4 R’s For Gastro-intestinal Health
Dr. Henry Cheng & Christine Cheng, B.Sc.(Pharm)
Optimal gastro-intestinal (G-I) health is a key component of overall wellness. The common saying, “You are what you eat” is very true. For centuries, the ancient Chinese believed that “All wellness and ailments originate from the central gut”. Dysfunction of the GI tract has been linked to various disease states including immune disorders, respiratory problems, mental acuity, energy level, mood, weight control, skin, joint, blood, and of course stomach and intestinal problems.
The 4 R G-I Restoration Program is a simple nutritional approach to solve many complex gastro-intestinal conditions. The 4 R’s stand for Remove, Replace, Regenerate and Reinoculate.
Remove all allergens and potential toxins (chemicals, artificial coloring/flavoring, MSG, caffeine, alcohol, etc.) from your food. Remove parasites and unwanted microbes like candida, fungus, pathogenic bacteria, etc. Apart from avoidance, this may call for botanical antimicrobials and bacteriostatic phytonutrients as can be found in the popular GASTROPLEX® (Biomed).
Replace beneficial factors that are missing or deficient. Digestive enzymes, stomach acid (as in seniors), bile acids and salts (e.g.,BIOGEST ® by Thorne), and mucosal protectants (with licorice, marshmallow, etc, such as in GASTROEASE+™ )
Regenerate broken mucosa and ulcers with L-Glutamine, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, curcumins, N-acetyl glucosamines (NAG). INTESTAMINE® by Douglas Laboratories and RR FORMULA™ by Biomed are based on this philosophy and are suitable for ulcers, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Reinoculate good GI microflora, also called “friendly bacteria” or “probiotics”, to provide a normal environment for digestion and absorption, as well as preventing overgrowth of undesirable organisms. They also secrete enzymes that can help assimilation. Eating yogurt is usually not good enough for disease state management since most of the organisms are killed by gastric acid. Make sure you choose a preparation that is enteric-coated or contains acid resistant strains, so the organisms have a chance to reach the intestine where they establish colonies. Preparations containing FOS (Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides) are also favoured because this is the food on which the organisms thrive. Choosing a probiotic with multiple strains (e.g., ACIDOPHILUS ULTRA by New Roots Herbal) can be likened to sending in the whole army, whereas a probiotic with a few targeted strains (e.g., ULTRA FLORA ACUTE CARE™ by Metagenics) is like sending in the sharpshooters.
Add all four R’s to any conventional management program, and you can solve many problems. If you need the details, check with your naturopathic advisor. In the mean time, follow your doctor’s advice.
Henry Cheng is a medical graduate of the University of London, England, and is now Certified Natural Products Consultant in Pharmasave Downtown Cloverdale. He works alongside his daughter, Christine Cheng, a pharmacist with training in natural medicine. Contact them HERE. Have these articles sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter HERE.