Your gut isn’t just a food processing and storage depot: it’s a barrier between the outside world and your internal physiology.

Weird to think that your gut in some ways is ‘outside’ the body even though it’s obviously inside you. For example: when your gut wall is compromised, this can create ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, whereby larger particles of consumed foods, and even bacteria, can pass into your blood stream. This creates an immune response as your body mounts an attack on what it sees as an invader, and you’ll feel digestive stress.

It’s for this reason that your gut is linked to all autoimmune disorders, and also why things like reactive arthritis are directly caused through increased permeability. Good digestion is the foundation of good health, so here’s your full guide to making you rock-solid inside and out.

HealthComm International has developed a four-step approach which corrects your gut functions. Here’s how to do it:


1. Remove

The first phase of improving your intestinal health and integrity. You’ll remove everything that irritates the mucosa (the innermost layer of the gastrointestinal tract) like allergenic foods, alcohol, gluten (if you’re sensitive) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory tablets. Get yourself checked by an allergy specialist, like a dietitian or doctor, so you know what foods agree with your system.


2. Replace

Replenish the enzymes and digestive factors you might be lacking in your gut. Without them you won’t be able to absorb all the nutrients from your food, which could make your health suffer.

You do this by increasing your fiber and water intake to help food move through your intestines with ease. The recommended daily allowance of fiber is 30-38g. To meet that target you’d need to eat something like a cup of oatmeal for breakfast with some fruit, a quinoa and chicken salad for lunch and a cup of brown rice with vegetables and fish for dinner.

Supplement with digestive enzymes, bile salts, betaine hydrochloride, digestive herbs or disaccharides (like lactase) for an added boost. You can also take psyllium husks to increase your overall fiber intake.


3. Reinoculate

This involves putting the good guys back in your stomach, and inulin is a powerful prebiotic that enhances the growth of friendly bacteria. Inulin is a member of the fructan family of storage carbohydrates that occur in various flowering plants, especially chicory, onions, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes. So it’s worth adding those to your regular dinner plates.

Try supplementing with friendly bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. You can also use fructooligosaccarides-based sweeteners in place of things like sugars. Begin with a small amount of these sweeteners and gradually build up so that it doesn’t cause you any gastric distress.

Xylitol is also very good for bacteria-related issues and is a great way to sweeten foods if you have a sweet tooth. Stevia is certainly useful, but offers no additional antibacterial functionality.


4. Repair

You’ll fix your mucosal lining as the final and on-going stage of your journey towards excellent digestive health that will improve your uptake of nutrients from your food and boost your performance.

The key nutrients you need are vitamins K, C, E and A, beta-carotene and folic acid. Good antioxidants include selenium, carotenoids, glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine, pycnogenol and flavanoids. So eating plenty of fresh organic vegetables and fruits each day will help support these antioxidant defenses. Be sure to get at least nine servings a day, with five or six coming from vegetables.

The key nutrients you need to facilitate the repair process are as follows: L-glutamine, essential fatty acids, zinc, pantothenic acid, N-Acetyl glucosamine, gamma oryzanol, glycyrrhiza and cat’s claw. Follow the recommended manufacturer’s dosage and don’t take them all at once. Instead, cycle them on and off for a month at a time.


Find nutrition tips and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.