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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 May 5, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

3.3

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.3
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • 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, this particular formulation does not have strong evidence to support its efficacy.

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Total Restore Review: Is It Safe and Effective?

Pros

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

Cons

  • Designed to treat a condition that may not exist
  • 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.

To understand this product and how it works, it is first important to know a bit of background about Gundry MD.

I would put Dr. Gundry on the list of people who make a dietitian’s life harder with their outlandish, 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 once the gut is healed and lectins eliminated, weight loss and other health problems will also resolve.

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

What Is Leaky Gut?

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

When this happens, the theory is that this can cause 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 actually exists.

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

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.

The main issue I have as a registered dietitian with Dr. Gundry’s theories about gut health is his focus on lectins.

There is limited evidence that consuming lectins is an underlying cause of any 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, which is loaded with “toxic” foods, 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.

Evaluation of Ingredients

Although the theory behind the product is questionable, there are many ingredients in Total Restore that are supported by research.

I have decided to evaluate a few of the ingredients that have solid support behind them. 

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 is able to make the L-glutamine it needs in most circumstances. During periods of extreme physical stress or injury, it may need increased amounts of glutamine.

Since the body is able to make the glutamine it needs, I don’t recommend a supplement, except in specific circumstances.

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.

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.

Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, 86 mg

MBH is a ketone body that may help increase energy levels. It does not have any known impact on digestive health.

Grape Seed Extract, 58 mg

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

Zinc L-Carnosine, 10 mg

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

Variety of 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.

They are also a source of prebiotics, the “food” required for healthy gut microbes.

Dr. Gundry claims that all his products are backed up by “scientific data.”

Although this may be true for some of the individual ingredients, there are no studies to support the specific blend he has created 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 healthStrong Evidence
  • Supports energy productionStrong Evidence
  • Helps heal intestinal permeabilityLimited Evidence

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The serving size is 3 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.

This product 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 dose 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.

Although I was able to locate it on Amazon for cheaper, it appears that it is sold by third parties, and therefore you have no guarantee of what is actually inside the bottle.

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 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.

How Total Restore Compares to Alternatives

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

Although all of these ingredients do 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.

The Total Restore product page claims that their product is different from alternatives because it does not contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners.

But it is not the only digestive health product that is low in sugar or other sweeteners; there are many available 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.

As a registered dietitian, this product would not be my first recommendation for digestive problems.

Mostly because the primary claim around needing to restore gut integrity is tenuous at best.

Taking an expensive supplement to treat something that may not exist doesn’t make much sense.

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 underlying causes, so simply taking a supplement usually is not a cure.

If you are concerned about improving gut health, focus on eating 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.

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