Restoring digestive balance is a several step endeavor. Moreover, the steps should occur in order. In fact, when building a house, you don’t start with the furniture first.
It would be unwise to decorate the inside if you don’t have walls, windows, or doors. When creating your best health, it is no different.
Likewise, you have to start with a solid foundation when it comes to your gut. There are 4 steps we use in functional medicine.
Anything that threatens the foundation must get first attention.
However, that is not how the majority of people go about fixing digestive health. Every new gimmick or supplement on the market becomes the next big fix. Unfortunately, that is a wrong-way approach.
You might be surprised to learn that even probiotics won’t be very useful if the rest of your gut has lost its integrity.
Digestive Balance- The FOUR Foundations
The functional medicine protocol I used to heal my gut and restore digestive balance is called the “4 R’s protocol. I used this protocol to restore digestive balance. The FOUR foundational steps are as follows:
There is so much that we can do to keep out that which could disturb YOUR foundation. It’s about keeping chemicals out while at the same time REMOVING toxic things that are already in our bodies. This step takes time.
You begin by eliminating certain foods we know to be allergens or irritants first. We identify those which pose issues among the most significant number of people
Why take a chance when building your new foundation? After all, we would not build a new house with old drywall.
We face approximately 90,000 environmental substances common to our surroundings. The FDA has evaluated very few of these 90,000+ chemicals. Therefore, we have to consider the chemicals found in food or anything we might ingest.
Also, that would include the water in which we drink or bathe. The sheer amount of chemical -unevaluated for safety is mind-boggling.
Are we just an experiment of the “double blind-randomized control” variety for a study to complete at a later date?
Conventional farming heavily sprays crops with glyphosate to prevent bugs from eating the food. Glyphosate puts holes in the stomachs of bugs. We would be remiss to think this isn’t happening to us.
Step 1: Digestive Balance Starts Here
You would begin removing toxins in food and your home environment. Next, you would want to restore or replace what your digestive system needs to extract the nutrients from that food -Digestive enzymes.
Digestion starts in your mouth, so having a healthy microbiome in the mouth is as important as having that same health in the gut. Our digestive system is one extremely long tube that begins at the mouth and ends, well, you know where it ends.
Simply removing the two items below is a great start.
- Get rid of your fluoride toothpaste
- Get rid of alcohol based mouth washes
Your mouth will be healthier, and your thyroid will be healthier also. Besides, just because a toothpaste says it is all-natural does not mean you shouldn’t check the label for fluoride.
“Repeated exposure to fluoride causes deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs.”
Heartburn Affects Millions
I share some statistics here with you. What I share here may come as a surprise. First, the statistics on heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The main symptom – heartburn.
- “Over 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn at least once a month.
- The estimation is that over 30% of adult Americans experience acid reflux every day.
- GERD effects people of all ages, including infants and children, but the risk increases dramatically for people over the age of 40.
- One-third of GERD patients develop erosive esophagitis.
- 10-15% of GERD patients develop Barrett’s esophagus.
- And of course your “run-of-the-mill”, belching, gas, and bloating is something not many escape.
But, is it really “run-of-the-mill”? All of this sounds like a problem of too much acid doesn’t it?
The Stomach Acid Conundrum
Achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria is the medical term used for little or low stomach acid. The allopathic medical system does itself great injustice by not recognizing the two sides of the acid issue.
The system does injustice to itself. Remember that most docs are symptom-presented-drug-solution-based. If the solution were as simple as I am going to outline, nobody would make any money.
But, recommending antacids has consequences. BIG ones.
Step 2: Replacing Digestive Enzymes
Most symptoms that present as too much acid-are actually a case of too little acid. You will learn how the symptoms of each are identical
Stomach acid: HCL (hydrochloric acid) has some very critical functions. Breaking proteins into essential amino acids and nutrients small enough for your body to assimilate is NOT a job for the weak.
You need to have adequate digestive enzymes for this important task. Proteins are especially difficult to break down.
HCL has a stimulating effect on the pancreas to produce the bile and enzymes necessary for the more advanced breakdown of proteins, fats, and some carbs. Some carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth.
Furthermore, opportunistic bacteria and yeasts present in our foods cannot grab a foothold in a properly acidified digestive environment. Ant-acid products or medications put you at risk for a “leaky gut” and digestive upset.
Beware of Antacids
Without insufficient acid in the stomach, we cannot digest proteins and fats. Undigested proteins cause over-acidity in the blood.
This over-acidity of the blood causes the body to seek out minerals stored elsewhere in your body – typically, your bones and teeth. Your body’s innate acid buffering system has strict rules. When your blood becomes acidic, innate intelligence says -seek minerals.
Since minerals are alkaline, your body uses these minerals to alkalize the blood (called buffering). One of the minerals your body uses to buffer acid is calcium. Where does your body get that calcium? Your bones and teeth.
Acidic blood is one big shiny nail in your coffin.
Eye Opening Similarities
Here is a comparison of symptoms that both LOW and HIGH stomach acid share:
- A food allergy or intolerance symptoms
- Indigestion, diarrhea or constipation
- Dry skin
- Reflux or GERD
- Pylori infection
- Since minerals are alkaline, your body uses these minerals to alkalize the blood (called buffering). One of the minerals your body uses to buffer acid is calcium. Where does your body get that calcium? Your bones and teeth.
- Candida symptoms (fatigue, brain fog)
- Periodontal disease
The same symptoms exist for both conditions! Try enzymes FIRST and restore digestive balance naturally.
Step 3: Restoring Digestive Balance with Probiotics
While this is where most people begin their journey, this step should not occur until the first two steps are successful. When you are symptom-free and have added enzymes for a few weeks, then it is time to add a probiotic.
The basic premise – you don’t plant flowers in a junkyard. In other words, you are wasting money taking this step before the others.
Step 4: Repairing the Gut lining
While complete information taking these steps is HERE, I will offer a few tips related to further restoring digestive balance below.
If you want to truly transform your gut health, brain health, weight, and overall health – this step by step guide is your bible for restoring digestive balance.
Get BITTER about it.
Certain foods know as “bitters” have a pungent flavor that will assist your digestion while you are moving through the steps. Those foods are:
- Wild lettuce
Certain supplements also nurture and heal your fragile flora. The steps – IN SEQUENCE that I provide here should be the first you take. Where they will take you is up to you and how consistent you will be. They changed my life. If you need help or need coaching – CHECK OUT MY HOME PAGE for more information.