Leaky Gut

by Decker Weiss, N.M.D.

While it's decidedly unheard of for a naturopathic doctor to have privileges at a conventional medical facility, my practice brings the best of both worlds to my patients.

Sadly, far too many of my patients have health conditions that I believe are caused by poor behaviors and lifestyle choices. One of the surest behaviors that can damage health is the consumption of certain foods: white flour, white sugar, and white salt. We cannot eat these foods on a regular basis and expect to stay healthy.

What's Compromising Our Health?

Toxins in our food and water are also compromising our health. In municipal water supplies across America, environmental agencies have found antibiotics, hormones from birth-control pills, chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory and high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, insect repellent, fire retardants, perfume, sunscreen, caffeine, nicotine, heroin, and cocaine. While it's true that most of these toxins detected in our water are found in exceedingly small amounts, many are known to cause profound health problems even at very low doses.

One of the most harmful health problems the toxins create is the disruption of healthy digestion. The multitude of symptoms resulting from poor digestion include heartburn, bloating, constipation, leaky gut, food allergies, and chronic inflammation. I believe one of the most important things I can do as a physician is help my patients improve their digestion. And the answer lies in digestive enzymes.

Enzymes are present in all living things (every animal, every plant) and are critical for life. So far, more than 2,680 enzymes have been identified in the human body. And every second we are alive, our enzymes are working to change, initiate, repair, slowdown, or speed up actions in our bodies. To metabolize the three energy yielding nutrients found in food— carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—our bodies use three types of digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, and lipase. Digestive enzymes like sucrase, lactase, and maltase also play a significant role in digestion. Deficiencies in some of these enzymes cause intolerance to certain foods. Lactose intolerance is one of the most obvious.

While our bodies have effective digestive enzymes, several factors can significantly reduce their effectiveness:

Excessive intakes of fast food, fat, sugar, and food additives

Exposure to environmental pollutants

Increased stress

Illnesses (from colds and other viral diseases)

Lack of minerals or vitamins to create digestive enzymes

Use of medications


Supplemental digestive enzymes can be used to bolster our digestion. Tyler's Permeability Factors™ is an amazing supplement that provides key nutrients and botanical synergists for superior digestive support. It also keeps our intestinal mucosa healthy. A healthy intestinal mucosa acts as a selective barrier; absorbing beneficial nutrients, while preventing toxins and adventitious compounds from entering the circulation. Defects in the mucosal barrier can result from chronic alcohol exposure, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory use, dysbiosis, and nutrient deficiencies; and can eventually lead to chronic inflammation. The amino acids, phospholipids, and essential fatty acids in Permeability Factors™ have been shown to play an important role in nutritionally supporting gastrointestinal health and the normal barrier function of the intestinal mucosa.

Tyler's Gastric Complex™ contains plant enzymes combined with demulcent herbs, marshmallow, and slippery elm to provide gentle support for digestion. Gammaoryzanol and licorice root also support healthy gastric mucosa.


PhytoPharmica's Rhizinate®- A unique extract of deglycyrrhizinated licorice is widely used in Europe and by my patients here in America. Simply chew two tablets 20 minutes before meals for superior digestive support. Comes in three formulas – Vegetarian, Fructose- Free, and Chocolate Mint.

Tyler's Similase® - A time-tested enzyme blend for optimal digestion of the fullest range of foods, I've prescribed Similase to patients who need plant-based microbial enzymes that are acid-stable. Supports digestion of all major food constituents and is well-tolerated by sensitive individuals

PhytoPharmica's Bio-Zyme® - A Mega- Strength digestive enzyme, Bio-Zyme provides the highest potency pancreatic enzyme complex available to help break down fats and carbohydrates in the lower intestine. I also prescribe it for my patients who require support in their diet with natural proteolytic enzymes from both plant and animal sources.

PhytoPharmica's Mentharil - is a great supplement to support healthy intestines and can soothe spasmodic activity in the intestines. People who have taken antibiotics or who have had chronic digestive problems need to restore healthy flora back to their intestines. If food doesn't digest properly in the stomach, it actually ferments or putrefies, thus entering the intestines. This disrupts the balance of good bacteria vital for healthy digestion and immune function.

Enzymatic Therapy's Acidophilus Pearls are made with patented True Delivery™ Technology, a revolutionary delivery system that actually get these beneficial organisms into the intestines where they belong.