WHAT IS THE 5 R PROTOCOL?
The 5 R Protocol is a systematic and comprehensive method used to help people improve their gut health.
This protocol is beneficial for those with any gut-related issues such as digestive issues, skin problems, low mood and/or anxiety, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances such as thyroid disease, brain fog, fatigue, joint & muscle pain, and chronic headaches & migraines. The list could go on and on as most symptoms or health conditions can be traced back to the health of our digestive system.
Even if you don’t have any significant digestive issues, you should still consider working through this protocol. I certainly didn’t think I had digestive problems before I used the protocol, they only became apparent as I progressed through the protocol.
WHAT DO THE 5 R'S MEAN?
In this first phase, we want to remove anything which is irritating the gut. This could include any of the following:
Food – We want to remove any type of gut irritant such as food allergy, food intolerance (you can read more about food intolerances here), gluten, alcohol, caffeine, processed food, and food additives. Food intolerance testing can also be useful to help pinpoint those foods that are irritating our bodies. When we have an allergy (IgE) to a certain food, a reaction is usually felt fairly immediately, this could be hives, itching, nasal congestion, swelling of the lips and throat area. But with food intolerances, because the symptoms may not emerge for a few days, they can often be harder to identify and testing (IgG) can help us work out which are the offending foods. Food intolerance testing with a reputable company is important though as there are many less than desirable tests on offer out there.
Medications - Certain over the counter medications such as NSAIDS (like ibuprofen or aspirin) and heartburn relief medications can bring about digestive problems. You may also want to also consider whether any of your prescribed medications are causing any digestive issues. Please note, always consult with your GP or qualified healthcare professional before discontinuing any prescribed medications.
Stress – How much stress you experience is difficult to measure and some are more prone to feeling stressed than others. If you’re struggling with eczema, for most this brings additional stress into our lives so it's definitely something we should consider and try to address if we can. When we get stressed our body releases a hormone called ‘cortisol’ into our bloodstream and too much cortisol over a prolonged length of time can cause inflammation in our guts.
Gut infections - E.g. candida overgrowth, parasites(yes, it's true...many of us have parasites and don't know it), H.Pylori or SIBO. SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and is a common condition. You can read more about SIBO in this blog post. Part of my role as a practitioner is identifying what gut infections may be present and addressing these so that my clients are able to return to good health. The types of symptoms an individual is struggling with can often give me a good indication as to what is going on but testing can be incredibly useful in really pinpointing what issues need to be addressed. This is when I might ask a client to undertake a comprehensive stool test so that we can then work in a very targeted manner and get to the root issues quickly and effectively. The use of antifungals, antiparasitic, and antibacterial compounds are an important part of the Remove phase. Garlic extract, oregano oil, berberine, caprylic acid (from coconut) and grapefruit seed extract are a few examples of the compounds that can be used to reduce the growth of less favourable bacteria, yeasts and parasites in the gut. Some may be more clinically useful, according to the type of gut infection we are trying to address.
This phase is about replacing anything that is missing or we just don't have sufficient levels of. We need healthy levels of stomach acid and a plentiful supply of digestive enzymes to make sure that we breakdown our food and absorb the nutrients. If we don't digest our foods properly this can lead to the development of food intolerances.
Stomach acid levels can often be low, this might be due to stress, medications, gut infections such as H.Pylori or just as a result of aging. It's a common problem I see in clinic, and I work with my clients to help them restore healthy levels. A 'Bicarbonate of Soda' test can give some indication as to whether stomach acid levels are low, this is one of the tests that I utilise my clinic. If you're curious as to whether you have healthy levels, you can find details about how to do this test easily online.
Sprouted seeds, papaya, and pineapple are rich in digestive enzymes and can help us breakdown our foods more efficiently. Bitter leaves such as chicory, dandelion, rocket, watercress, and fennel also help to support digestive secretions. I often recommend a watercress and rocket salad pre-meal to my clients as a natural digestive aid.
Replacing digestive enzymes and/or stomach acid, where necessary, will support healthy digestive function.
In this phase, we start introducing beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to our gut. Specific probiotics strains can be used to help to support a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive system, ensuring optimal digestion and immune function. You can use probiotics in supplement form and/or fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha.
Here, we're working on healing and sealing the gastrointestinal tract. Dietary and lifestyle changes can be used, alongside certain nutrients to aid the repair of our digestive system, as well as targeted nutritional support. Vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc are crucial nutrients need to maintain the health of the gastrointestinal lining. Certain nutrients can also be used to promote the healing of the gastrointestinal tract such as the amino acids from bone broth, aloe vera, slippery elms and l-glutamine powder to name a few.
By the time you reach this stage, you will have put in alot of hard work into improving the health of your gut and hopefully your symptoms. So it's important to then focus on keeping your gut in tip-top form. This phase is about retaining healthy gut function by eating healthily, taking regular exercise, managing stress, ensuring good quality sleep, and eating a nutrient-dense diet providing all essential vitamins and minerals. Continues use of prebiotics and probiotics along with gut-healing bone broths and/or l-glutamine powder can be useful in retaining the health of your gut.
Sounds a bit complicated and not sure where to start? This is why I'm a big fan of the 6 week Gut Transformation Programme from NutriAdvanced. It lets you know exactly wh you need to do a step by step way.
As part of the programme, you get all the supplements you need to take for each stage of the 5R Protocol plus all the following -
1 x Food Plan
This lists all the foods that you CAN eat while on the Gut
1 x Food, Juice, Smoothie, Soup, Fermented Foods
Delicious recipes to help you plan your menu.
1 x Menu Planner
This gives you some ideas about how to plan your diet
over a 7-day period.
1 x Quick and Easy Meal Ideas
A list of meal options for when time and resources are
1 x Easy Cheats
This gives you some easy ‘off-the-shelf’ options for any
times when you need a quick gut-friendly option.
1 x Shopping List
A list of foods and where to buy them in case you’re
struggling to find them.
1 x Supplement Regime
This explains which supplements to take when and how
much. If you have any questions about the supplements
or how to take them please ask your practitioner.
1 x FAQs
This should cover any questions you may have.
It's reasonably priced at £149 and can be used without seeing a practitioner such as myself. For many client's this can be a real transformation. I personally complete this programme at least once a year to keep my gut in good health. If you're interested in purchasing a Gut Transformation Programme, just send me a message and we can arrange this.