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7 Digestive Supplements for Enhanced Digestion

7 Digestive Supplements for Enhanced Digestion

Do you constantly suffer from gas, indigestion and bloating? If so, your digestion could be in need of a helping hand.

Sometimes, it can seem like everything you eat causes you discomfort. Even when you’re trying to eat as healthily as possible, you still feel bloated and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are plenty of digestive supplements that can assist your body’s natural digestive function.

Here are my pick of the best 7 digestive supplements to give your gastrointestinal tract the boost that it needs:

1. Digestive Enzymes

Although your body naturally produces its own digestive enzymes to break down food, these are sometimes not enough to get the job done. It may be that your body isn’t producing enough of these enzymes, or that they have been diluted, or that your diet contains too much fat or protein for your own enzymes to cope.

Taking a digestive enzyme supplement could really help to give your digestive function a boost.[1]

Most digestive enzyme formulas contain a blend of the enzymes that your body would normally produce, such lipase (to break down fats), amylase (to break down carbohydrates), and proteases and peptidases (to break down proteins). These enzymes are generally taken from natural sources, such as fruits, vegetables and amino acids.

You can increase your digestive enzymes naturally by eating foods that contain them. Typically, these include fruits such as pineapple, papaya, and mango. Honey and avocado are good choices, as are fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut.

You can also look for a quality brand that contains a variety of digestive enzymes. It’s best to take your digestive enzymes during or after a meal.

Pure Formulations is a reputable brand that produces a helpful blend of digestive enzymes, including less common enzymes such as beta-glucanase and alpha-galactosidase. Look for their Digestive Enzymes Ultra formulation:

    Learn more about Digestive Enzymes Ultra here.

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    2. Probiotics

    Probiotic bacteria are the ‘friendly’ microorganisms that live in your intestines and assist in normal digestion. There are many different strains of probiotic bacteria and each strain has a slightly different role in keeping you healthy.

    One of the major benefits of these bacteria is the way they help to digest the foods you eat and absorb the nutrients contained within them.

    If your probiotic bacteria are lacking in any way due to an imbalance in your gut flora (also known as dysbiosis), you may need to top them up with a probiotic supplement.

    Dysbiosis can be caused by a poor diet, the use of antibiotics, other medications such as NSAIDs,[2] and even stress.[3]

    A probiotic supplement will also help to counter the ‘bad’ bacteria or yeasts such as Candida albicans, which can wreak havoc on your digestion.[4]

    Look for a high-quality supplement that contains a variety of probiotic strains and has a high CFU (colony-forming units) count. Some of the best strains for supporting digestion include L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, and B. bifidum.

    Most importantly, choose a probiotic that will get its probiotic bacteria to your gut. Look for a brand that uses time-release tablets to deliver its bacteria safely past stomach acid.

    My recommendation is the 15 billion CFU probiotic developed by Balance One Supplements. It uses time-release tablets and contains 15 billion CFUs of bacteria. The 12 probiotic strains include L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, and B. bifidum.

      Learn more about Balance One Probiotics here.

      3. DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice)

      No, not the sweet treat! Licorice is actually a plant that has been used as a digestive aid for centuries.

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      Licorice root contains a demulcent, which means it can soothe the inflamed or irritated tissues lining your gut. It’s known for helping to prevent ulcers and intestinal spasms, as well as reducing inflammation and allergies.[5]

      Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is a form of licorice that has been processed for safer consumption. Most of the active ingredient glycyrrhizin has been removed, which makes DGL safer for long-term use, particularly in people with medical conditions.

      DGL is helpful for controlling excess stomach acid and reducing heartburn. DGL supplements are available in chewable form or as liquids, capsules or powders. You can also find DGL in many gut health powders, along with L-glutamine and marshmallow root.

      Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is a very economical supplement and can usually be found relatively cheaply. A good example is the Natural Factors Deglycyrrhizinated licorice:

        Learn more about DGL Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root here.

        4. Peppermint Oil

        Peppermint is known for its cooling properties which can relieve the nasty effects of indigestion. It’s often used to prevent and treat common digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating.

        Some studies have shown that peppermint works by relaxing the tissues of the gastrointestinal system, which can ease any discomfort. It also helps to reduce spasms and prevent smooth muscle spasms, which can reduce any cramps.

        People who tend to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are often advised to try peppermint tea or peppermint oil, with evidence that it provides significantly better symptom relief than a placebo.[6]

        Peppermint oil capsules are best taken on an empty stomach before a meal, while peppermint tea can be drunk at any time to help soothe the gut.

        A good example of peppermint oil is from Heather’s Tummy Care. They also contain ginger and come in enteric-coated capsules to ensure that the oils reach your gut safely:

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          Learn more about Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules here.

          5. Ginger

          Spicy and warming ginger is one of the best-known digestive aids in natural medicine.

          Ginger has long been known for its carminative properties, which means it helps to soothe the gut and reduce cramping. Carminatives like ginger also help to promote the elimination of excessive gas from the digestive system.

          Ginger is particularly helpful for treating conditions such as nausea, dyspepsia and colic. Evidence shows that ginger can help to boost the flow of both saliva and bile, which aids digestion.[7]

          The phenolic compounds in ginger are shown to relieve gastrointestinal (GI) irritation and stimulate bile production. At the same time, ginger also improves the production of the digestive enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase, which are needed to break down fat. This helps in increasing motility in the digestive tract.

          There’s no need to spend a lot of money on ginger supplements. Simply buy some ginger from your local store, cut it into small pieces, and boil it to make a simple but effective ginger tea.

          6. L-Glutamine

          If your gut lining has suffered the effects of Candida, Leady Gut Syndrome or food-related allergies, you could do with a dose of L-glutamine.

          This important amino acid is highly recommended for any digestive issue, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease. L-glutamine is vital for the healthy repair of the cells within the gut lining. In fact, it’s the most abundant amino acid in your bloodstream and plays a valuable role in the maintaining the strength of your gut mucosa.

          By supporting the integrity of your gut with L-glutamine, you’ll be improving your overall digestive function.

          L-glutamine has been found to improve immune cell activity in the gut, helping to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation, as well as soothing gastrointestinal tissue. In your lower bowel, glutamine is necessary for providing fuel for metabolism, regulating cell growth and maintaining the gut barrier functions.[8]

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          The most cost-effective L-glutamine usually comes in a powder. It will often be combined with other gut-supportive powders such as marshmallow root or slippery elm. If you want a pure L-glutamine powder, Pure Encapsulations makes a high-quality formulation:

            Learn more about Pure Encapsulations here.

            7. Papain

            Papain is the active constituent within papaya, the tropical fruit. Papain is a a sulfhydryl protease that your body requires to break down protein. Interestingly, this is why papain can also be used as a meat tenderizer.

            The proteolytic enzymes in papain assist in breaking down proteins down into smaller fragments known as peptides and amino acids. One particular study involving a commercial papaya preparation found that it improved both constipation and bloating in people with chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction.[9]

            Although it’s possible to get some benefit from eating papaya as the fresh fruit, a concentrated supplement will provide more effective relief. You can take papain as a capsule on its own or as part of another digestive enzyme supplement.

            Doctor’s Best makes a high-quality proteolytic enzyme formulation that includes papain as well as 8 more enzymes, include serrapeptase and bromelain:

              Learn more about Doctor’s Best Proteolytic Enzymes here.

              So there you go, 7 digestive supplements that can improve your digestive health. If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your digestive health, don’t miss these articles:

              Featured photo credit: Hilary Hahn via unsplash.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Lisa Richards

              Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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              Last Updated on November 18, 2020

              50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

              50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

              If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

              That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

              Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

              1. Believe It to See It

              Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

              2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

              While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

              3. Keep Looking for Solutions

              Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

              4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

              Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

              5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

              There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

              6. Always Ask Productive Questions

              It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

              7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

              Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

              8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

              Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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              9. Maximize Your Strengths

              Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

              10. Be in It to Win It

              Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

              11. Know That Success Attracts Success

              People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

              12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

              Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

              13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

              You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

              14. Be a One-Off Original

              Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

              15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

              Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

              16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

              Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

              17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

              Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

              18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

              We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

              19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

              Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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              20. Accept Challenge All the Time

              Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

              21. Make Your Own Luck

              In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

              22. Ignite Your Initiative

              While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

              23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

              Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

              24. Champion in Communication

              Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

              25. Plan Your Life Strategically

              Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

              26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

              To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

              27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

              While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

              28. Live by Core Values

              Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

              29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

              Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

              30. Don’t Get Carried Away

              Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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              31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

              Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

              32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

              Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

              33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

              Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

              34. Change Opens New Doors

              People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

              35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

              It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

              36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

              Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

              37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

              When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

              38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

              How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

              39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

              If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

              40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

              Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

              41. Swim Against the Tide

              Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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              42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

              More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

              43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

              Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

              44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

              While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

              45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

              Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

              46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

              Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

              47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

              While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

              48. Follow Through

              Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

              49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

              We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

              50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

              To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

              So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

              Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

              More About Success

              Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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