Choosing and eating the right foods is vital to the health of all parts of our bodies. In order to properly utilize what we ingest, we depend heavily on the inner workings of our intestines to help us properly digest and distribute the nutrients. Let’s not forget, though, that our intestines themselves deserve plenty of TLC as well; we need to take care of the part of us that plays such a key role in taking care of so many other things.
When things go wrong in terms of what we choose to eat and how all that plays out in our digestive system, we usually find out quickly that a mistake has been made. The signal comes back to us in the form of a stomach ache or worse, such as what’s known as a “leaky gut” or even Crohn’s disease, a malady that forces sufferers into some significant changes in dietary choices, perhaps even for the rest of their lives.
This is where choosing the right vitamins, herbs, and supplements can help make a positive difference in your quality of life, starting with those that can make you feel better, provided you get professional input from your physician or health care professional before changing any part of your dietary regimen. “First, there are the issues of nutritional deficiency, which are important,” says Dr. Joshua Korzenik, an expert on digestive/intestinal issues, quoted at everydayhealth.com.
Gut Health Includes Intestinal Health
Keeping our gut, and therefore our intestines, healthy is the cornerstone of our overall health. That’s because a large portion of our immune system’s defenses against disease and infections are located in our gut, which supports proper digestion and the absorption of nutrients needed to energize our whole body while maintaining its health. Among the problems that can develop if we aren’t careful with what we put in our mouths:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Autoimmune disorders
- Parasitic conditions
- Intolerances for certain foods, such as those with lactose or gluten
When intestinal problems hit, and this includes both the small and large intestines, typically they are found in the intestinal walls, which are lined with mucous membranes, per livestrong.com. This is where conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBS can show up.
Vitamins and Supplements for Intestinal Health
A wide variety of nutritional supplements and vitamins are available to help in the healing of the intestinal linings and treat maladies such as IBS, and perhaps even help prevent them from occurring. Following is a list of some of the supplements, etc. recommended by health care professionals:
- Calcium. Crohn’s disease sufferers are frequently prescribed steroids that can help alleviate symptoms but at the same time lead to bone loss, which is where calcium comes into play.
- Chamomile. Usually ingested in the form of a tea, it has proven effective in treating digestive issues such as colic and nausea.
- Enzymes. These help our bodies fully reap the benefits from the food we ingest by helping to break down the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that are crucial for our gut health.
- Ginger. Reliable for treating stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting, such as during pregnancy, per webmd.com.
- Green tea. Can reduce Crohn’s disease-related inflammation.
- Lemongrass. An herb common to Asian countries that can help ease some of the inflammation and irritation linked to Crohn’s disease, per everydayhealth.com.
- L-Glutamine. Also found naturally in the body, it helps support the intestines as well as other organs, and is believed to help counteract diarrhea induced by surgery, infections, or stress, per webmd.com.
- Marshmallow root. This isn’t exactly toasting marshmallows over a campfire, but there are compounds in marshmallow root that can be used for treating inflammation and irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. This includes soothing irritated mucous membranes in the lining.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Great at fighting inflammation throughout the body, to include tissues affected by Crohn’s disease. Be sure to discuss with a physician, however, as too much of the fatty acids can cause unwanted side effects.
- Peppermint oil. Some studies have show it to reduce the pain and boating that accompany IBS, per webmd.com.
- Probiotics. Of course. These often go to the top of the list when discussing anything relative to gut health. These are “good bacteria” that can be found in numerous food products, most notably yogurt, and are thought to play a beneficial role in digestion, per everydayhealth.com.
- Psyllium. High in fiber, it has the capacity to absorb water in the intestines to help make the stool bulkier and therefore easier to pass.
- Zinc. A zinc deficiency is often associated with Crohn’s disease. The same holds true for the likes of Vitamins, A, B12, and D as well as iron.