New Year’s resolution: clean up the supplement cabinet.
When you’re on the hunt for resources to help you live healthier, you’re bound to find what feels like a limitless amount of advice on the dozens of supplements, herbs, oils, tonics, and superfoods that all claim to be the most important thing that you need.
If the supplements are piling up in your cabinet, keeping up with taking a dozen capsules a day is getting to be too much, and if decluttering is one of your resolutions for 2019, keep reading.
Simplify your strategy
The first thing to do if you’re looking to reduce the amount of supplement overwhelm you’re feeling is to pick ONE area of your body to focus on supporting with supplements.
Your entire body will benefit from eating a clean diet, and that is always the first place to start, but sometimes it’s not enough, which is where lifestyle choices, including supplements, come in.
There’s one area of the body I almost always recommend supplementation support for, and that’s gut health.
Your gut health is foundational for the health of the entire rest of your body. Of all areas to focus on supplementing, I believe your gut is well-worth the investment.
Know what to look for
Once you’ve narrowed down what area of your body you are looking to support with supplementation, then you have to know which supplements may offer the most benefits for that part of your body.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ingredients and formulas created for gut health, so where do you start?
Today, I’m going to share what I believe are the top 5 supplement ingredients to look for when gut health is your #1 priority. These recommendations are based on years of my own research and consultations with my past patients and clients when I ran my chiropractic clinic in Nashville from 2007 to 2014.
When you’re looking for these supplements, remember that there are formulas that contain more than one of these ingredients. Those will be the supplements to look for if you’re interested in decluttering.
There are dozens of beneficial ingredients for gut health, but these are the ones I believe are most important.
My top 4 ingredients for gut health
In my opinion, supplementing with a high-quality probiotic is important for gut health today, especially since most Americans do not consume enough probiotics in their diet due to modern processed foods, soil depletion and more.
Thanks to prescription antibiotics, high carbohydrate diets, fluoridated tap water and high levels of stress, some of the good bacteria in our guts are being killed off, and our bodies can’t replace them at the rate required for optimal health.
When you’re eating excessive sugar, taking antibiotics, eating too many grains, experiencing and stress and/or being exposed to toxins and pesticides, the "bad guy" bacteria in your gut has the opportunity to flourish while the "good guy" bacteria is diminished, leaving your system out of balance.
When you’re choosing a probiotic, one of my favorite strains to look for is a soil-based spore-forming probiotic, which is shelf stable and survivable all the way down to your digestive tract. Look specifically for Bacillus coagulans, a strain that is shown to reduce occasional diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, and to promote healthy digestive function.
If you’re looking specifically for a probiotic on its own, look for one with 25 billion - 100 billion CFUs.
Almost equally important as probiotics, fiber ranks as No. 2 on my list. Most people don’t realize this, but without fiber, probiotics cannot proliferate. Essentially indigestible fibers (i.e. prebiotics) are the food the helps probiotic bacteria thrive in our gut.
This is why a diet rich in high-fiber foods like sprouted chia seeds, sprouted flax seeds and sprouted hemp seeds is so important.
Things to look for in a supplement:
- Sprouted herbs and seeds
Specific prebiotics like xylo-oligosaccharide, a clinically-studied prebiotic that supports a healthy population of probiotics and microflora in the gut, sprouted seeds and fermented ingredients.
#3) Collagen powder
The secret behind the power of bone broth is collagen, a main supportive protein that gives bone, cartilage, and tendons their strength. Once cooked, it becomes “gelatin.” Supplementing with collagen or gelatin is important because it can aid in supporting a healthy gut.
Collagen also features the amino acids proline and glycine, which, in general, are essential building blocks for supporting a healthy intestinal lining.
An essential amino acid, L-glutamine can offer some significant health benefits including supporting a healthy gut lining and integrity. The gut lining functions as a line of defense for the body, so it’s important to keep it healthy, and glutamine can help. That’s why I believe it’s important for many people to supplement with L-glutamine.
The ultimate all-in-one
I really believe in all of these ingredients and know how hard it is to watch the supplements in your cabinet pile up, which is why I created a gut-supporting supplement blend that packs the best of all of these worlds into one delicious, drinkable solution.
Introducing Multi Collagen Protein Gut Restore, the collagen powder with select gut-supporting ingredients (including the ones above), for people looking for a simple way to support their gut health.
You can learn more about my groundbreaking formulation here.
Written by Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS