Supplements For Gut Health & Digestion

The gut is a vital, yet often overlooked piece of our human biology and plays a key role in keeping us all fit and healthy. When our guts function properly, they’re responsible for absorbing the nutrients from our food, fueling our bodies, and filtering out toxins. A number of studies have shown links between a healthy gut and a strong immune system, good mental health, and even resistance to illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Our guts can suffer for a number of reasons, however, especially in modern life. External factors such as high levels of stress, a poor diet, or even a loss of sleep can cause the balance of bacteria in the gut to become disturbed. This delicate distribution of bacteria in our guts is responsible for maintaining the status quo of our function. An imbalance can cause a series of knock-on effects which ultimately increases our susceptibility to disease and can even cause certain adverse health conditions. With the interruption of our gut’s regular function, our bodies’ greater health can pay the price. 

However, there are a large number of ways to make up for these deficits or even boost your gut’s natural functions when in perfect health. Supplements can take action in the gut and provide a variety of long-lasting benefits to your health and help keep your body functioning in peak condition. There is a wide selection of supplement variants out there, so it’s vital that you know what your options are. By staying informed, you can be sure that you’re making the decision that is right for your health. 

Turmeric 

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and often used in cooking for its strong aromatic and dyeing properties. In addition to this, the turmeric plant has been extensively documented for the incredible health benefits it can provide- even in the small quantities in which it is consumed as part of a meal. 

The family of compounds responsible for turmeric’s health benefits are called curcuminoids, and turmeric is full of them- most notably, curcumin. High-quality turmeric supplements consist of a high measure of curcumin, the compound which gives turmeric its signature bright yellow hue. This curcumin is the most prominent active component of turmeric and is also responsible for its myriad of health benefits. Whilst the generic turmeric used for cooking does contain traces of curcuminoids, the concentration tends to linger beneath 5%, a quantity that isn’t sufficient to make the most of the natural advantages the compound offers. By taking specialised turmeric supplements, you can ensure you’re getting a concentration of upwards of 95%. 

Turmeric and curcumin supplements are widely renowned for their ability to encourage a huge range of positive effects on the body, such as reducing harmful inflammation, anti-oxidising the body, and even minimising the effects of weight gain and aging.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Inflammation occurs when the body encounters foreign, and potentially harmful, invaders such as bacteria. In addition to this, it helps to repair bodily damage and kickstart healing. Inflammation is an incredibly important process for keeping your body healthy.

That being said, disordered inflammation can have many negative impacts on the body. Generally, when inflammation is deployed as a part of a natural bodily response, the effects are short-lasting and precise. In contrast, unhealthy inflammation is long-lasting and without any apparent cause. Many major illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s are linked to such detrimental inflammation. 

Sometimes, the body perceives a threat where there isn’t one and can end up causing more harm than good through this response. This is why anti-inflammatory properties are so important and can even help to prevent some serious forms of illness further down the line. 

This sort of harmful inflammation has a number of causes but has most notably been linked to alcohol, pollution, and obesity. Combining turmeric supplements with a balanced diet will yield your body the best results, and help to keep you functioning in peak physical health. 

Antioxidant properties

Many of the effects of aging can be attributed to oxidative damage. Oxidative damage occurs when the body comes into contact with free radicals- a highly reactive particle that can interact with other compounds in harmful ways. Due to this high reactivity, they can often yield unexpected results, and cause a potentially large amount of harm.

In particular, the organic materials found in the human body are susceptible to the effects of free radicals. The high levels of curcumin found in turmeric supplements helps to neutralise the actions of free radicals by binding with them before they can bind with a different, more vulnerable, particle. 

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains a number of incredibly helpful compounds. The main ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which is formed when the alcohol extracted from the fermentation of apples is treated with a specialised bacteria. This acetic acid is the compound responsible for giving vinegar its signature smell and taste, as well as providing the many health benefits of the product. 

There are a number of helpful bodily functions which can be encouraged by regularly ingesting apple cider vinegar in the form of supplements. Raw apple cider vinegar, whilst capable of inciting some health benefits, can cause considerable harm if consumed at an improper dosage. Side effects such as tooth erosion and unforeseen medication reactions could lead to more harm than good. By consuming apple cider vinegar in the form of a supplement, the dosage is easier to control and regulate and therefore minimises the risk of any unforeseen side effects. 

Antibacterial qualities

Apple cider vinegar is a great weapon against harmful bacteria which may exist inside the body. The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar is responsible for this ability to combat harmful particles.

Foreign bacteria in the body is responsible for a number of negative afflictions, such as illnesses and infections. 

Lowers blood sugar

High blood sugar has the potential to cause a number of health complications- most notably, type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the levels of the hormone insulin in the body aren’t properly maintained. Insulin is what usually keeps the levels of sugar in the blood regulated to a healthy level. Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, however, it is usually linked to cases of inactivity, obesity, or a family history of the condition. 

That being said, people who don’t suffer from diabetes can also face issues with an excess of sugar in the blood. This high level of sugar in the blood can cause a number of health complications for the nerves, eyes, and even accelerate aspects of the aging process. 

There are multiple studies that have linked apple cider vinegar (and acetic acid in particular) with stronger regulation of insulin for a healthier balance in blood sugar levels. In particular, one study has suggested that apple cider vinegar has the capacity to decrease blood sugar levels by upwards of 30%. 

Weight loss

Multiple studies have found that ingesting the compounds found in apple cider vinegar daily can help to induce feelings of satiety in subjects, leading to the consumption of fewer net calories at the end of the day. 

We gain weight when the calories we consume in a day outweigh the number of calories our body expends. Our bodies burn calories constantly by keeping our organs functioning. Additionally, an increase in physical activity can lead to an increase in calories burned. By cutting down on the total calories consumed during any given day, you can allow your body to burn off any excess weight with greater ease. 

Some studies have found that the regular consumption of apple cider vinegar alongside meals led to a daily decrease of almost 300 calories. 

Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a part of the legume family, and historically grown in many Asian countries. Alfalfa contains a large number of vitamins capable of greatly improving the function of the gut and body. While alfalfa can sometimes be consumed fresh in its sprouted form, it is most commonly dried and taken in the form of a supplement. 

Alfalfa supplements contain a high concentration of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and copper. 

Lowers cholesterol

One of the most notable health benefits of alfalfa supplements comes in the form of the positive effects it can have on people who may suffer from high cholesterol levels. 

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that is found in the blood. Normally, this presence is no cause for concern, however, in excess, cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because the fatty tissue has the ability to block and thin your blood vessels to a dangerous extent. There are a number of causes for a high cholesterol content in the blood such as a lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, and drinking alcohol. 

Alfalfa has successfully been shown to lower cholesterol levels in both animal and human subjects. The compounds thought to be responsible for these positive effects are called saponins. Saponins are common in other plant-based foods such as soybeans, quinoa, and grains. They can aid with lowering cholesterol by binding with the excess of fatty tissue whilst it is in the blood before it can cause any serious complications. 

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a type of succulent, known for the hydrating gel it is capable of producing. While largely revered for the positive effects it can have on skincare, aloe vera is relatively unknown for the myriad of health benefits it can have for your gut. 

The juice and the latex which can be extracted from aloe vera can have incredible effects on your body’s digestion. Our bodies rely on the process of digestion to absorb the nutrients it needs from our food, and convert them into fuel. 

Laxative properties

Studies have shown that aloe vera can have incredible benefits to aiding digestion when used in the correct quantities. This benefit of the plant doesn’t come from the gel, like so many of the skincare benefits do, but rather from the latex. The aloe vera latex can be found adjacent to the skin of the leaf and takes the form of a slight and pale residue. 

The key compound in aloe vera latex is called aloin and is responsible for its laxative properties. In small quantities, this can help to relieve the effects of constipation and facilitate a healthy digestive process. 

Peppermint

Peppermint oil is extracted from the peppermint plant which is popular for its distinctive flavour and smell. This oil, when consumed in the form of a supplement, can have a huge number of benefits to your gut and digestive process. 

Digestion benefits

In particular, peppermint has noted benefits for those who might struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. The oil is noted for its soothing properties and the ability it has to decrease digestive tract spasms.

By easing the digestive process like this, the body can more efficiently dispose of waste and extracted toxins and thereby improve the function of the body’s metabolism. A slow digestive process can lead to many potential health issues such as faecal impaction and distress in the abdominal area. 

Conclusion

Our guts are integral to keeping our bodies functioning healthily and properly. Without the correct nutrients, our bodily functions can become improper and fall victim to many potentially nasty side effects. 

Luckily, there are a large variety of supplements that can help improve our overall gut health and decrease the risk of health complications such as cancer, heart disease, and a high concentration of sugar or cholesterol in the blood. Depending on what your body needs, the right supplement can make all the difference for your overall health, and keep you in good condition. 

Take the time to evaluate the supplements available to you to ensure that you make the best decision for your body. Be sure to consult a physician if you have any doubts before making the leap, particularly if you are currently taking any additional medications. By taking the time to make an informed decision, you can ensure that you only give your body what is truly the best for it. 

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