Gut Health Guide
Gut health is at the root of our total health and wellness, and therefore is one of the most important areas of health to focus on. If we suffer from gut issues it may inhibit our ability to digest food efficiently—this can lead to a whole range of issues down the line as the body is dependent upon digestion to receive the nutrients it needs daily to function.
For this reason, many people choose to focus on healing the gut, as it is often at the root of many other ailments. When our gut health is restored, our entire system benefits. If our gut health is compromised, our entire system suffers. With this guide to gut health, one can restore their gut and improve gut health by following the simple protocol of the 4 R’s: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Rebuild.
How to Improve Gut Health
Step 1: Remove
The first step to healing the gut is to remove from the body anything that may be causing poor gut health in the first place. The things to focus on removing are: food sensitivities, toxins, parasites, and stress.
A food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, inflammation, rashes, or swollen airways.
One way to find out if you are allergic to certain foods is to go on an elimination diet, which involves eliminating common food allergens and eating a diet that is light, simple, and free of common allergens, then reintroducing desired foods slowly and one at a time to observe any reactions the body might have.
Some of the most common food allergens include: gluten, casein, dairy, soy, corn, citrus, nightshade vegetables, peanuts, nuts eggs, pork, shellfish, seafood, moldy foods, oxidized oils, foods grown with pesticides, or foods containing preservatives. It is not necessarily recommended to remove these foods from the diet forever, just to notice if one has any food sensitivities to these common food allergens.
Toxins, in this context, are substances that can cause harm to the body, whether they are organic or inorganic. Toxins can be from food, bacteria, fungi, chemicals, heavy metals, pollution, or anything that is hazardous to human health when ingested.
Some of the most common forms of toxins that people are exposed to today are: food grown or treated with pesticides; heavy metal particles in food, water, air, or household items; chemicals in plastic bottles and packages; toxic chemicals in hygiene and beauty products, utensils and cooking ware, household items and cleaners, and environmental pollution.
Removing toxins from the body first includes removing exposure to these toxins so that the body can process its current toxic load. After reducing exposure to common sources of toxins, one may utilize certain detoxifying foods, herbs, and lifestyle practices that support the detoxification process. Consider adding our Liver Detox Tonic for targeted liver detox and flushing benefits.
A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. In humans, parasites that live inside us use up our vitamins, proteins and other nutrients, depriving us of optimal nutrition. Not only do they steal nutrients from our bodies, but they also eliminate waste inside us, releasing their toxic bacteria and viruses. Parasites can lead to many health issues, especially gut health issues.
Parasites are a very common health issue that people suffer from, and unfortunately, many people believe one can only contract parasites in third-world countries with poor sanitation, causing them to neglect the possibility that parasites could be the underlying cause of their health issue.
One can effectively eliminate parasites by using a Parasite Detox formula and following a parasite detox protocol for a few weeks. Our Zuma Nutrition Parasite Detox formula includes a therapeutic dose extract of key anti-parasitic herbs: Green black walnut hulls, Wormwood, & Clove. Together, these herbs kill the egg, larva, and adult stages of intestinal parasites.
Stress is a common issue that many people suffer from today, and the more we learn about the gut-brain connection, the more we find that psychological states like stress have a very real physiological effect on our health. Stress can affect digestion and what nutrients the intestines absorb. High levels of stress over time increase the intestine's permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.
Stress may be a major contributing factor to poor gut health, and therefore, it is essential that one discover ways to reduce stress in their lives. There are many beneficial techniques for helping to reduce stress—for example, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is a growing practice in the medical industry that utilizes mindfulness practices for reducing stress. Meditation, relaxation exercises, time in nature, calming hobbies and activities, and adaptogenic herbs are other things one may utilize to reduce stress in life. Our Relaxation Blend is a potent and effective adaptogen blend that works to shut off the stress response in the body.
Step 2: Replace
The second step is to replace the nutrients required for optimal digestion to take place. The digestive process requires sufficient amounts of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCl), and these are commonly depleted in individuals with gut health issues. In fact, they are often depleted due to a diet high in refined foods, medications, disease, stress, or aging, and this depletion may contribute to more gut health issues.
Adding digestive enzymes to your regimen is a great way to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses. Digestive enzymes play a key role in breaking down the food you eat. These proteins speed up chemical reactions that turn nutrients into substances that your digestive tract can absorb.
One can improve the production of HCl by chewing food thoroughly; avoiding overeating; eating fermented vegetables, celery juice, apple cider vinegar, and/or ginger; eating a balanced diet with many fruits and vegetables; avoiding processed foods.
Step 3: Reinoculate
The third step is to reinoculate your gut with healthy bacteria to help restore balance. You can restore the beneficial bacteria in your gut with high-quality probiotics to help re-establish a healthy microbiome. Our Zuma Nutrition Multi Strain Probiotic Complex is a clean and effective gut health supplement. In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, you can incorporate probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha, however, you will want to avoid fermented foods from potential allergens such as yogurt, since it is from dairy, which is part of the removal step.
Additionally, you can incorporate prebiotic-rich foods, which help the probiotic bacteria to thrive, such as leeks, onions, asparagus, jicama, bananas, garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes which will support gut microbiome and help to restore gut health.
Step 4: Repair
The final step to healing the gut is to help repair and protect the gut lining itself. This process can take several months depending on how much damage has been done to the gut, so it is important to be patient if you truly want to restore gut health. In addition to following a low-allergenic diet, reducing stress and supporting digestion, specific supplements can be incorporated to help heal the gut lining itself.
One of the most essential components for healing and repairing the gut is collagen. However, many people have a misunderstanding of how the body produces collagen. It is not quite as simple as consuming a collagen supplement and hoping it will work. The issue with collagen supplements is that most of them use animal collagen, which is a finished collagen molecule.
As the collagen molecule is very large, it is difficult for the body to break down and make use of. The body has always produced its own collagen, however, after the age of 30, the body’s ability to produce collagen declines, and becomes much more dependent upon the key nutrients that act as precursors for collagen synthesis.
The most effective way to increase levels of collagen in the body is to give the body the nutrients it needs to produce its own collagen. Collagen synthesis is dependent upon the right dosages of amino acids Lysine and Proline, as well as vitamin C, and a range of B vitamins that also support the process of building collagen.
To support collagen synthesis, we created a collagen supplement that actually works, as it is not a finished collagen molecule as most of the products on the market are today, but is a 30-day supply of daily packs that contain the key nutrients needed to build collagen, in the proper doses that are needed to build collagen.
L-glutamine is another extremely beneficial nutrient for restoring gut health. While collagen is rich in amino acids that help to restore the gut by healing damaged cells and creating new tissues, L-glutamine helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining.
No matter what your health issue is, repairing your gut is the first step in restoring your health. The 4Rs of Remove, Replace, Reinoculate & Rebuild is a great way to restore gut health and potentially reduce chronic systems. It is incredible to see how often these simple steps can support healing in so many people, however, if you implement these steps and still struggle with symptoms it is best to speak with a healthcare provider for specific testing and additional support.