Feeling a little rumbly in your tummy? 

Healthy gastrointestinal (GI) function is essential for good health. For many people, compromised GI function may be the result of the consumption of processed foods, exposure to environmental toxins, an overconsumption of sugar and alcohol, inadequate water intake, lack of fiber and other probiotic and prebiotic nutrients, stress and a variety of other factors. When these things overburden the body’s ability to adapt and thrive in spite of them, they must be addressed and healthy GI function must be supported. 

An extremely common pitfall many people experience on their path to addressing GI dysfunction is removing allergenic and inflammatory foods and beverages from their diet without the accompanied nutritional support that the digestive tract may need to bounce back from the damage that was done to cause the dysfunction in the first place. This leaves people discouraged and feeling as if they have wasted their time and money on things that “didn’t work” for them. The goal of this article is to briefly and effectively provide insight into some of the most common things people miss when they go about trying to solve GI issues. 

Everyone with GI dysfunction has different causes for it, and therefore different “best” steps of treatment for it, but no matter the person, the organ system and body function the same way, and for this reason, the majority of these different modes of treatment fall under general guidelines that apply to everyone. For this reason, for many people, healthy GI function starts with support from a four-phase program.

The 4 phases of this approach are:

1.) Remove: This phase involves the removal of triggers that negatively impact GI function, including foods to which a person is overly sensitive, bacterial overgrowth, toxins such as heavy metals, or other potential GI stressors. For the majority of people, this is the hardest phase to implement, as it almost always involves the removal of gluten, dairy, and processed foods. The removal of these three things alone is often accompanied by life changing health benefits for those that remove them, but the change, for many, comes with a steep learning curb.
Examples: Removal of gluten, dairy, processed foods, excess sugar in the diet.

2.) Replace: This phase involves any digestive support that may be needed for optimum digestion. Many people, even those without symptoms of GI dysfunction, benefit greatly from this added digestive support. 
Examples: Digestive enzymes.

3.) Repair: Oftentimes when GI distress has progressed far enough, there occurs damage to the intestinal lining and GI mucosa. This phase supports the GI mucosa so that it serves as an effective barrier against the uptake of undigested foods, unwanted organisms, toxins, etc. In addition to this, a healthy GI mucosa is essential for quality nutrient absorption, which will significantly impact the effects of good nutritional changes.
Examples: Specific herbs, amino acids, botanicals, L-Glutamine.

4.) Repopulate:
This phase involves the use of any effective probiotic support that may be needed to aid in the health and maintenance of the GI tract. 
Examples: Aloe Vera, colostrum, probiotics.

This four-phase program is a good model for anyone looking to address good GI health, but it is important to keep in mind that your plan will often look differently than another person’s, even if your issues are the same. Using signs, symptoms and any necessary lab tests alongside this model will help you narrow your focus and provide you with the most cost effective, body effective results. In addition, like any health outcome, the implementation of exercise, neurological care, and lifestyle and healthy food choices will drastically affect the impact any changes you make will have.