Do you have some gas? Should you get bloating or constipation? Is it a case of diarrhea? You may be taking a supplement to help with one (or more) of these issues, but almost everyone seems to have a different opinion about which supplement to take. Here's a rundown of eight widely prescribed digestive health supplements, along with studies on their efficacy.
Apple Cider VinegarIt is a type of vinegar made from apples. It aids in digestion, constipation relief, and improved glucose tolerance. According to research:
- There has been no research on the effects of apple cider vinegar on metabolism or constipation.
- According to this report, in people with diabetes, apple cider vinegar delayed stomach emptying and improved glucose reaction to carbohydrates. The research also cites evidence that vinegar, regardless of form, impacts the majority of people.
Conclusion: Since raw apple cider vinegar is a probiotic product, it can help with digestion, although this has not been shown. When consumed with sugars, there is some evidence that it increases glucose resistance.
It assists in the relief of heartburn. According to research, just one study on betaine HCl and heartburn was found in PubMed. It found that a supplement containing melatonin, l-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, methionine, and betaine was beneficial. That's great, but with so many different items in one supplement, it's hard to attribute the benefits to any one component.
Conclusion: Betaine HCl may or may not be beneficial; we don't have enough data to say for sure.
It aids digestion, relieves constipation and bloating, and reduces the sensation of undigested food in the stomach. According to research:
- There's a fair amount of evidence that they might be beneficial; you can learn more about it.
Conclusion: Digestive enzymes can be beneficial to people, including those who have difficulty digesting and absorbing their food.
Probiotic bacteria contained in fermented foods help to sustain probiotic bacteria colonies found naturally in the human intestine. Since gut flora affects so many different processes, this is good for almost all. Fermented foods differ from probiotic supplements in that they contain other food ingredients that can interfere with probiotics, such as fiber in sauerkraut or kimchi or proteins in yogurt.
According to research, There is substantial evidence that eating probiotic diets is beneficial to gut health. As an example:
- This article focuses on the advantages of fermented dairy products.
- The effects of fermented foods on behavioral wellbeing are examined in this study.
- This paper focuses on kimchi (fermented cabbage from Korea) and cites various health benefits, including constipation relief.
Conclusion: While there is clear evidence that fermented foods are beneficial to your health, not everyone responds well to them. Fermented foods may not be recommended until the gut has recovered if you have a bacterial overgrowth problem (e.g., SIBO).
Increasing fiber in your diet will bulk up your stools, making them easier to move. According to research, This analysis pretty well sums it up: the use of fiber for "functional bowel disorder" isn't well supported, and fiber form matters.
Conclusion: The sort of fiber you're talking about determines whether or not it's good for digestion. Fiber supplements, in general, are, at best, a temporary fix. Whole foods have all of the fiber you require; most people would not find a substitute to be beneficial on top of that.
Since gelatin is calming to the digestive tract, it aids in the relief of gastrointestinal symptoms. According to research, There is some evidence that gelatin is beneficial to the gut; you can learn more about it. None of it is conclusive, and there is still plenty of further work to be done, but it seems to be useful.
Conclusion: For thousands of years, gelatin-rich broth has become a popular gut-healing meal, but broth contains far more than just gelatin. Making sweets out of gelatin powder, on the other hand, is a lot of fun; it's not risky, and it might be useful: there's no point in trying.
Prebiotics feed your gut flora, allowing it to grow better and stronger. According to research, This examination examines the effects of prebiotics on both the gut flora and the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease in general. Overall, the data is marginally in favor, but there aren't enough studies to go on.
Conclusion: Prebiotic supplements are a mixed bag: some people thrive on them, while others find them intolerable. If you choose to try, begin with a small dose and steadily increase it to avoid adverse side effects. It's also worth noting that prebiotics can aggravate digestive symptoms in some people, especially those sensitive to FODMAPs.
Taking probiotic supplements (not to be confused with probiotics for weight loss) will help you improve your gut flora's structure. According to research:
- There's some proof that probiotic supplements may help with antibiotic-related diarrhea.
- Probiotic supplements were found to be beneficial for constipation, particularly in older adults, according to this study.
Conclusion: A decent probiotic can be an effective therapy; make sure you have a high-quality probiotic. It's also worth remembering that a probiotic may be worse than ineffective in the case of SIBO. If you find a bacterial overgrowth, see a doctor before taking a probiotic as your digestive health supplements.