Do You Have a “Leaky Brain”? (3 of 3)

If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 we encourage you to stop and read them now.

In this final article we’re delving deeper into the process of healing a leaky brain. We’ll discuss what else contributes to and aggravates the problem, the supplements that can help, and how to maintain a healthy gut and brain for life.

A problem that is rampant in modern America is Candida Albicans yeast overgrowth which is a direct precursor to leaky gut syndrome. Candida overgrowth is a response to excess consumption of sugars, antibiotics, bacterial overgrowth in the gut, stress, oral contraceptives, excessive alcohol, over-use of NSAID drugs and a weakened immune system.

How to know if this is an issue for you: There is an assortment of symptoms that are acknowledged as signs of Candida. The most prevalent is a strong craving for sweets and simple carbs. The foods that yeast thrives on and demands are sugar, honey, sweet fruits/juices, soft drinks and sweetened beverages; processed grains such as bread, pasta, cereal, cookies and crackers; dairy products, alcohol and condiments with added sugar.

You must eliminate these foods in the short run, and may cautiously add them back (in limited amounts) once your gut is healed and your symptoms disappear. If this food list resembles your daily diet you can be certain that Candida overgrowth and leaky gut syndrome is an issue for you.

Other familiar symptoms of Candida overgrowth are fatigue, digestive issues, recurring sinus or urinary tract infections, food intolerances, joint pain, brain fog, yeast infections, fungal infections, depression and weak immune system.

Artificial sweeteners are not the answer to your sweet cravings so beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Aspartame (Nutrasweet®) and sucralose (Splenda®) are proven to be poisonous to both body and brain making your situation even worse. The safest alternative sweetener that won’t feed the yeast is pure Stevia leaf extract, which can be added to beverages and recipes.

A Duke University study published in 2008 found that consuming sucralose kills beneficial bacteria and raises the pH in the gastrointestinal tract, both of which are highly undesirable outcomes.

The trial period was 12 weeks long. Stool samples taken throughout the study showed a disruption in the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Even after a 12 week recovery period levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut remained “significantly depressed.”


Beyond the Diet: How to Eliminate Candida Yeast Overgrowth

Here are supplements that aid the die-off of candida yeast:

  • Garlic
  • Neem leaf
  • Pau d’arco extract
  • Berberine
  • Caprylic acid
  • Oregano oil
  • Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan.

Avoid taking yeast killers at the same time of day as probiotics and fiber supplements.

Supplementing with two to four probiotic bacteria capsules daily plus getting plenty of prebiotic fiber from foods and supplements should become a daily habit. Soluble fiber and resistant starch do many jobs, one of the most significant being that it helps our good bacteria to multiply and thrive, therefore the term “pre-biotic”.

There are many species of good bacteria that are supposed to reside inside of us. Each one plays a different role so consuming a wide variety is important; the more the merrier. Some of these bacteria create lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide in the colon which kill pathogens, yeast and bad bacteria effectively keeping them under control. They also create butyrate which is the essential fuel for the cells in the colon, but is only created with the presence of adequate fiber and resistant starch. Because so many bacteria are evacuated during bowel movements we need to supplement daily.

Beyond the Diet: Repairing the Walls of the Gut and the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)

Substances to facilitate repair of the gut lining include:

  • Soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and resistant starch;
  • Glutamine-rich foods such as collagen, bone broth and grass-fed meat;
  • Beans, lentils, raw apple cider vinegar and cabbage, including cabbage juice.
  • Ginger tea, peppermint tea, marshmallow root tea and dandelion root tea are soothing and reduce inflammation.

Effective supplements include:

  • Liquid Collagen
  • Aloe Vera juice
  • N-acetyl glucosamine
  • Quercetin (a natural anti-histamine– very important in cases of leaky brain)
  • HCL with Pepsin
  • Digestive enzymes
  • DGL Licorice
  • L-alanyl-L-glutamine
  • Free-range colostrum
  • Turmeric/curcumin supplements are naturally anti-inflammatory and antioxidant with proven benefits to the brain. Turmeric is so beneficial that the body naturally gives it a free pass to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) in order to protect the brain.

The repair of the leaky BBB will happen by following the dietary and supplement suggestions in these three articles. Keeping inflammation under control is essential. “Fire in the gut equals fire in the brain” is a common saying by functional medicine practitioners. This is why avoiding stress, specific foods, beverages and artificial additives is mandatory if you want good results.

Unfortunately, candida overgrowth, leaky gut and leaky brain cannot be resolved without smart natural intervention. Creating a plan and following through with it can make a dramatic difference in how you feel and how your body functions for the rest of your life.

“The root cause of disease is the loss of health”* is an indispensable way of seeing our natural responsibility for maintaining our own health. It can slip away slowly when we’re busy doing other things. When we make a firm decision to do whatever we can and whatever it takes to stay healthy we improve not only our lives but the lives of the ones we love.

Healthy Habits® is here to support you and your family to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life.

*Dr. Zach Bush, MD