According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 70 million people in the United States suffer from at least one gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorder. While a healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing such disorders, naturopathic doctor Juli Mazi says that taking the right supplements can be a major boost to one’s digestive health as well.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Dr. Juli Mazi’s top recommendations regarding the best supplements for digestive health in order to help keep digestion functioning as effectively as possible.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all for supplementation, these are common deficiencies that can make a huge difference for those suffering with GI distress.
The “good bacteria” in your gut plays a highly important role in the digestive process. Probiotics help the body to absorb nutrients from food, and they are also the front line of the immune system.
According to Juli Mazi, one of the best ways to support the healthy bacteria in your digestive system is to take a quality probiotic. Probiotics are supplements that contain healthy, living bacteria that are able to aid in digestive health in addition to offering benefits such as strengthening your immune system and decreasing inflammation.
Along with taking a probiotic supplement, probiotics can also be found in certain yogurts and fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut and kombucha. Typical supplementation for probiotics ranges from 20-100 billion CFU daily.
Dr. Juli Mazi explains that omega-3 fatty acids are able to support better digestive health in two key ways.
For one, omega-3 serves as a lubricant for your digestive tract, helping prevent constipation. Omega-3 also works to help reduce digestive tract inflammation, helping prevent inflammation-related conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Omegas are actually anti-inflammatory for every single cell of the body, so they promote health for every body system and can help with overall reduction of symptoms. It’s best to take Omegas in the form of Fish Oils, and Dr. Mazi emphasizes that quality matters.
All animals, humans and fish included store their toxins in the fat cells, so when choosing a fish oil, it’s very important to choose one that is quality checked for toxins. This way, you know you’re getting the most therapeutic effects, and none of the potential toxins those fish have been exposed to in the ocean.
Like Omega-3, vitamin D works to reduce digestive tract inflammation. Vitamin D also works to support and strengthen your body’s microbiome and support the good bacteria that aid in digestion.
The only natural source of vitamin D is sunlight, and in order to get optimal amounts of vitamin D from the sun, it requires 10 minutes of full-body, naked exposure to peak hours of sun per day.
Anyone who doesn’t receive this type of sun exposure will be deficient. A good starting dose is 5,000 IU daily of Vitamin D. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s important to monitor this one through blood labs. Ideal vitamin D on blood labs is ~75.
Dr. Juli Mazi says that most people do not realize that the digestive process begins in the mouth when they are still chewing their food. By promoting healthy gums and teeth, vitamin C is able to improve this important part of the digestive process.
Vitamin C also makes it easier for your body to absorb iron – another essential ingredient for great digestive health. Another benefit of vitamin C is how helpful it is for peristalsis, which is the movement of the intestines.
For anyone suffering from constipation or gastroparesis, vitamin C can help.
Magnesium works to help the body metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fat, and is, therefore, a helpful supplement when it comes to improving digestive health.
According to Juli Mazi, taking a magnesium supplement can help with digestive conditions such as heartburn, constipation, and indigestion. Magnesium is a very common deficiency, especially in people prone to anxiety.
Since anxiety is often linked to digestive upset, Magnesium can often help both. Ideal supplementation is 200 mg in the evening because magnesium has a calming effect, so it can also help promote sound sleep.