The Functional Medicine "5 R" Approach to Gut Health

Every one or the other person is suffering from the problem of diarrhoea, constipation, cramping gas, acid reflux and other gut problems. These are often the symptoms of the serious issue emerging in your gut. 

So, to heal your digestive tract and strengthen your Gut Health, the Institute of Functional Medicine has come up with the 5-R Protocol that focuses on restoring your gut health and resolving the root cause of the disease to provide you with a long-term solution. 

The 5-R Protocol is a systematic and comprehensive method that helps in healing digestive conditions like IBS, SIBO, GERD, Celiac Disease and IBD. It also alleviates symptoms such as acne, anxiety, autoimmune conditions, brain fog, fatigue, joint & muscle pain, chronic headaches & migraines and more. 

5R of gut health

This 5-R Protocol includes Remove, Restore, Reinoculate, Repair, Relax. To get a deeper insight into how this protocol actually works, we need to know the meaning of each R. Hence, here is the mechanism that follows: 



There are many foods that are not suitable for our gut health. Before restoring gut health, we need to remove the things that are making that condition happen and creating problems in your gut. 

Hence, we need to remove all the foods that cause an adverse effect on your gut health. 


These may include processed food or any food item to which you have a food intolerance, sensitivity, or food allergy. 

Other than this, you need to keep a check on your medication and supplements as they might be creating a problem in your gut health with their side effects and leads to digestive dysfunction. 

Apart from food and medication, you need to control your stress levels as well, because a feeling of stress releases a hormone called cortisone into your bloodstream which causes inflammation in the digestive tract and disturbs the gut health. 


As you eliminate the food items that were having a negative effect on your gut health, you need to restore whatever nutrients are lacking. There might also be insufficiency of the elements that aid digestion such as stomach acid, bile and digestive enzymes. 

When the body starts detoxing, antioxidants are the most important to buffer the surge of free radicals. 


Hence, your gut healing plan should be prepared around the following: 

  • Some elements such as betaine HCL, bile salts, and enzymes might be missing in your body. These elements help to digest fat, lactose, carbohydrates and protein. Hence, its supplements should be taken to balance the missing elements. 
  • We should focus on the food that helps the body to produce such elements which aid in digestion. For instance, bitter foods can help stimulate stomach acid and digestive enzymes. 
  • Food or supplements that restore nutrient deficiencies. Digestive conditions can affect the absorption of nutrients such as B12, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. 



After eliminating unwanted food and restoring the nutrients, we should work to reinoculate the microbiome by reintroducing and supporting beneficial bacteria that help in immune, digestive, and metabolic health through consuming probiotics and prebiotics. 


  • Prebiotics: Prebiotics are the food that gut bacteria love to eat. These include carbohydrates such as onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, apples and bananas. We should also reintroduce or increase the variety of grains like oats, barley and seeds like flax. 
  • Probiotic Foods: Probiotic Foods are rich in bacteria that are beneficial for our digestive system. Hence, we should reintroduce fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha that helps in balancing the microbiome. 


Other than this, Ayurvedic herbs also help in reducing bad bacteria along with selectively feeding the good ones, repopulating the intestines with the right bacteria in the optimal ratio. 



Our body is immensely capable to heal itself from whatever damage it suffers. But, unfortunately, due to obstacles that continuously put negative effects on our body and the lack of nutrients that are required for repair refrain our body to carry out the repair mechanism. 

Hence, when we remove the obstacles and give our body the proper nutrients that it demands, repair work goes on a swing and our body starts recovering itself. 


Therefore, with the elimination diet, we should give our body Foods high in vitamins A, C, D, & E as well as the mineral zinc, amino acids and Supplements such as L-glutamine, collagen, aloe vera, marshmallow or slippery elm. It leads to the repair of the intestinal cells and mucosa, reduces inflammation and balances our microbiome. Hence, it helps our body to reach its full healing potential and repair the damage caused over time.



All you need is to relax and let the body heal. Our lifestyle affects our digestive system and health, hence we need to focus on activities that calm down our bodies. We should focus on Stress Management, Improving Sleep, Relationships and Mood. 


Therefore, rebalancing our lifestyle is important to the continued maintenance of your restored gut health.


Hence, the 5-R Protocol effectively resolves your gut health issues and gives you excellent health by strengthening your digestive tract.