Dr. Hagmeyer explains How The Gut Healing Protocol or 4R for Leaky Gut, Parasites, inflammation, Gut Dysbiosis can work towards healing your gut.
Having a digestive system that works right is a key component to maintaining and restoring health. The 4 Step protocol (4R Gut Repair Protocol) for healing a leaky gut can often be the answered prayers for people who suffer with SIBO, IBS, Diarrhea and a host of other chronic health problems.
The digestive system, also referred to as the gut, is responsible for much more than just processing the foods we take into our bodies. The majority of our immune system, and almost all of the chemicals our body uses to regulate mood, are located in our guts. Because of these connections between digestive health, immunity, and emotional well-being, problems in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can go beyond the usual symptoms of pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
They can actually be the main cause of various chronic health problems such as hormonal imbalances, eczema, rosacea, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How does one heal their gut Naturally?
In Functional Medicine we use an effective approach that we call the 4R program – Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, and Repair. This approach can be extremely effective when dealing with disbiosis, gut infections, yeast overgrowth, and parasites. Here is how it works.
First, identify and remove the factors or triggers that may be contributing to your symptoms, including:
- Stress: Stress can impair your digestion and absorption—particularly if you eat too quickly, too much, or at varying times of day. There are tests that look at your bodies ability to adapt to stress. These tests evaluate cortisol levels.
- Food Intolerances/Food Sensitivities: Develop an elimination diet plan or better yet get tested for food sensitivities/intolerances. The diet involves removing potentially allergenic foods for a length of time (the length of the elimination phase will vary based on your individual needs and protocol), then reintroducing the foods, one at a time, every two days, while monitoring for symptoms. Potentially food sensitivities include processed foods, oranges, dairy, eggs, corn, grains with gluten, pork, shellfish, beef, veal, soy, peanuts, alcohol, coffee, soda, refined sugar, chocolate, and ketchup. Testing for food sensitivities can save you time and alleviate the stress of knowing which foods are problematic and which ones aren’t. Delayed food reactions as those seen with food intolerances can take up 72 hours or longer before causing symptoms. This is why while elimination diets may work for allergies, they don’t work as well for food intolerances. This is why we recommend testing.
- Pathogens: Bacterial and yeast overgrowth, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other toxic substances are common contributors to gut-related symptoms. A variety of tests are available identify and remove pathogens. Infections would most likely be from parasites, yeast or bacteria. A comprehensive stool analysis can offer incredible insight into the health of your gut microbiome and determining if an infection is present. Infections can be treated with either herbs, anti-parasite herbs, anti-fungal herbs. I often prescribe and approach that incorporates herbal antibiotics and anti fungals such Caprylic acid, Artemisia, grapefruit seed extracts, black walnut hull.
Replace with good. Just as important as eliminating trouble in the gut, we want to reintroduce the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption. These digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids that are required for proper digestion. Often these enzymes have been depleted by diet, drugs (such as antacid medications), diseases or aging. (Read how antacid medications make you sick).
Work with your Functional Medicine physician to determine supplements that could support your healing, such as:
Third, for six to twelve weeks, reinoculate your gut with good bacteria to help regain a healthy microflora balance. Intestinal microflora are microorganisms that live in our gut and are helpful in aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. This can be accomplished with a variety of foods and supplements:
- Fermented foods: These foods include tea, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.
- Prebiotics:These are non-digestible plant components that nourish the body’s microflora. They include:
- Oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS): Types of carbohydrate found in some fruits and vegetables, including leeks, onions, asparagus, jicama, bananas, garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes; also available in supplement form
- Arabinogalactans: Arabinogalactans are a type of soluble fiber; small amounts can be found in carrots, radishes, pears, corn, wheat, and tomatoes, although if you’re looking for a meaningful amount, they are available in supplement form
- Soluble fiber: Fiber that easily dissolves in water; found in sources such as oatmeal, beans, apples, pears, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, psyllium, cucumbers, and celery
- Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that aid the digestive process and keep our gut health and intestinal function strong. Probiotics are available as supplements; purchase a refrigerated brand with live, mixed flora such as lactobacillus and acidophilus.
Fourth, repair the lining of your gut through good nutrition—this can take up to 12 months or longer in cases where harsh medications have been used.. In addition to an allergen-free, healthy diet, a variety of foods and supplements may help to reduce inflammation and support cell growth in your digestive tract:
The gut has the capability to repair itself when fueled with the proper nutrients. Other nutrients that are key components to gut repair include
Whatever problems you may be experiencing related to gut health, the 4R program should be one of the very first steps toward good health. I have personally seen chronic and inflammatory illnesses completely reversed very quickly by using the 4R method.
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