A Better Peppermint Oil
Painful cramps or spasms? Peppermint oil might be an all-natural way to get some relief, particularly for those experiencing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). “Peppermint oil is an antispasmodic and smooth muscle relaxant,” explains registered dietition Tamara Duker Freuman. “In the gut, this means it can have a relaxing and spasm-reducing effect on the colon.” But not all peppermint oil is created equal. She stresses that it’s important to select a brand of capsules with enteric coating, meaning, it has a coating that can withstand the stomach’s acidity so that the oil is delivered to the right location in the intestine. She warns against choosing one without the coating or a cheaper variety as the oil can be delivered earlier in GI tract, which can lead to acid reflux or heartburn. She notes that it shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.
Tamara Duker Freuman is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer specializing in the dietary management of digestive disease. She is the author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).
Nourish Your Cells
One unexpected but effective supplement for gut healing is butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by bacteria in the gut. Vincent Pedre, MD, uses butyrate capsules regularly as part of a gut-healing protocol to reduce inflammation. “It is one of the true examples of symbiosis between humans and their internal gut microbiome,” Dr. Pedre explains. “The butyrate produced by gut flora feeds the colonocytes, the cells that line the colon. Butyrate is their best energy source, which keeps them healthy.” According to Dr. Pedre, butyrate can help improve leaky gut, whereby particles in your gut escape through junctions in the intestinal wall. Butyrate is not just helpful for gut health, though; it’s also key for regulating blood sugar, helping to improve insulin sensitivity and allowing sugar to be used where it is needed.
Dr. Vincent Pedre is the medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and founder of Dr. Pedre Wellness, medical adviser to two health- tech startups, MBODY360 and Fullscript, and a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner in New York. He is the author of Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Eliminate Pain (William Morrow, 2015).
See Also Fix Your Gut 7-Day Meal Plan
You’ve likely heard of probiotics for gut health, but functional medicine expert Tiffany Lester, MD, recommends a different variety of the popular gut-health remedy, a broad- spectrum spore-based probiotic. “The primary difference between regular and spore-based probiotics is that they are said to survive the acidic digestive environment to effectively colonize the gut,” she explains. “Spore-based probiotics have been studied to enter the intestines 100% intact and viable.” The benefits of probiotics are plentiful, according to Dr. Lester. They support the immune system to reduce allergies and asthma, help the body fight infections and reduce inflammation associated with IBS and Crohn’s disease. The only caveat? If you have a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), then you should speak with your doctor first, as spore-based probiotics may worsen SIBO symptoms.
Dr. Tiffany Lester is a functional medicine doctor and Medical Director of Parsley Health in San Francisco.
Intestinal Lining Protector
What’s your intestinal lining got to do with your health? According to Amy Myers, MD, just about everything. When the tight junctions that hold your intestinal wall together become loose, a condition called leaky gut can develop, whereby particles like toxins, viruses and bacteria escape into the bloodstream, leading to inflammation and possibly autoimmunity. In order to keep your intestinal lining in good shape, she recommends a unique powder blend that includes L-glutamine to nourish cells, aloe extract to help restore the mucosal lining and licorice extract to soothe. “I’ve recommended this supplement to a wide range of people from children to octogenarians, male and female alike, across a wide range of issues from IBS to SIBO as well as classic autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s disease and lupus,” Dr. Myers said.
Dr. Amy Myers is a two-time New York Times best- selling author of The Autoimmune Solution (HarperOne, 2015) and The Thyroid Connection (Hachette Book Group, 2016), as well as the Amazon #1 best seller, The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook (HarperCollins, 2018).
An Ancient Remedy Made Modern
The wellness world is buzzing about bone broth, long-simmering bones, cartilage and tendons of chicken, beef, fish or other proteins. It contains collagen, gelatin (collagen becomes gelatin when cooked), amino acids and minerals to support the gut. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, recommends a product from his own line, Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Pure, a traditionally made bone broth that is concentrated into a powder with 20 grams of protein per serving. “Most people typically get enough muscle-building protein in their diet. What they often don’t get enough of is connective tissue–supporting protein, like what’s in Bone Broth Protein,” explains Dr. Axe.
Dr. Josh Axe, co-founder of Ancient Nutrition and draxe.com, is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist.
Our editors weigh in on their favorite supplements for a healthier gut.
“Most people don’t get enough prebiotic fiber to feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, so a supplement like this can help fill in the gaps.” – Alicia Tyler, Editorial Director
“For those looking to take both enzymes and probiotics, I love the convenience of this two-in-one product with nine enzymes to improve digestion and five beneficial cultures to feed a healthy microbiome.” –Alexandra Emanuelli, Associate Editor
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