A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health. Research is clear that the primary place inflammation occurs is in the gut.Inflammation can lead to both gut dysfunction as well as systemic inflammation — this may lead to fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, weight gain/loss, headaches, sinus issues, as well as serious medical conditions such as autoimmune disease (such as Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s, MS, Hashimoto’s, Sjogren’s, etc), brain inflammation, allergies, asthma, autism, ADHD, and chronic skin conditions.
In functional nutrition, which views the body as a whole and seeks to uncover root cause solutions, we use a system to restore digestive and whole body health that goes by the simple acronym of the ‘5Rs’: remove, replace, repair, reinoculate, and rebalance. It is the deep association between GI function and ill health that the 5-R Program is intended to address. When applied to various chronic problems, the 5R program can cause a dramatic improvement in symptoms, and often a complete resolution of the health issue.
5-R Program Goal
The goal of the 5-R Program for digestive health is to accomplish the following:
- To identify the timeline of health events that have lead to current health concerns and address nutrition and lifestyle factors through education and appropriate interventions.
- To normalize digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients, while promoting effective detoxification.
- To normalize the balance of gastrointestinal bacteria and eradicate any pathogens.
- To promote diversity within the gut microbiota.
- To promote gastrointestinal healing through diet, appropriate supplementation, and lifestyle intervention.
A full 5-R Program takes approximately 6-8 months to complete. It is very important that you are prepared to implement somewhat significant nutrition changes to your diet, add critical supplements, make changes or additions to your lifestyle practices, and perhaps think “outside the box” when it comes to supporting your health. Without these components, you will be unable to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefit.
5-R Program Elements
Here is a brief description of the elements of the 5R program for digestive health.
- Remove: Remove stressors. Get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract including allergenic foods, parasites or other bad bugs such as bacteria or yeast. This might involve using an allergy “elimination diet” to find out what foods are causing GI symptoms or it may involve taking drugs or herbs to eradicate a particular bug. Stressors may also be emotional, related to environment, trauma, or interpersonal stress and that is why a collaborative approach is encouraged.
- Replace: Replace digestive secretions by adding back things like digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids that are required for proper digestion. These may be compromised by diet, drugs, diseases, aging, or other factors.
- Reinoculate: Help beneficial bacteria flourish by taking in probiotic foods or supplements and by consuming the high soluble fiber foods that good bugs like to eat, called “prebiotics.” Foods rich in prebiotics can be helpful and harmful to the gut, depending on your stage of gut healing.
- Repair: Help the lining of the GI tract repair itself by supplying key nutrients often in short supply in a disease state, such as zinc, antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A, C, and E), fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine.
- Rebalance: Pay attention to lifestyle choices. Sleep, the way you approach and eat food, your emotions, exercise and stress can all affect the GI tract. Also activating your vagus nerve for digestive and optimal health is key!
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT
You have heard it said, “you are what you eat.” In Functional Nutrition, we take it a step further in our belief that “you are what you eat, and then absorb, and then what you do or do not detoxify.” The GI tract performs many functions key to your overall health and well-being.
- DIGESTION– This is the process whereby our food is broken down into smaller portions that are more easily absorbed by the intestines.
- ABSORPTION– This is the process whereby the digested food is taken up by the intestine and delivered to the body for utilization as energy, nutrition, and other cellular functions.
- EXCLUSION– This refers to the barrier function performed by the GI tract as it appropriately excludes substances from entering the body.
- DETOXIFICATION– This is the complex process involving the liver and GI tract whereby toxins are metabolized for elimination from the body. Toxins include such things as medications we take that must be metabolized; the pesticides, preservatives, dyes, and flavor-enhancers we ingest knowingly in our food; and the over 4 million chemicals present in our environment not intended for use in our bodies.
- ELIMINATION– After digestion has occurred and the metabolic phase of detoxification is complete, the GI tract must then eliminate the digestive and metabolic wastes of these processes. Some refer to this as excretion.
Reclaim a Peaceful Gut with the
6-Month JBS Gut Restoration Program
The 5 R’s are the foundation of my individualized, comprehensive Gut Restoration Program — designed to get to the root causes of your digestive symptoms and chronic illness. This is the process I used to help myself and clients just like you to recover. In just 6 months you could be free of the pain and dysfunction that have kept you sidelined from life.