Your gut health is extremely important, more so than you might realize. Issues with your gut and digestive system can disrupt not only your daily life and short-term health, but your long-term health as well. Here, we'll take a look at why gut health matters so much, and some natural supplements you can use to bolster your gut health and therefore your overall health.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
The "gut" refers to your body?s entire gastrointestinal system. Per health.usnews.com, the gastrointestinal system includes every body part and organ through which your food passes. It begins with the mouth & salivary glands, down to the stomach & digestive system, and ends with the anus. For the sake of this article and the health topics at hand, we will focus on the health of the stomach and digestive system and their relation to overall health.
There are two primary health areas to consider in relation to the gut. Both of these health areas relevant to the gut are very important! The first consists of the digestive function itself: ensuring that it works properly, identifying and preventing the causes of discomfort, and treating digestive disease such as IBS. Digestive issues can be short or long-term, minor or severe, and they can take on a variety of forms with a variety of treatment approaches. Lifestyle factors do play a factor in maintaining good digestive health.
The other health area is that of the gut microbiome, which is made up of the trillions of microorganisms that live in the gut. Per webmd.com, gut bacteria help break down food and harness the nutrients for your body to use, but they also do much more. It is critical that your gut produces enough ?good? bacteria to offset any ?bad? bacteria present, as too much bad bacteria is linked to various diseases, to include Crohn?s disease and ulcerative colitis. Gut bacteria health is also linked to the health of your kidneys, heart, and even your brain (as well as the occurrence of anxiety and depression).
The following supplements are regarded as being helpful to either one of these health areas, or both. These do not replace medical treatment for digestive disorders or other diseases, but if incorporated into your diet/supplement regime, they can be effective in ensuring excellent gut health and preventing disease. Speak with your doctor before using these supplements.
Supplements for Gut Health
Probiotic supplementation can be extremely beneficial for your overall gut health. It is highly important to maintain enough good bacteria in the gut , such that they outweigh the bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics promotes the flourishing of good bacteria, which is foundational for good gut health. Probiotics work to support the immune system & fight pathogens, break down food, aid digestion, and some are even linked to preventing obesity.
Psyllium (fiber). There are different types of fiber out there, but psyllium is often touted as the most useful type of fiber for overall digestive health. Psyllium is a plant whose husks are often converted into a powdered supplement form. It can help relieve constipation and diarrhea, as well as promote good intestinal bacteria, per paleoplan.com. Ask your doctor before you start using a fiber supplement.
Ginger is a spice, also commonly available in supplement form, that can aid in digestive health, per paleoplan.com. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and is thought to help relieve nausea and stomach discomfort. It is actually helpful to your stomach by promoting the proper digestion of other foods. Ask your doctor before taking ginger, as it interacts with some medications.
Licorice root is a folk remedy that has long been used to treat problems related to indigestion, including heartburn and acid reflux, per webmd.com. As a result, some say that it possesses a "soothing" effect. It might also be useful for its effect of eliminating bad bacteria. It can be found in supplements in both powder and extract forms.
Collagen is a very commonly used supplement for a variety of diseases of the gut. Per askdrnandi.com, collagen is the most widely present protein in the body. It contains multiple anti-inflammatory acids, and is widely touted for its remedial uses. These include leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and others. The structure of collagen makes it useful such that it might help repair the holes in the gut which cause leaky gut to occur.
L-glutamine is an amino acid (which helps make up proteins) that is necessary for proper structural health of the intestines, per paleoplan.com. It helps by keeping the barriers within the gastrointestinal tract working properly, and it protects against damage that can be done to them. It is also useful as an anti-inflammatory.
Peppermint oil is an essential oil that can be useful in lessening the pain and bloating that comes from irritable bowel syndrome, or just the occasional bout of digestive irritability . Peppermint oil can be found in liquid form, or in capsules.