People often use the term “leaky gut” to describe a condition called increased intestinal permeability, which is when your intestines fail to filter out toxic substances the way they usually would.1 That can result in various unsavory actors making their way into your bloodstream, and it could have a direct influence on everything from your ability to maintain a healthy weight to the effectiveness of your immune system.2
But as bad as either leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability sounds, there are safe and effective treatments that can help restore and even strengthen your intestinal lining. Gundry MD's Total Restore aims to be just such a treatment, combining numerous ingredients — some supported by research, others not as much — to address the issue.
Whether you suffer from an ailment that may cause a leaky gut or you think that increased intestinal permeability may be at the root of other issues, Total Restore is likely worth trying. Its main ingredients have enough research behind them to conclude they'd have a positive effect on your gut health, as well as other aspects of your life.3 But some of those ingredients appear at doses that don’t completely justify Total Restore’s price compared to competitors, while others — like the shellfish-based glucosamine — make the product unsafe for allergic individuals.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including leaky gut supplements like Total Restore. Our team has devoted more than 200 hours to the study of leaky gut syndrome and the various supplements designed to address it. We’ve consumed over 100 scientific journal articles on the topic, as well as on gut health in general.
We also ordered Total Restore for ourselves to investigate everything from the ordering process to the size of the pills so that we could give you the most detailed insider information possible. Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review of Total Restore was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
Evaluating Total Restore was a matter of deciding which criteria were most important to assess its value to the average person. Those criteria, in relative order of importance to our ranking, are:
We use these criteria to consider Total Restore on its own merits, but we also think of them in terms of Total Restore’s competition and how it ultimately stacks up against it.
There are several approaches you can take to address gut health, one of which is combining slightly smaller doses of several ingredients that studies show have some promise for improving your gut’s mucosal lining, balancing your gut microbiome, or improving intercellular connections — often called tight junctions — in your intestines. This is the approach Dr. Gundry’s Total Restore takes, with 15 ingredients included on its label, many at doses below what we see in research where each ingredient is studied individually.
The idea is that the final product should be stronger than the sum of its parts, and since many of Total Restore’s ingredients appear at doses only slightly below that level of clinical significance, we have faith that it could work well for many people.
That said, there are other approaches, such as probiotics or large doses of individual ingredients like glutamine, that may be even more effective.4 And given the fact that there’s more of a scientific and medical consensus about the constitution and treatment of the microbiome than there is regarding leaky gut, probiotics may be a better place to start for many. Dr. Gundry has its own products containing probiotics, but companies like Viome — which tests your unique microbiome and custom-tailors probiotic supplements to treat your specific needs — may offer superior efficacy for a wider range of issues.
Cost is Total Restore’s weakest point, especially when you compare it to other leaky gut supplements from companies like Terra Origin or Revive. Its $70 price tag for a one-month supply is steep, though a free member account on the Dr. Gundry website will take that price down to $50.
Here’s a quick look at how Total Restore stacks up against its most fervent competition. Even with the member discount applied, Total Restore’s $50 cost is the second highest of the bunch.
Special Offer: Save $75 on the 3 bottle package
If you take this cost consideration further and examine the doses of included ingredients, Dr. Gundry’s value takes another hit.
Let’s look at Total Restore side-by-side with Terra Origin’s Healthy Gut in terms of cost and ingredients:
|Total Restore||Terra Origin|
|Cost per bottle||$50||$27|
|Grape seed extract||58mg|
|Licorice root powder||54mg||100mg|
|Maitake mushroom extract||34mg|
|Vitaberry fruit blend||22mg|
|Black pepper fruit powder||17mg|
|Grapefruit seed extract||17mg|
|Marshmallow root powder||10mg||200mg|
|Slippery Elm bark powder||200mg|
|Stevia leaf extract||100mg|
|Aloe vera leaf extract||10mg|
Total Restore may have 15 ingredients to Terra Origin’s 12, but Terra Origin has a glutamine dose that’s more than 2,000% larger. And the total dose of active ingredients (five of which the companies share) is 783mg for Total Restore and 6,871mg for Terra Origin, providing you with much more potential for efficacy from higher doses of common leaky gut ingredients for just over half the price. This is one of the reasons that Terra Origin tops our list of the best leaky gut supplements.
It's worth noting that you can save a few dollars by buying Total Restore from Gundry MD's Amazon store. However, even with that slightly reduced price, it remains one of your more expensive options.
One good thing about Total Restore having lower doses of its ingredients is that it increases the likelihood that most people will tolerate them well. As individual ingredients, many have studies looking into them for one effect or another using much higher doses that resulted in few-to-no adverse effects among participants.
For example, one study using 7.5g of beta-hydroxybutyrate (bound to sodium, calcium, and magnesium salts) saw no adverse effects in participants. That’s more than 87 times the quantity in Total Restore. In other cases, there are well-established upper limits for human intake, such as the 40mg daily limit for elemental zinc recommended by the National Institutes of Health.5 Total Restore’s PepZin GI results in a 2mg dose of elemental zinc from 10mg zinc L-carnosine.
All of this paints a picture in which individual ingredients are delivered at doses significantly lower than what could possibly cause an adverse reaction. But, using Terra Origin as a reference once again, there are other steps Dr. Gundry could take to improve the safety of its supplement further. In addition to zinc, Terra Origin provides a little copper. That’s because zinc supplementation can deplete copper stores. Very few supplement companies whose products include zinc take this into account, so Dr. Gundry isn’t out of the ordinary for excluding it. Still, it’s an example of how the product’s safety profile isn’t perfect.
When we talk about a supplement’s convenience, we consider things like how easy it is to take (mixability of powders, pill size, etc.), but we also consider the convenience of the customer process. Total Restore’s pill size is on the small side of large, but the fact that you have to take three of them may cause some people to pursue a powdered drink mix instead.
Fortunately, that’s about where any inconvenience from Dr. Gundry ends. Our orders shipped in one business day and arrived three days after that. The ordering process itself was streamlined, and the company’s live chat feature is operated by actual humans who can access nuanced answers to specific product questions.
Dr. Gundry also has one of the better money-back guarantees in its class. It doesn’t cover shipping, but you have 90 days to try Total Restore and ask for a refund if you don’t think it’s working for you. That’s three times the 30-day guarantee offered by Terra Origin, though it’s worth noting that Kara MD has a similar 90-day policy for its Vital Restore.
Photo by Innerbody Research
Total Restore is a supplement designed to improve the stability of your intestines' mucosal membrane and return full function to the tight junctions that control permeability. It contains L-glutamine and glucosamine, which bolster intestinal linings and improve overall gut health in multiple studies.6 7 It's part of a regimen of nutritional wellness products developed and sold by Dr. Steven Gundry.
Total Restore's complete list of ingredients is:
While Total Restore was formulated with leaky gut in mind, many of its ingredients can promote improvements in gut health for those without the disorder. You’ll likely have a hard time getting a doctor to diagnose you with leaky gut syndrome, both because diagnostic techniques and criteria for the ailment are still in a nascent stage and because there are still large swaths of the medical community that don’t regard leaky gut as a legitimate term for intestinal permeability that’s not causing severe, even life-threatening symptoms.
That means you’ll have to be on the lookout for signs that you may have issues with your gut’s integrity. The problem there is that those signs can accompany numerous other gut disorders that may or may not be related to a leaky gut. And treating those disorders directly, especially if they’re causing issues with intestinal permeability, will be more important than treating the permeability itself.
Whatever the cause of your symptoms, there’s still a chance that Total Restore can provide some relief, and since it has a good safety profile, the risk is relatively low for most otherwise healthy individuals. However, we still recommend that you talk to a doctor about these symptoms before attempting to fix the problem yourself.
Gundry MD has several other products in addition to his Total Restore gut health supplement. You can safely take any of these in conjunction with one another:
Doctor Gundry's supplements include things like protein shake mixes, metabolism boosters, and pre- and probiotics. One of the most popular supplements is Vital Reds, a polyphenol blend with probiotics and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) that you stir into water.
Gundry MD's skin and hair care products should work equally well for any gender. They include a probiotic cream designed to balance your skin's microbiome, as well as a pair of serums to help with skin elasticity, a botanical cleanser, a dark spot remover, and a nutrient complex in capsule form.
Dr. Gundry strives to put nutrition first, so it makes sense that he would offer food products. These include coffee, riced cauliflower, pancake mixes, chocolate bars, cooking oil, and more. His supplement bars are low in sugar, but we think the balance of macronutrients skews too heavily toward fats, even if those fats are from healthy sources.
Dr. Gundry has written a handful of books that go into great detail about nutrition, food science, and human health. He brings his decades of surgical practice and medical knowledge to the forefront. He provides his readers with the kind of actionable information that might make a positive difference in their lives.
Filled with recipes, health advice, and weight loss tips, Dr. Gundry's Your Health magazine is an inexpensive way to keep your journey toward better health a little more interesting. It's available on a subscription basis or by individual issue.
Dr. Gundry is a former cardiothoracic surgeon responsible for pioneering techniques in infant heart surgery. After spending three decades as a surgeon, Dr. Gundry transitioned to focus on nutrition's role in his patients' health. He's written several books on health and nutrition, and he runs a private clinic in Palm Springs, but it's prohibitively expensive for many and has a long waitlist.
Depending on whom you ask, you’ll likely get a different answer for what leaky gut syndrome actually is. Increased intestinal permeability was a term typically reserved for situations in which a weakening of the gut's integrity caused major leaks of toxic substances into the bloodstream. This would often follow surgery or similar physically traumatic events.
While some in the medical establishment have sought to protect this definition, others have identified significant harm as a result of minor decreases in mucosal barrier function (MBF). Downregulated MBF has now been associated with everything from autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease to migraine.8 9 In some cases, that increased permeability results from a disorder, as is often the case with Crohn’s. In other cases, various symptoms can be traced back to sub-par MBF. That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor to rule out serious medical conditions that could be causing leaky gut and, in turn, causing some of your symptoms.
Some of those symptoms include:
The potential causes of leaky gut syndrome are just as varied as its possible symptoms. They include the following and more:
As we alluded to above, there are also numerous disorders for which leaky gut syndrome can be a symptom. These include:
To understand how Total Restore works, you have to know how your body absorbs nutrients. It might help to think of your bloodstream like a medieval castle and the mucosal lining of your intestines as a moat. If anything tries to get inside, it quickly gets trapped by the moat and devoured by your body's biochemical defenses — kind of like your moat's alligators.
But your body still needs to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream to maintain its good health. That's why there are pathways in your intestines where structures known as tight junctions act like gatekeepers, each in charge of their little drawbridge. When something healthy comes along, they allow the drawbridge to go down and the nutrient to pass into the blood. But if the guards don't do their jobs properly or there are cracks in the walls around the gateway, bad guys can get in, usually in the form of bacteria and endotoxins.
Total Restore seeks to reinforce all of these defenses, bolstering the strength and efficiency of your gut's mucosal lining and protecting your tight junctions from attacks by lectins, which can destabilize those tight junctions and lower the drawbridge for bacteria and other toxins. It does this by combining 15 active ingredients, many of which have been involved in successful studies associated with gut health, often with a focus on intestinal permeability.
Total Restore may also influence aspects of your gut's microbiome without directly introducing good bacteria in the form of probiotics. Influence over this microbiome is where you start to see how Total Restore's effects can spread outside the digestive system and positively impact other parts of your health.
For example, several studies link magnesium and zinc deficiencies with imbalances in gut microbiota that can significantly alter various other systems, not least of all a person's emotional state, potentially leading to depressive behavior.31 And that magnesium is bound to beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), a ketone salt that several studies link to gut health and the gut-brain axis.32
Photo by Innerbody Research
But the most abundant ingredient in Total Restore — L-glutamine — is also the one with some of the most impressive results in research. In patients undergoing surgeries that typically weaken mucosal linings and tight junctions in the gut, glutamine supplementation appears to reduce or prevent this from occurring.11 33 Doses in these studies are typically much larger than the amount of glutamine you get from Total Restore, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the supplement is less effective, especially when you consider the inclusion of its 14 other ingredients. But we can’t say for sure that the combination will be as effective as the company claims due to a lack of evidence one way or another.
Total Restore is generally very safe. Many of its ingredients have been part of studies that used higher doses than what you’ll find in Total Restore without any major adverse effects and few minor ones. But with any supplement, there are some risks that you should consider.
A few of the ingredients in Total Restore may prohibit its use by certain individuals with allergies or sensitivities. In some cases, these ingredients are indispensable to the product, while in others, it seems more about controlling the cost of production.
N-acetyl-D-glucosamine is one of the primary drivers of gut health in Total Restore.7 It can bind to lectins and prevent them from causing damage to your gut's precious tight junctions. One study found an 88% success rate in a small pool of irritable bowel disease sufferers who took 6g orally for four weeks.
The issue is that the N-acetyl-D-glucosamine in Total Restore comes from shellfish (crabs and shrimp), making this product unsuitable for vegans, vegetarians, and those with certain allergies. This decision is a somewhat frustrating aspect of the product since plant-based alternative sources of glucosamine do exist. Ultimately it seems to be a cost-control measure — plant-based glucosamine can be twice as expensive as its shellfish-derived cousin.
L-glutamine is the most abundant ingredient in Total Restore and is also the most important one for the health of your mucosal lining.34 It's a non-essential amino acid, so our bodies make it on their own, but often we make too little for the demands we place on ourselves. Fortunately, we can derive glutamine from meats, dairy products, various vegetables, and other food sources.
Unfortunately, glutamine sensitivity is increasingly prevalent in the U.S., with the ability to trigger headaches, fatigue, joint inflammation, and even anaphylaxis. Some sufferers may not realize that glutamine is at the heart of specific chronic symptoms in their lives, and adding more of it through Total Restore may only exacerbate the problem.
If you notice any increase in symptoms you've already been experiencing or new adverse reactions, be sure to stop taking Total Restore and speak with your physician.
One ingredient that might jump out at you, especially if you’re a fan of mid-19-century French culture, is wormwood. This botanical gave the distinctive green color to absinthe, a drink originally given to French soldiers to ward off malaria that became massively popular in the 1860s. It was commonly believed that the wormwood in absinthe had the potential to induce hallucinations. This was due to the presence of a toxic chemical called thujone in its makeup. But the wormwood concentration in absinthe and the 50mg in Total Restore don’t even begin to approach a recommended daily limit for thujone.35 In short, there is no risk of any form of intoxication or psychoactivity from Total Restore. And with wormwood’s reputation growing in the West for gut health, it’s a sensible additive here.36
Total Restore comes in a bottle containing 90 pills, which is enough for 30 days of treatment. One bottle costs $69.95, but you can purchase three and six-month supplies that can save you up to $200/year on the program. This is significantly more expensive than some of the competition. Our top pick for leaky gut supplements from Terra Origin costs just $27 for a 30-day supply, and it offers higher doses of critical ingredients like glutamine.
Insider Tip: While Gundry products can be expensive, the site offers discounts to its members, and membership is free. Discounts apply to single-bottle and bulk purchases of Total Restore, but the highest member discount actually comes on the one- and three-bottle purchases, at around 30%. The member discount on the six-bottle purchase is only around 20%.
Gundry MD accepts major credit cards and Paypal, but there are no options for insurance coverage. That's not too surprising considering that few-to-no insurance providers would cover supplements, but you can certainly ask your provider if you're curious.
Shipping is free for orders over $50, which covers any purchase of Total Restore. In testing, we received our Total Restore seven days after we ordered it, but that included a holiday weekend in the middle of the shipping period.
If you aren’t satisfied with Total Restore, the company gives you up to 90 days to initiate a refund request. You’ll receive a full refund for the product, but you’ll be responsible for any shipping fees. This is a better policy than some competitors offer. It’s one of the few areas in which Total Restore has Terra Origin beat, as that company only gives you 30 days for returns. But it’s also not the best guarantee, as some competitors match it, like Kara MD.
Like some other Gundry MD products, Total Restore isn't available for purchase in a very wide variety of stores; Walmart doesn't carry it, for instance, and neither do major pharmacies like CVS or Rite Aid.
You can find Total Restore on Amazon, though, sold by the Gundry MD Store. For those who do most of their shopping on Amazon, this can be more convenient, but aside from sheer convenience, there's one other reason to consider buying from Amazon first: price. If you know you only want to buy one bottle to start, you can actually save close to 14% on a single-bottle purchase by buying from Gundry MD's Amazon store rather than buying direct from the Gundry MD website. Right now, Amazon's single-bottle price is $43, while Gundry MD's direct sale price is $50.
Even when factoring in Gundry MD's bundling prices for Total Restore — considerable discounts when buying 3- or 6-bottle orders, as described above — buying via Amazon would still save you a few dollars per order at this time. The downside would be that you miss out on exclusive discount opportunities offered only to Gundry MD account holders.
Gut health is an extremely complicated topic, with signaling pathways, mucus membranes, bacterial colonies, and more all working with or against one another in ways that directly affect your health for better or worse. To make matters worse, diagnostic criteria for leaky gut syndrome are continuing to evolve, making it difficult for doctors to ascertain exactly what any symptoms you present might indicate, even among physicians who stay on top of the literature.37
If you’re experiencing symptoms commonly associated with a leaky gut, you could reasonably seek out products like Total Restore, which are formulated with leaky gut syndrome in mind. But there are other approaches you can take to address issues with gut health that may prove more effective for you, depending on the root cause or causes of your distress.
Probiotics have become increasingly popular in recent years as we continue to understand more and more about the microbiome. The wellness industry might have you believe that probiotics are something of a cure-all, and they do have a lot of positive potential for many users. But there are endless varieties of genuses, species, and strains to consider, each with significant effects on one part of the microbiota or another.
As a result, knowing which probiotics to buy starts to get tricky. It gets even trickier when you find that many manufacturers are patenting their own probiotic strains, many of which are nearly identical to common strains but have had some minor alterations to make them proprietary. And as proprietary ingredients, many of these companies make it all but impossible to determine which common strains their products most resemble. So the only sources of information about the probiotics in question are the companies’ marketing materials.
That said, there are some worthy actors in the probiotics space that we can recommend if you think that probiotics (and their counterpart, prebiotics) might help with your gut issues.
At the top of that list is Viome, a company whose probiotics are custom-tailored to your needs based on the results of comprehensive microbiome testing. If you’d rather go with something off-the-shelf, companies like Garden of Life and Cymbiotika offer compelling products. Dr. Gundry also has a probiotic supplement called Bio Complete 3, which is among our top picks for leaky gut supplements that focus on a probiotic approach.
We’ve talked a bit in this guide about L-glutamine, a non-essential amino acid that has exhibited great potential to treat leaky gut in several studies. You can purchase L-glutamine supplements on their own, which is a great way to get a high dose of a known effective ingredient for gut health without spending as much as you might on a more complex formula. Revive Glutamine is our top budget pick for leaky gut supplements and our best overall pick for glutamine supplements in those two respective guides.
But you can also get L-glutamine as part of an amino acid complex that might provide your system with various benefits beyond just gut health. Perhaps most notably, these supplements can improve muscle protein synthesis and athletic performance in packages that typically come with few or no calories in them. Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine is a great example of this. It offers a high dose of essential amino acids and a 5g dose of glutamine.
Pay close attention to ingredient labels among amino acid supplements, as many offer essential amino acids only, and glutamine is considered non-essential because our bodies can make it. However, more attention is being paid to so-called conditionally essential amino acids — like glutamine — which our bodies can make, but that can fall to dangerously low levels of production during periods of significant physical stress.
Many of the ingredients in Total Restore and its competitors’ products are available through a regular diet. You might have to eat ridiculous amounts of raw parsley to get enough glutamine to make a difference in your gut, but this is a more long-term holistic approach to gut health. If you’re suffering significantly now, you would probably want to consider supplementation. But you could concurrently focus on improving your diet, as you could also do if you exhibited only mild symptoms of a leaky gut and wanted to stave off anything worse.
Certain carbs and fats can be detrimental to gut health, though there are noteworthy exceptions to this, such as galactooligosaccharides, which can act as food for good bacteria.38 A simpler approach might be to look at a few foods that are considered ideal for helping treat or prevent leaky gut:39
Yogurt is an important addition to this list, as it opened the discussion to fermented foods in general, which have been lauded as ideal ways to modify your microbiome for the better.40
Innerbody uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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