Functional Nutrition Blog

Restoring Digestive Health, Part 1

Posted by Daniel Sanelli, M.Sc. on Jun 16, 2011 3:32:00 PM

restoring digestive health

It seems like everyone is concerned today with what is healthy to eat and what supplements to take. The problem is most of us have bad digestion and are polluted with toxins and/or pathogens. We would all do well to start off any nutrition program with a good cleanse and repair step to that plan.

The functional medicine approach to healing the gut is a four step process called the "4 R's." Please note that as a part of this program it is important to be eating a whole foods diet free of contaminants and as organic as possible. 

4 R’s of Restoring Diegestive Health, Part 1


Refers to the removal of any gastrointestinal parasites and/or undesirable (pathogenic) bacteria or fungi that may be present and contributing to dysfunction and/or abnormal symptoms. Remove also refers to the removal from the diet of allergens and intolerant foods and substances.

  • There are supplement formulas that help remove yeast and other bacteria. They usually contain things like oregano oil, pau d’arco, black walnut husk. 
  • Garlic fresh and in supplement form is helpful in combatting yeast. 
  • Coconut oil in capsules or by the spoonful is anti-bacterial. 
  • It is important to remove from the diet any known allergens or foods that cause sensitivity. Common problematic foods that should be removed while on this program are refined foods and sugars, dairy, gluten (including all grain/wheat products) and soy. Sugar and most sweet type of foods have a tendency to feed the bad bacteria in the gut. 


Denotes the replacement of any digestive factors (enzymes, for example) the body may not be making, or which it may be making in inadequate amounts.

  • HCL (hydrochloric acid) is a supplement you should take with meals. Most of us produce less of this as we get older. If your urine turns pink after eating beats, this is a sign that you are not producing enough HCL as this acid should break down the color in beets. Candida Albicans tends to flourish when HCL production is low. You can also tell you have low HCL if your blood tests show low protein floating around or too much protein in your urine as HCL is what helps you break proteins down into smaller chains or amino acids. 
  • Digestive Enzymes are also very helpful especially when eating cooked foods. Raw foods already come “pre-packaged” with the enzymes that you need to break them down and digest. Cooking destroys these enzymes so almost everyone can benefit from taking enzymes, especially someone with an imbalanced gut flora. Probiotic foods like sauerkraut are also full of these enzymes. Pick a good formula with all the pancreatic enzymes. 
  • An ounce of apple cider vinegar before a meal works well for some people to stimulate the body’s own production of HCL. A cup of clear broth before the meal works for some people also.  

Read PART TWO of this series...

The Primo Gut Repair Program follows the 4 R's principles. To download the guide for the program just click on the button below! 

Download FREE Guide

Topics: gluten sensitivity, herbs & botanicals, digestive health