PROTECT YOUR GUT LINING

Is your gut ‘leaky’ – letting improperly digested foods, toxins and bad bacteria through that could have an impact on your health? Though mainstream medicine used to dismiss the idea of a leaky gut as a bit cranky, opinion has been starting to shift, and there’s now good evidence that increased gut permeability is linked with inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease and possibly with chronic fatigue, asthma, allergies and arthritis.

Whether the ‘leakiness’ is a symptom or a cause of these conditions isn’t certain, but, either way, an intestinal lining that doesn’t have good barrier properties does your health no favours. This is because when particles such as partially digested protein pass into the bloodstream, the immune system recognises them as foreign and guns into action, leading to damaging inflammation.

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Try the following dietary tips to help prevent gut leakiness: Try cutting out gluten – it can cause gut cells to release a protein that breaks apart the junctions that join intestinal cells. Take a probiotic such as Udo’s Choice Super 8 Gold Hi-Count Microbiotics (£25.99 for 30; udoschoice.co.uk) – gut bacteria can affect intestinal permeability. Cut down refined carbohydrates – they also change the balance of gut bacteria. Take vitamin D – some evidence shows it protects the integrity of the intestinal lining.

TAKE YOUR CUE

MitoQ is the happening new supplement that’s a patented form of Coenzyme Q10 claimed to increase energy levels, slow ageing of skin and organs and perk up brain function. But at £42 for a month’s supply (mitoq.com/uk/), it’s quite an investment, so do these claims stack up? I’d say a tentative ‘yes’ – a recent study in Hypertension showed that when older people took MitoQ, the dilation response of their blood vessels (essentially how elastic their arteries were) improved by 42 per cent – making their vascular/heart health similar to that of someone 15 to 20 years younger. CoQ10 is manufactured in most cells in our body, where it helps mop up free radicals and keep energy production working efficiently. We produce less with age and illness, but CoQ10 is only about five per cent absorbed. MitoQ is in a unique form that passes more readily into the cell’s mitochondria (energy powerhouses), where it needs to be.

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