There are an estimated 70 million people in the United States that have digestive diseases.
While we all know that digestive disorders are incredibly uncomfortable, it’s less commonly known how important your gut health is for the rest of your overall health and well-being.
Whether you are experiencing symptoms of an unhealthy gut or are simply interested in improving your overall health, it’s a good idea to learn more about how to improve gut health.
One of the ways you can do this is through supplementation. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about gut health and the best supplements for gut health.
What Is Meant By the Term “Gut Health”?
You’ve probably heard people talking about the importance of gut health. What do they even mean when they use that phrase?
Gut health is a term that describes the balance and function of the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. In an ideal situation, your digestive organs such as your stomach, intestines, and esophagus, all work as a team in order to help you eat and digest food without causing any discomfort.
All of the food that we eat gets broken down in the gut into a more simple form that can then be delivered throughout our bodies as nutrients through the bloodstream. While many people think of bacteria as a bad thing, our guts actually contain a bunch of healthy bacteria and immune cells that help to fight against infectious agents such as viruses, unhealthy bacteria, and fungi.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
Your body has what is called a microbiome. This is made up of trillions of fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
While this might sound like a bad thing, the proper balance of healthy bacteria in your gut is vitally important to the functioning of your heart and immune system, as well as other aspects of your health such as your weight.
There are a number of different types of microbes that inhabit your body. However, the most studied type of microbe in your body is by far bacteria.
Believe it or not, your body has more bacterial cells and human cells. There are only 30 trillion human cells in your body father actually about 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body. Technically, this means that we are all less human than we are bacteria.
In the human gut microbiome, there can be as many as up to 1000 different species of bacteria. They all play different roles in the health and functioning of your body.
You can think of the microbes in your body as essentially another organ that is contributing to your health. When you hear the term “gut microbiome,” what is being referred to is all of the microbes that are in your intestines.
You are affected by the microbiome beginning at your very first moment of life. When you pass through the birth canal of your mother, you are exposed to microbes. It’s also possible that you come into contact with microbes while inhabiting the womb.
Over time, a healthy individual’s gut microbiome starts to diversify. It is considered good for your health you have a higher microbiome diversity.
Your gut microbiome can help you digest fiber, control your immune system, and control your brain health. If your gut microbiome has too many unhealthy microbes, it can lead to the development of diseases.
Some studies have also pointed to the fact that having an unhealthy gut plays a role in weight gain. Developing a healthier microbiome can help people lose weight.
Having an unhealthy gut can also lead to digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Some studies have found that the microbes in your gut can also affect the health of your heart. If you’re wondering how to improve cholesterol, improving your gut biome might be a part of the answer.
Your gut microbiota is also responsible for helping to control your blood sugar levels. This means it can help to lower your risk of developing diabetes.
It might be hard to believe, but the health of the bacterial and microbic balance in your gut can also affect the health of your brain. Your gut is connected to the brain physically through millions of different nerves. This means that your gut might be responsible for partially controlling the messages that your brain is sent.
It is also known that chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters can be helped in their production by certain bacteria species.
As you can see, the health and balance of your gut microbiome has an impact on nearly all aspects of your health. For this reason it is important to have a healthy gut.
What Are the Symptoms of Gut Health Problems?
The signs that you have an unhealthy gut indicate that you need to balance the bacteria and other microbes in your gut. The symptoms can be very uncomfortable, as they are your body’s way of telling you that something is not quite right. Some of the symptoms of gut health problems include:
- Bloating and gas
- Poor concentration
- Mood disorders
- Acne and skin inflammation
- Sugar cravings
- Obesity and weight gain
- Chronic fatigue
- Autoimmune diseases
Gut health issues can be caused by a number of different factors. One of the biggest causes of gut health issues is a poor diet. This is because yeast and bacteria thrive on sugar and processed foods, all good bacteria thrive in an environment with plant foods and fiber.
Some other causes of gut health issues other than the poor diet include:
- Frequent use of antibiotics
- Chronic stress
- Poor sleep
- Food intolerances
As explained earlier, your gut health does not just impact your digestive comfort. It can impact the health of nearly every other system in your body. If you are experiencing symptoms of having an unhealthy gut balance, it makes sense to work to correct the issue for the benefit of your overall health.
How to Improve Gut Health
Luckily, the health of your gut is largely in your control. There are a number of different things you can do to improve your gut health.
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods used to be a normal part of the premodern diet. Consider incorporating foods and drinks such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir into your diet.
Eat a Diverse Range of Foods
When you need a diverse range of foods, it can help to produce a diverse microbiome. As mentioned earlier, having a diverse microbiome is a sign that your gut is healthy.
Eat Prebiotic Foods
In addition to probiotic foods, there also prebiotic foods. These are foods that consist of a type of fiber that helps to encourage the growth of bacteria healthy for your gut. These foods include bananas, artichokes, oats, asparagus, and apples.
Limit Artificial Sweeteners
There have been some studies that have found that certain artificial sweeteners stimulate the growth of certain unhealthy bacteria in your body. This also increases your blood sugar levels.
Breastfeed Children For at Least Six Months
It is important that children are breastfed for at least six months as it is vital to gut microbiome development.
Clean Up Your Diet
Your diet is one of the best ways to defend against having an unhealthy gut. What you eat directly impacts the bacterial balance in your body.
Complex carbohydrates and fiber are great for good bacteria. On the other hand, processed foods and sugar can seed pathogenic bacteria and yeasts.
A healthy diet for your gut means avoiding processed foods and sugars while incorporating healthy fats, high-fiber vegetables, and proteins into your diet.
Only Take Antibiotics When Necessary
It is common for doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a number of different conditions. Unfortunately, antibiotics can wreak havoc on your gut health.
Antibiotics do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria in your gut. That means that while it might get rid of the bacteria or virus that is the cause of your condition, it is also getting rid of all the healthy bacteria that is supporting your immune system and overall health.
Sometimes it is necessary to take antibiotics, but it’s important to not take them more than necessary. Taking antibiotics more than necessary might contribute to developing a resistance to antibiotics and also weight gain.
Eat Foods Rich in Polyphenols
Healthy bacterial growth can be stimulated in the microbiome by incorporating foods that are rich in polyphenols in your diet. These are plant compounds that are found in foods such as dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, whole-grain, and olive oil.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Taking a probiotic supplement is an easy way to improve your gut health. Probiotics can help to restore balance to your gut by receiving your gut with healthy bacteria. This is because probiotics are actually live bacteria.
Are you looking for a daily probiotic supplement? If so, check out ProbioZen.
What Supplements Should I Take For Gut Health?
In addition to the ways you can improve your gut health mentioned above, there are also some supplements you can take to improve your health.
As mentioned earlier, taking a probiotic supplement can help to restore the balance of your gut microbiome. You’ll want to find a probiotic supplement that contains the bacterial strains Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Bifidobacterium infantis.
Another type of supplement that you can take clear-cut health that we mentioned earlier are prebiotics. These are supplement that helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Collagen is a substance that your body naturally makes. However, your production reduces as you get older. You can naturally incorporate collagen into your diet by eating organ meats and bone broth, but you can also simply supplement with collagen protein on the side.
Taking zinc and carnosine can help to make the gut lining of your stomach stronger. This is known as gut integrity.
Licorice root has been used to help reduce nausea and pain for a long time. It can also help to heal ulcers and support a well-functioning gut lining.
This amino acid can help to improve nutrition absorption as well as repair injuries in the intestinal wall.
Aloe vera has tons of natural enzymes and nutrients. It can help support digestion, the gut lining, and to manage the symptoms of heartburn.
Digestive enzymes are what helps our body adequately break down the food that we eat. As we get older, it is common that our specific enzyme production decreases. They can therefore be helpful to take digestive enzyme supplements to ease bloating and other digestive upsets.
Magnesium is something that people use in order to combat constipation. It is important to not take too high of a dose of magnesium, otherwise, it can cause diarrhea. Most people are deficient in magnesium, and supplementation is a good idea at the right dosage.
Taking the Best Supplements For Gut Health Can Improve Your Overall Wellbeing
As you can see, there is a long list of reasons why you want to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria and other microbes in your gut. Luckily, this is something that you can do by incorporating certain foods into your diet, avoiding other foods, paying attention to your own reactions to food and your body, and through supplementation is necessary.
Did you find this article on the best supplements for gut health interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!