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  • Writer's pictureOrina Ontiri

5 Common “Healthy Habits” That Trigger Leaky Gut Syndrome

What if today’s common “healthy habits” are actually hurting you?  Because as history shows us it has happened many times before.


Did you know in the 1920’s cigarettes were considered healthy?  Lucky Strike was the biggest brand back then and their advertising campaigns featured doctors.

If you did, I doubt you knew that throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s serious medical journals like “The New England Journal of Medicine” and “The Journal of the American Medical Association” were home to many tobacco advertisements.

These subtle advertising moves didn’t really say that cigarettes were healthy, but they sure did make it seem like it was okay to smoke.

It’s more common than you might think.

Let’s say you’re putting in the effort every day to lead a healthy lifestyle.  You eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet rounded out by a glass of heart-healthy red wine.  You get plenty of exercise.  And you check in with your doctor regularly for preventive care.

Doing all the right things to be “healthy.”

And despite all this – you’re suffering with nagging issues like digestive pain, low-energy, stubborn weight, low sex drive, and acne.  What you might not realize is that the “healthy” behaviors you’re engaging in to avoid getting sick can be triggers for a root cause that underpins the western disease epidemic that’s affecting our modern lives.

And you’re not alone; the public has been misled.

This root cause is called increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and it’s a contributor to chronic conditions throughout the body, including autoimmune disease, brain conditions, digestive problems, and skin disorders. The diseases linked to leaky gut are diverse and scary, including:

  1. Multiple sclerosis

  2. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

  3. Rheumatoid arthritis

  4. Type 1 diabetes

  5. Depression

  6. Autism

  7. Brain fog

  8. Acne, rosacea, psoriasis, vitiligo

  9. Inflammatory bowel disorders

  10. Food intolerances

  11. Joint pain

  12. Inability to lose or gain weight

  13. Heart disease

  14. Narcolepsy

  15. Anxiety

  16. And severe PMS symptoms

The truth is hundreds of conditions are linked to leaky gut and more are being discovered every day.  And that’s the big problem with leaky gut; it can masquerade as fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight problems, digestive pain and other serious conditions.

These conditions and symptoms can all stem from a digestive tract that is leaking toxins, food particles and other substances right into the bloodstream.  Once inside these foreign particles create an intense immune reaction. This reaction spreads inflammation throughout the body promoting damage in genetic weak areas and jumpstarting the development of chronic disease.

Which is bad but not the worst part.  The worst part is many people will never learn that there is an underlying problem in their gut that is contributing to their #1 health problem.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

While experts are finally beginning to recognize the role leaky gut plays in chronic conditions, doctors are, for the most part, still failing to recognize and treat the condition in their patients. This makes it very important that you understand what it is and what causes it to protect yourself.

There are actually 19 well-known leaky gut triggers that allow the gut lining to become more permeable and leaky gut to develop – and researchers are discovering new triggers all the time.

(BONUS: Click here to watch a free presentation on those 19 leaky gut triggers and what to do about them.)

Some of the triggers are beyond your control – like being born by Cesarean section or having a history of traumatic head injuries. However, there are a lot of triggers of leaky gut that you can control – and you may even be contributing to leaky gut by trying to pursue a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Here are 5 “Healthy Habits” that are secretly triggering leaky gut:

  1. Your healthy diet: When you sit down to your virtuous dinner of bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, corn and tofu you may actually be harming your gut. Commonly prescribed foods, like grains (even gluten-free grains) and soycan cause inflammation in the gut that contribute to leaky gut. What’s more, if you’ve already got leaky gut, these foods will most likely make it worse. The issue is that “healthy” for someone else doesn’t mean it’s good for you. The research is clear, more specialized and personalized diets are the wave of the future.  If you have any current health complaints, today’s common wisdom should not be applied to you.

  2. Your exercise regimen: If you keep fit by running marathons or hitting your crossfit box every morning, you may be doing your gut (and overall health) more harm than good. While exercise does a body good, intense, repetitive exercise compromises gut health and can create a leaky gut. High intensity exercise – that which takes you above 70% of your maximum heart rate – is great when there’s plenty of time to allow the body to rest and rebuild. Doing it 5 days a week is just too much for most of us. The same goes with doing hour-long plus runs several times a week – the body needs time and resources to recover – and unless you’re an olympic athlete who’s only job is to train it’s likely your body cannot maintain it’s health under this stress. Throw in health conditions and your ability to recover is even less. Your body will thank you if you do more long walks, restorative yoga and 2-3 medium workouts a week.

  3. Your preventive-care doctor: Taking care of your health now, so little problems don’t become big problems is the best strategy for long-term health – unless those little fixes include prescription medications like PPIs for acid reflux. Use of PPIs is known to cause leaky gut. If you’re struggling with acid reflux or other digestive symptoms linked with leaky gut, prescription medications are not the answer. You need to find the root causes of acid reflux – not put a gut-harming PPI band-aid on top.

  4. Your evening glass of wine: A glass of red wine at night might help you unwind your mind, but it’s also unwinding your gut lining. Alcohol has been proven to increase intestinal permeability. It’s not that moderate amounts of alcohol are always bad it’s just that if you already have a health condition it’s not the best time for you. If you are a regular drinker, even low to moderate intake of alcohol is damaging your gut. It’s toxic after all – that’s why we feel that warm buzz. Alcohol can eventually be part of a healthy-gut lifestyle – but you have to heal first.

  5. Your OTC pain reliever: It’s so common to reach into the medicine cabinet when you get a headache, your PMS kicks up or the body is aching. What you haven’t been told is that these medicines are dangerous. For one, Tylenol (acetaminophen) sends 78,000 Americans to the hospital and kills 100s every year. And then there’s the common usage of Ibuprofen like Advil, Aleve and other NSAIDs. These have been shown to harm the gut and cause it to leak. In general, it’s best to avoid using these drugs as much as possible. When you absolutely need to take them, don’t do it for days on end and be aware of the side-effects in case you begin to experience them.

I honor your desire to create healthy habits and want to keep encouraging that. I just want you to be fully informed. One of the worst feelings is finding out months or years later that the choices you made only made you sicker.

If you are struggling at all with any chronic health symptoms or western diseases, it could be coming from your gut. Those 19 leaky gut triggers can be found and eliminated.  And when that happens, gut health begins to bounce back rather quickly.

I want to invite you to a free presentation that goes into greater detail about the triggers, leaky gut syndrome and what to do if you do have it.

And in the meantime, start to track the 5 habits I mentioned above to see if they are contributing to your #1 health problem right now.

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