It’s so important to keep your gut healthy, and sometimes your diet isn’t enough. If your gut has been out of balance for a long time, you may need to use supplements for digestive health. They will help get your gut functioning optimally.
The friendly flora in your gut (called probiotics) break down certain carbohydrates like starch and fiber that you cannot digest yourself.
When the beneficial bacteria break down these carbohydrates, they ferment just like making beer or bread. This fermentation process creates a byproduct, called short-chain fatty acids, which are super important for your gut to be healthy. If you don’t have enough friendly bacteria in your gut, and especially a wide variety, you will probably need to support your digestive health by taking probiotics.
The best choice is a broad-spectrum probiotic that combines several different targeted species at clinically tested doses. The microflora we have in our guts when we’re infants is different from what we have in our guts as we get older. And if you become sick or have to use antibiotics, your gut becomes unbalanced. You may find probiotics that seem to work really well for you, and then the formula changes. That’s because our guts change. With scientific research, we find certain species work better. Now, you may not always have to take probiotic supplementation, especially once you’re eating probiotic-rich foods. You can usually get your gut back in balance by taking probiotic supplementation for at least 90 days.
You also need to make sure you’re getting enough prebiotics. Food for your gut’s friendly bacteria.
It takes a lot longer to heal your gut by supplementing prebiotics than seeding your gut with probiotics. Using both prebiotics and probiotics hastens the healing. If you’ve got intestinal dysbiosis, meaning a severe imbalance in friendly bacteria or pathogens, the pathogens must be eradicated using antimicrobials. It’s best to do sensitivity testing on your gut pathogens to see what will work best.
Now, if you’re having trouble digesting foods, you may need some digestive enzymes taken with your meals. They will support your digestion and absorption until your pancreas can make enough digestive enzymes on its own. But if you’re constantly taking high doses of digestive enzymes with every meal, you’re telling your pancreas that it doesn’t need to make any. It usually takes three to six months to retrain your digestive tract and get your pancreas to make adequate enzymes. Like amylase to digest carbohydrates, proteases to digest proteins, and lipases to digest fats.
To heal your upper gastrointestinal tract, ginger is probably the most versatile supplements for digestive health.
The esophagus includes the stomach and upper small intestine.
Ginger soothes your stomach, can ease bloating, and support regularity. Plantain can also be incredibly helpful to heal the upper digestive tract. The greener the better. Plantain can protect against peptic ulcers and increase the thickness of the lining of the stomach. All to protect it from its own hydrochloric acid.
Licorice root, particularly deglycerolized licorice or DGL, is incredibly healing for the upper gastrointestinal tract. DGL can actually soothe inflamed and injured mucous membranes. The flavonoids in DGL may hinder the growth of H pylori. That is a bacteria that can contribute to ulcers and gastritis. DGL is safer to consume than licorice root. Licorice root can affect your adrenal aldosterone production. Which will affect your blood pressure and your salt-water balance.
Glutamine is usually necessary to heal your colon, especially if you have leaky gut from infection or chronic inflammation.
Glutamine is probably the most abundant amino acid in the human body, and 30% of it is found in your gut. To heal your colon, you need between one to three grams per day for 8-12 weeks. But you have to be careful because high doses of glutamine can have a rebound effect, inducing constipation, nausea, headache, and stomach pain. Slippery Elm is another supplement that helps support normal inflammatory responses in the lining of the intestine and can be very soothing to the digestive tract.
Your colon responds very well to psyllium husk, which is a great way to add insoluble fiber to your diet.
Psyllium husk forms a gel in your intestine by trapping water and increasing the bulk of your stool, making it easier for you to defecate. Psyllium can affect your gut by acting as a prebiotic to support your friendly bacteria, and help them produce short chain fatty acids which helps your gut to heal.
Last, vitamin D is a supplement that acts as an immune modulator.
Since your gut houses much of your immune cells, vitamin D can help heal your gut. You want to make sure that you’re taking enough vitamin D to keep your blood levels around 50. Although above 30 is considered normal, a vitamin D level of 50 or more is best for optimal immune function and gut health.
Supporting your hypothalamus is critical in helping your gut heal as your hypothalamus controls your immune system as well as your gut-brain connection. If you have any questions about supplements for digestive health, please join me in our Hormone Support Group, where you’ll get access through our free Hormone Reboot Training.