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Last updated August 20, 2023

A Guide to Gain Weight with Leaky Gut

Do you need to gain weight but struggle with leaky gut?

This is the story of how I have gained 30 precious pounds on a journey to fix my gut.

I’m tired of hearing people tell me to eat a box of doughnuts, or how I need to smash a hamburger. That doesn’t help, you sound ignorant, please be quiet.

I know, I know it seems like the whole world wants to lose weight. Everywhere I turn it’s a weight loss shake or challenge. What’s a person to do when they need to gain weight in a world of people trying to lose it?

My weight dropped to a scary 90lbs last summer. When you can’t absorb your food it not only affects the way you look but the way you think. Your brain needs neurotransmitters to function and they rely on nutrients from your food. I found myself in a swirl of panic attacks, mood swings, no appetite, and depression.

After extensive research and no help from the doctors, I decided to take matters into my own hands. (It’s best to work alongside your doctor) I started eating low fodmap.

Gain Weight with Leaky Gut

I ran across the Digestive Restoration Program by Dr. Jockers that focuses on restoring the gut so you can absorb your food and gain control of your mental health.

It focuses on the bacteria and fungus in the gut and how they are affecting your mental health.

Next, I added in some fungus and bacteria supplements. I took oil of oregano capsules, olive leaf, a biofilm disruptor, b12 vitamin, and a digestive enzyme before I ate.

Oil of oregano is pretty strong stuff but I took several, several times a day. I rotated that weekly with olive leaf, taking turns every week.

One week of olive leaf, one week of oil of oregano.

My goal….get my body back.

Bacteria and Candida had taken up residence.

I was losing weight fast and didn’t have a way out. You have to fix your leaky gut if you want to gain weight back!

I’m up 30 lbs now! I never dreamed I would actually gain 30lbs.

Not only did I start to gain weight but my toenail fungus disappeared, my acne disappeared and I could think complete thoughts and remember way more things than normal.

My brain fog disappeared.

The weight didn’t come on all at once. It takes more time to gain weight than it does to lose it. You need to be patient with the process. Choosing healthy foods with high calories and being consistent in killing off those fungus buggers.

I currently don’t eat high histamine foods such as aged items, vinegar, and leftovers.

I eat high-calorie fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits. Once a while, I do have gluten-free bread a few times a week and some jasmine rice and quinoa. Those are all the grains I eat.

Related post: Simple Low Carb Gut Health Meal Plan

I don’t believe every case of someone needing to gain weight is cut and dry. Obviously, anyone dropping weight should see a doctor. All my tests from the doctor came back fine despite my losing weight.

How well are you absorbing your food?

Candida, SIBO and other gut infections can steal your nutrients and block your ability to absorb food.

I’m grateful for the 30lbs I have gained and will continue to eat healthy foods and respect my body.

Until we learn to love ourselves it’s impossible to thrive and restore our bodies.

If you feel bogged down, stuck in survival mode, or you just can’t access your full potential… Or if you experience debilitating fatigue, constipation, diarrhea…

If you suffer from brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, or depression the Digestive Restoration Program is for you!

I found Dr. Jockers program to be so helpful in gaining control over not only my gut health but my mental health as well.

You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Take a small section of that time and restore your gut so you can enjoy living again.

Take time to journal what you’re eating. Learn to listen to your body. When you are feeling like you have made progress in killing off bad bacteria and fungus, it’s good to add in probiotics.

I’m so thankful for my new 30lbs I carry around. They are precious and if I can restore my body so can you.

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  1. Hello,

    Are you still doing well? Have you been able to add anymore grains or fruit back in? I have been low FODMAP for a year but to an extreme and can not gain weight i am currently doing 2 weeks diflucan in hopes it will clear the candida. This happened to me 6 years ago i was able to heal but this time it is much worse and taking much longer.

  2. Hi Amanda, you don’t know how refreshing and encouraging this article is to me. I am 5’2” too, low weight, some gut dysbios, struggling to put on after different rounds of diets after a mold and dust exposure. The exposure caused many food and environmental allergies.
    I’m googling at 12:55 am after realizing my core body temp has dropped, likely due to this low weight.

    My question for you: you mentioned you ate high calorie meats, vegetables and fruits. I assume they were low fodmap friendly? Can you share what these items are and how often you ate them?

    I am on a low histamine diet per my naturopath and I am just now looking at fodmap. Most of the foods I eat are high fodmap and I’m uncertain which low fodmap foods would be actually high calorie.

    Thanks for creating this post. You are so wonderful for it!

  3. My husband is working with a nutritionist/trainer to try and gain 20-30lbs. He is 6’7″ and weighs abt 178lbs. His diet complies with all the nutritional suggestions for leaky gut but, after 6 weeks, he hasn’t gained a pound – I think he’s actually lost 1-2lbs. He has never smoked, doesn’t drink (maybe a glass of wine a week if he feels like it), eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and does some weight training (upper body since he strained his back). ‘Leaky gut’ is just the newest ‘diagnosis’ even though it is not medically recognized. He’s getting very frustrated at no progress despite his focused eating regimen of what is supposedly everything good and recommended. Some say probiotics good, some say bad…. the contradictions about how to manage leaky gut are confusing to say the least. He’s already spent hundreds with the nutritionist and is not willing to spend more money for another ‘diet plan’.

  4. Hi Amanda. I was diagnosed with an overgrowth of intestinal Candida, bacteria and non-toxic E-coli. My doc put me on Nystatin for the Candida, 2 supplements for the E-coli and bacteria. Also a probiotic and just yesterday a digestive enzyme. I was diagnosed with food sensitivities so am eating from the approved food list for now. I read the Candida diet and decided to try it but my weight dropped dramatically over the past couple of weeks as it is restricting more than I’ve already eliminated. Doc saw me yesterday and said I’m starving myself by restricting more food off the Candida diet. I’m 5’2” and am now down to 112 from 119. I’ve been a bit nauseous the past couple of days and the gurgly grumbling stomach I’ve had for a year has not improved. So frustrated. Trying to get my weight up to 115 (goal weight). I also have severe osteoporosis so losing weight is not helping. Would love any additional advice you might have.

  5. Hi! Glad I found someone who went through something similar. Just had a few questions.

    You said you did the Digestive Health Restoration Program. Did you go through the fasting portion of the program? If so, how was that for you, given that you were underweight at the time.

    Asking because I just ordered the program and am very hesitant about this part as I am underweight. I know for sure my nutritionist and doctor would be against me fasting. My nutritionist already told me to try a low FODMAP diet for at least 30 days. I was thinking of doing low FODMAP + AIP since I’m sensitive to eggs whites and potato, so I’m hoping that works out for me, even without a bone broth fast.

    The hardest part will be working around my coconut allergy as a lot of these healing diets seem heavily dependent on it.

    1. I think fasting can be beneficial to reduce inflammation and give the digestive system a break. With any program, you need to adjust it to fit your individual needs. If your doctor is against a portion of the program you should work with your doctor. I wish you the best and can’t wait for you to feel amazing!

  6. I am also a person that has always had a hard time gaining weight. I have always been little and have a fast metabolism as they say. I lost weight do to to much exercising and I want to eat healthier. I have respitory problems . Like colds that last for ever . Went to a funtional dr. and this is when she changed my diet and told me to exercise . I did that and lost weight. I should went slow and ask lots of questions. Now to try to gain it back is hard but I have stressed over my weight and how I look. Very skinny! I have created my body to food sensitives and now have Candida overgrowth. I di take supplements and a probiotic. My eyes hurt and at times get red, my skin itches and get red bumps. Dr wants me to try a low histamine diet. She doesnt want to strick me to much of food because of my weight. I have enrolled in a histamine program on line but haven’t really stared ot. Just reading information and saying I dont have assess to all these food items. I have to travel 70 miles to get lots of the flours, herbs and some vegs. I need help in how to get started , and a coach. I really want to help my self and heal my gut and Candida overgrouth. What do you suggest I do?

    1. It sounds like you are headed in the right direction, especially if you have a doc that even knows what a histamine diet is to advise you on that. I would continue to listen to your doc and start the histamine program even if you don’t have every single item. Work with what you have available!

  7. Hi im also suffuring from leaky gut but when i read this article everyone talking about how to reduce weight but in my case im loosing weight drastically im confused i want to get back my weight gain plz tell if leaky gut patient they loose their weight are not.please clarify my doubt.

    1. I’m sorry Nisha, I struggle to gain weight also. I did fairly well with the program in the article and cutting out foods that were irritating me. My gut was not absorbing the food and I kept losing weight. I do recommend the Digestive Health Restoration Program because it is created by a doctor. I hope you find the help you are looking for! Wish you the best.

  8. There must be a reason for being wide awake at 2am and finding this site. I am a 65 year (young) female with multiple autoimmune issues including Fibromyalgia, CFS, IBS, RLS, Chronic Candidiasis, and most recently Large Fiber Polyneuropathy. Once I stopped all pharmaceuticals, which had caused me to gain 65# over a 5 year period with no relief, I have now lost all of that unhealthy inflammation, however my body is severely undernourished and I need to stop this train. I am less than enthused about eating anything because so many foods cause one bad reaction or another. Help please?

    1. Hi Deb, It sounds like you have been through a lot! I’m so sorry you are struggling. Have you considered keeping a food journal and writing down exactly how you feel after eating each food? It might help you find things that agree with your body. Wishing you the best!

  9. I found your article so useful. I have a similar case, doctors did not find any disorder, however, I have lost 25 pounds within a year, have digestive issues, a terrible digestive reflux, white tongue with clear phlegm and no energy. I did take antibiotics but no change. I would love to follow up with you since I think that I can learn from your experience. I feel happy that I found your page.

  10. Thanks for sharing that. I,d been trying to get off tpn but I can’t maintain the weight. I have a clagett window that robs 30percent of my nutrition I eat healthy but not enough calories. Plus I have leaky gut and other autoimmune diseases. I just started Dr.Amy Myers protocol for leaky gut. I’m hoping and praying.

  11. I believe I have leaky gut, sibo, candida and parasites. I am 87 pounds and scared. I already try to eat low fodmap, histamine etc.
    I would appreciate any input you might have for me.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Karen, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. If you are 87lbs I would advise you need to work with a physician, it sounds like you are not absorbing your food and have a gut infection. You may require antibiotics if you have an infection. I hope you find someone you can work with. Never ever give up, I know how hard it is. You are worth it!

  12. Hi Amanda,

    Another skinny here trying to get my weight up with a bad gut. You said that you ate jasmin rice, I love jasmin rice and was curious to know how much did you eat in a week? I keep seeing different articles on the topic that are opposed to eating rice. It doesn’t do anything bad to me and felt that a few times a week should be fine. One last thing, how do you feel about occasional almond flour/coconut sugar choc chip cookie?

    1. Hi Dez, some people do great on low carb but I felt I needed a little higher carb content for me personally. I ate jasmine rice a few times a week. Overall low fodmap is a great way to reduce bad gut bacteria and candida. I think it’s ok to have an occasional treat but if you ate it every day you’re not really starving off the bad bacteria. They eat what you eat. The plan you follow won’t look exactly like mine, listen to your body and do what you think is best. Good luck!

  13. Hi Amanda I just want to say how awesome it is to finally hear about there being a way to reverse leaky gut. Every time I’ve run into a doctor I feel like I’m not being diagnosed with the correct illness and it scares me. I hope to talk to you further if possible!

    1. I am looking for a support system with healing leaky gut and gaining weight back. If you are struggling with leaky gut and want a healing buddy please call me at 267 752 3779 and maybe we can help each other feel that we arent alone

  14. Hi Amanda! A big thankyou for this article which finally offers help for those struggling to gain weight.
    I’ve been suffering from leaky gut and chronic fatigue and I’ve received so much contradictory advice…I’m left confused!

    Is cider vinegar, kefir, cheese, to tinned sardines, fresh yeast ok to take?
    Oregano oil…. are there any dangers to taking several drops a day?
    Is gluten to be eliminated completely or is a little allbran/ wholemeal bread ok?

    Could starting an IVF treatment jeopardise my recovery? Best to avoid?

    A big thanks again, any advice is welcome, I’m pretty desperate and underweight

    1. Hi Anne, I’m glad you found the article helpful. If you are underweight I’m assuming you are not absorbing your food properly. Repairing the gut takes time. Adding in a digestive enzyme before you eat can help with absorption. I am not a doctor so this is just my opinion. Everyone’s body deals with these foods you listed differently. I will say after I dealt with my gut infection, I could add in more foods and I also gained weight. The oregano oil I took was in capsule form, I didn’t use an essential oil, it’s too harsh to try and get down. I think it’s best to eliminate foods that irritate the gut while you’re trying to repair it. I personally didn’t eat gluten or high histamine foods such as vinegar or aged items and I did eat low fodmap foods. My whole goal was to kill off bad gut bacteria and candida. Especially candida. After killing off the candida I started to gain. I’m actually up 25lbs now. I did a review on the Candida Diet Program if you are interested. Just let me know. Thanks

  15. Hi Amanda,
    Did you eat the Fodmap approved fruits during those two months.
    Also, did you take probiotics?

    Thank you,
    John D

    1. I did eat fruits on the low fodmap plan. I didn’t take probiotics because my goal was to kill off bad gut bacteria. I added in the probiotics after I was done killing off the bad bacteria. Thanks for the comments!

  16. Hi Amanda,

    How long did it take for you to start gaining weight after starting the diet? Also you didn’t eat any sugar at all correct? No fruit?

    1. I ate low fodmap for about 2 months before I started gaining. It’s best to keep a journal and see what foods agree with you and which ones don’t. Everyone’s body is a little bit different. I personally didn’t eat sugar at all or fruit, only low fodmap approved foods. Hope that helps!

  17. Dear Amanda, me and my wife have chronic fatigue from the last 6 years and G. I problems. recent CSDA tests showed large excess candida growth but what has baffled us that doctors do not have an explanation for our inability to gain weight. This is the first article of its kind in 6 years that I have seen on the internet that links candida and leaky gut to inability to gain weight. EVERY other article does not address this or talks about how to loose weight. I feel I would benefit most from someone who has first hand experience with the same issues and then resolved.

    Please could you consider us for some advice or direction. My 4 kids are also suffering from candida infection of the gut and may be other bugs. I am more than happy to make payment as you request. Hope is what is keeping us going so…..
    With hope and wishes.


  18. Hi Amanda, I am very happy to have found this article because i have very similar symptoms. Can you say how you have been doing since then? Have you been able to maintain your desired weight? Thank you and God bless..

    1. Yes I have maintained my weight after killing off bad gut bacteria and fungus. I believe digestive enzymes also played a role in helping my body absorb the proper nutrients that I wasn’t getting before. The best of luck to you!

  19. You have no idea how happy I am that FINALLY someone isn’t trying to lose weight and heal themselves! I am 123 lbs now but was 143 lbs. Rapid weight loss and I feel like I look sick! 123 lbs seems good but when you’re almost 6 ft tall…sucks! I want my body back too! I am starting today my healthy gut and weight gain process. I’m tired of being called lanky lol thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Amanda
      I’ve been researching for 8 years why I lost soo much weight and still losing today. I was 150 lbs now I’m probably 80-85 lbs going doctors tomorrow I see him every month or two. Did testing I have leaky gut, Candida and dysbiosis. I didn’t test for sibo yet but I’m buying online test soon. I just wanna say your the first person to talk about your severe weight loss and sure gives me hope and also advice. Thank you if you have any suggestions please do so. I need help. I did purchase metagenics 28 day program diet to clean up my gut. Didn’t start it yet but I’m going to. Can you give me some tips on food to eat to gain weight? I know some but haven’t gained any from them. I have many symptoms that’s it’s been hell. I have extreme fatigue that I lay down all day and high cortisol (doctor at lab said it was the highest he seen in 38 years) so many more that it will take to long to discuss here. I’ve written my story on many of these sites that it’s worthless. Yea depression set in long ago can’t shake it. Ok thanks again Kurt

      1. HI Kurt, I would suggest keeping a journal of what you eat and how it makes you feel. An elimination type diet will clue you into types of foods causing inflammation and not allowing you to absorb your food. What causes inflammation for you may be very different from other people. I wish you the best of luck! Never give up hope. You could find the answers you are looking for an turn your health around.