If you’ve been reading our blog, then you may have noticed our love for gut health and how important it is to understand. In this series, we will talk about the top five supplements recommended for gut health as well as go into detail on certain supplements in future blogs this month. But first, make sure you’ve read up on the importance of gut health!
Gastrointestinal health is so important, because you need to be able to eat and digest your meals without feeling uncomfortable; as gas, heartburn and many other issues can come from GI conditions. Trust us, we have a gut feeling you’ll appreciate this list.
1) DGL Licorice Root – A Gutsy Move
DGL is actually deglycyrrhizinated licorice, which happens to be considered a safe option for long-term use because the glycyrrhizin, the natural sweetener extracted from the licorice root, has been removed. Well, most of it has. Think of it as decaffeinated licorice. Licorice root has a long history of medicinal uses, including its use of being a thirst quencher, and can be traced back several centuries. You may be asking, what has that got to do with gut health?
DGL relieves many GI conditions, including heartburn and peptic ulcer disease. A study that was published in the British Medical Journal verifies these findings. The study compared DGL and an over-the-counter peptic ulcer disease medication used on 82 subjects with endoscopically healed peptic ulcer. The two-year study found that the occurrence of gastric ulcers was similar among subjects taking the DGL or over-the-counter medication daily.
2) Quercetin – A Shot to the Gut
Although it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, Quercetin, a flavonoid or a plant-based secondary metabolite, is responsible for producing fruit, vegetable and flower pigmentation. Quercetin also offers a wide range of health benefits to humans as well. The main feature from Quercetin is that it contains rich antioxidants that work within the body to reduce free radical activity, and as a result, they help your body to fight off illnesses and diseases.
When it comes to GI health Quercetin is a secret weapon of sorts. With this flavonoid in your diet you can actually heal the gut barrier. In other words, if you have leaky gut syndrome then Quercetin acts as the sealant that assists the intestines to function properly.
3) Digestive Enzymes (HCL with Pepsin) – Go With Your Gut
HCL is Hydrochloric Acid. It plays an important role in GI health as it is responsible for the digestion of the fats and proteins we consume. If you suffer from heartburn, mineral deficiencies, bloating, acid reflux, gas or indigestion HCL can be your new best friend. Lucky for you, HCL is available in supplementation as aging will increase these conditions and most of us will experience a decrease in stomach acid secretion. HCL will bring relief by keeping your GI function working at optimal levels. Without it you risk an imbalance of bacterial flora in the intestinal tract that can then develop into all kinds of nasty gut health issues.
In simple terms, HCL helps your body receive the minerals you need from the food you consume to keep your stomach environment properly balanced. So when the stomach environment is in balance, you can trust your gut that all is well inside.
4) Probiotics – A Gut Must!!
The word probiotic is a word combination. ‘Pro’ means for, ‘bios’ means life. This contrasts with the word antibiotic which is also a combination word meaning ‘against life’. So while antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria (both good and bad), probiotics help to maintain good levels of the good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics also help to keep the bad bacteria at bay or below their disease causing threshold and thus maintaining a healthy balance of all organisms in the gut.
While there are live bacteria and yeast that naturally colonize the gut, they do have many health benefits that start with healthy digestion for easy nutrient assimilation in the body. And moreover, for optimal health, adequate amounts of these beneficial microorganisms must be maintained. For some reasons, the good organisms may be reduced, and in such cases, nutritional supplements and certain foods together with other interventions can be used to boost their numbers.
A healthy gut plays a big role in promoting a healthy body and consequently in order to achieve this, natural helpful organisms, or the ones in a supplement, are on the front line.
5) L-Glutamine – The Protein Building Block
L-glutamine is one of the amino acids in the body. It is the most abundant amino acid and plays an important role (as other amino acids do) in the synthesis of proteins, the process by which cells build protein. This is why they are called the basic protein building blocks.
L-glutamine supports digestive health for both the healthy and those with digestive problems such as the leaky gut. A leaky gut is a disorder where the gut’s nutrition absorption abilities are interfered with and its lining develops defects that allow relatively big food particles to get into the body (high gut permeability).
This creates a range of problems that include:
- Gut inflammation
- Immune response (allergies)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Certain food intolerances
- Poor absorption of certain foods and minerals such as iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and magnesium
L-glutamine supports gut health and help to repair the leaky gut by:
- Promoting normal cellular proliferation and repair in the gut
- Acts as a band-aid for already existing gut ulcerations – This helps to reduce new damage
- Promotes mucus production which further protect the gut lining
- Supports better bowel movement which reduces food stagnation in the gut and promotes better elimination
- Helps to reduce diarrhea associated with HIV/AIDS treatment