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Total Restore Review: Is It Safe and Effective?

Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on December 17, 2021

Dietitian Rating:

3.2

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.8
  • Ingredient Safety:3.0
  • Value for the Price:2.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Total Restore is a dietary supplement designed to heal intestinal permeability or “leaky gut.” While some of the ingredients might improve digestive health, there are no studies to support the specific blend of ingredients in Total Restore.

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Total Restore Review: Is It Safe and Effective?
Photo credit: iStock.com/adamkaz

Pros

  • Some ingredients are evidence-based
  • May have gut health benefits
  • Provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients

Cons

  • Designed to treat a condition that has no evidence-based treatment
  • Expensive for a 30-day supply
  • No evidence that this specific blend is optimal

What Is Total Restore?

Total Restore by Gundry MD is a dietary supplement designed to help repair gut permeability or “leaky gut.”

The company claims that reducing leaky gut will decrease fatigue, digestive discomfort, joint pain, food cravings, and weight problems.

Leaky gut is not a widely accepted medical diagnosis and is more of a lay-person “buzz word.” While there is evidence of increased intestinal permeability in some people, it is unclear how this impacts chronic illness. There is also no known treatment for this condition.

To understand Total Restore and how it works, it is first essential to know a bit of background about Gundry MD.

I would put Dr. Gundry on the list of people who make dietitians’ lives harder with their mostly unsupported theories.

Dr. Steven Gundry is a cardiologist and the author of the best-selling book “Plant Paradox.” He also has an extensive line of dietary supplements based on his nutritional theories.

A primary focus of his practice is on helping patients restore their health by avoiding foods that contain lectins and support beneficial microbes in the gut.

Lectins are a carbohydrate-binding protein found in certain plant foods.

Dr. Gundry believes that some plants are toxic and harmful to the gut and the microbes inside because of their lectin content.

He claims that weight loss and other health problems will also resolve once the gut is healed and lectins eliminated.

Total Restore is one of many products that Dr. Gundry designed to improve gut health in the hopes of addressing other symptoms.

However, there is limited evidence that consuming lectins is an underlying cause of digestive problems, with a few outlying exceptions. Most toxic lectins are destroyed with cooking.

Lectins are found in many healthy plant foods, like tomatoes, which he calls toxic.

If that were the case, then the Mediterranean diet wouldn’t be considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet.

Calling plants “toxic” encourages people to eat fewer vegetables, which is the opposite of what is needed for a healthy diet or digestive system.

In my opinion, as a registered dietitian, encouraging people to avoid foods like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, corn, and whole grains puts people at risk for nutrient deficiencies. In addition, it may cause people to be afraid of healthy foods.

What Is Leaky Gut?

Total Restore is designed to improve leaky gut, a condition more appropriately referred to as intestinal permeability, where small gaps appear in the digestive tract that allows harmful substances to pass through.

When this happens, the theory is that when undesirable substances pass through intact, the immune system that sits outside the digestive tract overreacts. This leads to the development of food sensitivities, fatigue, digestive concerns, and skin problems.

Dr. Gundry believes that leaky gut is caused by consuming lectins, which is the theory behind his popular book and the reason why he recommends Total Restore.

The problem is that most mainstream medical doctors and some dietitians do not believe that leaky gut is actually the cause of all these underlying ailments.

There is evidence that those with specific medical conditions, like certain autoimmune diseases, may experience increased intestinal permeability.

But it is unclear if the leaky gut is the cause of this illness or if it contributes to the progression of this disease. There is also no known treatment to repair the gut lining if it is “leaky.”

The bottom line is that the jury is still out about leaky gut, so taking a supplement to repair a non-existent problem doesn’t make much sense.

Evaluation of Ingredients

Although the theory behind the product is questionable, many ingredients in Total Restore are supported by research to help improve gut health.

Taking a deeper look, here is what the evidence says about the validity of the claims:

L-Glutamine, 213 mg

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is needed by intestinal cells to maintain integrity, decrease inflammation, and keep gut microbes in the right place.

There is some evidence that supplementation with L-glutamine can increase the number of gut microbes that support normal body weight.

The body can make the L-glutamine it needs in most circumstances. However, during periods of extreme physical stress or injury, it may require increased amounts of glutamine.

Summary

L-Glutamine does play a role in supporting gut health, but the body can make all that it needs in healthy people.

N-acetyl D-glucosamine, 142 mg

Glucosamine is a compound naturally found in cartilage and other connective tissues. It plays a role in maintaining joint health.

Glucosamine acts as a barrier between gut microbes and the intestinal wall, which may play a role in intestinal permeability.

N-acetyl D-glucosamine has been found to be able to block certain types of lectins.

Summary

N-acetyl D-glucosamine may help support gut wall health and block lectins.

Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, 86 mg

Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (MBH) is a ketone that may help increase energy levels.

Some animal research has found that it may help increase lifespan, although more evaluation in humans is needed.

It may also have protective benefits for the brain. However, MBH does not have any known impact on digestive health.

Summary

MBH may have health benefits related to improved energy levels and brain health.

Zinc-L-Carnosine, 10 mg

Zinc L-carnosine (ZnC) is a combination of zinc and the amino acid carnosine.

It has been found to help restore gastric lining and heal the digestive tract due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Zinc alone has been found to help decrease intestinal permeability in people with Crohn’s disease.

Summary

Zinc L-carnosine is a compound that has anti-inflammatory benefits that may benefit gut health.

Plant, Root, and Seed Extracts

Total Restore also contains several different plant, root, and seed extracts. These ingredients may provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Grape Seed Extract, 58 mg

Animal studies have found that grape seed extract may help improve intestinal integrity.

Licorice Root Extract, 54 mg

The licorice root extract has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

A 2012 study found that it might help improve symptoms of acid reflux and stomach pain.

Wormwood, 50 mg

Wormwood is an herb commonly used in traditional medicine and to make certain types of alcohol.

It has many potential benefits due to its antioxidant activity and ability to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Cinnamon Bark Powder, 50 mg

Cinnamon is an aromatic herb that inhibits certain digestive enzymes resulting in lower blood sugar and improved insulin response after meals.

Specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, it may improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Maitake Mushrooms, 34 mg

Maitake mushrooms are native to Japan. They have been used medicinally for centuries due to their adaptogenic properties, meaning they help reduce the physical effects of stress on the body.

Even though they are common in Japanese culture, research about potential benefits is still emerging.

Animal studies have found that they hold promise for improving cholesterol levels and possibly in cancer prevention.

Organic Berry Blend, 22 mg

This blend contains a variety of antioxidant-rich berries, including tart cherry, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, elderberry, and cranberry.

A diet rich in berries is anti-inflammatory and protective of gut health. Consuming berries in a supplement form may also have similar benefits.

Clove Bud Powder, 17mg

Cloves are a fragrant spice with antioxidant properties and potential health benefits, although most research is based on animal and test-tube studies.

Cloves may help protect against gastric ulcers and inhibit the growth of certain bacteria in the digestive system.

Black Pepper Fruit Powder, 17 mg

Black pepper is a common seasoning that has been treasured for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties.

It may help improve the absorption of other nutrients in the blend and may have benefits for supporting the health of the gut microbiome.

Grapefruit Seed Extract, 17mg

Grapefruit seed extract is made from the seeds of a grapefruit. It has anti-microbial properties and is rich in an antioxidant called naringenin.

However, grapefruit seed extract has no specific benefits for gut health.

Marshmallow Root Powder, 10mg

Marshmallow root is an herbal remedy with many potential health benefits. For digestion, it may help protect against gastric ulcers.

Berberine Bark Powder, 3mg

Berberine is a yellow-colored plant compound that may have benefits for metabolic dysfunction. It has been found to improve blood sugar and cholesterol.

Summary

While these plant, root, and seed extracts may have some potential health benefits, there are no studies to support the specific blend in Total Restore.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Total Restore based on the available research:

Supports digestive healthGold Star Evidence
Supports energy productionGold Star Evidence
Helps heal intestinal permeabilityModerate Evidence
Supports comfortable jointsGold Star Evidence
Boosts feelings of energy and focus and may help calm your moodModerate Evidence
Helps combat out of control junk food cravingsLimited Evidence

Total Restore’s ingredients like glucosamine, L-glutamine, and Zinc-L-carnosine do have benefits for gut health.

Zinc-L-carnosine may help support gut integrity, but further research is needed.

Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate helps boost energy production.

Maitake mushrooms function as adaptogens, which may help manage the symptoms of stress and maintain a calm mood.

While ingredients like cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar and possibly reduce cravings for junk food, there is no solid research that these ingredients will stop cravings completely.

Glucosamine has been extensively researched for its benefits in helping support joint health.

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The serving size of Total Restore is three capsules with your biggest meal of the day and 8 ounces of water.

There are no significant safety concerns with this product, with a few exceptions for people with specific health concerns.

Total Restore contains ingredients made from shellfish. Therefore, it should be avoided by people with an allergy.

Licorice root in high doses may cause high blood pressure and lower potassium levels. The exact amount that can cause this reaction is unknown.

The supplement also contains grapefruit seed extract, which should be avoided for people taking certain medications, like statins.

It is always best to ask your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.

Cost and Where to Buy

The best place to purchase Total Restore is directly from Dr. Gundry’s website.

Total Restore costs $69.99 for a 30-day supply. This seems expensive compared to other digestive health products that usually run around $20–$30 for a 30-day supply.

The price of Total Restore is discounted if you order in bulk, or you can save 60% on all products if you join the company’s “Subscribe and Save” program.

Shipping is free on orders over $60 on the site.

Gundry MD does offer a money-back guarantee on the product if you are not satisfied with your results after 90 days of use.

Total Restore is also available on Amazon at a lower price, but it appears to be sold only by third parties. Therefore you have no guarantee that you are buying an authentic product on Amazon.

How Total Restore Compares to Alternatives

Most digestive supplements focus on a blend of prebiotics and probiotics to help improve gut health. In addition, some digestive products may include L-glutamine, collagen, or licorice root.

Although all of these ingredients have research to support their use, there is no evidence that there is an optimal blend to heal leaky gut or improve digestion. Therefore making a recommendation for the optimal product for leaky gut is not possible.

If you think you want digestive support without using a probiotic, I would recommend a product with L-glutamine and Zinc-L-carnosine, which do have evidence to support their benefits.

There are a few options in this category for a lower price-point than Total Restore. Amy Myers, MD, carries a similar product with L-glutamine, marshmallow, and licorice root.

This product is less expensive than Total Restore but does not contain Zinc-L-carnosine, which has benefits for digestive health.

Another similar product at a lower price point is Endozin by Klaire Labs, which contains Zinc-L-carnosine and L-glutamine. However, it does not include all the additional herbs found in Total Restore.

Summary

Total Restore does have benefits for gut health, but it is an expensive gut support product. There are many comparable but less expensive options on the market.

The Bottom Line

Many of the ingredients in Total Restore do have evidence to support the claims around gut wellness, energy, and joint health.

Using this product may help improve digestive concerns, like bloating and provide increased energy.

This product would not be my first recommendation for digestive problems, mainly because its primary claim to restore gut integrity is tenuous at best.

Taking an expensive supplement to treat a condition that may not be the cause of actual health problems doesn’t make much sense to me.

If you believe you have a digestive problem, it is always best to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.

A Word from Our RD

Digestive problems can have many causes, so simply taking a supplement is usually not a cure.

The underlying cause needs to be identified and addressed by either dietary and lifestyle changes or medical treatment.

One way to improve gut health with food is to eat a diet rich in fiber and probiotics from fermented foods, like yogurt or kombucha.

If your digestive concerns persist, it is best to work with a health professional like a doctor or registered dietitian to help address underlying causes and triggers.

A registered dietitian can guide you through an elimination diet to help identify foods that may be a trigger for you.

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