How to Reset your Gut and Why
Following on from Part 3 on Gut Health in our Nutrition Series, we’re going to drill down into the guts of it all (pun intended).
Gut health is a bit of a buzz word at the moment so I wanted to take a moment to once again tap into the knowledge of our resident Nutritional Therapist and Gut Health Guru, Gus Martin.
Check out Gus’ five stages for a gut health reset.
I took these steps earlier this year as Gus, my nutritional therapist, prescribed them for me. It’s not easy and I could not have completed it without his expert help. If you are advised by your medical practitioner to undertake a similar journey I would advise that you take note of what else is going on in your life and make sure you have the time and focus to be able to do it properly.
As is the case with everything we talk about, always speak to your medical professional if you are experiencing any issues and follow their guidance.
With the constant assault from the stresses and chaos of modern day life it is little wonder that so many of us are becoming run down and living what feels like a below par existence.
The constant bombardment of ever increasing stress, lack of sleep, intake of processed food and exposure to environmental toxins is really taking its toll on our day to day quality of life as well as our health.
Our bodies are simply not designed to take this kind of onslaught and it is often the gut where we see the biggest cracks appear. When this situation occurs it is time to press the metaphorical reset button and return to the basics to regain your health.
Around 50% of the clients I see in my clinic are starting to show signs that this onslaught of stress is starting to impact their gut health and daily lives.
Often, on paper, they are supposedly healthy individuals who should be enjoying life to the full. Their blood markers often show "normal" and the doctor has told them they have nothing to worry about. However, despite the tests showing no abnormalities and the doctor telling them they "are fine" they know something is not right.
More often than not they have daily gastrointestinal discomfort in the form of some combination of bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas or reflux. To add insult to their injury they have energy levels that are terrible and they are more often than not suffering from a low level of anxiety due to how they are feeling day-to-day.
These signs and symptoms all suggest that the gut is in a far from an optimal place and until some considerable attention is placed on restoring its health the situation (described above) will only deteriorate.
When a client comes to me and presents this tale I almost always turn to a 5R protocol:
Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair and Rebalance.
1. We REMOVE any: nutrient depleted foods, processed foods, poor-quality fats, parasites, metals, infections and foods that don't love their body.
Often this means the removal of common culprits such as gluten, dairy and sugar/alcohol, the introduction of anti-microbial agents to help kill off any pathogens as well as the introduction of certain foods/nutrients that boost the detoxification process.
2. Next, we REPLACE any processed, nutrient depleted foods with nutrient dense, nutritious whole foods, nutrients (supplements), digestive enzymes, Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) and bile salts.
It is not always necessary to utilise all of these tools, but some combination of the above will help the gut start to recover and begin to digest and assimilate food properly. This, in turn, reduces the inflammatory cascade and provides a substantial boost to not only the health of the gut but also every other system.
3 &4. Stages three (REINOCULATE) and four (REPAIR) can be separate and can also be undertaken in the opposite order depending on the individual. However, with most clients, I combine them together.
At this point, the client has now been eating a "clean diet" with some combination of digestive support for at least 2-4 weeks and their gut is starting to show signs of improvement. It is now likely, but not always, an appropriate time to introduce some probiotic support, in the form of fermented foods and/or supplemental probiotics/prebiotics.
We will also normally introduce some healing foods, herbs or nutrients at this stage to further aid the recovery process. These include foods such a glutamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, liquorice, EFA's, goldenseal/berberine and marshmallow root/flower (anti-inflammatory). We may even consider some kind of fasting protocol as this can be effective for helping the gut repair.
5. The final stage is REBALANCE. This is all about ensuring the client makes the appropriate change in their lifestyle to ensure the same problems don't continue to manifest.
I actually broach this area in the first consultation to illustrate the importance it carries. To me, the client must understand how their lifestyle has contributed to their ill-health. I find that once this is explained and the "penny drops' creating lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and sleep pattern adjustments, are far easier to implement and the results then follow.
If you do suffer from gut related issues then please be rest assured you are not alone. Please do not suffer in silence. There are many others going through the same issues and just because something is common it does not make it normal. Please use the stages in this blog to help you decide what action you need to next take to start to resolve the issues you face.
See your doctor or nutritional therapist to take the first step, especially if you are suffering from any digestive health issues.