If you often find yourself suffering from digestive symptoms, it might be worth considering working with a nutritional therapist to combat the issue. But many of us put this off simply because we don’t really understand what that would entail. While nutritional therapy isn’t limited to dealing with digestive health, it is a common problem that it’s used to combat. So today we’re revealing the 5-step approach that most nutritional therapists follow to help their clients get rid of digestive problems once and for all. 

The 5 R’s of Nutritional Therapy

Chronic digestive issues are often caused by your gut biome being out of whack. Sometimes referred to as ‘dysbiosis’, an imbalance gut biome can lead to all kinds of problems throughout the body.

The nutritional therapist’s approach to rectifying this issue is to use the 5R’s;

  1. Remove
  2. Replace
  3. Reinoculate
  4. Repair
  5. Rebalance

Let’s go over them in more detail. 


The first order of business in any course of nutritional therapy will be to remove that which is causing (or initially caused) your digestive issues. Often it’s chronic exposure to things that cause digestive flare-ups in the first place, so we need to isolate ourselves from that which caused the problem in the first place, to fix it. 

Ultimately, this stage is about removing the source of gut inflammation. This could be dietary (such as a food intolerance), environmental or even lifestyle-related (stress is infamous for causing inflammation).


After getting rid of the ‘bad’ stuff that was the root cause of your issues, we need to add the ‘good stuff’ back in. 

This might entail replacing enzymes, acids, or in some cases, nutrients. Like most stages in this process, the details of ‘what’ will depend on your specific situation. Nutrients and fibres may need to be replaced as they’re critical to digestive health. 


A fancy word to be sure, but all it really means is fixing up your microbiome. This stage is focused on rebalancing the bacteria in your digestive tract, often through diet or supplementation. 

This part is crucial for long term recovery and is often missed out by conventional treatment. For example, one course of antibiotics can have a massive impact on the bacteria in our gut (as is the point!) but very little is advised for actions to take after completing the course. 

This is just one example of why the need to reinoculate cannot be stressed when it comes to healing our digestive system. 


The next step looks at how you can support the lining of our intestinal barrier. This barrier is only 1 cell thick, and yet it’s all that separates us from the goop in our digestive tract. 

If there’s enough inflammation from infection, overgrowth, stress or problematic foods (which can be identified through an intolerance test), then your intestinal lining can become \


An objection many have regarding nutritional therapy is that any change to the gut biome won’t last once the treatment is over. But this is far from the case. The rebalance stage of the 5R’s focuses on instilling behaviours that replace the old ones which caused the problems in the first place. It’s designed to prevent a ‘relapse’ if you will. 

The 5R’s approach aims to arm you with the knowledge needed to not only get rid of your current symptoms but to make minor changes that will enable you to maintain your newly balanced gut biome. 


And that’s a quick overview of what the 5R’s process of nutritional therapy looks like. The specific details will be different from person to person, of course, but the structure remains the same for the most part. 

Working with a nutritional therapist can be very helpful for those who have recently undergone food intolerance testing, especially. As the 5R’s can be used to help speed up and maintain improvements made through the elimination diet that usually follows.