Gut health is critical to our digestive system and our overall wellness. Ensuring that your gut is well taken care of is a big responsibility, and can be your ticket to faster healing.
Many patients come to me with symptoms such as reflux, bloating, fullness, constipation, and the list goes on. These issues can be caused by a number of different things, including diet, medication, other inflammatory issues, etc.
In my research I’ve found that there are five precautions you can put into practice to help to restore gut health. It’s something I refer to as “The 5 R’s:” remove, replace, re-inoculate, repair, and rebalance. Following these five steps can help identify the root cause of the issue and make it easier for you to restore your gut health and overall wellness.
Getting rid of stressors that could affect the environment of the GI tract is one of the first things I advise my patients to do. I’ve found that the most common stressor affecting the GI tract is food, specifically gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and peanuts. About 90% of the problem can be solved by removing gluten and dairy from your diet. This is because gluten and kaseen are the largest protein molecules and can be the hardest to digest for those with GI issues.
I equip my patients with a 21 day elimination diet which includes cutting out these six foods and then slowly reintroducing them into their diet so we can identify which foods cause issues.
Our stomach has digestive enzymes - most importantly hydrochloric acid and bile acid - that help break down nutrients into a more absorbable form. There are many factors that can decrease the digestive enzymes to the stomach, including diet, drugs, medications, and stress. Low enzymes can result in reflux which can worsen your GI issues.
In conventional medicine, doctors will prescribe proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers which dispose of acid. However, this can ultimately harm your gut more since our bodies need the acid to help break down food and nutrients.
At Soul of Medicine, I give my patients digestive enzymes or help them to incorporate a diet plan that includes natural digestives such as ginger and sauerkraut and involves substituting an ice cold drink for a warm one such as tea. These practices can help regulate and restore the digestive process and gut.
As food goes down past the stomach, it reaches the colon. This is where our bodies store probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that help detox our bodies and assist in the production of neurotransmitters. Taking too many antibiotics or eating meats that have been treated with antibiotics can negatively affect the gut flora including our colon. This is why adding in probiotic supplements or implementing cultural, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc. into your diet can be helpful in the restoration of the good bacteria and natural detoxification your body needs.
When the gut lining gets inflamed, the GI tract and nutrients can flow through small holes called gap junctions which results in something we refer to as “leaky gut syndrome.” Because of inflammation, these gap junctions are pulled apart, affecting the systemic circulation.
When nutrients and other complexes are deposited in the wrong location, this is where different illnesses and diseases are exposed. For example, depositing onto the joints can cause arthritis; onto our sinuses can cause sinusitis; and onto the brain can cause many different issues including ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia. This is where the important relationship between the health of the gut and the health of the brain are connected.
We can heal these gap junctions by adding fish oil supplements, L glutamine, and even broth (chicken and beef) into our every daily diet. These items are filled with the nutrients needed to restore and seal the gut.
Gut healing is not an overnight process. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to essentials such as sleep, exercise, and stress because these factors can positively or negatively affect your outcome. When the adrenals are overloaded they can affect the entire system, slowing the entire healing process.
It may sound like a lot, but by implementing all five of these tips simultaneously or step-by-step into your health regime, I’ve seen my patients achieve faster results in gut restoration.
If you are having gut issues or have questions regarding your unique situation, call us today at (270) 398-8898 or fill out our contact form and we can get started on your holistic personalized restoration plan.