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Bone Broth And Gut Health: The leaky gut connection

All disease begins in the gut.” — Hippocrates

Just a few years ago, leaky gut might have sounded like something out of a horror movie. Today, it’s become common “health speak” and from naturopaths to neurologists, you’ll hear it mentioned as a potential underlying contributor to a range of health concerns. Maybe you’ve noticed that the words leaky gut and bone broth often get mentioned in the same sentence? There’s a good reason for that — bone broth is seen as a great contributor to overall gut health and possibly even a factor in helping heal leaky gut. Let’s dig into that more.

WHAT IS GUT HEALTH 

Did you know that a big percentage of your immune system is actually in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract? Our GI tracts include over 4,000 square feet of intestinal epithelial lining that controls what gets into your bloodstream. According to this study, research suggests there’s a “Connection between the composition of your gut bacteria and your risk of disease, inflammatory response and metabolism.” Basically, when your gut is out of whack, so is the rest of your body, and studies are increasingly showing that in addition to the more expected health concerns from an imbalanced gut microbiome (such as IBS, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis etc.) it may also be a trigger for such things as autoimmune disease and even cancer.

WHAT IS LEAKY GUT 

That 4,000 square feet of intestinal lining we just talked about? It can get cracks and holes in it, something that’s referred to as increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome. What this means, essentially, is that the tight barrier that controls what gets into our bloodstream stops working as well, allowing partially digested food, toxins, and bugs to escape. “This may trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora (normal bacteria) that could lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond,” according to the author of this Harvard Health Publishing article. 

WHEN SHOULD I SUSPECT LEAKY GUT

While there is still a lot of research to be done on the topic of leaky gut, these are some of the most commonly reported health issues that might be tied back to it:

  • IBS
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Food sensitivities
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne
  • Brain disorders such as depression, ASD (autism spectrum disorders), and Alzheimers. You can read more about this here.
  • Issues with nutrient absorption

HOW CAN BONE BROTH HELP LEAKY GUT

Our ancestors were onto something when they boiled up the carcasses of dead animals, making sure to include the bones and connective tissues. It turns out that bone broth is an incredibly healing food, supporting the mucosal lining of the digestive tract thanks to its gelatin content. Gelatin can bind to water in your digestive tract, helping foods move through your gut more easily. What’s more, it contains a wide range of nutrients itself that can help heal intestinal cells. Meanwhile glutamine (an amino acid found in gelatin) can help maintain the function of the intestinal wall.

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO TO KEEP OUR GUT HEALTHY

While adding healing bone broth to your diet is a great way to take back control of your gut health, there are other steps you can take as well. Here are some additional ways to keep your gut healthy, or even help reverse leaky gut:

  • Take probiotics
  • Remove processed foods
  • Follow a gluten free diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Cut back on NSAIDS 
  • Cut out alcohol
  • Reduce foods that are known to be common allergens

The great news is, a leaky gut is reversible with the right approach. And while you’re taking steps to heal your gut, you’ll be reaping the other benefits of consuming nutrition-packed bone broth such as our highly nutritious Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth or delicious Chicken Bone Broth. So go ahead — taste more of life, and take care of your gut all at the same time. Cheers!

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