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Resetting Your Gut: How long will it take?

Resetting your gut

A gut reset can be daunting, especially when you don’t know how long it could take! Find out what sort of commitment is needed to reboot your microbiome.

Your gut is incredibly sensitive to a whole variety of factors, from the foods you eat to the stress that you feel. As a result of this, the composition of its microbiome is always in a state of flux, subtly and consistently changing in response to the influence of each factor. Because of this sensitivity, it isn’t as difficult as you might think to change the composition of your gut. 

The key is in the long term.

Change can come quite quickly if you rely on a one-hit adjustment, but it likely won’t last very long. The reset is only just the beginning of a much more positive and exciting relationship with your microbiome. Dr Kirstie McLoughlin explains the importance of remembering that for a lot of people, “the resetting of the microbiome is going to take a consistent lifestyle change” [1], not a brief period of elimination. If you are looking for a healthy and balanced gut that endures in the long term, then you should open your perspective to implementing permanent changes to your habits.

You are what you eat!

Perhaps the most important thing to note is that if you wish to restore the balance and diversity of your microbiome, you must eat the right food. And the better you are at doing this in the beginning, the sooner you will be able to enjoy the benefits. For a total gut reset, you need to eliminate dairy, gluten, alcohol, sugar (including the fructose you find in fruit drinks), caffeine, chlorinated water and processed food. Alternatively, if this amount of restriction does not appeal, then try reducing these foods and replacing them with a combination of plant-based ingredients and prebiotics. One of the proven ways to improve digestive functioning and the health of your microbiome is by eating more dietary fibre and abiding by a predominantly plant-based diet, as excessive meat consumption has been linked with conditions such as colorectal cancer [2]. Again, the focus here should not be on a brief phase of veganism; a reset is only successful if it is followed up with a commitment to maintaining your gut health!

There are tests that can be done which enable you to understand the state of your microbiome and there are simple lifestyle modifications we can make to reverse this trend and create better gut health.

What can I do to speed up the process?

Applying a speed or time-based approach to the process of resetting your gut can be reductive and significantly counterproductive. As has been drilled throughout this blog post, value lies in stamina rather than speed! However, there are other things you can do alongside your dietary adjustments, in order to help the process along. 

Disruptions to your circadian rhythms can cause alterations in the body’s microbial ecosystem which, over the long term, can increase your vulnerability to metabolic imbalances, glucose intolerance and weight gain. [3] Therefore getting regular and sufficient sleep can serve in your favour when it comes to resetting and improving the microbiome of your gut. There is also a bidirectional relationship between your brain and your gut health, forming what is known as the gut-brain axis. Your mental and emotional state can have a huge impact upon your gut bacteria, meaning that taking care of your mind can really help you to take care of your body. 

Try to avoid undoing your hard work.

Resetting your gut is a gradual process; there is no specific time limit that can be placed upon your experience to mark the end of a successful reset. The reset and the longer term changes work hand in hand – neither can be implemented effectively without the presence of the other. For this reason, there is little point in resetting your gut if you then go back to your old habits after three or four weeks. Your gut is as receptive to four weeks of committed healthy eating as it is to a weekend of binging on alcohol!

In a paper entitled ‘The Power of Functional Nutrition’ by the Institute for Functional Medicine, they state that when high-quality nutrition is “applied effectively and consistently” it can prevent chronic disease [4], enhance cognition in people with dementia [5], and amongst other things improve surgical recovery [6]. The key note here is the word “consistently”. Avoiding a relapse is perhaps the most challenging part of the reset process, which is why at RYH, we suggest an 80:20 approach. If you can have the resilience to follow our gut-friendly framework for 80% of the time, then there is little harm in indulging yourself for the other 20%!

As the gut is a part of the body that is so highly receptive to change, it does not take long to notice a difference in your microbiome when undergoing the process of resetting it. With the RYH programme, the initial four weeks of change may feel like a mountain to climb, but in reality, they are only the first hurdle in what is essentially a marathon commitment to long-term change! Resetting your gut can happen in a matter of weeks, but maintaining your microbiome must last a lifetime in order for you to really reap the benefits.


  1. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 1
  2. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 1
  3. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 1
  4. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 2
  5. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 2
  6. Rogers, Catherine, Gut Well Soon, Panoma Press; 2017, Chapter 2