The 5 ‘R’ Approach to Healing Your Gut

digestive-system-health6-e1372210098688I think of the gut as our body’s “hub” because it is involved in every aspect of our health; mood, energy metabolism, immunity are just a few examples. And if you have issues with acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating or nausea (and really, who hasn’t experienced these things?), you understand the impact that gut health can play in your day-to-day life. There are a number of things that can throw our gut out of balance and lead to the aforementioned symptoms including illness (virus, infections), stress, dysbiosis (where you gut bacteria are out of balance), food allergies and sensitivities, lack of fiber, parasites, and a whole number of other reasons. It can be really difficult to restore balance when you don’t know where to start in figuring out the culprit -and most likely, it is a combination of factors that are contributing to your symptoms.

Here is where I work with my patients to implement the 5 ‘R’ Approach.

This is a modified version of the Institute for Functional Medicine’s model, and it focuses solely on diet and lifestyle interventions.

1. Remove: whatever is either in excess or is a suspected (or known) sensitivity or allergen. Sometimes this requires a bit of investigative work and mapping of symptoms to see if there are patterns. Food sensitivities are tricky because your symptoms may occur hours or days after exposure. This is where I will often implement an elimination-style diet and/or do MRT food sensitivity testing.

2. Replace: Once the offending foods and lifestyle triggers are removed, I work on replacing the factors necessary to optimize digestive secretions/enzymatic activity (help you properly digest), adding in fiber is several different forms to support gut transit time and motility (elimination of toxins). Here we also will look at repletion of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

3. Repopulate: restoring the balance of good bacteria in your gut is absolutely crucial to overall health. This involves using probiotic foods, fiber-rich foods, and sometimes a supplement.

4. Repair: The gut lining can be severely compromised during periods of inflammation, stress and when exposed to allergens over time. Repairing the gut lining is needed to ensure proper absorption of nutrients. This involves eating foods rich in zinc, vitamins A, D and C and amino acids, particularly L-glutamine.

5. Rebalance: This is where lifestyle really comes into play. It is important to address the external stressors in your life that may increase your sympathetic drive in the nervous system and reduce the parasympathetic drive. With practices like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, good sleep and other mindfulness-based practices, you can help restore hormone balance that will protect your gut and subsequently, your entire body.

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  1. home domain on February 3, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    love it thank you for the info

  2. Pamela on July 6, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I have remembered what Hippocrates has said, “All disease begin in the gut.” Though it has been over thousands years, this statement from the Greek Physician is can’t be vanished because of how it helped us to our optimal health. The bodily process of digestion and absorption is one of the most important to our health. My one way approach to heal my gut is drinking ashwagandha root, it has properties to regulate the digestive system, protects the liver and constipation. These diseases can’t be acquired or developed we don’t eat the unhealthy foods.

  3. Barbara on July 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    While reading this I’m holding a note in one hand just to make sure to remember your tips. It’s easy to understand and I guess I can do this 5R little by little until good things happen. I truly appreciate this post. Keep educating people dear Ayla. Thank you for this.

  4. penyebabpenyakit on August 28, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Nicce post. I was checking constantly this blog andd I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specifically the final section 🙂 I
    deal with such information a lot. I used to be looking for this particular information forr a very long time.

    Thanks and good luck.

  5. Gavin on February 27, 2016 at 12:49 am

    It’s actually a cool and udeful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared
    this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like
    this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. […] 5R Approach to dealing with an autoimmune condition […]

  7. […] 5R Approach to dealing with an autoimmune condition […]

  8. Dan on April 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hello & thank you. I’ve been fighting MS or Lyme for around 12 years. I love the 5 R approach (makes perfect sense). I’ve already changed my diet but wow, I have a lot of investigating to do. Hopefully I c as n get all of my bloodwork done soon.

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