The gut is the foundation of health or the root of disease. Diet is obviously the foundation of health, but sometimes we need an extra boost to speed up the healing process. There are 7 supplements that are well known to be soothing and healing to the gut. The gut can be inflamed and permeable (aka leaky gut) for a variety of reasons including:
- Food sensitivities
- One round or more of antibiotics
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic stress
Symptoms may include:
- A mixture of both
- Chronic, debilitating stomach pain
- Inflammation in the body
- Autoimmune disease
- Skin issues including acne, chicken skin, cracking skin, etc
- Chronic, systemic pain
- Joint pain
- Severe seasonal allergies
- and more.
Obviously, these symptoms can be annoying at best and debilitating at worst. Taking care of our gut is essential for a healthy, vibrant life. In my previous post, I talked about the top 5 foods for a healthy gut. You can read that post here. However, sometimes we need the big guns to speed up the healing process. There are 7 that are well known to help. Let’s dive into them.
Top 7 Supplements for A Healthy Gut
So along with diet changes that include removing inflammatory foods and including gut healing foods, there are a few supplements you can talk to your Naturopathic or Functional Medicine Doctor about to speed up the healing process. As your gut heals, many of your ailments will improve and possibly even resolve.
L-glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. It acts as a protector and coats your cell walls, acting as a repellent to irritants. It also helps muscles recover more quickly after an intense workout.
For glutamine to convert to GABA, the metabolic pathways require B3, B6, and B12. When the gut has been damaged or from a diet low in real foods, we may not have sufficient B vitamins for the conversion to happen. Taking a B-complex will also improve your energy throughout the day.
Digestive enzymes or bitters
Taking one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles, and proteins from damaging your gut wall.
Similar to how Aloe Vera helps sunburns heal faster, it can also support the healing of ulcers and areas on injury in your digestive system. (Do not drink if you are pregnant as it can cause contractions.) Follow dosage directions and do not take for more than 2 weeks at a time.
Demulcent herbs like licorice root and slippery elm soothe the mucous membranes that line the digestive system, acting as a bandage. Other herbs like ginger and peppermint can also be beneficial because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
Marshmallow root is a multipurpose supplement that can be used for respiratory or digestive relief. Like slippery elm, it contains mucilage, which eases the inflammation in the stomach lining, heals ulcers, and treats both diarrhea and constipation by creating a protective lining on the digestive tract. Fun fact: Before marshmallows became a delicious treat, they actually contained marshmallow root and were an easy to way to get the herb into the system (especially for kids).
Probiotics Are a Vital Part to Healing Your Gut. Finally, if you are going to heal your gut you MUST consume probiotics in both food and supplement form. I see people all the time who only remove gluten, then neglect to re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay and promote healing.
So load up on BOTH probiotic-rich foods and take AT LEAST 100 billion units of probiotics daily from a high-quality brand.
One last step is to increase your stomach acid. Too little stomach acid often feels like too much stomach acid (heartburn, indigestion, gas and bloating.) Sipping on lemon water all day plus drinking 1-2 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in water 20 minutes before each meal will enhance the breakdown of the food you consume and make it much more absorbable.
This information is not a replacement for medical advice and is for informational purposes. To find out which supplements and dosages are best for you, please visit your local Functional Medicine, Naturopathic Doctor or preferred integrative health practitioner.