If you’re among the 60 to 70 million Americans suffering from digestive issues, a gut health supplement might help.
Gut health is important because a complex community of bacteria and microbes lives in your gastrointestinal tract and these so-called gut flora or microbiota have a profound impact on your health. Research shows that imbalances in your gut microbiome influence everything from your immune system to the risk of being diagnosed with diseases such as depression, type 2 diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome.
If you are curious about how to improve gut health naturally, the National Institutes of Health suggests eating several smaller meals to improve digestion; avoiding eating at night when your gastrointestinal tract works more slowly; managing stress; and taking supplements to bolster healthy gut bacteria.
These five supplements can help you achieve optimal gut health.
The probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus is bountiful in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Since these foods might not be a regular part of your diet, a supplement can help improve your gut health.
Several studies have linked L. acidophilus and other probiotics with improved digestion. If you’re lactose intolerant, supplements could help relieve symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain, according to research published in Nutrition Journal. It also helps alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by altering the gut microbiome and improving overall gut health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain good gut bacteria. Without them, you could experience a range of GI issues from gas and bloating to constipation. In fact, beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are often lacking in those suffering from constipation.
Taking a probiotic supplement alleviated those symptoms in 70 percent of patients. Researchers suspect that the supplements decrease methanogens—gasses in the gut that interfere with digestion—and increase intestinal fermentation making digestion more efficient.
A gut health supplement like Ultra Pure Probiotic that contains both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacter lactis helps support good gut health. Studies show that those who took probiotic supplements experienced detectable changes in their gut microbiomes.
This amino acid is one of the building blocks of protein. It is produced in the muscles and runs through the bloodstream to the organs where it produces glucose to fuel the cells and regulates gut function. Your intestines use about 30 percent of the total glutamine your body produces, helping to calm inflammation and protect cells from stress.
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences showed that those with Crohn’s disease who took a supplement containing 21 grams of glutamine per day for 28 days experienced fewer symptoms and improved disease status. Additional research found that glutamine supplements promoted good gut health to alleviate constipation, decreased colonies of bacteria that cause illness, promoted immune responses; and helped reduce bacterial infections associated with chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
Found in larch trees as well as plants like coffee and wheat flour, arabinogalactan is a macromolecules that has a role in cell reproduction, proliferation and growth.
Native American tribes chewed the bark from larch trees to improve their immune function but the prebiotic fiber also appears to improve gut health naturally by interacting with probiotic bacteria in the intestinal tract and repairing the gut lining. Arabinogalactan also triggers fermentation in the large bowel, increasing beneficial bacteria and reducing fecal ammonia (which is associated with the growth of malignant cells).
Pancreatin contains a combination of digestive enzymes that help break down fats, proteins and sugars. It’s used when your body does not produce enough of its own digestive enzymes—a condition called pancreatic insufficiency—which is common in diseases such as pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis.
Several studies have found strong connections between pancreatin supplementation and optimal gut health. Research found that taking a pancreatin supplement for one week led those with digestive issues such as abdominal pain, weight loss, gas and bulky, foul-smelling stools due to chronic pancreatitis to experience significant improvements in their symptoms.
Following pancreatic surgery, patients who took up to 15 pancreatin capsules per day (an estimated 25,000 minimicrospheres) for one week were better able to absorb fats and had fewer watery stools, less flatulence and abdominal pain.
Pancreatin supplements also contain bile as an active ingredient. Bile helps produce immunoglobin A, an antibody that regulates immune function and protects against gut infections. Chronic inflammation reduces bile production, increasing the risk of infection.
Gut health is important. In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise and stress reduction, a high quality dietary supplements can help you improve gut health naturally.