Holistic Health Collective
5 R approach part 2

5 Steps to Gut Healing — The 5R Approach – Part 2

5R approach


The ‘Replace’ step is reviewing the digestive enzyme needs of the body.

The stomach produces certain enzymes (pepsin, hydrochloric acid) to break down food to absorb important nutrients for the body.

Hypochlorhydria is when the stomach is not producing enough hydrochloric acid. There are different causes for hypochlorhydria which include infections by a bacteria such as Helicobacter Pylori, autoimmune disorders, and or prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 receptor blockers.

Low stomach acid can lead to inefficiencies in breaking down protein, and absorption of vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and magnesium. 

Some individuals will experience bloating, gas, constipation, reflux, diarrhea, anal itching, and or undigested food in their stools.

Long-term signs of maldigestion can include nutrient deficiencies, anemia, memory loss, depression, fatigue, neurological or sensory alterations, and or bone loss.

The pancreas also produces many important enzymes for digestion, including the breakdown of the macronutrients: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. 

There are many causes for pancreatic insufficiencies including genetic causes such as cystic fibrosis, post-surgical resections of the small bowel, stomach, or pancreas, and or obstruction of the pancreatic duct.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, is when the body’s immune system creates auto-antibodies in response to exposure to gluten. This immune response can affect the intestinal borders and also lead to a lowering of pancreatic enzyme production. 

Other signs of pancreatic insufficiency are maldigestion of fats. Symptoms of this can be steatorrhea and floating stools. 

Some of the causes of hypochlorhydria or pancreatic enzyme insufficiency can be reversible while others may require long-term supplementation with specific digestive enzymes.

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