You may have been able to ignore digestive distress in the past, but I’m guessing that Thanksgiving made it a little more difficult. What are your digestive symptoms? Bloating, gas, indigestion, hiccups, pain, burping, or disrupted elimination? Many will simply take a medication for temporary relief, not realizing that their body is sending a cry for help. Let’s review ways to restore your gut health with the 5R approach.
Restore Your Gut Health With The 5R Approach
When our digestive system is not working properly, we are not able to properly break down the food we consume. This prevents us from absorbing the nutrients they provide and also allows parasites and other nasties to enter our bodies through broken defenses.
Functional Medicine views disrupted digestion as the beginning of disease development. Thus, the starting point for resolving (or preventing) disease is healing digestion. Functional practitioners address digestive distress with the 5R gut health approach – Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair, and Replace.
Phase 1: Remove
The first step in the 5R approach is to remove known gut irritants and “triggers,” including known food sensitivities, food allergies, and foods that are not tolerated.
Based on the symptoms reported by my clients, I may recommend the elimination of gluten, dairy, eggs, nightshades, or nuts. Other possible causes of digestive distress could involve foods including salicylates, histamines, or lectins.
Phase 2: Replace
The second step is to replace digestive secretions to support more effective digestion. These would include stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile. Digestion can be supported by apple cider vinegar or digestive bitters, and select supplements to provide what the body needs. For those who have had their gall bladder removed, a key supplement to aid with fat digestion is Ox Bile taken with meals.
Phase 3: Reinoculate
The third step is to restore the gut microbiome. I’ve written about the symbiotic relationship we have with bacteria in our gut. This vital microbiome can be damaged by antibiotics, antacids, pain reliever medications, hand sanitizers, drinking chlorinated water, or even using Splenda sweeteners.
There is a two-sided method here – consuming vegetables that provide prebiotics that feed the bacteria, and probiotics that provide added bacteria. Prebiotic foods contain insoluble fiber such as eggplant, onion, okra, apples, and berries. Probiotic foods are fermented, which increases the supply of bacteria, including sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt.
Phase 4: Repair
The fourth step is to repair the gut lining to seal the mucosal barrier and tight junctions in the small intestines. I have had many clients who reported that they had removed foods causing trouble for their bodies, replaced digestive secretions, and reinoculated with probiotics, yet did not get the results they sought. That is because they stopped short without repairing the gut lining to seal the wall.
Phase 5: Rebalance
The final step in this approach is to rebalance the nervous system and the gut by focusing on healthy lifestyle interventions such as stress management and sleep. While the outside comes into our bodies through the digestive system, it works in the context of our whole body. The body environment must also be addressed for healing to occur.
5 Phases To A Happy Gut
Ask any biologist or medical professional and they will agree that our bodies are intricate. Yet, you have the power to influence your body’s function through the choices you make throughout each day. Are you ignoring your digestive symptoms?
Perhaps you haven’t been prioritizing this and reaping the powerful benefits it can give you with your health?
Guiding You To A Healthy Gut
If you struggle to incorporate the 5R model, having a coach guiding and supporting you may give you quicker successes. I love to connect with other health seekers and I’m available to help you pursue wellness. Easily reach out to me here or on Facebook and we can talk about getting your gut health back in shape.