There is a lot of information floating around about gut health these days. It has raised our awareness of the importance of gut health. The microbes in our bodies outnumber us 10:1.
Studies show that poor gut health can lead to fatigue, immune system dysfunction, joint pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and much much more.
Improving gut health is a cornerstone of functional medicine. Functional medicine addresses
poor gut health with a “5 R protocol:”
1. REMOVE allergens and food sensitivities. These can cause inflammation & irritation. The elimination diet is a great way to identify potential triggers. Another element of removing is to address any potential pathogens, parasites, yeast, etc. We test for these through a stool test. We typically treat them with herbal antimicrobials vs. antibiotics.
2. REPLACE: this is specifically looking at digestive enzymes and pancreatic enzymes that need to be replaced. We use various supplements to replace what is lacking and we evaluate the needs for them based on symptoms and or stool tests.
3. REINOCULATE: specifically with prebiotic and probiotics. We use nutritional sources of these as well as supplements. We once again evaluate the need for them based on symptoms and or a stool test. It is important to note the importance of prebiotics as there are only a few microbes we can replace with probiotics and they tend to just be place- holders. While prebiotics are fertilizers for all of the good bacteria in your microbiome.
4. REPAIR: The gut lining is a vital part of our gut health. We repair this using supplements and essential nutrients to repair and maintain a healthy gut lining.
5. REBALANCE: This is another key part of the 5 R protocol. It is easy to skip over but can be as powerful or more powerful than the other Rs. We want to evaluate sleep , exercise and self-care practices and work together towards sustainable lifestyle changes in all these areas. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your gut health and the 5 R protocol please schedule an appointment with Dr. Meyer or our nurse practitioner Sarah Julianelle.