Unfortunately, the market is loaded with shady supplements that offer no actual benefit to digestion or gut health.
This is why we decided to write this detailed piece to review a few evidence-based supplemental options for digestive health.
The best supplement for digestive health
1. Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics are vital for your gastrointestinal system and overall health.
To simplify things, you can think of these two supplements as follows:
- Probiotics – Commensal microbes that promote digestion
- Prebiotics – Food for probiotics (e.g., fiber)
Despite the rich content of bananas, legumes, and oats in prebiotics, people rarely reach their recommended daily allowance.
Most people associate probiotics with digestive problems. However, research keeps revealing that a healthy gastrointestinal tract impacts several organ systems and physiological functions.
For instance, if you are having sleep abnormalities, immune dysfunction, poor energy, or lack of concentration, they may all be signs of microbiome dysbiosis.
Aside from optimizing your gastrointestinal health, probiotics improve the symptoms of numerous conditions by increasing the number of circulating antioxidants and producing crucial fatty acids.
For instance, researchers found that patients with increased intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut syndrome) can significantly benefit from probiotics.
Fiber supplements provide essential dietary fiber that supports digestive health by offering benefits such as:
Improves bowel movement – Insoluble fiber prevents constipation by promoting efficient waste passage.
Relieves IBS symptoms – Soluble fiber improves symptoms of IBS and lowers the frequency of flare-ups.
Optimizes colon health – Fiber reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by maintaining a healthy colon environment.
Helps in weight management – Fiber induces a feeling of fullness, helping people who want to lose weight.
Enhances the composition of gut microbiota – Fiber serves as a prebiotic, nourishing beneficial gut bacteria for improved digestion and immunity.
Prevents hemorrhoids – It prevents straining during bowel movements, reducing hemorrhoid risk.
Including fiber supplements in your diet can effectively enhance overall digestive wellness and address various related concerns.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another potent molecule that optimizes the digestive system. Its antioxidant properties aid in maintaining the health of the gastrointestinal tract by reducing oxidative stress and potential damage to digestive tissues.
Vitamin C's role in collagen synthesis is particularly valuable for digestive health, as it contributes to the integrity of the mucosal lining. This may reduce the risk of ulcers and support the healing of existing ones.
Furthermore, vitamin C enhances the body's absorption of non-heme iron, lowering the chances of anemia. The latter can lead to digestive discomfort. Vitamin C also supports the immune system, which reflects positively on the digestive system.
Artichoke is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet that provides the body with numerous health benefits.
Most notably, this fruit possesses several anti-inflammatory and antioxidative agents that improve the symptoms of gout and prevent flare-ups.
Due to the rich content of fiber, vitamins (e.g., B, C), and minerals (e.g., magnesium), artichoke is a great way to optimize your digestion and lose weight.
According to one study, a fiber-rich diet is sufficient to promote weight loss and regulate cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Consequently, the risk of indigestion decreases since being overweight is one of the main risk factors for this condition.
Chronic indigestion, abdominal cramping, and irregular bowel movements are typical symptoms of an unhealthy gut microbiome and the accumulation of toxins in the colon.
Interestingly, ginger seems to speed up the emptying of the stomach and induce physiological bowel movements. As a result, your colon cleanses itself from all the harmful toxins and bacteria, preventing a myriad of side effects.
What’s more, researchers found that ginger helps people with functional dyspepsia, which is a term that describes indigestion without a known cause.
In a small study, researchers divided people with symptoms of indigestion into two groups. The first group received ginger capsules, whereas the second one took a placebo.
One hour after receiving the capsules, both groups had soup.
People who received ginger supplements experienced gastric emptying after 12.3 minutes. On the other hand, the placebo group took 16.1 minutes.
The results of this study demonstrate the cleansing abilities of ginger.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress in the body. These compounds have significant benefits on human health, including the reduction of inflammation, blood pressure, and the risk of several ailments.
Here is a list published by Nature that orders the foods based on their richness in polyphenols.
Raw chocolate is extremely nutrient-dense, with numerous beneficial ingredients, including fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, and zinc.
Consuming chocolate in adequate amounts will guarantee that your digestion works properly by providing you with fiber, which regulates water absorption.
What’s more, chocolate contains vitamins and minerals that improve the function of intestinal cells to improve the choice of absorption. Differently put, the gut will be more selective when it comes to absorbing certain ingredients.
According to recent research, dark chocolate can optimize your digestion by allowing bacteria in your gut to ferment the fiber and antioxidants found in cocoa. Scientists concluded that some bacteria decrease the risk of a few digestive diseases by upregulating the secretion of anti-inflammatory compounds.
Other studies suggest that cocoa’s benefits, which range from improving vascular health to reversing insulin resistance, can all be explained by its effects on your gut flora.
The effects of the minerals found in raw chocolate also include the enhancement of metabolism, cognition, and the immune system.
Educating yourself about the types of supplements for digestive health and their effect on your body is crucial to avoid wasting your money and prevent unnecessary complications.
We hope that this article managed to highlight the best supplements you can purchase for digestive health and the science behind them.
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If you tried any of the supplements we listed before, please feel free to share your feedback in the comment section below.