Can the Leaky Gut Diet Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients?

6 minute read

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your nerves, specifically eating away their protective covering. Studies have found that intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) is associated with autoimmune conditions.

Naturally, it follows that a leaky gut diet, meant to curb intestinal permeability, could be a solution to easy MS symptoms.

The Multiple Sclerosis-Gut Health Link

Leaky gut is marked by increased permeability in the intestinal walls. Your intestines have small gaps in them called tight junctions that allow nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

When these junctions become loose as a result of inflammation, imbalanced gut bacteria, and food allergies; undigested particles and toxins can also pass through. Once in the blood, these foreign particles trigger immune system defenses.

This knowledge caused researchers to look closely at leaky gut and autoimmune disorders. It had already been established that the two were linked, but it was unclear which was the cause and which the effect.

By looking at mice with multiple sclerosis, researchers found that their guts had increased intestinal permeability. Along with a leaky gut, there was also increased inflammation, which plays a major role in multiple sclerosis.

Chronic inflammation is what attacks nerve cells and causes damage to the protective covering around them. As a result, the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord are not able to function efficiently, which contributes to the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, such as vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination.

The afflicted mice also showed depleted levels of T-cells that regulate the immune response. This is also seen in individuals with gastrointestinal problems.

The discovery that leaky gut and intestinal permeability can contribute to multiple sclerosis or to the worsening of symptoms means that it could be the key to a possible solution. While there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, treatments are available to reduce symptoms and increase comfort.

Preventing leaky gut may be an additional way to help prevent and or reduce the severity of this incurable disease.

The Right Diet Means Reduced Symptoms

The key to preventing and healing a leaky gut lies in your diet. What you eat has a major impact on the health of your gut and can cause leaky gut. In the same way, changes in your diet can promote gut health.

As a result, inflammation will be reduced, and, as this is known to contribute to multiple sclerosis and the severity of symptoms, it can be expected that your health would improve.

One of the first things to do to promote gut health is to introduce probiotics to your diet. Whether you take a high-quality daily gut health supplement or increase consumption of fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir, these beneficial microbes will enhance gut health.

An out-of-balance gut microbiome allows for harmful bacteria to grow, which increases inflammation. Preventing this will be ideal for those with multiple sclerosis and probiotics will be the first defense against inflammation.

In addition to adding probiotics to your diet, you want to eat the foods that allow them to thrive. Supporting beneficial bacterial growth will only strengthen your gut and improve intestinal health.

The best foods to add to your diet to support gut health and the growth of good bacteria include:

Vegetables: Spinach, kale, carrots, ginger, mushrooms, potatoes, and zucchini

Fruits: Bananas, berries, apples, grapes, lemons, pineapple, and papaya

Sprouted seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds

Healthy fats: Avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil

Gluten-free grains: Buckwheat, gluten-free oats, and rice

Proteins: Lean poultry, fresh fish, nuts, and eggs

Beyond adding these beneficial foods to your diet, you also need to avoid others. There are foods that not only contribute to inflammation but also support the growth of harmful bacterial strains.

Removing these foods from your diet and replacing them with the healthier options above will help your gut to heal from any damage, and promote optimal gut health and reduced inflammation moving forward. You should avoid:

♦ Processed meats

♦ Baked goods

♦ Gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley)

♦ Snack foods

♦ Dairy products (especially if you have lactose sensitivity)

♦ Refined oils

♦ Artificial sweeteners

♦ Alcohol

Moving Forward With Multiple Sclerosis

The right diet can do amazing things for your gut health and your symptoms. In addition to dietary changes, there are additional lifestyle changes you can make to also reduce inflammation.

Smoking promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and also increases gut inflammation. Many gastrointestinal disorders have been linked to smoking, so quitting will be a great way to promote better gut health and reduced multiple sclerosis symptoms.

In addition to this, reducing stress is a possible way to reduce inflammation. Stress is known to increase cortisol levels, a hormone which in turn triggers the production of inflammatory chemicals.

| Related: Is Gluten Causing Leaky Gut Syndrome? |

Activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help you to learn to cope with and reduce stress. You also want to make sure you get enough sleep each night as this too; triggers stress hormones and inflammatory activities.

The Bottom Line

Following a leaky gut diet will improve digestion and gut health as well as reduce inflammation in your body. As a result, autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis may be positively affected.

Knowing that leaky gut triggers widespread inflammation gives us a potential remedy in the fight against autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis. The right diet can heal the gut and promote health, which in turn may promote a reduction in symptoms and prevent further nerve damage.

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