal gut bacteria. Which probiotics are you taking? I take Prescript-Assist and really love it. Also, you get more variety of probiotics by eating raw, fermented vegetables and that’s typically cheaper than a supplement. Eating organ meat would be cheaper than cod liver oil too, and you would get the added benefit of the water-soluble vitamin and minerals and the excellent amino acid profile that you don’t get from the oil. Also, with the sleep disruptions, spending even more time in bed will likely make a huge difference (sleep is so critical to healing). I would not recommend the cleanse you’re talking about (er, or any cleanse).



I have a leaky gut that has been a problem for a couple of years, and I have not been able to solve it with the whole30 or paleo eating, so am trying to do a more strict autoimmune protocol/eliminate nightshades, eggs, seeds, nuts, etc.

Yet whenever I eliminate yogurt, I get extremely constipated, immediately. I have given it up for 30+ days before and reintroduced it without any problems – no allergies, skin rashes, digestive problems. When I tried to give it up again, I once again became constipated. I tried switching out yogurt with Kombucha or probiotics, adding magnesium or aloe, but it either does nothing or causes horrible diarrhea.

The point is – is it possible to do the AIP with yogurt? I am quite sure I am not lactose intolerant, but I am afraid of derailing all the hard work I am doing to eliminate everything else if the dairy is still causing inflammation.

Yes, it’s possible. High quality dairy (grass-fed) is one of the first foods reintroduced after the elimination part. But, it’s curious that probiotics don’t help. Have your tried fermented vegetables? probiotics with similar strains to the yogurt you normally buy? I’m concerned that you’re experiencing a laxative effect from lactose that is masking other issues (in which case, I would suggest probiotics, fermented foods, lots of vegetables and water, magnesium, organ meat and seafood, more sleep, and using a squatty potty).

Hi there,

Thanks for the great blog and informative info… I have taken a lot of antibiotics for lyme diease and now I have developed a Histamine Intolerance as well as Leaky Gut with bacterial overgrowth. Do you have any suggestions for me for a sample diet? I can’t eat the fermented stuff due to the histamines. I’m not eating enough and feel really weak because of it. I used to eat everything and now my body is ruined. I Need some solid advice. I want to be full again and enjoy food! Thanks in advance!!

The two diet factors that can correct overgrowth the fastest is eating lots of non-starchy vegetables (cooked if they give you any digestive distress), and lots of long-chain omega-3s (you’ll probably want to source a high quality fish oil due to the histamine intolerance, because fish can be so unpredictable with its histamine content). I’d also suggest digestive support supplements if you aren’t already taking them as well as a focus on nutrient-density to help heal the gut barrier (especially important nutrients are vitamins A, D, K2 and the amino acid glycine, which you can get from organ meat and seafood, which I guess leaves you with organ meat). Sleep, spending time outside, and managing stress are also really important to support healing. Histamine intolerance should go away as you correct gut bacteria types and heal the gut (it can be both from too many histamine-producing bacteria in the gut and from too little de-amine oxidase produced by the cells that line the gut when they’re damaged). Supplements such as DGL and L-glutamine may help heal the gut more quickly. I would recommend checking out my information on the Autoimmune Protocol. And also, a functional medicine specialist might be able to guide you through the best food choices for your situation.

Dear PaleoMom,

Thank you very much for your informative response! I really appreciate it. For the fish oil, I have a good quality and expensive Krill Oil supplement. Do you think this will work ok?

Sarah, your generosity with your time and caring is amazing. Thank you for being you!!

I have self-diagnosed Leaky Gut and SIBO. Do you recommend confirming these with tests and if so, which one.

A few posts above you recommend DGL capsules for leaky gut but are these not recommended if SIBO is also an issue?

And one more question, I recently started eating meat after many decades of vegetarianism. Though I ate plenty of eggs, dairy and fish on and off throughout the years. I suspect low HCL….I don’t mind experimenting with the Thorne Betaine, HCL, pepsin product you recommend. Will this make me dependent on HCL products or do you see them as temporary until the stomach produces more acid on its own.

Thanks so much.

Digestive support supplements should be temporary and you will find your need for them gradually diminish as your body heals (with HCl always be aware of digestive discomfort or sensations of warmth which will mean it’s time to decrease dose). DGL is fine if you have both leaky gut and SIBO. As for a test, I would only recommend going through the testing and the expense if you’re considering a course of antibiotics for the SIBO, in which case a hydrogen and methane breath test would be the least invasive test (culturing of jejunal aspirate is your other option). The tests for leaky gut really only diagnose very severe cases, so lots of false negatives.

I have been diagnosed with fibro and chronic migraines. I started following Paleo a year ago and felt great for awhile, then started feeling yucky again. Headaches, back pain, foggy head….and I am thinking I might have to give up on nuts and nightshades. I am intolerant to eggs and am nursing my son still, what is left to eat? Lol

Feeling great after 6 months on the AIP and reintroducing a few foods afterward. My health is much improved after 9 long years. Thanks so much for your blog.

At the end of AIP I developed eczema near one eye. Any idea why that would occur on this diet? I’ve never had eczema. I’m 51. I rarely have grains and still no eggs. My daughter in college has eczema as well on this diet. An undergrad friend of hers majoring in nutrition mentioned zinc deficiency as cause, as well as yeast deficiency since we hardly consume grains.

Great site. I seem to be the opposite of everyone else. It’s the vegetables that give me digestive problems not the grains or dairy. Ezekiel bread and rice make me feel great but give me a salad, cruciferous veggies, etc. and I look 3 months pregnant and am uncomfortable. Any ideas?

Thank you!

It could be an issue with specific veggies, or an issue with raw vs. cooked veggies, etc. You may want to look into FODMAP, more information here: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/modifying-paleo-for-fodmap-intolerance.html Sarah also discusses vegetable digestion here: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/11/fiber-manifesto-k-insoluble-vs-soluble-fiber-smackdown-part-5-5.html (including discussion of digestive enzymes) Another thing to consider is probiotics and fermented foods. More information about probiotics here: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/02/the-benefits-of-probiotics-teaser-excerpt-from-the-paleo-approach.html and a book review of a book all about fermented foods here: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/08/book-review-fermented-by-jill-ciciarelli.html — Tamar, Sarah’s assitant

Regarding spirulina, it is supposed to help with histamine issues…. Histamine is a big issue with me, so would adding spirulina to a smidge of coconut kefir help me tolerate the kefir so that I can get some good probiotics In me to heal my gut? I struggle with bad gi issues and autoimmune problems…. Digestive enzymes and most other supps seem to react badly with Me and I feel really stuck. I haven eaten meat In yrs, but my body is craving it like mad.

Spirulina can stimulate the immune system, Sarah does not recommend it. Histamine and leaky gut is discussed in The Paleo Approach. If you are interested in gut healing foods, Sarah recently reviewed the book “Fermented”: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/08/book-review-fermented-by-jill-ciciarelli.html You may also be interested in reading this excerpt from The Paleo Approach that discusses probiotics: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/02/teaser-excerpt-from-the-paleo-approach-probiotic-supplements.html — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Hi! I ordered your book this weekend and am looking forward to diving in when it arrives. I am a nutritionist, but am always a work in progress. That being said, I have had issues with leaky gut and candida since my late teens, and since I can remember, a few times a week I experience the smell of ammonia coming from my chest area after workouts. I am not overweight and have been exercising intensely for 17 years. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on specifically what this could be? Also, how do you feel about sparkling mineral water? When I drink more than 16 oz a day I get horrible bouts of vertigo. Calcium carbonate? Thanks in advance for your time!

Hey Tanya! How’d you address your candida issue? I’ve been dealing with this for over a year now, I’m 27, avid yoga enthusiast, and I thought I was a healthy eater but everything about what I should and shouldn’t eat has become so contradictory… any advice is appreciated, thanks!

Hi Portia! I address it all the time, but think that it is always lying in wait. Unless I never slip w/ my diet, but that’s not realistic for me. The main factors that improved my candida symptoms were eliminating refined sugar, dark chocolate, alcohol, and acidic foods, such as vinegar, tomato sauce, etc. I also have to limit/avoid starchy veggies. I had a Paleo dish with nutritional yeast on it the other day and my ears started itching instantly and I felt sedated. I’m a big fan of my newest probiotic called ImmunBio by Health Aid and also use the Digest Gold enzymes by Enzymedica before main meals. They have played a big part in the healing I’ve done thus far. I know what I’d have to do to feel great and I hope to reach a place in my life soon where it’s possible to be that strict and consistent. Hope that helps.

Interesting. I’m not sure what the ammonia smell could be from. That’s out of my area of expertise. I generally think mineral water is fine, although since it’s acidic, it can be a bit rough on the stomach between meals (but can help digestion with meals). And again, not sure what would cause the vertigo. Sorry I don’t have answers!

Hi, I’ve had frequent yeast infections for over a year, i just went to a new doctor and he told me to cut out processed food and red meat for the next month which I’ve been doing for 2 weeks now. I made quinoa the other day and had horrific stomach pain/bloating after & poor digestion, I didn’t link it to the quinoa until the same thing happened today… I was researching the Saponins in the quinoa and the way they can cause Leaky Gut and now it seems that this may be in fact be the underlying problem of my candida infection, is this possible? What should I do? I’m take probiotics but I’m going to start taking the Kefir liquid ones instead of the capsule as directed by my doctor. Thank you for your help

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

It sounds like you have histamine intolerance. I went AIP and also tried SCD diet only to have my symptoms get way worse because many of the gut healing foods are high in histamine. My Sister is the same as you with rosacea and also has histamine issues and finds when she is low histamine her rosacea clears. It’s a tricky thing because histamine intolerance is also from leaky gut but you can’t eat the recommended foods. Also look into pathogens such as parasites that could be stopping your gut from healing.

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.

I have been eating AIP (with FODMAPs and SIBO too) for 6 weeks now with no benefit- if anything I have felt worse. I have just found out I have fibriods so this may be the cause of pain and bloating but it doesn’t explain everything e.g. intense fatigue, brain fog, rashes and other skin issues. I am waiting for my SIBO test so it will be a month or so before I will know.
I wondered about taking supplements to help but I am scared to take anything in case I make things worse. I am taking Ox Bile at the moment which doesn’t seem to cause a problem (but also I don’t notice any benefits). I’ve heard some probiotics can make SIBO worse, is the probiotic that’s recommended ok for those with SIBO?

Kari, I would avoid taking anything until you have a really solid idea of what you’re treating.

As for SIBO? That appears to depend on which strains of microflora are causing the problem. Most probiotic mixes have Bifo bacteria, which actively control yeast flora such as Candida. They can be a big problem if they are among the culprits.

I reommend finsing a good naturopath you can communicate and work with. Make them your primary advice and treatment source. MD and specialists are great for testing and procedures. Just don’t let them rail road you into potentially harmful treatments. And many will!

Follow the GAPS or Selective Carbohydrate diet, take up meditation&Yoga – if only for the huge health benefits of stress reduction-, exercise and choose to perceive your life and its trials positively. Healing anything is a path to walk. Rely on yourself and learn from whatever you have to face. You’ll often find pretty incredible treasures beneath the fear.

Good luck <3

P.S. I highly recommend drinking Yerba Mate for brain fog. It is high in caffiene, but it will not keep you awake at night no matter when you drink it. I’m drinking it right now and am bout hit the light 🙂

There are apparently many other health benefits. They have yet to be fully explored or substantiated. Caffeic acid, which Yerba contains, seems to be anti-cancer. Colitis sufferers have found ease of remission entry increases on a YM regimen. There are a ton of other uses.

Do be aware it is a decently strong diuretic. More so than coffee in my experience. Drink a glass of water when you find yourself reaching for a then empty cup of Yerba.

Hi same here I eliminated gluten, added sugar, dairy, caffeine, soy processed foods with very little relief from my fibro pain. However once I figured out what foods I was reacting to I felt better. No tomatoes, vinegar, products with additives, and lastly meat. I did remove them one at a time. I have no more pain! I think everyone’s body can tolerate meat and some cannot. I have a severe case of leaky gut because I was reacting to a lot if foods. Try the elimination of fatty foods and acidic foods. I know it’s hard but it won’t be forever. Good health to you!

I am stumped when it comes to fermented foods and they say its better. 1. kombucha has alcohol, but alcohol can lead to leaky gut and AI disorders. 2. sour kraut, fermented foods ,etc – they make my stomach hurt and gassy. So how can it be that these things are supposed to be good but causing me issues? Also, regarding salt. I have been eating iodized sea salt and adding salt (thats it) to foods and I swear its making my stomach hurt. I have read in some places that it can cause inflammation, but I have read in more places sodium is beneficial. I understand that each persons situation is different, but how can people rave certain things but then they can make it worse? Perhaps I have other worse things going on? I literally only eat fruit and kombucha tea at this point. No vegetables , meat, nothing.

Kombucha has about 1% alcohol after you do a second ferment with fruit. You can avoid fermenting it with fruit and just do the original ferment it with the scobies then drink it like that.

Having a fruit heavy diet probably isnt helping with the gas. Cabbage is probably more likely to give you gas than any other fermented foods. Try fermenting cucumbers and beets. You can also buy fermented tofu from health food shops.

You can always make home made coconut yogurt with kefir too.

Salt really depends on you, I cut it out and I am healthier, my sister gets sick if she cuts it out. Maybe talk to your doctor about where you are at.

Why cant you eat meat and veg? if you find your in pain eating a lot of food maybe get tested for Crohns disease?

I have been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis for almost 10 years. About 3 months ago I started trying to eat pale after reading your post among others. I still have major inflammation. I also went to a functional medicine dr. She recommended I do food testing, hormone testing, and nagalase testing. On my last visit she did not go over any of my food sensitivities that I had been avoiding for the past month. She recommends I take a series of gcmaf shots to lower my nagalase and is suppose to help my immune system to kill pathogens. She also recommends I do ubi treatments to kill pathogens. I am not convinced that these treatments are effective and she also said I would need to stop taking cimzia shots. Biologics, as much as I dislike taking them are the only thing that allows me to walk and be able to work! The treatment she recommends is also very expensive. Do you have an information on either of these treatments. Should I try eleminating more foods?

People should actually aim for a significantly higher amount of omega-3’s rather than 6’s or 9’s, as they are pro-inflammatory.

I have leaky gut and an autoimmune disease. I have been looking into AIP a lot but I just can’t stomach eating all that meat. Is there anyway to heal leaky gut without eating meat?? An AIP for vegan/vegetarians? Thanks.

I don’t get how eating fermented foods can help ANYONE with leaky gut. The word has negative connotations in my mind. In fact, I consulted 3 naturopaths to determine which of them I should see and when I provided my diet to them which is simple, oats, egg whites, brown rice, skinless chicken, wild fish, sweet potatoes, fruits and veggies ( except for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower & brussel sprouts. Can’t tolerate them) they all said it sounds like I have too much fermentation going on, then the lady at the Health food store told me to eat fermented foods. Now I’m confused. I eat alot of organic kale, lettuce, beets and turnips etc. I’m also taking 2 high quality probiotics Bio-K and HCP 70, along with a herbal supplement with sweet annie in it. I’ve never been a processed food eater. I grew up in the Caribbean where my granny grew everything organically before it became a fad. Our livestock ran free and ate grass and yet I’ve always had gut issues, bad ulcers, appendicitis, IBS. It got worse when I moved to north america. For the past 2 weeks I’ve cut out oats and brown rice and I’ve dropped 15 lbs. Yes very true. I lose weight fast. Anyway can someone explain this entire fermentation thing to me in a way that makes sense because I’ve read widely on it and found some contradicting literature. At this rate, i’m not sure what i can safely eat. Some help please.


Food fermenting in your gut is different from eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are rich in helpful probiotics. Food fermenting in your gut is maldigested and may be a sign that you are not digesting properly.

I am getting ready to hit this hard. I have a hard time sourcing grass-fed meats. What is a good fish oil to supplement with? Any probiotic brands I should use/avoid?

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