How Supplements Can Support Gut Health
What is Gut Health?
Digestive Health, or ‘Gut Health’, refers to the overall health of your digestive tract. Gut health awareness has grown in recent years as more research has been done into what exactly makes a healthy gut and how gut health can affect our overall health.
The gut is complex and not yet fully understood, however it is generally accepted that gut health relates to the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, also known as the gut microbiome.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The Gut Microbiome is the name given to the millions of bacteria and microbes that live in your gut. These bacteria and microbes impact many aspects of your health, including your immune system as well as helping you digest the food you eat.
The Gut Microbiome is like a human fingerprint, each person’s is unique. This is due to the impact of things like diet, genetics, medication, age, etc.
What does the Gut Microbiome do? The Gut Microbiome has many jobs, including:
- Shaping the Immune System
- Protecting the body from pathogens
- Extracting nutrients from our food
- Digesting fibre and protein from our food
Signs of Poor Gut Health:
Poor gut health occurs when there is an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Here are some signs you should look out for that might suggest you have an unhealthy gut.
- Upset stomach- bloating, gas, constipation etc.
- Sudden/unintentional weight loss or gain.
- Poor sleep/constant fatigue.
- Skin conditions- psoriasis, acne.
- Food intolerance.
Gut Health is about more than just our digestion, it affects so many other functions in our bodies which is why we should take care of it. A healthy gut may also be the key to improving mental health- thanks to The Gut-Brain Connection.
How to Support Gut Health?
There are many ways to support gut health, if you suspect that you have a problem with your gut health then the best place to start is with diet. Often an unbalanced gut is down to diet and eating too many processed foods and excess sugar. Cutting out these processed foods should be your first step.
Adding fermented foods to your diet is a common way that many people try to maintain a healthy gut. Popular fermented foods include: Yoghurt, Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Miso Soup. Fermented foods contain ‘good’ bacteria (probiotics) that support gut health. However, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is where supplements come in.
How can Supplements support gut health?
Supplements are an increasingly popular way that people are choosing to support their gut health. Here are just a few examples of the kinds of Supplements you might take to support your gut health and how they work:
The most common supplement taken for gut health. Probiotic supplements usually come in capsule or tablet form and contain live bacteria that help restore the natural balance in your gut.
Usually referred to as ‘friendly’ or ‘kind’, these bacteria travel to the gut and help to increase the number and diversity of bacteria in the gut. This helps reduce the growth of pathogenic microbes and aids digestion.
fourfive's Daily Biotic is the ultimate solution for maintaining balance and promoting optimal digestive health. Packed with the power of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, the world's number 1 clinically studied probiotic strain, each capsule delivers a potent 20 billion live CFU (Colony Forming Units) at the time of consumption until the expiry date.
Gut Biome Zooki invites you to revolutionize your digestive health with a powerhouse blend of three meticulously selected bacterial strains, aggregating over an impressive 35 billion colony forming units (CFUs).
Prebiotics are a type of fibre that our bodies can’t digest but the gut microbiome can. Prebiotics essentially feed the bacteria in the gut helping to maintain a healthy microbiome.
Prebiotics can also be found in food sources such as: garlic, onions, leeks & asparagus.
Digestive enzymes help break down food in the digestive tract, produced by the pancreas, stomach and small intestine. Some people don’t produce enough digestive enzymes which can cause digestive issues.
Digestive Enzyme supplements aid the breakdown of food which improves gut health. The best digestive enzyme supplements contain multiple enzymes that help to break down protein, carbs, fat, lactose, and fibre.
We love the Trust Your Gut Nootropics Capsules from Puresport. These Supplements are designed to support your overall well-being and digestive health, containing Digestive Enzymes, Ginger, Liquorice and Turmeric Extract- all of which are excellent for your gut.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid essential for gut health. L-glutamine is used by the cells that line the digestive tract and helps strengthen the intestinal barrier, helping to prevent ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’.
Glutamine supplements support the growth and repair of the intestinal lining. The most effective Glutamine supplements are ones that specifically contain L-glutamine, this is the form of glutamine that is easiest for the body to absorb.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and can help reduce inflammation in the gut while improving the gut barrier and its ability to absorb nutrients.
Vitamin C is also great for your energy levels, skin, and immune system. Supplements like the Zooki Vitamin C sachets are a great way to incorporate more Vitamin C into your diet.
Chamomile & Ginger:
Both plants are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe the digestive tract.
Ginger is antimicrobial and helps protect the gut from bad bacteria and promotes the production of digestive enzymes.
Chamomile is known to have calming properties, reducing stress and anxiety which can also improve digestion.
What does Gut Health have to do with Exercise?
Although diet is the main contributor to a healthy (or unhealthy) gut microbiome, environmental factors can also play a role. Recent studies have shown that exercise may influence the gut microbiome, and vice versa.
Moderate exercise is reported to increase microbiota diversity in the gut which in turn helps with weight maintenance, fighting obesity, and protects from gastrointestinal disorders and colon cancer.
However, extreme exercise may harm the gut microbiome which is why in some cases athletes can benefit from taking supplements to support their gut health.
The Gut Microbiome can impact athletic performance in several ways:
- Inflammation: The gut significantly affects inflammation- either increasing or decreasing, inflammation can occur when the gut is unbalanced and can cause significant problems for athletes.
- Energy levels: A balanced gut can reduce fatigue through better lactic acid breakdown,
- Mental strength: The Gut-Brain Connection means that a healthy gut can affect mood, pain tolerance, cognitive performance, mental clarity, attitude.
- Stronger bones: The Microbiome helps with building bone mass and strength through hormone and immune system regulation, reducing injury risk.
- Hydration: The gut it linked to proper hydration regulation during exercise.
These are just a few of the ways your gut health can affect your athletic performance.
For more information on Vitamins and Supplements try our Ultimate Vitamin Supplements Guide for Sports Nutrition.