By Janet Domke, RN BSN

Hippocrates is quoted as saying “all disease begins in the gut”. In the past few years, gut health has been linked to autoimmune disease, brain/mental health, and of course gastrointestinal health.

When your gut is unhealthy it can cause more than just abdominal pain; gas; bloating/diarrhea. Because 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut- gut imbalances can lead to hormone issues, autoimmune disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, as well as skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. The bacteria in your gut can vary depending on multiple factors age, gender, diet, stress level, hygiene, medication use …just to name a few. 

Many integrative health care practitioners are using the 4R program to address and restore gut balance. The four steps in this program are Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair.

  1. Remove
    Identify factors that may be contributing to your symptoms.
  • Inflammatory foods: Dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, medications can be irritants to gut flora
  • Stress: Stress can impair your digestion
  • Bacteria/Infection: Bacterial and yeast overgrowth, viruses, parasites can contribute to gut related symptoms
  1. Replace
    Replace the essentials that may be lacking for proper digestion by adding digestive enzymes or bile acids.
  1. Reinoculate
    Restore the gut with good bacteria to regain a healthy micro flora balance.
  • Prebiotic: These are non-digestible plant components that help nourish the body’s micro flora
  • Probiotic: These are live bacteria that aid in the digestion
  • Soluble fiber: Fiber that easily dissolves in water. For example- oatmeal, apples, flaxseeds, nuts, celery
  1. Repair
    Repair the gut with proper nutrition and supplementation to help reduce inflammation and support cell growth.
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega -3 fatty acids
  • Multivitamin
  • Zinc

The gut has been called the body’s second brain.  When your gut is unhealthy, your body will let you know.  It shows you in the form of disease – GI issues; autoimmune issues; diabetes; mental health issues (ADD, anxiety, depression); and many more. The gateway to health is your gut. Get your gut healthy – get yourself healthy.

It is recommended that you consult a healthcare professional before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

Janet Domke is the Clinical Coordinator for the Bariatric Center of Excellence.  She has been a Registered Nurse since 2005. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Stony Brook University and has completed courses in Holistic nursing. She joined the Bariatric team at Mather Hospital in 2014 and is currently pursuing her certification in Bariatric nursing.