There’s really nothing quite like the unwavering feeling of bloat and upset stomach. Gastrointestinal issues can affect everything from your performance in the gym to your everyday health and wellness, keeping a tight grip on you and your overall quality of life. Nutrition is the key to optimizing your gut health and by integrating the right supplements into your daily routine, you’ll be able to improve your physical and mental wellness. Save this list of the 5 best supplements for gut health and digestive inflammation.
The Importance Of Gut Health
Despite conventional wisdom, your gut is an integral component of your overall health.
Over the past decade, researchers have discovered that your digestive system is filled with up to 40 trillion microbes, collectively known as your gut microbiota. This tiny army of healthy bacteria supports your body’s ability to digest and absorb key nutrients from the food you eat to literally power every human biological function. If you don’t adequately absorb nutrients from the food you eat, then your body will not obtain key vitamins and nutrients to perform those biological functions efficiently.
Healthy bacteria, however, act as our first line of defense against harmful pathogens, which lead to infection, malabsorption, and even disease down the road. [R]
A healthy gut, can reduce chronic inflammation, improve digestive health, improve brain health, and reduce your risk to chronic disease states.
Best Supplements For Gut Health & Digestive Inflammation
L-glutamine is one of the best supplements for gut health as it is an extremely versatile and highly abundant conditionally essential amino acid. Several studies have shown that glutamine can improve gut health through several gut-diverse and gut-friendly mechanisms.
The pathology of gut-related disease states such as Crohn's ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut have been linked with intestinal hyperpermeability and relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Studies have shown that glutamine is one of the best supplements for gut health and digestive inflammation because it can restore gut permeability in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Glutamine can rebuild the intestinal lining by regulating nitrogen balance and feeding the small mucosa of the gut to improve overall gut integrity [R, R]. Intestinal barrier integrity is essential for the absorption of nutrients. Any type of dysfunction of the mucosal barrier is associated with gut hyperpermeability.
Glutamine also mitigates the stress response of proinflammatory cytokines. Crohn's and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease are correlated with systemic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, therefore, glutamine may help improve overall symptoms.
A healthy gut also requires a flourishing microbiome. The gut microbiome is a collective genome in the gut, populated by microorganisms called microbiota. Glutamine increases intestinal-friendly microbiota, specifically Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria while decreasing pernicious bacteria Oscillospira and Treponema, promoting better overall gut health. Including glutamine-rich foods in your diet and adding an unflavored high-quality glutamine supplement to your daily routine, may substantially benefit and improve your gut health.
Probiotics are perhaps the most popular supplements to nourish your gut health. Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote a healthy gut microbiome influencing immunity, appetite, and energy metabolism [R]. The bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that make up your body’s microflora actually outnumber your body’s cells 10 to 1 and recent research increasingly shows that they play a major role in both mental and physical health.
Probiotics help to fortify the intestinal barrier and suppress the growth of pathogens. Probiotics produce antimicrobial agents or metabolic compounds that suppress the growth of other microorganisms or compete for receptors and binding sites with other intestinal microbes on the intestinal mucosa. [R, R] Probiotic Lactobacillus strains improve the integrity of the intestinal barrier, which may result in improved digestion and immune health.
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Probiotic Strains For a Healthy Gut
Probiotics are some of the best supplements for gut health as they are packed with salubrious bacteria that create a healthy gut flora or an environment for a healthful digestive system. Probiotic-rich foods such as Greek yogurt, kombucha, apple cider vinegar and other fermented food such as kefir and kimchi can improve gut health and improve your immune system.
RELATED ARTICLE How Probiotics Can Improve Gut Health
Prebiotics (aka Fiber)
Prebiotics are simply non-digestible or insoluble fiber. Prebiotics are fermented in the gastrointestinal tract by beneficial bacteria in the colon, promoting a healthy gut microbiome. Prebiotics modulate gut microbiota and improve energy metabolism increasing mineral and micronutrient absorption and improving the intestinal barrier.
Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases bowel movement. Essentially, it’s like a broom that sweeps your system, so you can easily pass bowel movements on a consistent basis. If you don’t get enough insoluble fiber in your diet, you can have symptoms such as irregular bowel movement and constipation.
Soluble fiber comes from oats, peas, beans, and the fleshy part of fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, and citrus fruits and partially ferments in your gut. As it dissolves, it forms a gel-like material that passes through the GI tract slowing digestion and allowing better nutrient absorption.
If you want to improve your gut health start adding some fiber-rich foods to your diet.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best supplements for gut health and digestive inflammation because it helps increase the acidity of the stomach, in turn helping your body create more pepsin, the digestive enzyme that breaks down protein in the digestive tract. [R] The real benefit comes from improving stomach acid production, which is crucial for the digestive process of the foods that we eat. When people don’t make enough stomach acid naturally, this can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas. ACV serves as a nice, natural home remedy for bloating and digestive symptoms. Apple cider vinegar is both rich in probiotics as well as acetic acid, which can potentially benefit digestion and gut health. If you can’t stomach the actual vinegar, grab yourself some of our ACV gummies.
Collagen is a structural protein, specifically a polypeptide containing a mixture of the amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine. As one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, Collagen consists of nearly one-third or 30% of total human protein [R]. Collagen is engrained within the connective tissue of animals and humans, specifically found in the cartilage, tendons, muscles, and bones. Collagen is essentially the glue that holds everything together. Collagen is rich in foods such as bone broth, egg whites, and citrus fruits may improve and promote collagen production.
There have been several health claims that collagen peptides may promote better gut health, by improving gut lining permeability. Some preliminary studies have suggested a collagen and gut connection, showing that collagen may suppress epithelial gut barrier dysfunction and thus improve intestinal lining [R].
Research suggests that collagen may benefit those with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, leaky gut, and Crohn's by reducing inflammation, essentially restoring gut lining and connective tissue within the GI tract. Patients with IBD are found to have lower serum collagen concentrations [R]. Supplementing with Collagen may therefore improve gut permeability and improve gut health.
Best Supplements For Gut Health: Takeaway
Gut health can have a profound impact on your physical and mental well-being. Your gut is connected to every physiological aspect of your body, including your brain, joints, mood, and health. By reducing inflammatory foods and implementing the best supplements for gut health such as glutamine, probiotics, and collagen into your diet, you can improve your gut health and overall well-being from the inside out.
Looking To Improve Your Gut Health?
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Liu, Yulan et al. “Therapeutic Potential of Amino Acids in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Nutrients vol. 9,9 920. 23 Aug. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9090920
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Valdes A M, Walter J, Segal E, Spector T D. Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health BMJ 2018; 361 :k2179 doi:10.1136/bmj.k2179
Chen Q, Chen O, Martins IM, Hou H, Zhao X, Blumberg JB, Li B. Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions. Food Funct. 2017 Mar 22;8(3):1144-1151. doi: 10.1039/c6fo01347c. PMID: 28174772.
Koutroubakis IE, Petinaki E, Dimoulios P, Vardas E, Roussomoustakaki M, Maniatis AN, Kouroumalis EA. Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease. J Clin Pathol. 2003 Nov;56(11):817-20. doi: 10.1136/jcp.56.11.817. PMID: 14600124; PMCID: PMC1770111.