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May 13, 2024

E25 | Leaky gut and autoimmune disease: How to heal your gut naturally

Are you struggling with a wide array of symptoms that seem to be all over the map, making it difficult to connect the dots and find relief?

Many people with autoimmune conditions and leaky gut face dismissal and disbelief from medical practitioners, leading to years of suffering in pain and silence without proper support and treatment.

By understanding the link between leaky gut and autoimmunity, you can start piecing together the puzzle and take targeted steps towards healing your gut, calming your immune system, and getting your health back on track.


  • The intricate connection between gut health and the strength of your immune system
  • How a damaged or leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation
  • Five specific gut-supportive foods and supplements that can help repair your gut lining and promote healing

You'll learn that healing your gut and managing autoimmune symptoms requires a comprehensive, personalized approach that addresses not only your physical symptoms but also your emotional well-being, lifestyle habits, and unique biochemistry.

Medical Disclaimer: The information in this podcast episode is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider before making changes to your health care regimen. Supplements discussed may not be suitable for everyone and may interact with medications, so consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement or treatment.


Episode 5 - A step-by-step guide towards addressing your gut health

Episode 21 - Discover the 5 natural and proven strategies for lasting relief

Book "The invisible kingdom" by Meghan O'Rourke

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@aninditarungta | nourish heal connect | Embrace Your Healing Journey

Your body knows how to heal, are you ready to support it?


04:22 - The most difficult thing about having a condition like this

06:04 - Dealing with a wide variety of symptoms makes it difficult to connect the dots

07:14 - Aren't these symptoms all over the map?

08:08 - The real problem causing this wide array of symptoms

09:31 - Your microbiome has a profound effect on your overall health

15:36 - LPS and gluten are also known to cause leaky gut

18:13 - Healing leaky gut and managing autoimmunity is a multi-faceted journey

19:33 - These are FIVE specific gut-supportive foods and supplements


 In today's episode, I'm going to talk about the important connection between leaky gut and autoimmunity, and how you can incorporate some natural strategies alongside any conventional treatments that you're undergoing that can provide significant relief and support your overall health and wellbeing. That's all coming up next right here on Embrace Your Healing Journey podcast. 1s Welcome to Embrace Your Healing Journey, a podcast for women with autoimmune and other chronic conditions to help them navigate their illness without fear of isolation and uncertainty, and find relief from their symptoms. Your body is your guide and ally in healing. If you're ready to embrace this journey with compassion and awareness, then the show is for you. Tune in weekly as I, a Functional medicine certified health Coach, deliver tips and insights that demystify the healing process, guiding you towards the relief you deserve so that you can feel healthy and happy once more. 

In each episode, I share pieces of inspiring poems, stories, and quotes that may help you to draw strength from them and stay motivated on your healing journey. I know they have certainly helped me one way or another. Today's excerpt is from a book I had read a while back where the author, Megan O'Rourke, and a journalist writes a brave first hand account of dealing with her own chronic illness and at the same time exposes a medical system in which people with all kinds of chronic conditions, including poorly understood illnesses, are often dismissed and disbelieved, writes, and they are often blamed for their own suffering. This is indeed what she went through. This is what she has to say. Many people are still suffering in silence with poorly understood illnesses, and plenty of medical practitioners continue to dismiss patients like me whose symptoms roam the body, but who have what appear to be normal test reports. As Susan Sontag pointedly observes in Illness as Metaphor, unless we don't understand are frequently viewed as manifestations of inner states, the less we understand about a disease or a symptom, the more we psychologists, psychologists, and often stigmatize it. Doctors once thought of multiple sclerosis as a form of hysteria. Tuberculosis, or consumption, as it was originally called, was viewed until scientists discovered the bacterium that causes it as a disease that afflicted romantic young souls. Today, we like to believe that we are rational about disease and immune to this kind of metaphorical thinking. But research shows that medicine is still riddled with such views, particularly when it comes to hard to identify illnesses, which are often seen as symptoms of some deeper psychological or existential problem. She goes on to say that in the case of autoimmune diseases, as Noelle Rose told me, tests often show the presence of disease only when 80% of the organ under attack has been destroyed by that time. As he put it, the train's gone off the tracks. Another difficulty in diagnosing autoimmune diseases is that they often present as a systemic illness, with symptoms occurring in different parts of the body, and yet our healthcare system is very siloed. Patients often end up consulting different specialists for different symptoms, with no one taking a big picture. Look at the patient's illness. Unless a primary care doctor had the time to puzzle it out. 

You know, she is hit the nail right on the head. Because this is why so many people, especially who make up 80% of those with autoimmune conditions, end up suffering in pain and silence for years, if not decades, without ever getting the support and the treatment that they need. In fact, it breaks my heart when I interact with those with autoimmune conditions and other related chronic conditions. Or I, you know, I hear about them in various Facebook communities and get an insight into what they are really going through, whether they have a diagnosis or not. In fact, these are some of the things that they share.

 When asked, what's the most difficult thing about having a condition like this, one woman said people not understanding or even believing what I'm saying, including doctors or the depression, can be horrific as well. And so is the isolation. Another woman said doctors who don't know but think that we are the idiots. Another woman said being told that it was in my head until the bloodwork showed else about ten years later. This is not psychological, it is physiological. But the most vindicating words that I receive from my doctors. And this is the final comment that I want to share with you, she says. This woman says, feeling like all your plans are on hold, and then realizing that this is your reality. Dealing with 50 to 100 plus symptoms a day. No one believes you that it is that bad, and all the while watching others move on with their life and living it to the fullest. I know I have actually had this. A few of my clients who came to me with more than 200 symptoms, and this is similar to what they were feeling, and it makes me realize how important for us it is to increase awareness about the solution that is already available to us. 

 We already know you know how to address the root causes of autoimmunity. It may not be easy, but we know what are the root causes. And that's exactly what I'm talking about today. So if you are dealing with this condition or you know someone who is, make sure that you spread the word by sharing this podcast episode that they know, so that they know that there is a way to get better right then they have hope of getting better. 

Now back to today's episode. So you may already be dealing with a wide variety of symptoms. If you are, you know, have a diagnosis or even if you don't have one. And these symptoms may be spread across various parts of your body. And that makes it really difficult. To connect the dots between then. So you may be dealing with digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, chronic constipation, and stomach ache. Or you may also be dealing with, um, you know, other other kind of symptoms, um, like skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, rashes or acne that just won't go away no matter how many treatments you know you have undergone or fatigue that feels like you're dragging yourself through the day, even after a full night's sleep or even brain fog and difficulty concentrating. It's as if your thoughts are stuck in a haze, so you may or may not have digestive symptoms. 

In fact, my own daughter who had severe eczema, which is related to autoimmune conditions and immune dysregulation, did not have a single digestive symptoms. So it's not always that you will have a digestive symptom, even though you know autoimmunity and many other conditions. More than 80% of chronic conditions actually originate in your gut. So you might be thinking, wait, aren't these symptoms all over the map? And you're right. That's the tricky thing about leaky gut and autoimmune conditions. They can manifest in so many different ways. And that's what I would be talking about today. So it's like your body is. Sending out distress signals, but then getting lost in translation with all the specialty that you are consulting for the various symptoms. 

But here's the good news by understanding the connection between leaky gut and autoimmunity, you can start to piece together the puzzle and take steps towards your healing. So it's all about looking at the big picture and addressing the underlying imbalances in your gut and your immune system. So if you're nodding along thinking, yes, that's me, know that you are not alone and that you're on the right track and that there is hope. So with the right tools and support, you can start to unravel the mystery of your symptoms and find the way back to your normal self. So the real problem causing this wide variety, wide array of symptoms is likely a condition called leaky gut syndrome, which is also known as enhanced intestinal permeability, which is closely linked to autoimmune diseases. You see, your gut is lined with a thick, thin, protective barrier that acts like a security system. It's there's one cell thick lining in your gut, and it carefully controls what is getting absorbed into your bloodstream. And I have mentioned in episode five, which is a step by step guide towards addressing your gut health, that your gut is like a tunnel that works as an exchange corridor, and it's actually separate from the body because it keeps, you know, it's highly regulated, it's well guarded so that it keeps you safe from the outside world. So whatever is coming in through your mouth, it is segregated from the rest of your body through this one cell. Thick lining.  Because you bring the entire world into your system through your mouth. So your body has to be really careful to do this in order to protect you. So it really makes sense to have this front line of defense located in your gut, and is the reason why more than 70% of immune system resides in your gut and acts like a police station. This also means that your gut health and the strength of your immune system are intricately connected. In addition to this, your gut is also host to trillions of microbes over several hundred species, and these microbes play an important role in maintaining optimal health through various ways. The various mechanisms that they, um, various roles that they played. And in fact, this exchange corridor, as you know, I'm calling it, is protected by your immune system, but also by your gut microbes. And in fact, this is a symbiotic relationship, you know, in biology would have studied a given take, you know, symbiosis. This is exactly what it is. And more importantly, this collection of gut microbes, or the microbiome as they are called, also acts as a controller of how the immune system in your body operates, in your gut operates. It plays a very, very important roles in your immune balance, function, metabolism, mood, and many other things. So what you also need to know is that you feed and nourish your microbiome, and then you keep them healthy. So when you are keeping your microbiome healthy, in turn it is keeping you healthy. So it does various things by breaking down complex carbohydrates. It produces short chain fatty acids, which are actually necessary for regulating immune function and maintaining the integrity of the gut lining. It produces vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K, B12 and others. It protects against pathogens. It trains the immune system to differentiate between friend and foe. A very, very important point. And your gut microbiome also supports detoxification. 

So as you can see, your microbiome has a profound effect on your overall health. But when this thin protective barrier that is your gut lining becomes damaged or leaky, as we call it in more colloquial term, it's like the floodgates have opened up, so it allows partially digested food, toxins and bacteria to escape into the blood, into the body via the bloodstream. And in fact, research now shows that enhanced intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut, is one of the three main factors comprising the perfect storm behind autoimmune disease activation. This is where the trouble starts, because this causes our immune system to become activated and respond to threat, and the immune system then remains on high alert because you are consuming foods you know, three times a day, seven days a week, and the immune system is always on high alert, and it can go into attack mode and start creating antibodies toward the foods that you're consuming, even though it's not supposed to. 

Because here's the thing sometimes in the chaos of trying to defend your body, your immune system can get confused and start attacking their own tissues instead. It's by mistake. And this is the hallmark of autoimmune disease, but is not really because the immune system is weak, but only because it is trying to protect you as best as it can under the given circumstances. So autoimmune disorders occur when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, leading to chronic inflammation and a wide range of symptoms. So it's like your body is, you know, caught up in a case of mistaken identity. So your immune system has become more hyper reactive. It is misfiring against your own cells and organs. We call it, you know, bystander, innocent, shooting down innocent bystanders. So this is where, you know, the whole wide variety of symptoms occur because, uh, you know, or depending on which organ is getting damaged, which, which part of your body is getting affected or that will depend on your genes. 

And research shows that a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental triggers and leaky gut can create the perfect storm that sets the stage for autoimmunity. This is the trio that is the perfect storm that basically can set off autoimmune disease activation. So what causes leaky gut in the first place? So there are many different factors, but some of the main ones are a diet high in inflammatory foods like sugar, processed snacks and refined oils, chronic stress that weakens your gut lining and immune function, overuse of antibiotics, or the medications that disrupt your delicate gut balance. Many medications do that. They actually contribute to gut dysbiosis, infections, or imbalances in your gut microbiome, which is the collection of trillions of bacteria in your lower intestine. So that can create I mean, if there is emerging infection and the immune system is not able to take care of it, this can contribute to leaky gut and environmental toxins and pollutants that put an extra strain on your body's defense systems. The immune system has to actually play an active role to, you know, uh, deal with the toxins entering, you know, through your lungs, through your skin, through your food, etc.. 

The truth is, our modern lifestyles can be tough on our gut health. And over time, this constant, constant assault can lead to leaky gut and set the stage for autoimmune conditions to develop. And this is exactly what is happening to many of us. The rise of autoimmunity can be partially explained by this. So as you can see, in the case of autoimmune diseases in particular, it's a specific loss of tolerance towards self. Plus there are two primary compounds. I'm getting a bit deep today because I want you to really appreciate how it all works and why you need to focus so much on gut health, and what are the steps that you can take to do that? Because unless you know that your commitment may or may not be enough to keep you going, right, there's a lot of things that need to be done. But the more clarity that you have on what's going on, the easier it will be for you to address poor gut health. 

So there are two primary compounds LPs allied side and gluten, a protein found in certain grains like we try, and barley that are known to cause leaky gut like crocodiles are secreted by, uh, it's an endotoxin toxin in the, you know, in created inside the body by your gut bacteria. Actually, what you need to know in that is that in some people, gluten may promote high levels of secretion of a protein called Zonulin in the intestinal lining in response to consuming gluten. So this promote this can actually promote enhance intestinal permeability all on its own, which is why gluten is the first thing to be eliminated from the diet of those who are dealing with out autoimmune conditions as a part of the healing protocol, because all by itself, uh, gluten and through the link, the secretion of the human can actually contribute directly to leaky gut. But the good news is that by identifying leaky gut as the underlying tissue issue, you can start to take targeted steps to heal your gut. And as you read yogurt, your immune system calms down and that lowers inflammation. You can get your health back on track. It's all about nourishing your body from the inside out. So if you're struggling with leaky gut and autoimmune symptoms, chances are that you've already tried a number of things. So perhaps you've gone the conventional medicine route. You visited various specialist. You've undergone a battery of tests, only to be told that everything looks normal, or that your symptoms are just in your head often don't show up in the blood reports. 

This can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening, right? Or maybe you've tried a variety of medications to manage your symptoms, like anti-inflammatories, immune suppressants, or even steroids. And while these can provide temporary relief, they can often come with unwanted side effects and don't address the underlying root cause of your condition. So it's like putting a bandaid on a leaky pipe, and it might stop the drip for a bit, but it won't fix the actual problem. I'm going to switch on the line because it's become really dark to the proteins. It started raining. Okay, you might have also experimented with elimination diets, cutting out gluten, dairy, or other common trigger foods in attempt to calm your gut and reduce inflammation. So all of these are helpful pieces of the puzzle, but they are separate pieces of the puzzle. But they may not be on their own enough to fully heal a leaky gut or enhanced intestinal permeability and calm down your immune system. And you may have also tried different stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, hoping to give your body a chance to heal. And again, they may not be sufficient by themselves to address this complex interplay of factors. So you may have been trying alternative therapies. You may have tried conventional therapies, treatments going to different specialists. 

But you know what? You have to understand that this is multifaceted. So it requires a comprehensive, personalized approach. There is no one size fits all solution. And what one you know works for one person may not work for you. So the key is to keep searching for answers, right? To trust your intuition and find practitioner who can help you with this. So if there are functional medicine based practitioners, then they are well equipped to help you understand what's really going on. So you have to take into account not only your physical symptoms, but your emotional well-being, your lifestyle habits, and your unique biochemistry. So, um, I have delved into five natural strategies that can bring you relief. in episode 21, it is discovered the five natural and proven strategies for lasting relief and transformative healing. 

But today, I'm going to share with you, uh, some specific five actually specific and targeted interventions, five, uh, gut supportive foods and supplements that can help you to, uh, be more targeted in your intervention. So discover the secret weapons for healing your leaky gut and transforming your health. These are specific, gut supported foods and supplements that can be incredibly beneficial for repairing the gut lining. That has led to a leaky gut. 

So the first thing that I would recommend is bone broth, which is rich in collagen and amino acids that soothe and strengthen the gut lining. My favorite brand is Vital Nutrients and then Doctor Best. But there are other brands, such as Wellbeing Nutrition that has a marine based collagen product. For those of you who don't want to use, uh, um, an animal based product, I mean, you are okay with a fish based product and Cure Veda, which is an Indian brand which has a vegetarian option. Um, of course, the one that is closest to our own bodies biochemical structure, which is animal based, will always be far more effective than the vegetarian options. But if you have those limitations, then you can actually go in for a, uh, these marine life based options or vegetarian options. But keep in mind that whenever you're buying any supplement or nutraceutical product, it should be free from artificial colors, flavors, gluten, dairy, etc. so you have to call this. Keep that in mind. 

The second, uh, superfood that I would like to talk about is fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, which are packed with beneficial probiotics to support a healthy gut microbiome. However, you may also need additional targeted probiotic supplements to give proper support to cultural and garden of life. These are extremely high quality brands, and they have a track record in making sure that the efficacy of the bacteria are intact. 

Number three are a combination of nutrients that support the gut lining. So by itself, only taking bone broth, etc. may not be very helpful. Uh, it's certainly one of the things that I ask my clients to do, but a combination of, uh, you know, things like glutamine, which is an amino acid that helps to rebuild and maintain the integrity of the gut lining, aloe vera, herbs like aloe vera, slippery and marshmallow, which restores the mucus production, hydration, Zinc carnosine, Sufficient levels of vitamin D, all of these in combination are found in different supplements that that are extremely useful for, uh, repairing the gut lining. Some of the brands that I like are designed for health GI revive, uh, gut health powder GI relief, renew life intestinal. And in India, uh, a brand called Autoimmunity Care has a product called leaky gut, where these all contain different combinations that are the ingredients that I just mentioned. So they work in harmony. 

 the fourth superfood that I would like to talk about is coconut oil. This superfood is rich in medium chain fatty acids, uh, which are, you know, which have been shown to have my antimicrobial properties so it can help to fight the harmful bacteria in your gut and also eased. And it also helps to soothe and heal the gut lining. So it helps to support, uh, the growth of beneficial bacteria and lower inflammation. So look for organic, cold pressed and unrefined varieties. 

And the last one is chia seeds. These you know, chia seeds are some of you might be well-versed with them. You know have have them as chia pudding. These are packed with fiber, protein and omega three fatty acids, and they are all essential for maintaining a healthy gut lining. And the high fiber content helps to promote regular bowel movements and also feed the beneficial bacteria. They are also rich in antioxidants and protect the gut lining from damage. Right, so all of you know and incorporating chia seeds is very easy to do with this in your smoothies, yogurt, salads, or chia seed pudding is one of my best ways to have incorporate chia into my diet. So some of these things, some, you know, these are the five things that I mentioned. And you can start with 1 or 2 of these things today. 

So the first one that I mentioned was bone broth. The second was fermented foods, either as foods or in the form of probiotic supplements. The third as a combination of gut healing supplements that contain a combination of these nutrients, which we know are repair. The gut lining. Number four is coconut oil, and number five is chia seeds. Um, and also eliminating some of the common drivers for loss of barrier function, which contribute to the, uh, integrity of the gut lining like gluten is crucial. So I always recommend that my clients begin with gluten free. It doesn't make sense to recommend a huge elimination with a whole lot of different foods. If the person can go off gluten 100%, eventually they get that they may not be able to do it immediately, but they need to get off gluten eventually. So you have to work with someone, such as a function in health coach, or a practitioner, or somebody else who's trained to help you with all of this.

 And finally, you need to maximize, minimize, and prioritize as appropriate for your unique requirements. That means that you want to maximize nutrition. You want to maximize a healthy barrier function. You want to maximize immune balance. On the other hand, you want to minimize inflammation, oxidative stress. You want to minimize toxins, and you want to prioritize creating a healing environment. I can't emphasize on this enough. Sleep. Stress management, self-care. Hydration. Movement these are the basics of creating a healthy foundation. No matter how many supplements you can take, you take no matter how healthy your diet is, you know the environment that your body is living in is extremely important as well. So all these things are really important. 

So if you want to, you know, you want to work on these lifestyle changes in a step by step manner, that it's a marathon and not a sprint. So as you may have realized by now, healing your gut lining and and your leaky gut and managing autoimmune symptoms is crucial, right? By focusing on targeted interventions, you can actually finally address the root cause of your symptoms, right? Instead of only doing symptom management, you can actually set the stage for sustained and transformative healing. 

But the navigating the world of supplements and dietary changes can be challenging. So as I said. Do work with somebody who can help you to create a personalized plan, because this plan should take into account your dietary needs, your preferences, your lifestyle, and make sure that you're getting the right kind of support. So if you're ready to break free from the cycle of looking at an autoimmune symptoms, know that there is hope. And by seeking out the right guidance, embracing targeted interventions, and committing to a holistic healing path, you can unlock your body's incredible potential for repair and renewal. So take the first step towards vibrant health today. Your journey to healing starts now. If you have any questions, you can connect with me on Instagram at the rate and in this room. Thank you so much for joining me today for this episode of Embrace Your Healing Journey. I would love to share with you a comprehensive shopping list of groceries and foods with amazing links for products available in India so that you know these foods will help you to eliminate and inflammatory foods, and will help you kick start your gut healing journey and help you focus on foods that are gut healthy. So I'll share the link below. Make sure that you go and grab this free guide a list today. Your body knows how to heal. Are you ready to support it?