15 Best Supplements to Promote Gut Health
A standard western diet can be harmful to your gut bacteria. Taking certain supplements can support the health of your gut microbiome and optimize its function.
Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements or changing doses. Not all are suitable for people with specific lifestyle factors, medications or conditions. A doctor can help you choose the safest and most effective way to support your gut health.
Read on to learn about 15 supplements that can help promote gut health.
Probiotic supplements contain live microorganisms that thrive in the gut, which provide certain health benefits. These include:
- help maintain optimal levels of healthy bacteria in the gut
- produce healthy substances in the intestine
- improve your immune response, which helps protect against diseases
Like all dietary supplements, probiotic supplements do not require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the effects indicated on the packaging will occur.
Another way to increase probiotics in your diet is to eat fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha.
Licorice root is useful for flavoring foods, and it is also a widely used supplement for gut health. Some people believe it can be beneficial for digestive problems because, according to a 2018 review, it can act as a mild laxative and has anti-inflammatory qualities.
the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that there is no definitive scientific evidence to prove that licorice root benefits gut health.
However, the same 2018 review suggests that licorice may have powerful effects on gut microbiota regulation in test tubes and may help promote the growth of several healthy gut bacteria. That said, the results varied.
According to a 2017 report, glutamine is a key nutrient for gut health. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which are important for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colorectal cancer. Indeed, inflammation plays a key role in the development of these conditions.
Some researchers have speculated that taking glutamine supplements may be particularly helpful for people with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as these people may have low levels. lower amounts of this crucial compound in their bodies. The results of several animal studies seem to confirm this, although tests involving humans have yielded mixed results.
Slippery elm has a long history of gut health benefits, including helping treat hyperacidity, ulcerative conditions, and weak mucous membranes.
However, a 2018 report states that organizations focused on plant preservation have classified the slippery elm as endangered, so substitutes are preferred where possible.
Slippery elm contains polysaccharides, which provide significant health benefits to the gut microbiota.
A 2019 review notes that peppermint has a variety of qualities that are important for supporting gut health, including:
- antimicrobial, which means it can kill harmful bacteria
- anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces inflammation
- antioxidant, meaning it can protect cells from damage
- immunomodulator, meaning it can boost the immune system
- anesthetic, which means it can help with pain management
Scientific studies have produced mixed results on the effectiveness of peppermint. However, the researchers behind the review conclude that peppermint oil may be a safe way to help relieve abdominal pain and other symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Inulin is a type of prebiotic, which means the body does not digest it. Instead, it ferments in the stomach and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria there.
One 2020 review examined the effects of inulin supplementation on gut health, but found inconclusive results. However, a study 2019 which examined the impact on gut health of people consuming more vegetables containing high levels of inulin showed positive results. He suggested that this increased consumption could improve the gut microbiota and its function and improve people’s eating behaviors.
Vegetables that are good sources of inulin include:
- Jerusalem artichokes
According to a 2019 review, collagen peptides may have the ability to help “maintain, strengthen, or repair” the gut lining, which is important for gut health. Supplements of collagen peptides derived from the skin of Alaskan pollock may help reduce inflammation in the intestines and elsewhere in the body.
However, a 2020 review found that consuming too many collagen peptides could lead to liver dysfunction and weight gain. Using the supplement for too long can also have negative effects on the gut microbiota. Therefore, researchers recommend people not to consume too many collagen peptides.
You should discuss your collagen peptide supplementation with your doctor to ensure you are taking the correct dosage.
A systematic review 2016 looked at the effects of chamomile on the body. Chamomile can protect the body against many diseases, but researchers have highlighted its benefits for gastrointestinal disorders, including ulcerative colitis, in particular.
Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which means it can reduce inflammation and destroy harmful gut bacteria while supporting a healthy gut microbiome. It can also help relieve diarrhea.
A study 2021 examined the effects of ginger juice on study participants. He discovered that ginger juice could support gut health by helping to modulate the composition of the gut microbiota. This ability means that ginger could also help manage obesity.
You can take ginger in the form of pills or juice or by incorporating it into your meals.
Wormwood, or Mugwort, is known to be effective in help manage gastrointestinal conditions and indigestion. This is due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
According to traditional medicine, different types of wormwood have different properties. For example, Artemisia princeps, or Japanese mugwort, can help treat inflammation and diarrhea.
Moringa leaf may have positive effects on the gut microbiota, thereby promoting healthy gut bacteria. The researchers behind a study 2018 involving mice has suggested it may help reduce levels of inflammation in the body and help manage obesity due to its positive effects on the gut.
It may also help reduce the effects of leaky gut syndrome, which affects the lining of the intestines.
Marshmallow root contains liquids containing antioxidants, which can help reduce irritation from digestive problems such as ulcers by forming a coating over the digestive tract.
Researchers have suggested that it may be particularly helpful in preventing ulcers from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Powdered marshmallow root could also be helpful in protecting against acid reflux as it allows direct contact with the membranes to form a protective coating over the throat and esophagus.
People often use psyllium to help treat constipation. This is because it retains water in the intestine, which can make bowel movements easier.
Psyllium may also have positive effects on the gut microbiota, promoting healthy bacteria. This is especially the case in people with constipation.
The positive effects of artichokes on digestive health have been evident in both experimental and clinical trials. Specifically, it can help with intestinal issues and is especially useful for promoting liver health. It may also help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
In terms of gut health, artichokes can improve digestion and relieve nausea and flatulence. However, it is important to consult your doctor before beginning artichoke supplementation. This is because artichokes can increase bile secretion and may be dangerous for people with obstructive gallbladder disease.
Bentonite clay can be useful for:
- relieve diarrhea
- relieve constipation
- promoting the growth of the intestinal flora and thus increasing the absorption of nutrients
Historical studies have suggested that bentonite clay may be particularly helpful in relieving diarrhea in people with viral infections, food allergies, colitis, and food poisoning.
Several supplements, including marshmallow root, chamomile, and psyllium, may have positive effects on gut health. For example, they can help boost healthy gut bacteria and relieve gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation. By supporting gut health, they may also have positive effects throughout the body, helping to protect you from certain diseases and conditions.
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement. Not all are suitable to take if you have certain health conditions or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor can also help you figure out the safest and most effective dosage.