Are you wondering if too many antibiotics have affected your gut health and digestion?

I remember calling the doctor begging for antibiotics for yet another UTI.

In the end, the antibiotics never helped my UTIs; addressing my gut health and healing with herbal medicine did.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand how the 4R approach; taught by functional medicine doctors like Dr. Aviva Romm and Dr. Mark Hyman can help reduce unwanted digestive issues and “heal your gut”.

We know antibiotics destroy the good and the bad bacteria in your gut. Over time, if you don’t replace these good bacteria it can lead to something called leaky gut syndrome.  What is leaky gut syndrome?

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome {LGS} is when fragments of protein and bacteria cross the tight junctions of your gut wall and your body recognizes these fragments as invaders and mounts an inflammatory response to your immune system.

Envision the tight junctions like fingers, spread your hand out and notice the gaps between your fingers.  This is what it looks like when the junctions open.

 What causes the tight junctions to open?

  • Food and medications that irritate your gut – have you noticed Advil or Tylenol bother your stomach?
  • Antibiotics and medications that change the good bacteria – think diarrhea after a round of antibiotics

When they’re open you’re more prone to “inflammation” in your gut

  • This also can happen to infants as you’re born with tight junctions that are more open

So if you’ve had a few rounds of antibiotics this post is for you!

Our “second brain”, the gut, contains some 100 million neurons; when this system is compromised or “inflamed” disease sets in.

As a women’s herbal educator, I can help you “heal your gut”, but more importantly choose herbal medicine INSTEAD of your current medicine cabinet to reduce the irritation with your digestion.   

10 Signs You May Have “Leaky Gut Syndrome”

  1. Digestion problems-bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea
  2. Food intolerance-avoiding meat, dairy, and/or gluten
  3. Seasonal allergies
  4. Skin complaints; acne, skin rash etc.- your back, your tush, and the back of your arms included
  5. Autoimmune disorder
  6. Tired/ poor concentration
  7. Anxiety & depression
  8. Candida overgrowth
  9. Cannot lose weight
  10. Your joints ache

Leaky Gut Syndrome Test

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How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome Fast

The 4r Approach

What is the 4r approach?

It’s a method created by functional medicine doctors to address the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restore harmony, helping alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease.

The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce

healing stomach lining

So, How do you heal your gut?

  • Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy.
  • Get off all medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace them with natural remedies ).
  • Reduce your stress with meditation, exercise, and botanicals.
  • Heal your gut lining with the 4R approach below.

Although, I’ll suggest supplements to heal your gut.  You always want to look at your diet first. Lots of water, fiber whole foods, wild-caught fish, and whole grains are easier on your digestion; rather than reaching for gluten-free packaged foods.

1. Remove

Take out what inflames you. 

  • Remove the top allergens; wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and soybeans. {If you can’t give up dairy…goat cheese and goat milk may be easier on your digestion}
  • Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. 
  • Remove allergens for 4-6 weeks or it may take up to a year to heal your gut with an auto-immune disease.
  • Encourage whole, organic foods if able, and consider shopping the perimeter of the grocery store.
  • Kitcheri recipes are often suggested to reduce inflammation.

Leaky Gut Supplements

2. Replace

  • #1 After 2-4 weeks on the Elimination diet, Introduce a good-quality digestive enzyme containing protease, lipase, amylase, and pepsin. 
  • This is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, too. I like Digest gold by Enzymedica.  If you login to my supplement store; you’ll receive 15% off the suggested products.  Look under gut health for my suggestions. 
  • #2 Adding bitters, like  Urban Moonshine Bitters will trigger the digestive system to produce digestive enzymes, secrete bile, and balance HCI levels in the stomach.  
  • Take bitters 10-15 minutes before your meal.
  • If you have a lot of nausea with meals or when you take supplements, you might also need some additional stomach acid in the form of a supplement called Betaine HCL or try 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar in water with your meals. 

3.  Reinoculate

Wait 2 weeks for the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks. 

Keep in mind===Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first.

  • Add a good quality probiotic to restore your gut flora.  I like Klair probiotics. There is also an infant formula for babies and young children struggling with dairy allergies. 
    • You want it to have a minimum of 5 billion CFU in each dose, and a good range of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species.
  • Also add in fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee can also be a helpful advantage to your gut, add it to your diet 3-4x week. Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using it sparingly.

4.  Repair your Gut

Include the following supplement for 6 weeks or more to repair your gut. The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Turmeric
  • Aloe vera
  • Marshmallow root powder
  • DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    • They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though turmeric can also be added to foods.
    • DGL or diglyceride licorice is a great alternative to tums and does not raise your blood pressure.
    • DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges.
  • Davinci labs combine all of these ingredients in their GI benefit product.  Login to the supplement store to save 15%!
  • Zinc
    • Dosing: 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults.
    • Take zinc with food to prevent nausea.
  • Fish oil:
    • I prefer Carlson’s fish oil
    • Fish oil is essential for general health in pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
  • L-glutamine powder
    5-10 gm of powder twice daily for one month. (Much less for kids but talk with your child’s doctor before using and don’t supplement in pregnancy).
  • The Davinci labs product has this in it!

Here are examples of other practitioners using the 4R approach for healing

Conclusion

If you’re struggling with digestive issues and find you’re avoiding foods – there is hope.  The 4R approach is more than an elimination diet.  It can heal your digestive tract and reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation for years to come and you may be able to enjoy gluten and dairy once in a while after you heal!

Warmly~

Tara

{Please consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.}


References:

{1} https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/digestive-diseases-statistics-for-the-united-states.aspx

How the 4R approach can heal your gut
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