I’m so excited to bring you this next installment of the Gut Healing series where we dive into some of the best supplements for gut healing and supplements to help heal a leaky gut!
When I originally sat down to start writing this series, I didn’t realize how lengthy it would all be. So that’s why what started as one post had to be separated into pieces!
If you’re dealing with gut symptoms like I was, then make sure to read the first post all about an anti-inflammatory diet, and then keep reading as I list out my 8 best supplements for gut healing.
Let me tell you something: diet alone did not fix my gut symptoms. I had already been eating a mostly “healthy” diet before I switched to an anti-inflammatory diet. Cutting out diet foods like sugar-free foods, low calorie processed foods (hey, 80 calorie yogurt…), and artificial sweeteners certainly made me feel better, but it didn’t totally resolve my constipation and bloating.
For a while, I was taking cheap over-the-counter probiotics, but those didn’t seem to help either.
As I started to dive deeper into functional medicine and holistic healing, I learned allllll about supplements to help improve my gut health. So today I’m sharing with you my top 8 best supplements for gut healing – what I take, what they do, and how they’ve helped!
- A GOOD probiotic. As it turns out, not all probiotics are created equal. Many of the over-the-counter probiotics are not formulated in a way that survives harsh stomach acid. So while they may boast tens of millions of colonies, if they never reach the colon, what’s the point? That’s why I recommend Seed or Terraflora. Both of these are formulated to survive the stomach acid and make it where it counts!
- Digestive enzymes. I wasn’t sure about these at first but they’ve made a huge difference in my bowel habits. Digestive enzymes contain protease, amylase, and lipase to help break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It turns out our pancreas could always benefit from a little support! I’ve been using Now Super Enzymes and take them with a meal.
- Apple cider vinegar & lemon juice. This is a great way to start the morning! Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits with regular digestion being among them. Apple cider vinegar helps raise the pH of the stomach which causes the pancreas to secrete more digestive enzymes. Lemon juice also helps cleanse the liver, maintains the pH balance of the body, and has infection-fighting properties. As soon as I wake up, I head downstairs and mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the juice from half a lemon, then fill the rest of my cup up with warm water.
- Magnesium. Most of us are deficient in magnesium anyway, so adding a supplement never hurts. Due to the depletion of our soil quality, magnesium is hard to get. There are different formularies of magnesium, but I’d recommend sticking with either magnesium glycinate (which is more bioavailable) or magnesium citrate if you’re constipated. Too much magnesium citrate can precipitate diarrhea, though, so be careful!
- Bone broth / Collagen. Supporting your digestion and gut health with supplements is great, but foods are also extremely important as you know from my last post! Bone broth contains collagen which helps restore the integrity of the gut lining. This is super important if you’re dealing with leaky gut! You can either choose to drink 1 cup of high-quality bone broth (here’s a great recipe to make your own!) or supplement with 2 tablespoons of collagen protein daily. Collagen protein is super easy to blend up in smoothies or add to pancake or waffle batter.
- Fermented foods & prebiotics. Our gut bacteria (and the bacteria we consume in the form of probiotics) can’t live without food. Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that feed our gut bacteria. I prefer to get mine through real food sources, but you can also take a prebiotic supplement. Eating a well-rounded, fiber-rich diet is important for gut healing. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber daily, if not a little more (if you can tolerate it). Good sources of prebiotics include Jerusalem artichokes, onions, leeks, garlic, and asparagus. Psyllium is another great source! Also make sure you get enough digestible fiber from vegetables and fruits, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
- Resistant starch. These starches are actually a type of prebiotic, but they’re kind of “special” in a way (hence the reason I didn’t combine them with #6!). Resistant starch is made from the process of cooking and cooling certain foods, like potatoes or plantains. It’s the cooling process that really activates the resistant starch. But there’s a much easier way to get resistant starch into your diet, and that’s with dried potato starch. Fortunately, Bob’s Red Mill sells Unmodified Potato Starch so you can avoid the process of having to make and cool your own potatoes. Start with ½ teaspoon, and gradually work your way up to roughly 1-2 Tablespoons daily. But go slow! Too much too fast can precipitate serious gas and bloating. Resistant starch can be added to smoothies or mixed up with water or almond milk and consumed that way.
- Vitamins. It’s also really important to get an adequate amount of Vitamins A and D. While they may not directly heal the gut, most of us are deficient in them. A deficiency in Vitamins A and D can compromise the gut barrier and lead to intestinal permeability. I recommend a supplement that combines both Vitamins A and D, such as Cod Liver Oil.
There are a ton of other supplements for gut healing available, but these are the ones that have worked for me in addition to eating a whole foods diet. If you’re prone to constipation or slow transit time like I am, you could also benefit from a supplement like MotilPro which helps moves thing along.
If you’re doing all or a combination of these things to no avail, I definitely recommend getting your gut tested by a functional medicine practitioner. There could be a deeper issue like SIBO or leaky gut which definitely needs to be treated!
In case you haven’t been following for very long, I’m currently studying to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner. I can’t wait to open my virtual “doors” to help you naturally solve your digestive issues, just like I once did! Stay tuned!
Check out my favorite gut healing recipes, too!
- Paleo Miso Ramen Noodle Bowls
- Miso Honey Glazed Salmon
- Lemongrass Soba Noodle Salmon Salad
- Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Dal
- Whole30 Tikka Masala