I’ve talked a lot about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut. Your gut is where your immune system starts and many studies indicate illnesses — everything from weight gain right down to depression — can actually start in the gut.
All kinds of bacteria live in your gut, but the “friendly” kind actually helps keep the “unfriendly” population in check. Many modern diets tend to be high in things that aren’t exactly great for gut health. Sugar, for example, is one of the worst offenders, causing harmful bacteria and yeast to proliferate in the intestines. We all know that people today consume far too much sugar than necessary (refined sugar consumption, no matter the amount, is unnecessary). And when bad bacteria proliferate, there’s cause for concern.
How to Support Gut Health
The most obvious supplement for supporting your gut is a good probiotic. You’ve likely heard of probiotics; these are friendly bacteria that can help with your digestion. Science is only scratching the surface of how probiotics influence our health, with more and more suggesting helpful benefits. However, there are other ways to support gut health. Below I talk about three more great supplements to check out.
Digestive enzymes help break the food you eat into smaller pieces. This helps your body to better absorb, assimilate, and use nutrients. It can even help those with food sensitivities.
For example, someone who is lactose intolerant has difficulty digesting milk sugar. That person could take the enzyme lactase and eating dairy becomes a little easier on the gut. But enzymes do a lot more than just help digest food. Some studies suggest proteolytic enzymes can actually reduce irritation in the body.[4, 5] This is part of an enzymes' systemic function (versus a digestive use).
Eating antioxidant-rich foods or taking antioxidant supplements are two easy ways to support gut health by reducing irritation, redness, and swelling in the digestive tract. One report suggests antioxidant vitamins C and E could even relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Blueberries, red berries, nuts, and dark green vegetables are just some of the antioxidant-rich foods you could introduce into your diet.
3. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar, as with all these supplements for gut health, provides beneficial enzymes that may be helpful for digestion. When you consume apple cider vinegar, you’re also making conditions friendlier for all those good bacteria. But, remember, in order to get the full effect, use organic, raw apple cider vinegar that includes the prebiotic-rich "mother" which feeds its natural probiotic microbes.
Bonus: The Power of Cleansing for Gut Health
The previous supplements are essential to support your gut, but cleansing periodically is one of the best ways to ensure these gut health supplements are effective at doing their job. I recommend my Colon Cleanse Program™, which helps clean the digestive tract so your colon can properly absorb nutrients while allowing waste to pass easily. There are so many easy ways that you can support and maintain your gut health, whether it’s eating healthy, taking probiotics, or even meditation. Cutting out gluten and sugar are also helpful steps you can take to support the health of your gut. Consuming raw, living foods is also a great measure.
- Sekirov, I. et al. Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease. Physiological Reviews. 90 (3).
- Foxx-Orenstein, A. E. & Chey, W. D. Manipulation of the Gut Microbiota as a Novel Treatment Strategy for Gastrointestinal Disorders. The American Journal of Gastroenterology Supplements.
- Behnsen, J. et al. Probiotics: Properties, Examples, and Specific Applications. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine.
- Brien, S. et al. Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 1 (3).
- Viswanatha Swamy, A. & Patil, P. A. Effect of Some Clinically Used Proteolytic Enzymes on Inflammation in Rats. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 70 (1).
- Aghdassi, E. et al. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation in Crohn's disease decreases oxidative stress. a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 98 (2).
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.