A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health. In fact, problems with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can cause more than just stomach aches, gas and bloating or diarrhea. GI issues may underlie chronic health problems that seem unrelated to digestive health, including autoimmune diseases, skin problems and heart disease (just to name a few). So in the bigger picture, how can we deal with all that can go wrong in the gut? In Functional Medicine we use a program that goes by the simple acronym of the ‘5Rs’: remove, replace, reinoculate, repair, and rebalance. When applied to various chronic health issues, the 5R program can lead to dramatic improvement in symptoms, and sometimes even complete resolution. The elements of the 5R program are described briefly below.
- Remove – things that negatively affect the GI environment like allergies, parasites and problematic yeast or bacteria. (I often take clients through an elimination diet to help identify food triggers).
- Replace – digestive secretions with things added like digestive enzymes/bile acids for proper digestion.
- Reinoculate – using helpful bacteria to help the gut flourish through ingesting probiotic foods or supplements that contain the good bugs, along with consuming a high soluble diet that the good bugs like to eat, the prebiotics. (I’ve talked a lot about pre and pro biotics, see prior posts for more).
- Repair – the lining of the gut can repair itself through key nutrients that can often be in short supply such as zinc, antioxidants, fish oil and glutamine.
- Rebalance – what is happening with your lifestyle? Sleep, exercise and stress can all affect the gut. Getting these things in balance can have very positive effects on a health gut.
Are you curious to learn more about how you can incorporate the 5R’s into your life for optimal health? Reach out to me today to setup a personalized Functional Nutrition program suited to your needs and your health goals. I look forward to connecting!