The 5 Rs in Pediatric Functional Medicine and How They Can Help Your Children

We’ve all heard the term ‘microbiome’.  ‘Microbiome’ refers to the community of microorganisms that inhabit our gut, or digestive tract.  A healthy digestive system plays a role of paramount importance in a person’s overall health.  If our community of microorganisms is out of balance or not functioning properly, we can see issues like immune system malfunction, gut inflammation, allergies, skin problems like eczema, mood and behavior dysregulation and weight problems.


In Functional Medicine we talk about the ‘5 Rs’ for healing the gut.  They are as follows:


  1. Remove: Our goal is to remove foods, toxins or unhealthy parasites, bacteria or yeast that are colonizing the gut. This might include an elimination diet to find out what foods don’t agree with your kids.


  1. Replace: Sometimes adding things like digestive enzymes will help restore proper digestion.


  1. Reinoculate: We want to reintroduce healthy microorganisms to restore the balance in the gut and then promote a diet to sustain that balance.  Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms (‘friendly bacteria’) that can be taken in powder or capsule form or eaten in fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, miso or sauerkraut.  Prebiotics are foods such as onions, garlic, flax, oats, artichokes and jicama that feed our good bacteria.


  1. Repair: We might use supplements or herbs to help heal the lining of the gut.


  1. Rebalance: Finally, we work on promoting healthy lifestyle choices that affect gut and overall wellness including sleep, exercise and stress reduction.


Visit Cheryl Standing, MD in West Des Moines, Iowa to learn more about how this approach can help your children!

Dr. Cheri Standing

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