Gut health has been a big deal for me since I discovered I was lactose intolerant at age 10. And I'm just one of the 60 to 70 million Americans who struggle to maintain a healthy gut
Becoming a health coach introduced me to the best supplements for gut health and a healthy gut microbiome. From digestive enzymes and probiotics to minerals and antioxidants, these supplements can help enhance digestion, promote good bacteria and support healthy immune responses.
10 Best Supplements For Gut Health
Consider this gut health supplement list my personal "hall of fame." It's not a compendium of everything you can do to support a healthy gut, but I've tried to provide a range of options for relief from common digestive system disturbances.
Although these supplements are generally considered safe, be sure to follow the manufacturer's dosing instructions for best results. And talk with your doctor before starting any gut health supplement if you're pregnant nursing, or taking prescription medications.
And now, on to the list!
1) Floradix Gallexier Herbal Bitters
Made with extracts from plants like dandelion, bitter orange and artichoke leaf, digestive bitters interact with bitter receptors on cells called enteroendocrine cells, which are located throughout your digestive system.
When digestive bitters interact with bitter receptors, it helps support the healthy production of:
- Saliva in the mouth to start breaking down carbohydrates
- Hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach to begin protein digestion
- Bile from the gallbladder to aid fat digestion
Some evidence also suggests that bitter foods and herbs may play a role in appetite regulation
2) Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra
Your body naturally secretes enzymes to break down food as it moves through your digestive system, including:
- Amylase for carbohydrates
- Protease for proteins
- Lipase for fats
Pure Encapsulations combines all three in this formula, plus several enzymes that can assist in breaking down hard-to digest food compounds. These digestive enzymes include:
- Cellulase and hemicellulase, which break down tough fibers in plant cell walls
- Alpha-galactosidase, which act on carbohydrates called oligosaccharides found in foods like beans, certain grains and some fruits and vegetables
- Phytase can improve absorption of minerals bound to phytic acid in beans, grains, nuts and some root vegetables
Using enzymes as a health supplement can support healthy digestion and ease occasional bloating, cramping and gas, particularly when you experience these symptoms after eating high-fiber foods.†
3) Garden of Life Doctor Formulated Probiotics Once Daily
I appreciate the Garden of Life brand for its clean formulations and strategic ingredient combinations. The Once Daily 30 Billion probiotic contains a diverse blend of Lactobacillus
species, which are generally associated with healthy gut function and gut microbiome balance.†
this combination of microorganisms may:
- Ease diarrhea
- Relieve occasional constipation
- Support healthy immune responses
The formula also contains prebiotic potato and acacia fibers to feed the good bacteria and promote their growth.
4) Protocol For Life Balance Bifido Digest
Another diverse probiotic to support the microbiome, Bifido Digest contains 20 billion live organisms from nine Lactobacillus
strains studied for their effects on gut health and overall wellbeing.
I recommend this probiotic when you need targeted, short-term support for digestive upset. The combination of strains may ease occasional constipation and reduce symptoms of antibiotic-associated and traveler's diarrhea
5) NOW Sports L-Glutamine Powder
The thin layer of epithelial cells that line your gut has a turnover rate of once every four to seven days. And glutamine is the main source of energy for those cells as they grow and divide.
As the most abundant amino acid
in the human body, glutamine has been shown to:
- Assist with cell cycles†
- Support cell growth and differentiation†
- Promote gut cell health†
- Support a strong gut barrier†
I prefer supplementing with glutamine powder to get these benefits for gut health because it's easy to control the dose. But start with the lowest recommended amount; taking too much at once can cause bloating or constipation.†
6) Integrative Therapeutics Zinc Carnosine
Zinc is an essential mineral for over 300 enzymatic reactions
in the body that support:
- Cell health†
- Protein synthesis†
- Immune function†
- Antioxidant defenses†
- Healthy inflammatory responses†
In the gut, this translates to stronger membranes and better barrier integrity. This may ease discomfort associated with increased intestinal permeability
, commonly known as "leaky gut."†
Compared to other forms, zinc carnosine appears to bind more effectively
to intestinal cells and reach greater concentrations in gut tissue, so it's my top recommendation as one of the best supplements for gut health.
7) Pure Encapsulations DGL Plus
Deglycyrrhized licorice, aloe vera, slippery elm and marshmallow root belong to a group of herbs called demulcents. Demulcent herbs have a soothing, coating effect that may help ease occasional digestive irritation. Some demulcents may also stimulate mucus production
in the gut, which could provide additional protection for the gut lining.†
Aloe vera in particular may provide relief from occasional heartburn, nausea, gas and constipation. Just be aware that it can have a laxative effect
, so I recommend avoiding it if you're suffering from diarrhea.†
8) Naturewise Curcumin
Turmeric and ginger are well-known for supporting healthy inflammatory responses. Since your immune system is responsible for controlling inflammation and 70% to 80% of the immune cells
in your body are located in the gut, taking both together may promote healthy gut immunity and relieve digestive system irritation.†
In addition, ginger has been shown to:
Turmeric may support healthy microbial balance while maintaining strong gut barrier integrity
. The addition of piperine from black pepper extract in this gut health supplement increases the bioavailability of curcumin, turmeric's active compound, by up to 2000%
9) Pure Encapsulations Quercetin
, a compound found in food like apples and berries, may promote gut barrier health
by protecting against oxidative stress from food and environmental sources. Some evidence shows this antioxidant compound can also increase gut microbiome diversity
, which is important for overall health.†
In her book, Digestive Wellness
, author Elizabeth Lipski adds that quercetin may support healthy immune responses via the activity of histamine, a substance your body naturally secretes in response to potential allergens.†
10) Traditional Medicinals Gas Relief Tea
Although not technically a supplement, this tea deserves a spot in a roundup of the best supplements for gut health. The delicious combination of caraway, coriander, chamomile, lemon balm and peppermint helps stimulate digestion
, ease occasional digestive system spasms and soothe and relax the GI tract.†
I use this tea often for relief from occasional gas and bloating. I find it can restore my appetite on days when I experience digestive discomfort that doesn't ease between meals.†
Remember that any supplement for a healthy gut works best in combination with diet and lifestyle changes like eating more whole and minimally processed foods, staying hydrated, engaging in regular exercise and getting enough sleep
. These habits help support a healthy gut microbiome and lay the foundation for lifelong gut health.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.