A strong and healthy gut is crucial to immunity, cognitive function, and mood. I’ve been on my gut healing journey for a while now and I’m learning so much about my body. From my personal experience, I noticed that any time I start to feel indigestion, my mood tends to plummet and irritability increases. I know it doesn’t make sense for me to feel negative emotions but I just can’t control those damn gut bacteria invading my thoughts!
As with anything, consistency in lifestyle changes and habits are required along with combining different modalities of healing.
You can’t take supplements and expect to be cured if you don’t change your diet, lifestyle, mindset, and habits.
I use supplements to compliment my other healthy lifestyle habits including daily exercise, sunlight, breathwork and a balanced diet. Having consistent self-care rituals all matter when it comes to healing.
*Disclaimer: please don’t ever ‘copy’ someone else’s stack because we all have different circumstances, health history, genetics, etc. What works for me may not work for you.* You may do your own research into these products, and consult with your health practitioner whether it will be worthwhile or safe for you to incorporate into your routine.
Here are some supplements that helped ME for my gut issues. Some I take daily, and others I take when I feel like I need it. I listen to my gut because I trust my instincts!
Supplements for Gut Repair + Optimization:
I do eat a lot of fermented foods and a variety of vegetables but I supplement with a probiotic. Food sources rich in probiotics: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and kombucha drinks. I love Seed Probiotics.
Bulletproof Innerfuel Prebiotic
Prebiotics feeds your beneficial gut bacteria so your microbiome will thrive. Food sources rich in prebiotics: onion, garlic, leeks, and asparagus. (Link: USA / Canada)
Collagen is beneficial to gut health because it contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine, glutamine and proline which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract as well as the stomach. Collagen is a foundational building block, providing strength and structure for our connective tissues, and our body’s natural collagen production peaks in our early twenties but slowly declines as we age, so it’s important for me to supplement. (Link: USA / Canada)
I’ve been supplementing collagen consistently for about 5 years now however this year, I wasn’t taking it consistently. I started again and I am already seeing progress in my gut healing journey (combined with other lifestyle habits*)!
Food sources that boost collagen production for healthy gut, skin, and hair: amino acids from bone broth (necks, feet, and back bones are the most collagen-rich), wild fish with skin (collagen is stored in the skin), egg whites, and animal protein boosts collagen production. Vitamin C found in berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens are also essential for collagen synthesis.
I take ¼ tsp of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with water before bed on empty stomach. Don’t take it with a big meal otherwise it may produce gas. Baking soda balances the acidity in the stomach, stabilize blood acidity, and reduce inflammatory response… and as an added bonus, baking soda improves athletic performance!
*If you take too much or your blood is already alkaline, it can have harmful side effects especially if you already have high levels of sodium so make sure to educate yourself before adding this biohack into your routine! *Note that baking soda may interfere with other medications, so please consult with your doctor!
Design for Health Gi Revive
Gi Revive is a comprehensive formula that contains ingredients designed to promote proper intestinal function and the mucosal lining. Ingredients include: L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, MSM, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, okra extract, cat’s claw (TOA-free), quercetin, and mucin. This brand and supplement is one of my favorites. (Link: USA / Canada)
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
DGL is shown to promote mucus activity, aid in acid reflux, and address hormonal and fatigue issues. I used this to heal my stomach and gut lining. Take on an empty stomach 2-4x/day. DGL is natural, and safe with no side effects but make sure it is “deglycyrrhizinated” licorice otherwise it will increase your blood pressure. (Link: USA / Canada)
Lemon Balm Tincture
Lemon balm is a carminative which aids in soothing your digestive tract; upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas, and pain. It also contains chemicals that have a sedative, calming effect– which means it would aid in relieving anxiety. Lemon balm boosts GABA, a neurotransmitter that soothes stress. When you’re in fight or flight mode, your body won’t be able to digest food properly because it’s diverting all its energy to ‘run from the lion.’ (Link: USA / Canada)
Ginger + Lemon Tea
I brew and sip on this every night. Ginger is a warming carminative with a long history of soothing an upset stomach. Ginger can reduce gas and bloating, soothe the stomach, reduce nausea, stimulate saliva and bile production.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial spice. Turmeric is a carminative, meaning it can relieve bloating. I make my own turmeric latte mix, and drink it daily with nut milk and maple syrup or local honey.
Studies suggest that even a slight zinc deficiency will alter your gut microbiome, reduce bacterial profile diversity, back up your digestive system, and your body’s ability to produce enzymes. Zinc heals your digestive lining by boosting immune function, and is required for pancreatic excretion. Food sources high in Zinc: oysters (just 1 oyster has 83% of your daily zinc needs! yum!), wild salmon, red meat, organ meat. (Link: USA / Canada)
Digestive Support: Supplements I Take with Food
Betaine hydrochloride increases stomach acid that may be needed with a high protein meal, promotes a healthy stomach pH, and enhances protein and vitamin absorption, inhibits undesirable overgrowth in the small intestine, and it encourages the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes.
Like many, I was diagnosed with high stomach acid when I complained about my issues to my GP and was prescribed proton pump inhibitors (ugh) but being an educated biohacker, I already suspected it was more than that low stomach acid. I did some tests and tried apple cider vinegar and HCL supplements with success. I only supplement when needed. (Link: USA / Canada)
*Betaine HCl supplementation should be avoided by people who have peptic ulcers, severe atrophic gastritis, or inflammation along the stomach wall.
Take digestive enzymes with the first bite and during meals (depending on size of meal). Digestive enzymes helps your body absorb nutrients from food. (Link: USA / Canada)
Supplements to Reduce Bloating
I have been suffering from chronic bloating since last fall. I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but it is something I am still working on. Here are a few supplements that relieves bloating (but the best way is still exercise!):
Herbs & Supplements to Relieve Stress
Stress is often a root cause of many issues. I know my body shut down from stress coming in from multiple sources. By tackling stress, you can relieve many symptoms and speed up your healing process. Here are a few specific supplements and herbs known to combat stress and anxiety:
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic, assisting your body to maintain homeostasis, even in moments of emotional or physical stress. It has a host of benefits from balancing mood, reducing stress, relieving adrenal fatigue, improving thyroid function, stabilizing blood sugar, and boosts immune function. I supplement when I feel extra stressed out.
Chamomile has anxiolytic and antidepressant properties, known to relieve anxiety.
Gaba (gamma aminobutyric acid) is the one supplement I began taking in April which changed my life! By inhibiting neural activity and stress hormones, GABA helps get us out of fight-or-flight mode by facilitating sleep, reducing mental and physical stress, lowering anxiety, and balancing mood. My GABA levels were extremely low making it difficult for my body to relax and when I started supplementing GABA, I literally felt like a new person. It is hard to explain but mental clarity and calmness shot through the roof (compared to how I was feeling prior). I kept on telling my friends: I felt sooo zenned-out.
Magnesium is essential and involved in about 80% of your body’s functions. Magnesium acts like the brake on our body’s nervous system by reducing the release of stress hormones.
Rhodiola can reduce anxiety, regulate neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin activity, help manage inflammation, and protect brain cells.