Restricting and leaky gut are these connected?

Commented on July 30, 2015
Created July 25, 2015 at 10:45 PM

This is my first post so I thank you for your patience

Right now I am pretty much on a paleo diet I don't eat bread, milk or sugars. But I do not eat a lot of meat. Maybe once a day every other day...

So I recently (the past 9 months) quit my restricitve diet(anorexia) that I had been on for about 6 months. I am 5'3 and weighed close to 150 when I began... When I quit I weighed I think around 80 lbs.

I have now gained more weight and am at 110 lbs.

However I have been experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as severe gas and bloating.


When I was restrictive I was eating a smoothie with a banana in the morning at 8:00 am and having lunch around 1:00 pm. 

I recognize this is bad now, that is why I quit. But now my stomach has issues. I get bloating frequently and very painful cramps if I go for more than a few hours without eating... It is bad. I am just now realizing that it could be what some call "leaky gut" and I was wondering if this is a possibility? And if so would it be best to see a traditional doctor, or if you have any websites that would help me work on healing that myself?

I have been trying to adjust to eating a more balanced diet and this makes it more difficult.

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on July 26, 2015
at 04:13 PM

'Leaky gut' is a pseudo term popularized to sell a few books to people who suffer from IBS who cant get relief ,going down this road is likely to not help you at all.... alot of Ibs cases stem from psychological stresses ..(rather then a problem with your gut) there is alot of research in this area which likes stomach issues and pains to anxiety and stress , by reading your question here it seems you have definetly had an eating disorder , eating disorders of course often highlight vunerability in your mental health , alot of people on this page have eating disorders to be honest , if problems persist for you id recommend (based on my own experience and others who suffer ibs) ...getting help for your mental health , in order to solve your stomach issues.......i wish you all the best my friend



on July 30, 2015
at 11:04 AM

Your information is a few years out of date.  It's true that the term "leaky gut" was considered by main stream medicine to be bunk a few years ago, but now that's no longer the case.

Go on pubmed and search for intestinal permeability. 

Hell, it's such a mainstream term now that even webmd has a page about it now: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome

Anorexia aside bloating can be caused by the wrong gut flora.  Over time gut flora adapt to what you eat and you reach homeostasis; if they don't, then it's time to address that with probiotics or a weed, seed, and grow approach.


on July 26, 2015
at 04:20 PM

 Thank you, I am seeing a nutritionist as well as a psychologist. I have been for a little while now. I did a little more research after posting this question and now It does seem like pseudo science to me. I guess I just wanted a diagnosis so I could start trying to eat different to heal. I appreciate your comment.



on July 26, 2015
at 08:23 PM

There are various health problems that could cause your gas and bloating. You have to go to the doctor to check what is wrong. Make sure to go to a qualified practitioner or a top notch specialist, preferrably the one who practices integrative medicine since, in my experience, many doctors are not very knowledgeable.

Try to rule out as many issues as possible, check for SIBO or any other issues that might be connected. Just so you know, gas and bloating is a sure sign of SIBO, plus SIBO often accompanies anorexia. 

It is totally fine not to eat a lot of meat. In fact, Paleo is not about meat, it is about eating wholesome natural foods. Try to eat foods that agree with your system. I can tell you one thing that works very well for me, you might try it.

Peel zucchinis and cut them into even chuncks. Add them to a small amount of boiling water and boil for at least 20 to 30 minutes (for one zucchini). When done, add salt to the taste and use a hand-held blender to blend this into a soft mushy soup. Add some extra virgin olive oil or just eat it like it is. If this does not cause your stomach to bloat, you can try the same with carrots or pumpkin.

Also,you can try elimination diet - eat one type of vegetable per meal to see your body's reaction. This does not mean to restrict your food, eat as much as you want, just see what foods cause problems for you and cause bloating. I know all my problem foods.

Good luck and eat enough at each meal. Remember, mushy soups do wonders!


on July 29, 2015
at 04:20 PM

1) Outside Help= Seeing both a therapist/psychologist/counselor in addition to a licensed practitioner is going to deal with the psychological elements of your condition.

2) Rule Out Infections/ Dysbiosis= While one user did validly point out that leaky gut is often a marketted term nowadays, it is a true condition that you need to confirm. From what you have written about your past, it seems as though you have shifted your gut biome  and the constant stress is not doing you any favors. Get a stool test and check for any infections. You may have also impacted both your metabolism and digestive strength. Since you are shifting out from a disordered way of eating, your body is trying to adapt to your healthier habits and might need additional support for the short term, or potentially even the long term, depending on whether or not you caused any serious damage. 

2A) Simliar to 1), start working on the mental aspects of your problems. Find what ails you. I would also recommend some form of meditation, going outside, and scheduling in some personal time for yourself, whether it be through exercise, buying yourself a decent lunch or book, and just living. Do you have any friends or family who understand what you're going through? Build up your army of people who raise you up, not bringing you down.

2B) Eating meat once a day or every other day won't kill you, provided you get enough nutrients from other foods. Supplementing a protein powder might help on said days. Eggs are not technically meat. Also, at a most basic of levels, before we dive deep into the rabbit hole, are you drinking enough water, getting adequate fiber from nuts/seeds/fruits/tubers/vegetables, honoring the urge to go when it arrives (go meaning use the toilet), staying calm during mealtimes, and sleeping enough? 

2C) Picking up from 2B, are you deficient in any vitamins/minerals? Your doctor can help you test for these guys, but some things to look out for are: magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin d, and b vitamins. Also, how's your gut overall? Hopefully you know about the healing benefits of probiotic and prebiotic foods? If not, they're not only food for you, they're food for the good bacteria in your body, to help them digest your food (and absorb their nutrients), support your immune system, and even balance out your mood, in some cases; amongst a plethora of other documented benefits. Diet-Wise, probiotic foods include yogurt (dairy for primal, coconut or almond for paleo) fermented vegetables like kimchi, pickles, and kraut, as well as drinks like kefir and kombucha (be ware of kombucha if you are prone to yeast infections). Prebiotic foods include asparagus, onion and garlic, dandelion greens, apples (with the skin on), tiger nuts, and other foods that are rich in dietary fiber. They're what the probiotics (good bacteria) feast upon. So probiotics add (benevolent) bacteria whilst prebiotics sustain them. Something to consider.

If this is hard for you to incorporate at this time, consider supplementation; work with your doctor to find the best one for you, but some brands I recommend are Renew Life, Natren, and Jarrow; you can also look into what are called soil-based-organisms, but keep in mind that some people with compromised immune systems do not respond well to these products- they include Primal Defense (Ultra), Prescript Assist, and Primal Flora. 

2D) Other Supplements and foods that can help, especially with healing the gut, include bone broth (use it for soups or even for a nice saute), coconut oil, aloe vera/DGL licorice/slippery elm/mint/ginger, L-Glutamine (this is probably one of, if not the, top one), digestive enzymes/HCL/bile salts, Swedish Bitters, colostrum (not paleo, but primal), organ meats like liver, whole eggs, wild caught fish (such as salmon), sea vegetables (the easiest would be nori; just make sure that when eating your sea veg, you get enough selenium to balance out the iodine- I'd recommend 1-2 brazil nuts), and apple cider vinegar with lemon. Again, talk to a qualified professional prior to supplementation to ensure that your body won't react badly to any of these supplements and foods.

3) Don't be afraid! Smile through all of this. I know it's tough, but this is a wonderful time for you to reclaim your health, confidence, and knowledge over yourself; mental and physical. You're going to have some ups and downs, but see this process more as a roller coaster than a never-ending torment. You will survive, you will thrive, and you'll only grow stronger the further you commit to becoming better than you were the day before.

Recap: Get help (doc, therapist, etc). Test for any parasites/infections. See what's going on inside your gut. Slowly adapt to a more wholesome diet with nutrient rich foods. Consider adding in probiotic foods/drinks, and maybe even a supplement. Speak with a licensed pro about additional supplementation. And don't fret about these problems; you're not alone, and you will get through this. Ask, and you shall receive. Don't be afraid to ask around and find the best support that you can that is committed to seeing you recover.

Best of luck!

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on July 30, 2015
at 03:36 AM

By all means see a traditional doctor. Yo-yoing your weight up and down, then self-diagnosing a pseudo condition you read about on the internet...you need someone with professional training in order to get the best outside opinion on what you are doing to yourself. Not a naturopath, not a psychic, an MD.

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