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supplements for a healthy gut

You may think you are eating healthy, but what if the foods you are eating are bad for your specific gut? Or worse, the treatments you use to provide quick relief are causing your condition to worsen in the long run!

We have talked about probiotics, colostrum and digestive enzymes as our top three supplements for GI health. The following are additional supplements we often prescribe. Again, before trying anything from any website, check with your health care provider to verify it is appropriate for your specific condition.

FIBER

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF FIBER:


Soluble and insoluble.

The analogy I like to use to explain the difference is a comb versus a brush for your hair.

If you have knots in your hair and use a comb, you are going to tear out your hair. This is like taking insoluble fiber to loosen your stools; it can be rough on the tender lining of your insides.

I prefer to use a brush for my hair, like I prefer to use soluble fiber for my colon. It gently brushes the insides of the colon and softens the stool.

Soluble fiber, like Psyllium fiber, helps with both constipation and diarrhea. When you’re constipated, soluble fiber gels up with fluid and softens the stool. When taken for diarrhea, it acts like a sponge and soaks up the extra liquid.

It may seem strange to drink a liquid containing soluble fiber when you have diarrhea, but it may help. Remember to drink plenty of water with soluble fiber because if it doesn’t have enough water to sponge up, it can act like a plug and constipate you.

I prefer buying buy pure Psyllium fiber from a health food store. If you use over-the-counter fiber mixes for constipation, they are generally filled with artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives.  If you have GI sensitivities, why risk taking something that has irritating chemicals?  

ALOE VERA 

ALOE VERA HAS HEALING PROPERTIES, especially for the skin. That is why many people put aloe vera cream on sunburns.


The intestinal lining is another form of skin. This lining is more delicate than the multilayered skin that covers our bodies because it’s not protected by keratin. In some regions, the lining is only as thick as a single cell (so we can better absorb nutrients).

Aloe vera can help all skin (inside and out) heal. You can buy edible aloe vera gel to treat the delicate lining of your intestines. Just make sure you get an ingestible formula (not a cream designed for external use only).

There is some debate on whether people should use aloe vera for IBS because it has a laxative effect. If you have constipation, this can be helpful. But if you have IBS-D, IBS-M, or IBS-A, taking aloe vera may make matters worse. I believe it may be worth trying. If it has a laxative effect on you or doesn’t help, try something else.
  

HERBAL REMEDIES 

PEPPERMINT, GERMANIUM, AND LAVENDER oils have anti-spasmodic properties, so can relax smooth muscle, which is the type of muscle found in your digestive tract. Plus, these oils have a slightly sedative effect. Remember, you have to rest to digest.


I prefer to use these oils in tea because I find it relaxing to sip tea. But if the oils don’t work for you, try taking an over-the-counter supplement.  

Herbs like slippery elm and licorice root have been effective at reducing the bloating and pain caused by IBS. Peppermint capsules have also been found to be helpful.

However, herbal remedies are not candy. I strongly advise seeking professional advice for your specific needs. I frown on treatment plans that involve a plethora of costly herbs. You may be able to get well with dietary and lifestyle changes, so always try those first. If that approach doesn’t work, then add herbs to your arsenal.

After your condition begins to improve, you should be able to wean yourself off the herbs. If you think you need to continue taking the herbs, then you have not found the “live it” that your body needs to be well. (See Chapter 17 for more about “live it” versus diet.) 

Herbs are like medicine; if you use them daily, they may lose their effectiveness over time. Like medicine, herbs should be used under the guidance of a health professional who has studied and continues to practice herbal medicine. 

However, don’t assume your doctor is well versed in herbs. Many supplement labels, mostly for liability protection, advise you to seek medical advice before taking the herbal supplement, but most medical doctors I know don’t know much about herbs! 

Don’t assume your chiropractor knows a lot about herbs either.  They may have learned something in school, but if they don’t incorporate herbs into their daily treatments, they will likely not be the expert you are looking for. Think about how many things you’ve forgotten from your days in school.  Doctors are no different. 

So if you’re considering using herbs to treat your irritable bowel symptoms, do your homework (call several practitioners, ask others for referrals) to find a healthcare professional who can advise you on what to take and the correct dosage. Don’t skip this step because you think it will be too much work. You don’t want to add herbs to your routine only to have them cause other problems. 

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Drummond Chiropractic, LLC
More than chiropractors, we are wellness experts.
We can help you with your digestive concerns!
565 N Walnut St Bloomington, IN 47404

(812) 336 - 2423

If you are unfamiliar with the anatomy of your digestive system, we advice clicking the "learn more" button below to better understand our advice on digestive issues.

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