Ease Digestion the Integrative way

Is your digestive system feeling its best? Having a properly functioning gastrointestinal (GI) tract is crucial for overall health. When digestion is not working optimally, it can lead to various health issues beyond stomach discomfort, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea.

Chronic health problems can often be linked to GI issues. Conditions like autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes), skin problems (e.g., eczema, acne rosacea), and heart disease can all be affected by the health of your gut. So, how can we address potential gut problems?

In Functional Medicine, we use a program known as the ‘5Rs’:

  1. Remove: Eliminate stressors such as allergenic foods, parasites, and harmful bacteria or yeast from the GI tract. This might involve an allergy elimination diet or using medications or herbs to address specific issues.
  2. Replace: Restore digestive secretions by adding back enzymes, hydrochloric acid (commonly low in many individuals), and bile acids necessary for proper digestion, which can be compromised by diet, medications, or aging.
  3. Re-inoculate: Promote the growth of beneficial bacteria by consuming probiotic foods or supplements containing beneficial GI bacteria, as well as prebiotic foods that support their growth.
  4. Repair: Support the healing of the GI tract lining by supplying key nutrients that may be lacking in a compromised gut, such as zinc, antioxidants, fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine.
  5. Rebalance: Pay attention to lifestyle factors like sleep, exercise, and stress management, as they can significantly impact GI health.

Some interesting facts about the gut:

  • 80% of your immune system is related to your gut.
  • Your gut is often referred to as your “second brain,” and about 70% of your serotonin (a happy hormone) is produced in the gut.

The 5R program, tailored to each individual, can lead to significant improvements in symptoms and even complete resolution of some chronic health issues. Each step’s duration can vary depending on the individual’s condition.

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