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What Supplements Should You Take to Improve Digestion?

Digestion problems can lead to embarrassment, discomfort, and debilitating pain. Symptoms can vary wildly from nausea and heartburn to vomiting and constipation. Moreover, each episode is likely to come at an unpredictable and inopportune moment. The real question is what can be done about it. Typically when nothing is overtly wrong, doctors ask individuals to look to their diet and eliminate food culprits. This may mean avoiding spicy instead of reaching for the so-called BRAT diet. But, what happens when the Banana-Rice-Applesauce-Toast diet does not help much? Well, there exists a whole world of helpful supplementation to alleviate digestive woes. In particular, there are three that can be very beneficial. Let’s look into ancient ginger, new-to-the-market berberine, and cooling peppermint.

 

Ginger

For literal centuries, ginger has been used and reported to ease digestive problems in people. Older civilizations, like China, India, and Rome past down their experiences with the herbal medication for the rest of humanity to see. In their reports, they claim it to reduce the gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and general stomach pain. Nowadays, this helpful root is still being used to treat those maladies. In particular, it can be used to provide relief to those with other complicating conditions. Due to ginger’s relatively low side effects, it is used to help with post-surgery nausea, morning sickness in pregnant women, vomiting in chemotherapy patients, and motion sickness. All of this relief comes from the root or rhizome of the ginger plant. Today, ginger is often used as a spice in cooking and baking. It can, however, be taken as a supplement in pill form.

 

Berberine

Relatively new in digestive support is berberine, an alkaloid extracted from plants in the barberry classification. Some sources of berberine include Oregon grapes, tree turmeric, and California poppies. Much like the plants from which it is derived, berberine supports several biological improvements. In particular, studies have shown that berberine pills regulate blood sugar, support a healthy metabolism, reduce tissue inflammation, and curb nausea. Though there is more work needed to understand how it is clear that berberine supports healthy digestion and can alleviate undue digestive issues. One of the key ways it does so is through its antimicrobial nature, which targets bad bacteria in the gut. Several reports indicate similar properties to probiotics. Moreover, berberine is traditionally used to treat serious digestive issues like cholera, dysentery, and gastroenteritis. There is also some evidence to support its continual use in reversing leaky gut syndrome.

 

Peppermint

Essentially ever since mankind encountered digestive problems, peppermint has been used to treat them. The earliest civilization, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome documented peppermint’s therapeutic effects. In fact, in the 18th-century medical pharmacopeia, peppermint is listed as a primary treatment for improved digestion. There are two main ways peppermint heals digestive issues. The first is associated with the aromatic menthol, peppermint’s main compound. Biologically, menthol moves bile to the small intestines, resulting in quick fat digestion. This can help alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) pain, bloating, and indigestion. The second helpful property of peppermint is that it is anti-spasmatic. This means that it reduces a muscle’s tendency to spasm and contract. In particular, menthol calms and relaxes the smooth muscles found in the stomach. In doing so, peppermint alleviates low belly pain by causing belly gas and pain to pass easier and with less cramping. Peppermint may be taken in many forms, including as a tea, oil, or supplement pill.

 

Final Thoughts

When encountered digestive issues can quickly spiral into chronic, debilitating pain. Often those experiencing negative digestive symptoms will have their day to day altered due to their ailments. Though diet change can help in specific cases at certain times, it does not always provide relief. It certainly does not stop pain once it has started. Plus, it might not be the preferred route of treatment. Thankfully, there are three dietary supplements that alleviate digestive problems while they are occurring and can prevent them from coming back as frequently. Ginger root has been used since early times to relieve nausea and stomach discomfort. Derived from barberry plants, berberine offers helpful digestive support, easing symptoms brought on by dysentery and leaky gut syndrome. Since the functional dawn of time, peppermint has been used to treat belly pain and indigestion.

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Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction. 

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