Top 5 Functional Medicine Approaches for Healing Your Gut

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In functional medicine, the gut is seen as one of the primary causes of many autoimmune diseases. Improving gut health with alternatives like Trivida Functional Medicine Denver digestive help reduces symptoms and improves overall health.

This is done through a comprehensive approach, including food sensitivity testing, stool tests, and identifying the root cause of symptoms. It includes the 5 R’s: Remove, Replace, Repair, Reinoculate, and Relax.

Eliminate Stressors

There’s a lot of bacteria in our guts, and a healthy microbiome is essential for good health. An unhealthy gut can lead to a host of problems, including inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, and more.

Eliminating stressors like processed foods, refined sugar, grains, and alcohol can help ease digestive symptoms and restore a balanced gut. A practitioner practicing functional medicine can help with an elimination diet, stool, food sensitivity testing, and more to guide this process.

Ensure your diet contains nutrients to support a healthy gut lining and microbiome. Eat various vegetables, mushrooms, legumes, nuts, and high-quality protein from grass-fed animals and wild fish. It includes fiber-rich foods, fermented foods, chia seeds, psyllium husks, kombucha, and kefir.

Replace Essential Elements

Often, gut issues stem from a damaged intestinal lining. This allows undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins to pass into the rest of the body where they don’t belong, prompting the immune system to respond inappropriately.

Functional medicine addresses this by following the 5 R’s:

  • Removing harmful bacteria
  • Replacing essential elements
  • Repairing the gut lining
  • Reinoculating with probiotics
  • Rebalancing lifestyle factors

This approach alleviates symptoms and heals so you can get long-lasting results.

This stage involves replacing elements critical for optimal digestive health, such as stomach acid, bile salts, and digestive enzymes, through supplements that target each person’s testing results. It also includes a prokinetic supplement to improve motility so partially-digested foods don’t sit too long in any part of the digestive tract.

Reinoculate Beneficial Bacteria

The gut is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria help with digestion & maintain gut lining integrity. If stressors disrupt these bacteria, it can lead to a leaky gut. The 5R Protocol aims to repair gut issues & restore normal gut microbial diversity systematically.

This is done through a combination of steps, including “Remove,” “Replace,” “Reinoculate,” “Repair,” and “Rebalance.” A good starting point for a healthy diet includes whole foods, especially those high in fiber, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Also, consider consuming fermented foods like yogurt or kombucha for added probiotics. Additionally, it is important to drink lots of water to keep the digestive tract moist. Avoid processed and sugary drinks. Finally, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and exercise as well.

Repair the Gut Lining

While addressing the root causes of your health challenges can take time, it is always worth the effort. The results can be life-changing!

Once the gut environment is optimized, functional medicine practitioners focus on repairing the gut lining and replacing essential elements for digestion (as needed). These steps include removing foods that can trigger inflammation or allergies, supplementing with digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to help break food and support healthy bacterial balance in your gut, and adding nutrient-rich supplements like zinc, glutamine, quercetin, fish oil, and vitamin D to promote lining repair.

It is also important to address stressors and rebalance lifestyle factors. Practicing relaxation techniques, deep breathing, and good sleep will help to reduce your sympathetic drive and allow your parasympathetic nervous system to calm the gut lining.

Rebalance Lifestyle Factors

To improve your gut health, consider working with a functional medicine practitioner. They will uncover what is causing the imbalance and create a protocol to address it. This may include food sensitivity testing, stool and microbiome testing, and herbal supplements.

In addition to eliminating irritants contributing to leaky gut, this approach to healing your gut includes steps to replace essential elements and reinoculate beneficial bacteria. It also includes repairing the gut lining and supplying key nutrients – such as zinc, antioxidants (like vitamins A, C, and E), fish oil, and glutamine- often in short supply when your body is under stress.

If you’re ready to change your diet and lifestyle, contact me today to get started on a healthier gut!