The 4 r's of gut healing

The 4 R’s of Gut Healing

…..Or How To Get Rid Of IBS!

If you are experiencing any of these common digestive tract symptoms like gas, bloating, reflux, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea the chances are if you went to the doctor you would be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

If the symptoms are bad enough you maybe given a medication to reduce the acid, or something to help with the constipation or diarrhea …. but this is just addressing the symptoms and not treating the cause.

The 4 R’s of gut healing is a step by step plan to improve your gut health.

Your digestion is important for absorption of nutrients, elimination of wastes and a vital component of our immune system.

When things go wrong with our digestive tract it can cause widespread symptoms throughout our body like fatigue, aches and pains, skin problems, mood problems and increase your risk of autoimmune conditions and cancer ….. so what can be done to improve our digestion!

Introducing the 4 R’s of Gut healing

1/ R = Remove the foods that are causing inflammation and creating an environment for bacteria, parasites and candida to thrive.

This may differ for everybody, but the first step requires the removal of the most common digestion irritants, and they are gluten, dairy, soy and processed foods, this is to work out if food is the primary trigger, or a contributing factor to your digestion problems.

If bloating and gas is your primary symptom then following a low FODMAP diet maybe the best approach for you, this is a diet that temporarily removes certain carbohydrates that ferment easy in the small intestine allowing bacteria to thrive (and create the gas/ bloating).

One of the most common causes of IBS symptoms is small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO) and a low FODMAP diet combined with a specific treatment plan is required to remove the bacteria and eliminate your bloating.

Small Intestinal Villi

2/ R = Replace the nutrients that are required for digestion to take place.

This includes improving stomach acid with Betaine HCL and Pepsin, because without sufficient stomach acid your food (especially protein) is not going to digest efficiently which can cause bloating, gas and reflux (plus absorption of important vitamins like B12).

The stomach acid is also important to kill pathogens that come into our body through the food we eat, and insufficient stomach acid will create an environment for bacteria and candida infections to thrive.

It may also be necessary to replace pancreatic enzymes which are important for fat, carbohydrate and protein digestion, they also help gall bladder function.

The common medical approach is to give antacids or proton pump inhibitors like Somac or Nexium, these medications do help the symptoms like indigestion in the short term but they don’t address the cause and can lead to more chronic IBS symptoms.

3/ R = Repair the damage that has been done! Just by removing certain foods and replacing the nutrients for many people this means their symptoms have greatly improved but it is still important to address the inflammation and repair the damage which has been done.

The small intestines job is to absorb nutrients, and due to food intolerances, stress, medications, bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid the tiny micro villi can get damaged.

If the micro villi get damaged you will not be able to effectively absorb your nutrients, this can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, even if you are eating a good diet.

You may also need to address inflammation and leaky gut in the large intestine, otherwise toxins will start to get reabsorbed into your body, rather than being eliminated (think leaking sewer you would call a plumber straight away!).

This creates an environment for parasites, unhealthy bacteria and yeast to take over leading to inflammation, the high inflammation leads to high cortisol levels which can affect other hormonal systems like thyroid function and lead to an increase in belly fat

The high cortisol can lead to adrenal dysfunction and low Secretory immunoglobulin A which is a prime component of our immune system, 75% of our immune system is based in the large intestine so dysfunction here can lead to many immune problems.

4/ R = Reinoculate the good bacteria! Once you have identified the triggers, eliminated any infections and addressed the inflammation then it’s time to improve the health of the gut bacteria.

There is so much research going into how important the health of our gut bacteria, determines our health. From allergies and fatigue to depression and anxiety the research shows how having the right bacteria can influence our health.

It’s not just a matter of eating fermented foods or taking some probiotics, it’s important to have prebiotic foods and quality fiber for the bacteria to thrive on. It’s also important to get out into nature and not be so obsessed with anti-bacterial soaps and wipes which can also affect our healthy levels of bacteria.

Pathology Tests for Digestion Function

 SIBO Breath Test

Small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO) is the leading cause of IBS symptoms. It is a condition in which bacteria that are normally found in the large intestine, have overgrown into the small intestine. SIBO can be diagnosed with a simple non invasive breath test.
Bacterial overgrowth can cause a rise in intestinal gas which are not produced by humans. The two types of gas are hydrogen and methane, the hydrogen gas is often associated with diarrhea and the methane gas with constipation. You can predominantly have one type of gas which causes constipation or diarrhea or you can have fluctuating levels so that you sometimes have constipation and then diarrhea.

Click Here to Order a SIBO Test

G.I Map Stool Test

The G.I Map test is the best measurement of the health of your large intestine, while the SIBO breath test is a measurement of the health of your small intestine. This test is very comprehensive compared to the standard stool test done by your G.P which is just investigating the presence of bacteria.

The G.I Map test investigates digestion of food, metabolism, pancreatic function, balance of good and bad bacteria, the presence of pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and parasites, gluten sensitivity and inflammation levels which can be indicators of IBS and inflammatory bowel disease.

Parasites and Helicobacter Pylori

The G.I Map, this is done by a Diagnostic Solutions in the U.S but the test kits can be shipped all over the world, it gives a detailed analysis of Helicobacter pylori, parasites, bacteria and yeast infections, as well as leaky gut and inflammatory markers.

Click Here to Order the G.I Map Test

Adrenal Function Test

Knowing the health of the adrenal glands is important in the gut healing process, doing the 4 R’s program is not going to be as effective if you are experiencing adrenal dysfunction.


A good place to start is with the 4 R’s and if you are not getting improvement in your symptoms then the SIBO test or the G.I Map test maybe indicated to get to the cause of your problems which will help to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Consultations are available via video or phone consultations throughout the world, and our test kits can be shipped directly to you to do in the privacy of your own home, they are then sent back to the lab for analysis.

Click Here to Schedule a Consultation with Michael from Planet Naturopath

About the Author Michael

Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. He is a registered naturopath with the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) and works with clients from all over the world via video or phone consultations. He is a degree qualified naturopath from the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine in Australia with 18 years of experience. He uses advanced testing methods, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, and lifestyle advice to help you stay healthy. He is a Kalish Method-trained practitioner that keeps updating his education with Chris Kresser. Michael completed Dr. Terry Wahls practitioner training program, a 12-month program with ongoing training that helps understand the underlying cause and treatment of MS and autoimmune conditions. He keeps up to date with the latest research into health and natural medicine through the Metabolic Fitness Pro course with Dr. Bryan Walsh.

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How to improve your Sleep! says August 26, 2015

[…] that control metabolism. Lack of sleep can also exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease and IBS, a healthy digestion relies on a good night’s […]

Trevor says December 12, 2015

Why does it seem that no one can possibly fhotam that we may have caused our own IBS by eating an unnatural diet? Look at Bonobo Chimps, fruit and veggies make up 95% of the diet and 5% comes from bugs, bark, seeds, and rarely raw meat. Our diestive tract is identical to that of the Bonobo Chimp to the point that Dr’s cannot distinguish man from chimp during a colonoscopy. If we ate this type of diet as almost all apes do to some variety we would be unlikely to have many of the dis’ ease (meaning the body is not at ease. Doctors love to create names for general conditions and due to allopathic treating only of symptoms they fail to ever look at the cause.SIBO is very real as is Candida, ask any microbiologist. If we continue eating foods we weren;t meant to like grains or any foods that has to be heated as it becomes dead, without enzymes, etc Every carnivore on eart sweats through the tongue, eat live whole animals including the blood, bone and guts raw. They have intestinal tracts the length of their bodies. Do the research and you will see we are genetically herbivores, fruits and greens with small amounts of other foods sources like the Bonobo Chimp. While just eating fruit might cause bacterial proliferation, all apes follow it up with eating leafy greens which act as a nutural scrub brush pushing out bacteria. The fruit provides needed calories as the body will convert even a complete atkins style diet into glucose as without it, you will die. Cooking food is the same as sticking your hand in boiling water see how that goes. Eat lots of meat and you deal with putrefaction or bacteria that cause decomposition. If you keep taking in no fiber with that, those bacteria won’t be going anywhere. What doctor is going to tell me that fruits and veggies are not essential for optimum health?? We can control symptoms by eating just meat but that does not by itself solve the dysbiosis that exists.No other animal is foolish enough to drink milk after infancy, let alone another animals milk and then to pasteurize it killing anything good it may have. The arrogance of man is unreal. We keep tampering with nature and wonder why we are ill.Now before anyone gets super offended, I did an Atkins style diet for 10 years to avoid drugs after over 35 hospital visits in my life. I have suffered from IBS/Crohns since the age of 5 and am now 38. I have often followed doctors advice like gospel without ever doing enough of my own due diligence. I know how I am supposed to have been eating and what I need to work on getting back to which is a fruit and veggie diet with small amounts of protein and fats. Most people are unaware that fruits and veggies have protein and fats and you will not find heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure in natural animals. Now onto the second topic which is what do people like me do when we were raised on food that harmed us, made us ill, often are treated with antibiotics which while effective at kiling off good and bad flora, if we go back to eating the wrong foods like grains (I dare anyone to try and eat raw uncooked grains in nature) we get a recurrence of the symptoms often worse than it started.What do they call it when you do the same thing over and over expecting a different result???The real key is how to create remission and clean out as many negative microforms as possible, then create a transitional diet until we can make our way back to nature’s intended foods. Fruits need no sauces, no artificial sweetener and we all crave sugars, its natural and our hands and its lack on needed preparation makes it the ideal food. For many including me, I want to know how to get my intestinal flora to be balanced enough to eat a banana without feeling intoxicated and getting bloody or mucous in my stools.While it is true we can live on meat alone, we are not nearly as vibrant as we should be. We are forcing our bodies to be overly acidic non stop which is definitely not optimum health. I did it and while yes I was functional and appeared healthy for a while, my health was eroding slowly and I was aging quickly due to an accelerated level of oxidation in my body.We assume our ancestors hunted but did they all really hunt that often, or only when they couldn’t find enough fruit for calories to sustain themselves? Do we think nature intended us to need to create tools to hunt, factories to process grains? Why do we need to eat grains with sauces, toppings, and why would nature want us to be able to overeat them so easily?? Would you have chased wild cattle before farms to milk them in the wild?? Are we all chronically dehydrated no matter how much water we force ourselves to drink unlike people or apes that eat a fruit rich diet? Are there any fructose intolerant apes?? I am pretty certain we would see health problems arise with many years of taking apes and making them eat meat, dairy from cows, you get the idea and it shows us how silly we can be. It is pretty hard to overeat a diet made up of 90-95% fruits and veggies. Fruits have energy, vitamins and minerals, are water rich and are great sources of calories. Veggies are even more nutrient dense and serve to mineralize and alkalize our bodies as our blood is slightly alkaline, eating all acidic foods like meats will force the body to leach minerals to maintain the blood Ph. This is why supplementing calcium has not solved osteoporosis.My quandry is how do we transition from being very ill individuals to the omnivores that all our natural bretheren are??We know we need to kill off bacteria where it doesn’t belong and try to swing back the balance towards the proper microbes that should co-exist. I would think it would be a combination of using antibiotics first, then using a slow transitional diet that over time would allow us to get to our best natural diet.Perhaps antibiotics with a protein and fat diet to start? Then add in leafy greens? Then add in one piece of fruit, then two, until we convert out diet to one where we look and feel great and all these issues, IBS, lupus, and tons of others that all have the leaky gut in common.What we have done in the past has not solved it, prhaps its time for a new approach, a combination of modern day medicine and a transition to a healthy diet over time.I have no moral dilemma with eating meats as I would eat cow dung if I knew it would allow me to feel good. In nature animals eat based first on desire, second on availability of food supply.Animals don’t have to worry about things like food combining as they don’t mix and match as we do, nor do they cook and kill the essential enzymes necessary for life. Cooked food is dead food. Apes, monkees and chimps will eat meat if and when they have to, as we all have a survival instinct, but this does not mean we were intended to eat this way. I don’t want to be a frozen eskimo and go study and you will find out they have very short lifespans.We need to fix those of us who are already broken and help those who are just starting out to avoid the same mistakes we made.I welcome any and all feedback

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