Good metabolic health consists of more than a healthy weight. It requires having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without being on medication.  Unfortunately, research shows that just 1 in 8 adults in the United States have optimal metabolic health.

gut microbiota

Metabolic health relates to a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So, how can you improve your metabolic health without taking medication for the rest of your life? A healthy gut microbiome is one answer.

The microorganisms that live in your gut impact how your body processes food and your overall health. They help turn your food into energy, and you can affect their health with diet and lifestyle.

You can take a proactive role in supporting your metabolic health by repairing your gut microbiome with the 5R protocol.

Why is the Gut Microbiome so Important?

The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms that reside inside your body. Many of the critical functions of your body are dependent on the presence of these microorganisms.

In fact, researchers believe the gut microbiome, which is the richest and most diverse of all microbe communities on your body, is developed at birth. Your birth delivery method, first initial feedings, and hygiene all contribute to the health of your gut microbiome.

As you get older, your microbiota stabilizes. However, environmental factors like medications and diet can adversely influence the bacteria living inside your gut. Studies of populations unaffected by the Western lifestyle show that long-term dietary patterns result in fundamental differences in gut microbiome composition.

Studies also show that even short-term changes in diet can rapidly change the microbial makeup of your gut.

Gut Microbiome and Metabolic Health

In terms of metabolic health, there are distinct differences between the microbiomes of lean versus obese individuals. This is also true for those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. However, research shows that the gut microbiome can be adjusted for metabolic benefits through the use of probiotics and prebiotics.

To put it simply, changing the gut microbiome changes your metabolic health.

While bacteria in the gut are physically separate from human cells, they can influence human physiology through the creation of metabolites. These are the products of metabolism that cells can read. Metabolic Health Checkup

For example, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are produced by the bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber in the gut. They support metabolic and immune functions in the body. Different types of fiber and bacteria present in the gut determine the types and amounts of SCFA produced.

Another example can be seen through the sensory hormones called incretins that live inside your gut. Incretins detect incoming food and tell the body to absorb, metabolize, and store nutrients by aiding communication between the gut and other organs. One such incretin, Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), signals the release of insulin, the hormone that controls the uptake of glucose from the blood. The gut microbiome affects GLP-1 in multiple ways, for example, certain bacterial metabolites directly stimulate GLP-1 secretion.

Needless to say, people with diabetes and obesity suffer from impaired GLP-1 signaling just like they suffer from impaired insulin signaling. This all could be due to the gut microbiome.

How to Improve Metabolic Health Through Changes to the Microbiome?

Diet plays a large role in the composition of the gut microbiome. The standard American diet is high in sugary, processed foods and carbohydrates. It reduces or removes certain beneficial bacteria from the gut. The way to improve metabolic health through changes to the microbiome is through healing the gut with the 5R protocol.

What is the 5R Protocol?

The 5R protocol is our program for healing digestive problems like leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. It’s a functional medicine approach that looks at you as a whole, not a set of symptoms. The focus of this protocol is to get to the bottom of your digestive issues whether it be toxicity, food intolerance, allergic reactions, or chronic infections.

When your digestive issues are taken care of, your gut microbiome is balanced and your metabolic health is optimized. Here are the steps of the 5R protocol:

Remove Process - Our 5R Program to Restore Gut Health


The first step in the program is removing anything that can damage the digestive tract. There could be several factors irritating your system such as food sensitivities, bad bacteria, parasites, environmental toxins, or stress. The goal of this stage is to eliminate these factors. Options for identifying the problem involve checking stool cultures and food sensitivity testing.

Replace Process - Our 5R Program to Restore Gut Health

2. Replace

Once you have determined which foods you have an intolerance to you will replace them with non-reactive food. In some cases, it’s not so much what needs to be removed as what needs to be replaced. As you age, the level of hydrochloric acid within the stomach begins to decline. During this phase of recuperation, you need to replace the digestive secretions you are lacking. Adding digestive enzymes, bile salts and hydrochloric acid can help restore digestion.

3. Reinoculate

Reinoculate Process - Our 5R Program to Restore Gut Health

Reinoculate refers to helping the good bacteria in the gut to flourish and repopulate. Antibiotics, stress, or a poor diet may diminish the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. This step involves replacing the beneficial bacteria to improve digestive system function. Prebiotics and probiotics greatly help to correct gut imbalances.

Additionally, fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, and sauerkraut are sources of microbes that may have probiotic effects. Your nutrition practitioner may also recommend that you add several prebiotic foods, containing a fiber called inulin, into your regular eating pattern to help the probiotics thrive.

Repair Process - Our 5R Program to Restore Gut Health

4. Repair

Once you have removed any foods that you are intolerant to, replaced your digestive secretions, and reinoculated your gut with probiotics, it is time to repair your gut. Digestive problems can go undiagnosed and untreated for years, which means a lot of damage can occur to the lining of your gut.

To aid in this healing, your nutrition practitioner may recommend some key nutrients that you may not be consuming enough of such as glutamine, zinc, vitamins A, C, and D, folate, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Rebalance Process - Our 5R Program to Restore Gut Health

5. Rebalance

The final step is creating some lifestyle changes to keep your digestive tract healthy and prevent gastrointestinal diseases. This involves eating a well-balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and exercising 150 minutes each week. Finally, learn stress-relieving techniques to help your gut stay healthy.

optimize metabolic health Are you ready to Optimize your metabolic health?

Lifestyle changes make a significant difference in your metabolic health. Taking care of your gut microbiome and digestive health could be the difference between developing insulin resistance and maintaining a healthy weight well into your later years.

Our integrative practitioners will create a personalized health plan to identify and address the root cause of your illness. Our goal is to use preventative medicine to optimize your health and provide you with a greater sense of wellbeing.