How to Cure Leaky Gut with the Carnivore Diet in 30 Days
Acne, IBS and rheumatoid arthritis.
These were all consequences of a leaky gut. I healed it by doing one thing and one thing only: cutting out everything except for meat and animal products.
Yes, the “artery clogging, poisonous” meat cured me of all my major health issues.
How? It all comes down to the gut.
You have an army of bacteria that’s working to protect you. But, if you don’t treat them well, they will revolt.
Do you have:
- Skin issues like excema or acne?
- Have you been extra irritable this week?
- Are you bloated?
- Autoimmune issues?
All of these issues can be traced to the gut microbiome.
Not to sound like an infomercial, but adopting the carnivore diet cured them all for me and 10s of thousands of others.
Meatheals.com, World Carnivore Tribe on Facebook and r/ZeroCarb are teeming with people who have cured major health issues with the carnivore diet.
And one of the biggest, if not THE biggest reason why the carnivore diet cures these issues is because it is the best way to reverse leaky gut.
Here’s why it works so well…
Table of Contents
What is the Gut Microbiome?
All disease begins in the gut. – Hippocrates
Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your gut? Our gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms [*]
Your body is teeming with trillions of microorganisms. They live throughout the body: areas like the skin, gut and saliva.
Our bodies contain more bacteria than cells [*]. We’re really just walking, talking bacteria.
But their favorite place to live is the gut, consisting of your digestive system and organs such as the stomach and intestines.
Everybody’s microbiome is unique. Most of the microbes are acquired during birth, and develop over the first three years of life [*].
The role of the gut is to regulate the process of food digestion and absorption. But it couldn’t do this without help from the bacteria that colonize it.
Functions of Gut Bacteria
The gut contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria. The friendly gut bacteria are important for digestion. They produce vitamin K, vitamin B folate and short-chain fatty acids from fiber [*].
Lastly, the gut microbiome also communicates directly with the brain along the gut-brain axis. It influencing stress, anxiety and neurodegenerative disorders [*]. Serotonin is produced in your gut [*]
New research has shown that gut health is connected to just about everything: skin health, IBS, hormone, digestive system, mental health, cognition and sleep [*].
However, our gut microbiome is a sensitive ecosystem. If you don’t properly cultivate it, the balance between good and bad bacteria will be off.
People are so terrified of destroying the global climate ecosystem, but most are doing worse damage to the ecosystem living in their own body.
When the balance is upset, your body lets you know [*]. All the aforementioned symptoms start to appear. This is known as dysbiosis.
But worst of all, dysbiosis can lead to leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky. gut. Can you imagine a grosser sounding two word combination?
Leaky gut used to be a fringe medical condition. Most mainstream doctors didn’t recognize it as a real disease.
But recently the gut has become a focus because of its role in a variety of diseases.
New research shows that leaky gut plays a role in everything from anxiety to skin issues to cancer and autoimmune disorders.
How can the gut have such a wide impact?
The Gut’s Hard Role
The gut has a tough job. It needs to both absorb nutrients while kicking out toxic invaders. Think of it like a bouncer at a very exclusive club.
Most people give this bouncer a very hard time. Every time you eat, you’re consuming potentially toxic waste that the gut needs to expel.
The small intestine doesn’t get nearly as much love as the brain and heart, but it’s just as important. The most challenging and important work at this “nightclub” is being conducted in your small intestine.
The small intestine is ~50% of your gut. It is responsible for 90% of food absorption and has the largest mass of immune cells in your entire body [*].
Everything you eat directly touches this vital organ. And it’s very vulnerable.
Essentially, the lining of your gut is not HOLDING THE DOOOOORRR.
And when the lining is open, toxins and proteins like gluten and chemicals like arsenic or BPA to pass into your bloodstream.
Rightfully so, your body freaks out. It’s like a bartender catching an underage drinker inside.
Your immune system is mobilized to expel it, which creates inflammation. Similar to when somebody gets kicked out of a bar, everybody stops and takes a look. Nothing functions properly in that moment.
If you have incessant chronic issues, this could be why.
Leaky Gut Symptoms
Reading through the systems of leaky gut for the first time was like looking in the mirror.
Surprisingly, leaky gut doesn’t just terrorize your stomach, but your whole body. And some of the symptoms don’t even show up in your gut at all [*].
Some of the most common symptoms of leaky gut are:
- Food sensitivities
- Skin issues like acne and eczema
- Bloating, gassing and IBS
- Mood swings
- Autoimmune disorders
Leaky gut is a recipe for disaster. Let’s just say, gassing + acne does not lend itself to being a chick magnet.
If you have any of the symptoms above chronically, it may be a sign you have leaky gut.
Life Threatening Consequences of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut has disastrous long term consequences too.
Leaky gut has been implicated in life threatening diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis [*].
Already, over 33% of autoimmune disorders have been linked to leaky gut.
Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system goes rogue and starts attacking itself.
Recent studies shows that leaky gut is a precursor to Type 1 diabetes. The gut allows the passage of foreign toxins into your bloodstream and your immune system lets out waves of inflammation in response.
But unfortunately, the immune system can get confused and begin attacking your own tissues. Friendly fire.
It begins firing inaccurately and one of those targets is the pancreas, which suppresses insulin function, causing type 1 diabetes [*].
The immune system can attack other tissues too:
The joints: Rheumatoid arthritis.
The gut: Celiac disease or IBS
Red blood cells: Hemolytic anemia [*]
The team at Paleomedicina showed that leaky gut may be accompanied by permeability in other membranes too, like the arteries and blood brain barrier [*]
Leaky artery walls are the main way tumors spread and kill people.
To spread, the tumor cell must break off, enter the bloodstream, evade immune detection and arrive at a new site.
This can only occur if tight cell junctions have been disrupted. One way that happens is through leaky endothelial barriers.
This may explain why Lymphoma has been associated with autoimmune diseases.
In a recent study, autoimmune diseases were associated with increased risk for non-hodgkins lymphoma. Rheumatoid arthritis was linked with a 50% increase in risk of all NHL, and an 80% increased in risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma [*]
The gut brain axis is a two way communication system. The gut microbiome plays a critical role in the maintenance of this pathway.
Because of the intimate connection, when intestinal permeability (leaky gut) increases, toxins pass through the bloodstream and to the brain. This triggers inflammation, which can cause a breakdown in cognitive function [*]
Some researchers also have hypothesized that material can pass directly from the intestine to the brain through the vagus nerve [*].
Studies in animals have also shown that altering the gut microbiome through probiotics and antibiotics can significantly change cognitive function [*]
Chronic gut inflammation and leaky gut can degrade neuronal function and lead to Alzheimer’s.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut is caused by two things:
(1) Inflammation, damaging the balance between good and bad bacteria
(2) Eating compounds that directly degrade the protein that links the gut lining together
Most people are doing both
1. Diet Induced Leaky Gut
The standard American diet is by far the biggest cause of leaky gut. Diet directly influences the levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut through mediating inflammation.
Think of your gut like a city. A dangerous environment will foster more criminal activity. Bad bacteria will overpower good bacteria.
But if you nourish this environment — crack down on crime and only allow the right substances in — your gut will be healthy and will foster the development of healthy bacteria.
Disrupting the ratio of these bacteria will degrade the protective layer of the small intestine and cause leaky gut. [*].
The number one thing to remember is that inflammation is the most important regulator of the gut environment.
Anything that triggers inflammation will damage the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut [*]
The list below are some common triggers.
They are just suggestions and do not affect everybody the same way. The only way to know is to experiment
Food Intolerances Cause Inflammation:
If you eat something that consistently and immediately gives you a stomach ache, you’re likely intolerant to it.
Every time you let this substance in, your immune system reacts with inflammation and makes your gut more favorable to bad bacteria.
A study conducted on subjects 61 subjects showed improvements in in autoimmune disorders, IBS, bloating, brain frog and even depression [*] when removing gluten.
Gluten increases zonulin production, a protein that breaks apart the tight junctions in your digestive tract [*].
Many people, especially those with celiac disease, can be intolerant to gluten. Studies show that those with celiac disease that go on a gluten free diet, restore their gut health.
Once gluten is removed from the diet, serum zonulin levels decrease, the intestine resumes its baseline barrier function, the autoantibody titers are normalized, the autoimmune process shuts off and, consequently, the intestinal damage (that represents the biological outcome of the autoimmune process) heals completely [*]
Even for those without celiac disease, cutting gluten can be beneficial.
Carbohydrates & FODMAPs: Watch out if you have IBS
What are carbohydrates and why are they an issue?
Generally speaking, carbs include bread, pasta, cereal, fruits, and vegetables (including potatoes and winter squashes).
Many doctors recommend carbohydrates for gut health because they feed gut bacteria.
But issues like IBS are actually caused by bacterial overgrowth. If you feed these bacteria it can inflame your gut further.
The immune system is attacking these bacteria and you’re making its job harder.
It’s like getting an underage kid at the bar drunk. Do you think he’s going to want to leave?
This is why a well established treatment for IBS, recommends low carbohydrates to starve your bacteria [*]
This is called the Low FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that your bacteria loves to feed on [*].
Some foods that are high in FODMAPs that you should try cutting out are below:
- Wheat: single biggest contributor to FODMAPs in the western diet [*]
- High FODMAP Fruits: Apples, apricots, cherries, figs, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and watermelon [*]
- High FODMAP Veggies: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chicory leaves, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, karela, leeks, mushrooms and snow peas [*]
- Legumes and beans [*]
A lot of these high FODMAP foods may sound “healthy”, but for someone with a leaky gut they’re disastrous. Many of these will encourage overgrowth and lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea.
However, when it comes to carbohydrates every person is unique.
Some people are able to guzzle down a bowl of pasta and a pizza with no issues (YOU SUCK, I’M JEALOUS).
I, on the other hand, feel like I was run over by a freight train every time I do.
I suffered with IBS for years and cutting out carbohydrates took me off the list of Amazon’s #1 toilet paper buyer.
Even gluten free grains like brown rice contain phytic acid, a chemical that helps seeds store phosphorous. Phytic acid is difficult for the body to breakdown and digest, resulting in inflammation in the digestive tract [*]
Refined Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners deplete good gut bacteria [*] and sugar causes inflammation to the GI tract, which can damage the intestinal lining.
In mice, diets high in sugar were found to knock the biome out of whack, leading to the overgrowth of bad bacteria and depleted good bacteria.
Sugar damaged their cognitive function [*]
Refined Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Safflower, Canola, Soybean)
Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 which is highly inflammatory [*]. When heated, they produce toxic byproducts.
They’re disastrous to our health, inflame the gut and can promote intestinal permeability.
Casein protein introduces inflammation in the gut [*] for many people. Many people are also intolerant to lactose and dairy, triggering additional inflammation.
Dairy is also high in FODMAPs
Nightshades are a plant family that include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.
Studies have shown that the alkaloids and toxins in them aggravate rheumatoid arthritis and IBD [*]
Fiber is a prebiotic, and similar to carbohydrates can increase bacteria, exacerbating gut issues [*]
A study in a recent presentation by Dr. Paul Mason (shown below) showed a complete cessation of cut issues when cutting out fiber.
Lectins & Saponins
Vegetables have phytochemicals that they produce to ward off predators. Protease inhibitors, sulforaphane, oxalates, alkaloids, cyanogenic glyocides….the list goes on.
This is plant-chemical warfare. Weapons of mass destruction.
Each of these damage the lucky person who decides to consume the plant. But two in particular have been found to lead to leaky gut specifically: lectins & saponins.
Lectins are proteins that the plant uses to protect itself. They’re found in all foods, but in very high quantities in beans (legumes) and grains [*].
Many lectins are resistant to digestion. We cannot break them down, meaning when consumed they access our gut without any deterrence.
When they reach the gut, they bind to the lining and wreak havoc. There, they block nutrient absorption in the gut wall, change the gut flora and can break open the intestinal wall [*]
Saponins are fairly similar. Beans and pseudo grains, like Quinoa, are high in saponins.
Saponins are soap-like and create foam in water. They are able to bind to the cholesterol on the surface of the intestinal layer, and cause a reaction that increases leaky gut [*]
Lectins and saponins basically are like jackhammers on your gut lining. They create holes by binding to the wall and lead to leaky gut.
Fun, or not so fun fact: Saponins are actually used to make some detergents in South America. This is why Quinoa sometimes tastes soapy.
Hate to say it, but alcohol increases gut permeability by interacting with and degrading proteins and damaging the protective mucous layer. [*]
2. Stress Induced Leaky Gut
When the body is stressed it releases corticotrophin which increases gut sensitivity, inflammation and gut permeability [*].
This stimulates the release of cortisol.
We intimately recognize this connection. Ever feel nervous and get a “butterfly” feeling in your stomach? Well turns out those butterflies should really be called rodents. Theyre potentially destroying our protective layer.
Chronic stress can lead to many grastrointestinal diseases like GERD, IBD, IBS and even some food allergies [*].
Alcohol and antibiotics. One of the best representations of my pre carnivore years. Whenever a cold came on, I found a way to get the all mighty horcrux of a z pack.
I may have felt better quickly. But boy did I pay in stomach damage.
Our gut is a diverse community of bacteria. Antibiotics are a crude solution to disease without much precision.
They kill off infection causing bacteria, but also the naturally occuring intestinal bacteria along with them.
This loss increases the numbers of yeasts, such as Candida albicans, and bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), that normally exist at low numbers [*]
These effects don’t even reverse for at least several months [*]. And if you are like I was, you’ll use antibiotics again before you have time to fully recover.
One reason why is because the reduction in naturally occuring bacteria actually makes you more vulnerable to outside bacterial infection. The more you use antibiotics, the more you’ll actually need them [*]
Talk about a good business model…
The effects of some antibiotics like clarithromycin, metronidazole, and omeprazole can persist for at least four years [*]. Wow…wish my doctor had told me that.
How to Heal Leaky Gut with the Carnivore Diet
The gut is an ecosystem and my diet before the carnivore diet was like a massive forest fire.
If you were to design the perfect gut destroying diet, it would be my previous diet of pasta, “healthy sandwiches”, beer and antibiotics.
I was loading up on FODMAPs, eating a number of foods I was intolerant to, depressing my immune system and then piling on antibiotics to cure the issues that stemmed from my damaged gut.
No wonder I had IBS, rheumtaoid arthritis and terrble acne.
I looked like a Humira commercial merged with a proactiv one. It was not pretty.
None of my doctors thought my diet could be the culprit.
But when cutting out carbohydrates (and retiring from an illustrious beer pong career) and FODMAPs, I experienced major benefits.
However, many of my issues — some acne, brain fog and rheumatoid arthritis — still persisted.
Those issues all vanished on the carnivore diet.
The Carnivore Diet and Leaky Gut
Just 2 years ago I discovered the carnivore diet — and at risk of sounding like an infomercial — it truly worked miracles.
What is the carnivore diet? Like fight club, it has two rules:
- Eat meat
- Drink water
It’s a more restrictive version of the ketogenic diet, which has shown remarkable results.
If you already have leaky gut, your body is more susceptible to food toxins. You’re likely more intolerant to potentially damaging foods.
Thus, you may need to try a more restrictive diet.
I’m not alone in seeing benefits.
Paleomedicina, a clinic in Hungary, was able to cure a patient’s Crohn’s Disease following the carnivore diet. It was a landmark result.
It was the first ever recorded clinical example of reversing leaky gut.
And according to their team, there is NO other clinically shown way to reverse leaky gut [*].
The website meatheals.com has 1000s of posts from people seeing their autoimmune disorders, obesity, anxiety, and acne just disappear. World Carnivore Tribe on Facebook has 30,000 members.
This diet has worked incredibly well for thousands of others.
How does it work so well? Because it cures leaky cut.
There are two main ways it does so:
#1: The Carnivore Diet Cuts out ALL THE JUNK and Everything You’re Intolerant To
To heal your leaky gut, you need to remove all exogenous inflammatory sources.
The best way to do so is by being extremely restrictive. And then gradually adding back foods if you don’t react negatively.
The good thing is we know the foods that people are commonly allergic to. I mentioned some above. But as a refresher, here’s some to try to eliminate:
- High FODMAP carbs
- Added sugars
- Vegetable oils
The first thing the carnivore diet does is eliminate all of these. One of the reasons why the carnivore diet works so well is because it’s a radical elimination diet.
And in our Coca Cola guzzling, oreo-fying, triple cheeseburger eating culture, eliminating pretty much everything will serve us well.
Many people mistakenly believe we need more bacteria to cure the gut.
But in Western society, if you have gut issues, it’s most likely caused by bacterial overgrowth and inflammation from one of the sources above [*]
There are some other elimination diets, like the Autoimmune Palelothic Diet, which have also helped to cure leaky gut. But, to my knowledge, none are as effective on as wide of a range of diseases as the carnivore diet is.
But Carnivore Aurelius, What About my Beloved Veggies?
You may be thinking it’s crazy to eliminate the amazing, nutritious, vegetables that you’ve been brainwashed into eating. But this may actually hold the key to your results.
Eliminating vegetables completely eliminated my IBS and remaining acne.
How’s this possible?
Vegetables have a number of chemicals that they produce to fight off predators. These chemicals can irritate and inflame the leaky gut, and cause an immune response, especially if you’re already sensitive.
In particular, saponins and lectins found in wheat, legumes, beans, lentils, zucchini and peanuts, can cause issues.
As mentioned, Fiber also poses issues too. One study showed that removing fiber entirely cured all gastrointestinal symptoms: constipation, strain opening, bloating, anal bleeding and pain.
You need to experiment. Everybody is different. But I benefited tremendously and so did Jordan Peterson and his daughter Mikhaila by cutting vegetables. [*]
This is why the best way to start is through elimination, and then adding things back once you recover.
#2 Meat Heals Leaky Gut
The carnivore diet is beneficial for leaky gut because meat can heal your gut lining.
This happens for several reasons:
Meat Reduces Bacterial Overgrowth
Unlike FODMAPs, meat doesn’t lead to bacterial overgrowth. For many of the issues in western society, starving bacterial will help, not hurt.
The carnivore diet is a more extreme version of the Ketogenic diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammation [*]
For most of our evolutionary history, we relied on animal products for survival. Hunter gatherers generally consumed more animal products than plant products.
Grains and cereals weren’t even introduced at scale until ~10,000 years ago, which is a blink of an eye if we’re considering the millions of years of Homo Sapiens evolution.
Because of this, very few people are allergic or intolerant to meat.
If humans were allergic to meat, we never would have survived! We needed animal products for energy.
On the other hand, this is exactly why so many of us are intolerant to carbohydrates and additives. In the grand scheme of things, both are brand new dietary additions.
This also helps to explain the frightening rise of gut issues — like IBD and Chrons — which were essentially nonexistent pre 20th century and now are prevalent in 10% to 15% of the global population [*]
Protein Protects Intestinal Barrier
Among the many amino acids, glutamine and tryptophan have been reported to maintain, promote, and protect intestinal barrier function. Glutamine, one of the nonessential amino acids, is a major energy source for intestinal epithelial cell [*]
Red meat contains substantial amounts of protein per serving.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Heal Leaky Gut
Omega 3’s AHA, DHA and EPA reduced permeability [*]
Omega-3s also reverse gut imbalances — dysbiosis — and increase the production of anti inflammatory compounds.
This interplay between the gut microbiome, immunity and fatty acids maintains the intestinal wall integrity [*]
Grass fed beef liver and salmon roe are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids
Vitamin D and Vitamin A Improves the Cohesion of Intestinal Proteins
Vitamin D helps improve the strength of the protein junctions between intestinal cells [*]
Vitamin A has also been shown to increase the intestinal defense layer [*]
Both Vitamin D and Vitamin A cannot be found sufficiently in vegetable foods, but are abundant in animal products like beef liver and eggs.
How Long Does it Take to Heal Leaky Gut
Healing time depends on a number of factors:
- How many issues you currently have
- How strict you follow the diet
- How much stress your under
But luckily, the gut responds very quickly to changes. One study suggests it only takes three days to see dramatic changes [*].
If you have major gut issues, like Crohn’s disease, it could take longer to see actual results.
Within a few weeks you should start noticing changes to your gut and health. Within 30 days, you’ll know if the carnivore diet is pushing you in the right direction.
Paleomedicina sees results in 3 weeks.
To really heal the gut, however, may take up to a year or longer.
Try the Carnivore Diet for 30 Days
Commit to 30 days and jump in. This isn’t meant to be a permanent change. But after 30 days you may feel SO good that you can’t imagine giving it up.
Your body will thank you.
Well, maybe the bacteria you’ve been battling won’t. You’ll finally shut them up. But adopting the carnivore diet will show them who’s boss.
Right now they’re running the show. Theyre controlling your mental health and quality of life. You’re their puppet. They’ve brainwashed you into eating more carbohydrates for their benefit.
It’s really fucked up when you think about it this way.
It’s time to take your life back.
If you’re interested in the carnivore diet, join my Facebook group Carnivore Nation and sign up for my weekly newsletter for FREE access to the 30 Day Guide to Mastering the Carnivore Diet below.