A leaky gut causes all kinds of havoc in the body. But did you know that collagen can heal a leaky gut?
Did you know that problems like frequent headaches, acne, and constipation are caused by what’s called a leaky gut? Your gut health affects more than just how your stomach feels.
If you aren’t able to absorb the nutrients from your food, even a nutritious diet won’t make you healthy. Collagen can actually help to seal the holes in your gut so that you’ll feel better.
Here’s how collagen can help improve digestion and heal a leaky gut:
- Your gut lining is made from collagen
- All the folds that keep your food inside are formed by collagen
- When the folds separate, undigested food particles leak out into the bloodstream
- A vitamin C deficiency keeps the body from producing collagen and leads to gaps in the gut
What is Collagen?
Collagen isn’t just used for making your skin look younger and more glowing. Collagen is actually a major building block of your body.
It is a complex long-chain protein that is made up of 19 different amino acids. Your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, joints, and even your intestinal wall are made up of collagen.
This type of protein acts similar to a net that holds together the structure of your body. The word collagen actually comes from the Greek word “kòlla” and the French suffix “-gene” that means glue producing.
Collagen actually decreases as you age. At age 35, your body begins to slow its collagen production. Only five years later, the rate that your collagen levels are being depleted is greater than the speed your body can produce it.
Then, once you hit 60, over half of your collagen stores are gone. That’s why you’ll notice that as you get older your skin will begin to sag and you may even develop arthritis and joint pain.
Your gut is the same way. If you don’t have enough collagen in your gut, you’ll start to have digestion issues and not absorb all the nutrients from your food.
The collagen in your gut doesn’t just decrease as you age. There are other reasons that you can develop a leaky gut—even at a young age.
Reasons For A Leaky Gut
A leaky gut is essentially when your intestinal barrier begins to have gaps in its protective wall. The intestinal barrier is supposed to act as a gatekeeper. Its job is to guarantee that the nutrients, water, electrolytes, and minerals from your food are absorbed properly.
When your gut becomes leaky and develops gaps, toxins, microbes, and undigested food leak out of the barrier and into your bloodstream. This problem can cause a host of health issues since good gut health is directly related to your overall health.
A leaky gut is sometimes caused by gluten protein in wheat. But what if you find that you’re still having digestive issues even though you’ve removed gluten from your diet?
Here are a few reasons why you might be experiencing a leaky gut:
1. Vitamin C Deficiency
You may have not thought of this one, but it is easy to become deficient in vitamin C if you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is actually necessary for your body to produce collagen. If you need proof, look at how seafarers used to get scurvy during the 1500s to 1800s. Scurvy is caused by a vitamin C deficiency that results in loss of collagen.
Some symptoms of scurvy include having your teeth fall out, bleeding gums, skin rashes, hair loss, and muscle weakness. All of these symptoms are related to collagen protein, but their cause is because the seafarers didn’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables while at sea.
This effect manifests itself in a different way today. You can actually develop scurvy of the colon where the layer of cells in your colon that allows you to absorb your food into the lymphatic system spread apart.
A healthy gut would have gaps of 1–7mc, but when you have a leaky gut, those gaps expand to 200–300 mc. Then, once food particles leak out of those gaps, your body believes that they are foreign substances that need to be attacked.
Your body will then send out antibodies to attack the food particles. And, this is how you can develop food allergies and sensitivities.
Your body’s inflammation keeps increasing, and you end up with scar tissue. You’re now unable to really absorb any of the nutrients you’re eating.
You could be eating an amazing, super healthy diet, but your body won’t experience any of the benefits from the clean diet.
2. Unstable Insulin Levels
If you’re still experiencing symptoms of a leaky gut, it could be that your insulin levels operate like a rollercoaster. You’re experiencing sugar rushes and crashes on a daily basis.
High insulin levels actually reduce the vitamin C in your body. So, you’ll end up with a vitamin C deficiency if your blood sugar spikes often.
To have unstable insulin levels doesn’t have to mean that you eat too many sweets. Yes, eating a lot of cookies and ice cream isn’t good for you. But, eating simple carbs like white rice, white potatoes, most pasta, and many breads can cause the same effect.
All of these simple carbs get digested into sugar. There is no difference between that plate of fries and those Christmas cookies.
That’s why your diet should be highly varied. It needs to contain the amount of protein you need, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Or, if you’re still struggling with keeping your blood sugar levels stable, maybe a higher fat, lower carb diet would be best.
You probably already know that smoking is bad for you. People easily develop lung cancer from smoking, but it also affects your gut health.
You don’t have to be a heavy chain smoker either. Just one cigarette depletes 25 grams of vitamin C. Smoking easily sets you up for a vitamin C deficiency.
Signs of a Leaky Gut
A leaky gut affects your whole body. You’ll experience symptoms with your skin, immune system, mental clarity, bowel movements, and hormones.
1. Mental Fogginess & Headaches
If you experience mental fogginess and headaches often, you might have a leaky gut. Have you ever heard of the gut-brain connection?
Your emotions have an effect on the health of your gut. The same is true of the opposite. When you have a leaky gut, you may experience headaches and have a difficult time concentrating.
Your diet and gut health directly affect your brain power and concentration.
This one can be caused by a leaky gut and/or by not having enough collagen in your body. I actually experienced this one myself. I had horrible cystic acne that wouldn’t clear up.
I had no clue what was causing my acne. I started eating a super clean diet, but my acne still wouldn’t go away. The food I ate wasn’t fueling my body, because I had a leaky gut.
3. Infrequent Bowel Movements
This may sound crude, but the quality and frequency of your poop determine the health of your gut. You actually need to have more frequent bowel movements then you probably currently think.
Healthy bowel movements need to happen 1–3 times a day. If you find that you’re constipated often, you probably have a leaky gut.
4. Low Immune System
Do you get sick often? Does someone next to you sneeze, and then you end up with a cold the very next day? If you find that you get sick easily, it probably means that your gut health isn’t up to par.
Your gut is actually responsible for 80% of your immune system. That means if you aren’t absorbing the nutrients from your food, you’re going to get sick more often.
How To Heal A Leaky Gut
You have to come at healing your gut from a holistic perspective. You can’t just think oh well maybe if I take this one magic pill all my problems will be resolved.
Let’s take acne for instance. When you go to a dermatologist for your skin, the dermatologist might prescribe a round of antibiotics to treat the bacteria that’s on your face and seemingly causing your acne.
Taking antibiotics sets off a chain reaction. Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria, but they also kill off the good bacteria that will help your skin to clear.
Pathogenic organisms can then overgrow and invade the gut lining without the good bacteria to fight them off. Then undigested food molecules will flow out into your bloodstream, and you’ll end up with a leaky gut.
You can’t alter one thing and expect yourself to heal. Health doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
You need to do multiple things that work in conjunction with one another to cure your symptoms and heal your gut.
Foods for a Leaky Gut
The most effective amino acids for helping you heal your leaky gut are proline and glycine. Both of these amino acids are primarily found in collagen. There are several types of foods that help your body to produce these amino acids and keep your gut healthy.
1. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are high in probiotics, the good bacteria that will help your gut to fight off bad bacteria and stay healthy. These foods include:
- Pickled foods
2. Foods Rich in Vitamin C
As discussed earlier, vitamin C is required for the production of collagen. Without vitamin C, your body will start to break down.
Here are a few fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of vitamin C:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell Peppers
3. Coconut Oil
This type of oil has antimicrobial properties. It works to kill off bad bacteria in the gut so that the good bacteria can thrive.
4. Omega 3 DHA & EPA
This fatty acid reduces inflammation in your gut. Essentially, with less inflammation, your intestinal barrier will be able to heal itself more effectively.
You don’t have to get your omega-3 from fish. You can actually skip the fish and get your omega-3 from where the fish do: algae. Algae is an excellent source of omega-3 DHA and EPA that’s healthier for you.
To find out more about the benefits of omega-3, check out our full article here.
Collagen for a Leaky Gut
Taking a collagen supplement or a collagen peptide builder will heal your intestinal wall when you eat healthily and get enough vitamin C in your diet.
Your intestinal wall is actually made up of microscopic folds called villi. These folds in the intestinal barrier are made from collagen. So, when you take a collagen supplement, you can seal the gaps in those folds caused by a leaky gut.
Collagen will actually tighten and strengthen and tone the entire digestive system.
In addition, collagen also helps support your skin, joints, and bones.
Sunwarrior has created an vegan collagen-building peptide powder that gives your body all the ingredients it needs to produce more collagen for your body. All of the ingredients are from raw plant-based sources.
These ingredients include:
- Vitamin C
- Sea Buckthorn
- Rice Peptides
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Tremella Mushrooms
- Trace Minerals
- Green Leafy Vegetables
Sunwarrior's supplements are clean and safe because they wanted to create products that they could use for themselves and their families. For that reason, Sunwarrior always sources from the best plant-based ingredients.