Supplements To Maintain Good Gut Health
Matt Paterson (B.Ex Sport Sci)
If you’re trying to maintain good gut health, you need to take steps every day. Whether you have a leaky gut or are taking preventative measures, eating the right foods and taking certain supplements can make a huge difference.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
In a healthy person, the lining of the intestine prevents harmful substances from going into the digestive system. Depending on what is allowed to permeate the bloodstream, a person can develop the leaky gut syndrome. There is no singular cause or medical diagnosis for this disease. However, some of the chronic conditions that may lead to poor gut health include:
- High levels of the protein zonulin
- Celiac disease and type 1 diabetes
- Sensitivity to food items like gluten
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- Low levels of healthy bacteria or gut dysbiosis
- Mental health conditions
Other steps to take include removing inflammatory foods like red meat, dairy, and fried foods from your diet. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should visit the doctor and get an official diagnosis.
What supplements can you take to maintain good gut health?
Specific doses of certain nutrients can help improve your digestion. Here are a few options for supplements that have shown positive results in research studies for leaky gut syndrome.
Research strongly links zinc to stronger immunity. In fact, a 2001 study showed that regular doses of zinc over eight weeks tightened the leaky gut for patients in remission from Crohn’s disease. Overall, the participants’ gut lining strengthened, and barrier function improved. A 2015 study also showed a direct link between zinc usage and reduced gut permeability.
A research paper from 2015 explores the link between L-glutamine and repairing intestinal barrier function. Earlier, this amino acid was listed as a non-essential nutrient; however, newer studies show that it has several benefits. For example, it seemingly improves enterocyte growth and helps restores the intestinal barrier after injury or infection. While experts continue to research the importance of L-glutamine, its role in maintaining gut health is clear.
An additional study examined the influence of this supplement in healthy participants after exercise, specifically a run in the heat. Results showed improved permeability following a low dose and the possibility of use for athletes competing in high temperatures.
Collagen peptides are a form of the protein collagen that allow easy digestion. There is strong research to suggest that they play a role in lessening TNF-α instigated intestinal barrier dysfunction of Caco-2 cells. This is a good supplement to help aid digestion and solve leaky gut problems.
A study conducted in 2012 explored the anti-inflammatory effects of gelatin tannate, a collagen supplement. Early results showed that it played a positive role in maintaining gut health, specifically by impeding ICAM-1 expression in LPS-stimulated Caco-2 cells.
Another supplement that works wonders in gut health improvement is probiotics, microorganisms that live in your gut. These are one of the many types of friendly bacteria that help with digestion and solve gastrointestinal concerns. In 2012 researchers conducted a study to explore some of these benefits.
The trial, which was conducted on athletes, ran for two weeks and found that using probiotics reduced the men’s zonulin values, thereby showing a decrease in gut permeability, which is a good sign for gut health.
5. Fiber and butyrate
If you have a leaky gut, chances are you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet. Like probiotics, certain types of fiber work with the friendly bacteria in your gut to help your body with digestion. After the bacteria break it down, fiber turns into butyrate. But when you’re suffering from leaky gut syndrome, you may want to take butyrate supplements directly.
A 2015 study studied how butyrate affects gut health, with the positive results being an increase in mucus production. Overall, early research suggests it may be useful in treating a leaky gut.
6. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)
While the effects of DGL are still being researched, there is strong indication that benefits include a decrease in inflammation and a boost in mucus production. The source of DGL is licorice root, which has up to 75 bioactive compounds, some of which are unsuitable for human consumption.
The good thing about DGL is that it doesn’t have these harmful substances. So, chemicals like glycyrrhizin (GL) are removed, making it completely safe to eat. You get all the benefits without any of the risk making it a strong contender for leaky gut repair.
This plant-based compound is easy to spot because of its bright yellow tone. If you’ve ever read up on the benefits of turmeric, you’ll know that curcumin is the active component that gives it those anti-inflammatory benefits.
Earlier, curcumin wasn’t widely recommended to patients because it isn’t easy for the body to absorb. However, recent studies show that if this absorption barrier is overcome, curcumin collects in the GI tract and can help resolve problems with a leaky gut.
Similar to curcumin, berberine is a plant-based compound that helps solve issues of digestion. Some of the benefits involve anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. In recent years scientists have been looking into the effects of berberine on gut health. This study on rats with fatty liver disease showed positive results with changes in mucus production levels.
Other treatment options
When it comes to fixing a leaky gut, changes in your diet can also make a huge difference. Some of the steps that have shown promising results include reducing the amount of sugar in your diet and increasing the amount of fiber you eat. So, simply adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet can improve gut health.
Some symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, digestive concerns, or feeling tired throughout the day. When you have health concerns, you need to make major lifestyle changes if you want to see results. That means making smart decisions when it comes to your food and exercise routines every day.