- Your digestive system benefits from digestive enzymes that break down food into nutrients the body can absorb, and probiotics that maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
- Dietary fiber can help with the last stage of the digestion process, which is getting rid of the waste your body doesn’t need.
- Supplements containing digestive enzymes, dietary fiber and probiotics can help support gut health.
We’ve all been there; after a heavy meal – stomach discomfort, occasional bloating, and gas can be tough to deal with and even ruin your plans for the day. Aside from helping to prevent these physical symptoms, a healthy gut affects more than just your digestion. It’s connected to brain health, immune health, stress and mood (95 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut!1), to name a few.
That’s why, in addition to a balanced diet, it’s important to make sure your digestive system is equipped with what it needs to efficiently break down and absorb nutrients in your food.
Keep reading to discover our picks for the best supplements that aid healthy digestion.
1. Digestive Enzymes
From the moment you start chewing your food, digestive enzymes, present in your saliva, are at work. As food continues through the rest of your digestive system, different types of enzymes continue breaking it down into easily absorbable nutrients for your body.
The three main types of digestive enzymes include:
- Amylase: Breaks down complex carbohydrates.
- Lipase: Breaks down fats.
- Protease: Breaks down proteins.
Digestive enzymes are naturally produced in the pancreas, stomach and small intestine. But some people may not produce these enzymes properly, or enough to efficiently break down food.2 Without the right levels of digestive enzymes, you may experience occasional bloating, constipation, diarrhea or gas.
Read more: How digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics help the gut
To add more digestive enzymes to meals, choose foods like pineapple, raw honey, avocado, ginger and sauerkraut. You can also incorporate it into your diet through supplements.
Our recommended digestive enzyme supplements:
COMFORT ZONE DIGESTIVE COMPLEX VEGETABLE CAPSULES
With 11 plant- and fermentation-based enzymes, Solgar® Comfort Zone encourages more thorough and efficient digestion to help you get the nutrients you need from what you eat.* It also includes a herbal blend made of cumin, fennel, chamomile, ginger and anise. Solgar® Comfort Zone also helps the body process foods that are difficult to digest so that you can worry less about enjoying your favorite meals.*
PROBI® PLUS ENZYME CAPSULES
Probi® Plus combines the power of probiotics and digestive enzymes to increase the good bacteria in your gut and help break down food for energy, cellular growth, and other vital functions.* This formulation contains 20 billion colony forming units (CFU) with three fermentation-based enzymes to promote optimal gut health.* It also contains the well-studied LP299v® probiotic strain, which has been clinically shown to help reduce abdominal discomfort associated with occasional gas and bloating.*
2. Dietary Fiber
It may surprise you to hear that 95 percent of adults aren’t getting their recommended dietary fiber intake.3 If you’re finding it hard to pass your stool, chances are you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet. Women should aim for 21 to 25 grams per day, and men should get 30 to 38 grams daily.4
When your bowel movements are too slow, your small intestine may absorb too much water from your stool, resulting in constipation (and more time than you might want to spend in the bathroom). In contrast, bowel movements that are too fast may cause overly watery stools that are expelled before your body can absorb all the important nutrients you need.
Dietary fiber can increase the size of your stool and keep it soft, which is important for regular bowel movements.
High-fiber foods include whole-grain bread and pasta, raspberries, green peas, black beans and almonds. Another easy option to get your fiber in is by taking a supplement.
Our recommended dietary fiber supplement:
PSYLLIUM HUSKS FIBER 500MG VEGETABLE CAPSULES
Psyllium provides fiber from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. Get the fiber you’re looking for with Solgar® Psyllium Husks. Just two capsules a day of this formula provides 1 gram of dietary fiber. Plus, it’s gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and vegan friendly.
3. Live Probiotic Cultures
Probiotics and digestive health go hand in hand, and for a good reason. Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep the gut healthy and balanced. Up to 70 percent of immune cells are also housed in the gut, which means taking care of your gut is also helping take care of your immune health.
Read more: How the digestive system & the immune system work together
These microorganisms aid digestion and help ensure that any bad bacteria you may consume don’t end up multiplying to a level that can harm your body.5 Different strains also have different effects, so it’s important to find the strains that are right for you.6 If you’re unsure, consult a healthcare professional.
Fermented foods are a rich source of probiotics, including kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. Cheeses like cheddar, feta and gouda are also a great source; however, make sure to eat these cheeses uncooked, as cooking them will remove the probiotics. If you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to common probiotic-rich foods, or simply want a quick way to get your probiotics in, a supplement may be the way to go.
Our recommended probiotic supplements:
ADVANCED PROBIOTIC COMPLEX VEGETABLE CAPSULES
This multi-strain formula contains 80 billion CFU to provide friendly bacteria to your digestive system.* It also includes Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14® and Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04, which are good bacteria for both the digestive and immune systems.* As a majority of your immune system cells are in your gut, adding this powerful probiotic formulation to your diet can provide the extra support your body may need.*
ADVANCED MULTI-BILLION DOPHILUS®
Advanced Multi-Billion Dophilus® is formulated with four well-known and highly-trusted strains, LA-5®, BB-12®, L. CASEI 431® and LGG®, to promote the healthy functioning of the intestinal system as well as a healthy immune system.* Equipped with five billion microorganisms per serving, it’s also 100 percent dairy-free and suitable for vegans.
PROBI® VEGETABLE CAPSULES
Solgar® Probi® Vegetable Capsules contain the patented and clinically-studied Lactobacillus plantarum 299v strain to help deliver targeted support to your digestive tract.* Our active cultures come in a potent and unique formula that has been studied by doctors.* Just one capsule a day helps alleviate gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort.* It’s also shelf-stable, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it refrigerated. Available in 20 billion and 30 billion formats.
Let’s Get Gut-Healthy
Taking care of your gut health is taking care of your whole body. And if you’re experiencing occasional gas, bloating or abdominal discomfort, some of these supplements may help alleviate the symptoms that can get in the way of a productive day. Not sure which of these supplements is right for you? Check in with your healthcare provider first.
Here’s to your digestive health! We’ve got a good gut feeling about it.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.