5R GI Restoration

One of the most common ailments I see and treat is the imbalance in the gut.  GI related symptoms are common complaints…but they don’t have to be in order to have an imbalanced gastrointestinal tract.  Many times I will put my patients are a complete or partial 5R GI Restoration Program.  I put this protocol together with the help of a naturopathic physician, a chiropractor as well as the nutraceutical company Metagenics.  I believe it to be a through treatment for major gastrointestinal balanced like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) as well as leaky gut syndrome.

There are 5 steps to our 5R GI Restoration process:

Remove offending food substances from the food plan (using the Elimination Plan) as well as pathogenic organisms from the body using nutrition and nutraceutical support to help remove them.  In addition, specific nutrition and supplements are used to promote a healthy environment for your gut.

Replace digestive enzymes and stomach acid through supplementation, if necessary.   And equivalent replacement is the macronutrients and micronutrients that the imbalanced body may be deficient in.  Replacing both of these maximized digestion, transport and elimination as well as any deficiencies that may be present.

Reinoculate the GI tract with balanced and healthy bacteria (probiotics).  By reintroducing appropriate bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, there is further contribution to regain a desirable balance of GI microflora. This balance is important for the restoration of the intestinal barrier and its function as well as to the overall GI system health.  This reinoculation also assists with restoring a healthy and balanced immune system.

Regenerate the GI lining via lifestyle changes and advanced/targeted nutritional support. Continuing the avoidance of offending food while adding in supplementation and nutrition can keep a healthy GI system balanced.  Equally the continuation of the right probiotic for you will help maintain a healthy balance.

Retain the health and function of your GI tract with foundational lifestyle changes.  These will include adequate sleep, functional movement patterns and exercise, optimal nutrition and supplementation along with stress management and regular relaxation time.

OK…I’m Done…What’s Next?

A common misconception is that once you have gone through the 5R GI Restoration you are done and you can return to your previous lifestyle.  Although there are great changes that occur over the 5R GI Restoration period… as the song goes “We’ve only just begun…”  It is important to continue on and even improve upon the lifestyle changes that we set in place in the initial part of the plan.  Equally essential is the continuation with optimal nutrition and supplementation.  To make things easier for patients as they continue to heal and rebalance their GI tract, I have made some common instructions for patients to continue after the completion of the initial plan.

Common Sense for a common pathway…

If it is reasonable, continue avoidance of:

    • Artificial colors/ flavors / sweeteners, preservatives and chemicals
    • High Fructose Corn Syrup / Trans Fat
    • Refined Sugars
    • Dairy products
    • Gluten and gluten containing products

If you plan on reintroducing foods, then reintroduce only one new food at a time. Start with reintroducing sugar, then dairy and lastly gluten.  Introduce these foods only one at a time over the course of 3-4 days for each food.  A total of 9-12 days.  Eat the newly introduced food 2-3 times in the same day, stop eating it, then wait 48 hours to see if you have a reaction. Assess your response over that time, keeping track of your symptoms if needed. If there is no reaction to a food, you can keep that food in your food plan and continue with the next food for reintroduction. If you are unsure whether you had a reaction, retest the same food in the same manner.

Some common patterns to reach a common goal…

Once you have completed the components of the 5R GI Restoration plan…it may be time to transition to other goals.  Often the 5R plan is chosen to help with GI balance, inflammatory problems or weight loss.  To that end, it is wise to begin focusing on those goals as you transition.  So although the common pathways should exist in the paragraph above… the following may help you choose your nutrition and supplements for support of that goal.

GI HEALTH:  Recommendation are a combination of Ultra GI Replenish daily and at least a month of Ultra Flora Integrity.  This combination is best for the health of the GI mucosa and lining.

INFLAMMATION / PAIN: Recommendations are a combination of UltraInflamX 360 daily and the use of UltraFlora Balance twice a day.

WEIGHT LOSS:  Recommendations are a combination of Ultra Glucose Control daily and the use of UltraFlora Control daily.

And what if I get sick…or something goes wrong?

Although it is not common, sometimes patients have reactions or intolerances to the supplements that we use.  Usually I recommend taking a full break from the supplements if this happens.  I also recommend that patients continue using their probiotics when they take a break form their supplements since their probiotics are often helpful… but even they can cause problems at times.  If that is the case, then stopping the probiotics is recommended as well.

After a patient has taken a break from the supplements and medical foods, I recommend returning them at half of the dose…sometimes one at a time…to see which, if any of the supplements are causing problems.  If we do identify a supplement as a problem, we take it out of the program and add the other supplements back.

In conclusion…wait you’re not done!

So there is a quick overview of the functional medicine approach to digestive issues, some specific methods upon completion and a few suggestions if things are not going as well as expected.  . Unfortunately, digestive issues can get complex and complicated and they are usually not resolved with one magic recommendation, pill, potion or lotion…or even protocol. As always, it requires time to address underlying causes and time to rebalance and restore normal function again.

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