Digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are frustrating to resolve. All you want to do is to get better, so it’s understandable that many people skip straight through several steps when attempting to heal their gut. In reality however, there are several stages to the process that must happen before this can happen efficiently and with longevity. The Four “R” Protocol provides a framework to heal your digestive tract in a systematic and effective way. You start with step one and move through them to the step four, although it’s important to note that the process isn’t always linear. You might circle back a step or two several times as you learn what is and isn’t working for you until you might feel like you’re making real progress. This doesn’t make you a failure, it’s just part of the process! 1. Remove The first step involves removing anything that’s causing harm to your system. This might include removing gluten, alcohol, and sugar. It will often involve learning about and tracking your symptoms and the food you're eating, your stress levels, and other variables you feel might be contributing to your symptoms. This stage is about controlling symptoms, preventing further damage to your gut, and reducing inflammation. In preventing further damage you’re also avoiding worsening nutritional deficiencies while also improving your quality of life. This is the stage where you would add in the anti-fungal Truehope OLE (Olive Leaf Extract) if you have risk factors for Candida Albicans overgrowth. This supplement would be one of your first steps to removing something that may be damaging your gut. 2. Replace The second step often overlaps with the first. As you start removing things from your diet and lifestyle that you’ve identified as being problematic, you’re encouraged to replace them with things that are healthier for you. This might mean removing several categories of FODMAPS such as polyols and galactans, and instead replacing them with FODMAP free fruits and vegetables. It may also mean stopping your habit of checking your phone as soon as you wake up, and instead replacing it with 10 minutes of meditation. This is the stage where you’re starting to control systemic symptoms and your digestion will slowly start improving, as will the absorption of nutrients. You would continue with Truehope OLE (Olive Leaf Extract) throughout this stage, and perhaps even add in Truehope Nascent Iodine for stomach acid production and thyroid support. 3. Reinoculate The third step focuses on supporting gut repair by reinoculating your gut with beneficial bacteria, and continuing to nourish your body with nutrient dense foods. In this stage you will continue to see digestive improvements, a lessening of symptoms as your overall health and well being improves. This is the stage where it may be appropriate to have a renewed focus on fermented foods, to add in probiotics as well as the highly bioavailable Truehope EMPower Plus. You may continue with Truehope OLE, and Nascent Iodine depending on your personal health context. At this stage it’s common to slip back to the Replace stage occasionally as you try new things. If you experience bloating when you take probiotics for example, you might need to lessen your dose and take the introduction slower. 4. Repair The final stage is focused on correcting gut dysbiosis, preventing recurrence, and providing longevity to all the effort you have put in. You might work on maintaining the things you’ve struggled with in the past such as stomach acid production, strengthening your immune system, or continuing to heal and reduce inflammation by drinking bone broth. The work doesn’t end once you get to this stage! Vigilance and maintenance are still important and it’s common to continue with tactics and supplementation from previous stages until you get signs that healing is truly happening. This would include seeing your personal tolerance level for previously problematic foods improve, food sensitivities resolve themselves, or improvements in your mental health. Digestive issues like IBS can be time consuming to heal, but if you understand the structure of the Four R Protocol, you’re able to make the healing process much quicker and more effective.