15 Supplements for Leaky Gut (Including 3 Key Essential Oils)
Our intestines are designed to absorb nutrients from food while keeping other substances from entering. But when the cells that make up the wall of the intestines are compromised, undigested proteins such as microbes and toxins can enter, leading to inflammation. This is known as “leaky gut.”1
Leaky gut used to be a term that only existed in the alternative health community. But with recent research, a growing number of traditional practitioners are beginning to acknowledge that leaky gut is a legitimate condition.
If you suffer from leaky gut, the good news is that with the right nutrition, your gut can heal. Along with eliminating or reducing certain foods such as refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol from your diet and adding healthy fats from food sources, there are a number of nutritional supplements for leaky gut as well as essential oils you can use to aid the healing process and get your gut back to normal.
A study in conducted in 2012 found that gut permeability decreased in patients with the use of probiotic supplements.2 Because different types of probiotic strains support different systems, you may want to consult with your practitioner to find out which strains are right for you.
If you tend to feel bloated and inflamed after eating, you may want to consider taking digestive enzymes before and after your meal. Lactase, amylase, protease, and lipase are among the best enzymes for digestion. Together these can help your body break down proteins, starches, fats, and dairy.3
When you think of substances for healthy digestion, chances are that fiber comes to mind. Fiber is essential because probiotics can’t thrive without it. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 38 grams per day if you are a man, and 25 grams per day if you are a woman.4
Collagen is a substance that naturally exists throughout the body and has many beneficial functions, including helping to detox the body and support healing for leaky gut. Collagen is found in animal products like eggs and fish, but is also available as a supplement.5
More commonly known as stomach acid, hydrochloric acid helps you digest the proteins in your food. You may think that you have too much of this acid in your stomach, but the opposite is quite often the case. If you feel bloated or burp a lot, consider taking a hydrochloric acid supplement.6
An important amino acid for building muscle and boosting the immune system, l-glutamine has also been found to be useful in supporting gut health. Taking an l-glutamine supplement in pill or powder form may help reduce intestinal inflammation.7
An herb used by the Chinese for many centuries, licorice root has been found to benefit those with adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. Dr. Axe recommends that you use the DGL form of licorice root, which has the glycyrrhizin removed.8
One of the best ways to support gut health is to reduce inflammation, and fish oil has been found to be one of the best natural anti-inflammatories. So unless you eat a lot of fish oil, consider adding an Omega-3 supplement to your diet.9
Aloe vera can improve digestion in a number of ways. It helps with constipation, toxicity, heartburn, inflammation, and encourages beneficial gut bacteria.10 This plant is available in pill, powder, and juice form.
In addition to its ability to make those minor stomach pains go away, research shows that when combined with fiber, peppermint oil can be effective at treating IBS. This oil can be taken internally with water or diluted with coconut oil and rubbed on the abdomen.11
Cardamom is related to the ginger family, and can provide a number of health benefits including supporting the digestive system. A 2006 study found that cardamom has a protective effect on the gastrointestinal system.12
Widely known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can also help reduce gut permeability. It does this by contracting the proteins of the bowel lining, which squeezes the cells closer together. Betternutrition.com recommends taking up to 10 grams of turmeric per day to help with leaky gut.
Used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, thyme is another beneficial oil for gut health. This herb has been found effective in treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) while protecting beneficial bacteria at the same time.13
The mammary glands produce colostrum when close to giving birth and shortly after birth. This substance helps babies establish good bacteria in the gut. Bovine colostrum can be taken to achieve similar benefits.14
Low zinc levels can have a negative effect on the integrity of your intestinal wall. A 2001 study found that zinc supplementation in patients that have Crohn’s disease, which is often a result of an increase in permeability in the small intestine, tightened leaky gut.15
Other supplements for leaky gut
In addition to these, a number of other supplements, herbs, and oils can be beneficial in supporting gut health. Some of these include quercetin, N-acetyl glucosamine, caprylic acid, ginger, curcumin (the active form of turmeric), and vitamin D.
How do you know which supplements and essential oils are best for your gut specifically? Consider consulting with a practitioner to help you answer that question. Practitioners that use ZYTO can scan digital signatures representing these substances and many more. Additionally, the Digestion Biosurvey in particular can be very effective in helping you improve gut health.
1. Elkaim, Uri. “Leaky Gut: What It Is and How to Heal It.” US News & World Report. Health.usnews.com.
2. Lamprecht, M., S. Bognar, G. Schippinger, K. Steinbauer, F. Fankhouser, S. Hallstroem, B. Schuetz, & J. Greilburger. “Probiotic supplementation
affects markers of intestinal barrrier…” Journal of the Int’l Society of Sports Nutrition 9, No. 45 (2012).
3. “Top 10 Leaky Gut Supplements.” Dr. Axe. Draxe.com.
4. Zelman, Kathleen M. “Fiber: How Much Do You Need?” WebMD. Webmd.com.
5. Gunderson, Melissa. “A Powerful Supplement You Need To Heal a Leaky Gut.” Gut Health Project. Guthealthproject.com.
6. “16 Supplements, Nutrients and Herbs to Heal Leaky Gut.” Dr. Doni. Doctordoni.com.
7. “Top 6 Leaky Gut Supplements (Plus 2 Functional Foods).” Kettle & Fire. Blog.kettleandfire.com.
8. “Top 10 Leaky Gut Supplements.” Dr. Axe. Draxe.com.
9. Elkaim, Uri. “Leaky Gut: What It Is and How to Heal It.” US News & World Report. Health.usnews.com.
10. Gunderson, Melissa. “Aloe Vera Gel: 7 Ways This Super Plant Improves Digestion.” Gut Health Project. Guthealthproject.com.
11. Jamal, A., K. Javed, M. Aslam, & M.A. Jafri. “Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in rats.” Journal of
Ethnopharmacology 103, No. 2 (2006): 149-153.
12. Singh Khalsa, Karta Purkh. “Heal a Leaky Gut.” Better Nutrition Magazine. Betternutrition.com.
13. Zielinski, Eric. “Top 4 Essential Oil Pairs for Gut Health.” The Truth About Cancer. Thetruthaboutcancer.com.
14. “Bovine Colostrum.” Drugs.com. Drugs.com.
15. Sturniolo, G.C., V. Di Leo, A. Ferronato, A. D’Odorico, & R. D’Inca. “Zinc supplementation tightens leaky gut in Crohn’s disease.” Inflammatory
Bowel Diseases 7, No. 2 (2001): 94-98.