When it comes to gut health, the 5R approach is a comprehensive functional medicine method that focuses on repairing the gut lining and restoring balance to the digestive system. This approach is based on scientific principles and has been shown to be effective in improving gut health.

What is the 5R approach?

The 5R approach stands for Remove, Replace, Repair, Rebalance, and Restore. Each step in the process plays a crucial role in healing the gut and promoting overall wellness.

How does the 5R approach work?

1. Remove: The first step involves removing any potential triggers that may be causing inflammation or irritation in the gut. This can include eliminating certain foods, toxins, or pathogens that may be contributing to gut dysfunction.

2. Replace: Once the harmful elements have been removed, the next step is to replace any essential nutrients or enzymes that may be lacking in the gut. This can help support the digestive process and promote healing.

3. Repair: The repair phase focuses on healing the gut lining and reducing inflammation. This may involve incorporating specific nutrients or supplements that support gut health and repair damaged tissues.

4. Rebalance: After repairing the gut, the next step is to rebalance the microbiome and restore healthy gut flora. This can be achieved through the use of probiotics, prebiotics, and other beneficial bacteria.

5. Restore: The final step involves lifestyle changes to remove or reduce stress. Stress is more than just mental —it has significant physical effects on the gut and other systems in the body.

Why choose the 5R approach?

The 5R approach offers a comprehensive and systematic way to address gut health issues and promote overall wellness. By following the 5R protocol, individuals can take a proactive approach to improving their digestive health and addressing underlying gut issues.

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Food as Medicine

Elimination Diet

When it comes to improving gut health, the elimination diet is a powerful tool. The elimination diet falls into the first phase of the 5R approach (remove phase) by removing or eliminating any potential irritants or triggers that may be contributing to gut inflammation or dysfunction.

This typically includes eliminating common allergens, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and processed foods. By removing these potential triggers, the goal is to reduce inflammation and allow the gut to heal.

How Long Should You Follow the Elimination Diet?

The duration of the Remove phase can vary depending on individual needs and health goals. Some people may only need to eliminate certain foods for a few weeks, while others may need to follow a stricter elimination diet for several months.

I typically recommend a minimum four week elimination diet with my clients but may need to extend longer in special cases.

It's important to work with a functional medicine provider or nutritionist to determine the appropriate timeline for the elimination diet.

What Foods Should You Avoid During the Elimination Diet?

During the elimination diet, it's important to avoid foods that are known to be common triggers for gut issues. This typically includes:

  • gluten-containing grains
  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • soy
  • legumes
  • processed foods
  • refined sugars
  • artificial additives
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

When working with a functional medicine provider or nutritionist, they can personalize the plan based on your individual needs and abilities.

What Are the Benefits of the Elimination Diet?

By following the elimination diet for the Remove phase of the 5R approach, individuals may experience a reduction in symptoms such as bloating, gas, indigestion, and fatigue. Removing potential triggers can help to identify food sensitivities and intolerances, allowing for a more targeted approach to gut health. This phase sets the stage for the next steps in the 5R approach, including replacing and repairing the gut lining.


When it comes to gut health, many factors can influence the health and integrity of your digestive system. Generally we look at things that affect inflammation, immune system, and microbiome balance.

Two of the major lifestyle aspects that get put on the back burner is focus on healthy stress management and quality sleep.

Increase Stress Resilience

Stress can have a significant impact on your gut health. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can lead to digestive issues, inflammation, and a weakened immune system. Chronic stress can even contribute to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Reducing or removing exposure to stressors or stressful situations is key, however, there are some things in life that cause stress that are unavoidable or not easy to rapidly remove. This is why it is essential to add in daily habits and practices to help combat the negative physical and mental effects of stress and improve overall well-being.

1. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins, which are known as the body's "feel-good" chemicals. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to reap the stress-relieving benefits.

2. Incorporate Prayer or Meditation

Prayer or meditation can help calm the mind and promote relaxation. Taking a few minutes each day to engage in spiritual practices can help reduce stress and improve overall mental clarity.

3. Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help activate the body's relaxation response, reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm. Try taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth for a few minutes whenever you feel overwhelmed.

4. Make Time for Self-Care

Self-care activities, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea, or spending time in nature, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Prioritize self-care in your daily routine to help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

By incorporating these lifestyle changes into your daily routine, you can effectively reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember that managing stress is essential for maintaining a healthy mind and body.

Improve Sleep Quality

Sleep is essential for overall health, including gut health. During sleep, your body repairs and regenerates cells, including those in your digestive system. Poor sleep habits can disrupt this process, leading to imbalances in gut bacteria and increased inflammation. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support a healthy gut.

1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

One of the most important factors in getting better sleep is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and can improve the quality of your sleep.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Developing a relaxing bedtime routine can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Consider activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, drinking herbal tea, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

3. Avoid Stimulants Before Bed

Avoiding stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime can help improve your sleep quality. These substances can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Opt for herbal tea instead.

4. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

The blue light emitted by screens on electronic devices can disrupt your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to limit screen time at least a one to two hours before bed to improve your sleep quality.

5. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Just be sure to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating.

6. Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Your sleep environment plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to support a good night's rest.

By making these lifestyle changes, you can improve your sleep duration and quality, leading to better overall health and well-being. Remember, quality sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle.

Supplement Support

Each phase of the 5R approach to gut health has certain supplements and nutrients it requires to restore gut health and function.

Phase 1: Remove


Immunobind contains immunoglobulin, a protein that plays a crucial role in the immune system. Immunoglobulins binds to toxins and pathogens in the gut to reduce damage and inflammation to the gut lining that can often lead to widespread inflammation, overstimulation of the immune system, and ultimately chronic illness. Immunoglobulins help support gut health by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria and strengthening the intestinal barrier. This can help reduce inflammation and improve overall digestive function.

Recommended Use:Take 1 scoop twice daily for 4 weeks then 1 scoop daily for an additional 3-5 months (recommended minimal duration 6 months)

Phase 2: Replace

Ultra Digest

Ultra Digest contains a blend of digestive enzymes to help your body break down food and absorb nutrients. Adding digestive enzymes can help alleviate digestive related discomforts such as acid reflux, gas, and bloating.

Recommended Use: Take 1-2 capsules 15 minutes prior to each meal.

Phase 3: Reestablish

Ultra Biotic

Ultra Biotic contains a multi-strain, high potency blend of probiotics to help reestablish microbial balance in the gut and restore health. By taking probiotic supplements, you can introduce good bacteria into your gut, which can help improve digestion, boost immune function, and reduce inflammation. Probiotics are especially beneficial for individuals who have taken antibiotics or have digestive issues. 

Recommended Use: Take 1 capsules daily. If severe GI distress and damage present, consider taking 3-5 capsules daily for a short period (typically 1-2 months) or opting for a high dose probiotic.

Phase 4: Repair


Glutamend contains an effective blend of nutrients and botanicals at therapeutic doses to help repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation.

Glutamend contains L-glutamine (4 g), which serves as nutrition and building blocks for the gut lining. Glutamine is an amino acid that is essential for maintaining the health of the intestinal lining. By supplementing with glutamine, you can support the repair and regeneration of the gut lining, which is essential for proper nutrient absorption and immune function. Glutamine can also help reduce intestinal permeability and support a healthy gut microbiome.

Glutamend also contains deglycyrrhized licorice root extract (DGL) and aloe vera extract, both of which protect and promote the health of the gut mucosa. The inclusion of N-acetyl glucosamine and zinc improve GI integrity and strength.

Recommended Use: Take 1 scoop daily. Recommend minimumduration: is 6 months.

By incorporating gut repair supplements, such as immunoglobulin, glutamine, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, into your daily routine, you can support your gut health and promote overall well-being.

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