Supplements for gut health and immune support. This post gives in-depth information about some of my most trusted gut healing supplements. For those with digestive or gut troubles, here are some supplements for gut health that can be healing for the GI.
This post is sponsored by iHerb.com.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and am not recommending any specific healing protocol in this post. Before making any changes to your health and lifestyle, be sure you seek advice from a qualified individual.
As a follow up to my blog posts detailing my gut healing story, I wanted to share some of the supplements I take regularly to maintain my gut health.
One of the most transformative actions I’ve taken to improve my gut health has been sticking with a very specific supplement regimen.
While I do think mindful diet and exercise are crucial to maintaining good gut health, it wasn’t until I incorporated certain supplements into my daily routine that I began seeing drastic improvements to my gut.
I’m featuring supplements that are exclusive to iHerb.com, who is the sponsor of this post. These are tried and true supplements, which I took great care in testing before recommending!
To catch you up if you’re new to my story, I experienced IBS symptoms for a number of years. After working with my practitioner over the last year, my IBS symptoms have disappeared and my gut health has improved dramatically.
In order to keep my health on an upward trajectory, I stay consistent with taking my supplements. I won’t need to take these supplements forever, but they have been incredibly useful in both healing my gut and maintaining gut health.
You don’t have to have a GI that is in complete disarray to benefit from certain supplements. In fact, simply adding probiotics (if you don’t normally take them), omega-3s (if you don’t eat fish regularly) AND/OR a Vitamin D supplement can provide an enormous boost to your immune system.
This is not to say we should all be popping pills all day long. While there are so many healing supplements available to help with gut and digestive issues, it is important to take some of them under the care of a practitioner to get the appropriate dosage.
That said, the supplements I discuss in this post are generally recommended by most medical professionals (regardless of whether they are considered western, holistic, integrative, etc.) to be helpful to gut health and can be taken safely by most individuals.
Remember, it is important to make incremental changes slowly and if you are ever concerned about the effect something will have or any possible side effects, always seek the guidance of a medical professional before proceeding with a new supplement.
Without further adieu, here are some of the supplements I take to maintain my gut health.
Supplements For Gut Health:
Collagen: There’s no mystery about the healing elements of collagen, as it is the building block of so many facets of the human body, including bones, joints, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, AND your gut lining. Making collagen a regular part of your diet helps maintain the integrity of your intestines and both heals and prevents leaky gut.
California Gold Nutrition Marine Collagen is an amazing marine-based collagen which also includes Vitamin C. It is completely unflavored, and can be added to either hot or cold liquid. I add it to my hot matcha lattes every morning, which also adds amazing froth to the beverage. I seriously look forward to my frothy collagen matcha latte every morning!
Probiotics: A quality probiotic with many strains of bacteria is beneficial to those who have low counts of beneficial bacteria in their gut microbiome. When I did the GI Map, I learned my lactobacillus bacteria was very low, so when I added a lacto bifido probiotic, I saw an immediate improvement in my symptoms, and my bowel movements became regular.
When choosing a probiotic, make sure you’re getting multiple strains of bacteria (I look for 7 or more) and that the concentration is over 20 billion so that plenty of the probiotics can survive the digestive process and populate your gut. California Gold Nutrition’s LactoBif Probiotic contains 30 billion probiotics per capsule, includes 5 lactobacilli strains and 3 bifidobacteria strains, and is entirely dairy-free (this is crucial for folks who are highly reactive to dairy, like me).
They do not need to be stored in the refrigerator, which is one of my litmus tests for buying a probiotic, as they should be able to withstand hot temperatures (since your body typically runs between 96 and 98 degrees). I take one with breakfast and one with dinner (again, the dosing should be based on your own needs!).
Like most good things, it is very possible to go too far with probiotics. While you do want more beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome than bad bacteria, you can still have a bacterial overgrowth if you go too heavy on probiotics. In this sense, only take what is recommended on the package, or go with the dosing your practitioner recommends.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for so many functions in the human body! Not only do you want to balance your omega-3 and omega-6s (in other words, consume more unsaturated fat than saturated), but boosting your omega-3 intake in the form of fish oil can be very healing for your gut lining.
In fact, studies show combining probiotics with an omega-3 supplement improves the efficacy of both AND acts as a powerful deterrent for pathogens. In essence, combining the two provides a mega boost to your gut health, hormone health, and therefore your immune system.
Just like any supplement, it is important to read the label of your omega-3 fish oil to determine from which fish the omegas are derived if you’re sensitive to certain types of seafood, and also note the concentration of omegas. Some fish oil supplements contain different types of omega fatty acids in addition to omega-3, so be cognizant of that depending on your needs. California Gold Nutrition Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil is a great quality fish oil supplement that doesn’t have a wicked fishy aftertaste.
L-Glutamine: L-Glutamine is an amino acid that has been touted in both the health and fitness community as a powerful supplement for muscle, joint, and gut health. In fact, it is the most abundant amino acid in the human body and serves to regenerate all types of tissue. L-Glutamine is crucial to your intestines, as it helps maintain the integrity of your interstitial lining.
Many foods contain L-Glutamine, including beef, eggs, white rice, corn, and tofu. While it is always good practice to get nutrients from natural sources as much as possible, those who are experiencing leaky gut symptoms may consider adding L-Glutamine to boost the intake and help heal the junctions in the intestines and seal the gut.
Proceed with caution with L-Glutamine because while it’s safe for most individuals, even in high doses, some people with autoimmune conditions react when taken in high doses. If you are sensitive to supplements, or if you are concerned about a reaction, you can start with a very small dose and observe the reaction, if any, before moving up to a higher dose. If you have any concerns and want to know more about L-Glutamine before adding it to your gut health routine, I found Healthline’s article on L-Glutamine to be helpful.
Lake Avenue Nutrition L-Glutamine pills contain 1,000 mg, which makes getting enough L-Glutamine in your system daily a cinch. I have been supplementing my L-Glutamine for over a year. This is one of the supplements I noticed a huge change in my gut health. Because I had very leaky gut, it did take me about a week to notice an improvement, but from there, the improvement continued to increase by orders of magnitude.
Vitamin C: It may seem redundant to mention Vitamin C, as we’re all told from infancy how important it is. It’s important! Not only does Vitamin C keep your immune system functioning at an optimal level, but it also helps with digestion! I take 2,000mg of Vitamin C daily – 1,000 when I first wake up, and 500 with breakfast and dinner in the form of a multivitamin. The 1,000 mg I take in the morning actually helps stimulate a bowel movement, which is a relief for those of us who have dealt with chronic constipation.
SunLipid, Liposomal Vitamin C Naturally Flavored Packets are a convenient way to get in your Vitamin C. The product comes as single-serve gel packets so you can bring them with you anywhere! I find this especially useful for long day hikes or bike rides when you need a little boost. Each packet contains 1,000mg of vitamin C, 1000mg sunflower phospholipid complex (which helps lower bad cholesterol!) and 500mg Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). I see this as an amazing product for anyone who wants Vitamin C to be a regular part of their diet, and especially for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet, since you get the MCT boost.
Plus, it’s delicious! Zesty and sweet! It is sweetened with stevia, so those sensitive to stevia may want to find an unsweetened form of Vitamin C or simply proceed with caution. It is especially important to stay well-hydrated during the summer, and SunLipid’s packets are a great line of defence against dehydration.
Buying These Supplements:
All of the above mentioned supplements are found exclusively on iHerb.com. iHerb carries over 30,000 natural products and ships to over 150 countries. iHerb orders are shipped from climate-controlled distribution centers to ensure the quality of their products. In addition, iHerb offers customer service 24 hours a day / 7 days a week in 10 different languages.
By clicking HERE or any of the links in this post, you will receive a discount on your purchases (the discount will already be applied – no coupon code necessary!).
I find purchasing my supplements online to be a surefire way of keeping them in my routine without interruption. I buy them in bulk and re-order once I see I’m running low. I find this service to bring so much peace of mind to my life, as we all know dealing with health issues can be anxiety-inducing. Anything I can do to reduce stress or anxiety is a win for me.
In addition to the supplements mentioned above, I also take digestive enzymes and ox bile with every meal to help break down protein, fat, and carbohydrate. I take magnesium daily to help with digestion and sleep, and I take a combination of marshmallow root, slippery elm, and L-Glutamine to maintain the integrity of my intestines (in other words, heal leaky gut).
I also take a soil-based probiotic, which has been touted as one of the most beneficial forms of probiotics, as they are stable at room temperature (a sign they can withstand the heat of your body during digestion), and they tend to live longer than other forms of probiotics, ensuring your gut becomes well-populated with good bacteria.
On days I know I won’t be spending time outside in the sunlight, I supplement my Vitamin D with this Vitamin D dropper. I take 1,000iu. Research has shown those deficient in Vitamin D are more susceptible to infection, as Vitamin D is crucial to many functions in our immune system. It’s also a hormone!
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is drink 16 ounces of water with half a lemon squeezed into it. I have found this not only helps hydrate me after a long night without water, but also jump starts my digestion, and therefore stimulates a bowel movement.
How to Add Supplements Into Your Gut Health Routine:
Unless advised by your practitioner, take it one supplement at a time. When I began working with doctors to improve my gut health, I added a great deal of supplements at the same time because my digestive health was so poor I needed some major changes in so many areas. Had it not been necessary, I would have added one supplement at a time and waited at least 2 weeks before adding another.
We have a tendency to want to see changes immediately, but unfortunately our bodies don’t work on the same timeline as our brains. Healing takes time, so be sure you’re giving anything you add plenty of time before deciding whether to continue, discontinue, change brands or dosages.
Making one adjustment at a time and observing the effect before adding (or subtracting) anything else is the wisest approach to improving gut health. There is always an adjustment period in your body when adding a supplement, and it is important to know where any improvements are coming from.
For instance, if you begin taking a probiotic, be sure you give it at least 2 weeks before making any judgements as to whether or not it is helping. While I began seeing immediate improvements when I began taking a lactobacillus probiotic, that will not be the case for everyone depending on the gut microbiome going in.
If you’re in a situation where you’re desperate for relief, be sure you’re working closely with your practitioner and recording the changes you experience.
Let me know if you have any questions by dropping a comment below or emailing me directly. I’ve said this so many times before, but I must say it again: always do your own research before making changes to your health, and keep an open mind when starting a new protocol. I always encourage you to work closely with a qualified professional to ensure you’re getting the nutrition and supplements you need to optimize your health and keep your immune system strong.
As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions! Sending warm wishes of health your way.