Think of your gut as your body’s “hub”. This is because the gut is involved in virtually all aspects of your health and wellbeing; including: your immunity, mood, metabolism and energy. The sheer impact of your gut in your day to day life cannot be overstated. Anyone who has ever suffered or experienced diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux, constipation or cramping knows exactly what I’m talking about. Our past blogs have extensively covered the topic of “leaky gut” and intestinal permeability. This blog will teach how to reset your gut health and restore a healthy balance in your gut through what is known as the 5-R Approach or 5-R Protocol.
What Is the 5-R Approach?
Simply put, the 5-R Approach is a protocol designed to address specific insults to the gastrointestinal system. Developed by the Institute of Functional Medicine, this protocol is a systematic and comprehensive method that not only improves symptoms but also helps heal so you get lasting results. It entails 5 key steps, namely: Remove, Replace, Repopulate, Repair and Rebalance. Let’s break down these steps further.
Step 1: Remove
This step involves removing the stressors to your GI tract. Stressors may exist in the following different forms: Food, Infections, Stress, Medications and Supplements.
- Food: remove, from your diet, foods that are known to be gut irritants such as caffeine and alcohol. A gut-healing diet will help you resolve any food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies.
- Medications & Supplements: Contrary to popular belief, not all supplements are good for your body. Some synthetic medications and supplements have been found to cause dysfunction in the digestive system. When looking to looking for supplement, choose natural and organic supplements that support gut health such as those provided by Nourished Essentials.
- Stress: Too much stress leads to overproduction of the hormone, cortisol, which may cause inflammation in the gut.
Step 2: Replace
Once you have removed the irritants to your gut, the next step is replacing the factors necessary to optimize digestive secretions or enzymatic activity to help you properly digest food. This also entails adding in fiber is several different forms to nourish the good bacteria and eliminate toxins.
Step 3: Repopulate (Re-establish or Re-inoculate)
The next step involves restoring the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Focus on re-introducing both prebiotic and probiotic foods. Examples of prebiotic foods include: oats, garlic, leek and flaxseeds. Probiotic foods include: fermented vegetables, Kombucha and yogurt.
Step 4: Repair
The 4th stage focuses on creating an environment that supports gut-healing and long-term relief. It entails encouraging repair of the intestinal cells as well as reducing inflammation to help gut flora achieve a healthy balance.
Step 5: Rebalance
The aim of this step is to encourage practice of lifestyle choices and habits that improve the digestive system and health. Begin incorporating habits such as: stress management, positive relationships, physical activity and getting adequate sleep.
You can work on multiple steps at the same time. For example, you can initiate step 5 (Rebalance) while also carrying out steps 1 (Remove) and 2 (Replace). As you follow the 5-R Protocol, you may need to support your progress through supplementation. Prioritize organic and natural supplements such as the Happy Gut Pre + Probiotics by Nourished Essentials. It has more than 15 billion potent CFU and 15 powerful strains. It will provide the much needed support toward creating a healthy functioning gut.