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The 5Rs of achieving gut health through functional medicine

Joy Cutrone, Wellness & Certified AIP Coach, FMCHC-Candidate
5Rs e1519001553982

Remove inflammatory drivers, repair the core, improve health.

What is it?

Different functional medicine practitioners may debate the specific details of the 5Rs — and the way they’re executed can be highly individual, depending upon your own individuality – but the basic principles stay the same. The 5Rs are about achieving health in the “second brain” — the gut – which has been found to be at the core of autoimmune disease, no matter how it’s manifested in individuals’ bodies. The 5Rs are Remove, Replace, Repair, Repopulate (or Reinoculate), and Rebalance. All of these actions are centered on the gut.

What it does

The 5Rs are a process of stepping through a prescribed protocol you identify with your practitioner to heal the lining of the gut, restore normal gut function, improve nutrient absorption and detoxification processes. The treatment is typically a 3- to 6-month process from Day 1 to full results – with a gradual incline in between – and is dependent upon not just the quality of the protocol prescribed to you, but the sincerity with which you pursue the prescribed protocol of the provider you trust.

Actions you can take

  1. Find a provider you trust.
  2. Test, and form a plan, together.
  3. Keep in touch with your provider and/or health coach. Notice and report your symptoms.
  4. Keep the faith. You didn’t get sick overnight, and you won’t fully recover overnight, either – neither by the “magic pill” method (which doesn’t apply for chronic illness), nor by the functional medicine healing method: some supplements and dietary changes can take time to impact the system — while others, such as removing a major allergen or inflammatory driver, such as gluten – can have pretty immediate and remarkable effect. Again: notice and report what’s happening. Partner with your provider. This is Accountable Care in the truest sense of the word in today’s health care movement.

The flip side to the coin about the time it takes to heal the gut is that you’re going to feel more and more empowered, and less and less a victim as you see results. It’s empowering to know that there is something significant you can do about this chronic, serious illness you’ve been told is just what it is, and healing the gut is a great place to start.

My favorite, short summary of the 5Rs protocol comes from Jill Carnahan of Flatiron Functional Medicine. Read her “Restoring Digestive Health with the 5R Program” for a great introduction. Then dive into the steps in greater detail with Amanda Biccum, Joy Cutrone, and Christine Stubbe:

See Also

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