While we all should search for our own “gut healthy” diet, there are some foods that we have previously mentioned that seem to have a positive effect on the gut of most individuals. We’ve mentioned variety in the fruits and vegetables we eat – every food has its unique set of microbiomes – so the greater the variety we eat leads to a greater variety of microbiomes as well. And we know that an oriental diet introduces us to the added benefit of fermented foods, also in great variety. But for many, this is a culture shock, or a hard learning activity. Some of us simply don’t care for many otherwise healthy foods.
My advice is to do the best you can, and work at it. Our taste palates are often trained in childhood. Our cultures and our families taught us how to eat. My dad was a “meat and potatoes” man from the rural South. I ate a lot of home-grown vegetables, but nothing ethnically diverse. But I have enjoyed food most of my life and now enjoy virtually any international food delights – adding to what my friends and family call my “cast iron digestive system”. I have little problem enjoying and digesting most anything placed before me. But, if that is not you, I would suggest some gut-healthy supplements. Here are a few of them.
Number one on my list here is berberine. It is an alkaloid found as a stand-alone, or as a natural constituent in many herbs such as goldenseal, Oregon grape, and barberry. Clinical studies have shown that berberine helps to support already normal glucose and lipid metabolism, helps to control intestinal bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation. It interested me, that in a recent program I took to improve gut health, the company recommended an eating program and added only two supplements: a strong probiotic and berberine!
Cinnamon has a strong antimicrobial action and is an astringent that will tone up the gut membranes. It is also used in many of the weight loss programs I have seen.
Golden Seal is one of our strongest immune system builders and it is usually suggested that it not be used for long periods without a break, but it has a long history of use for intestinal infections and diarrhea caused by giardia.
Finally, the amino acid L-glutamine is essential for many body functions including gut health. It helps the body produce energy in the mitochondria of the cells, and has been shown to repair leaky gut and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Besides supplementation, it is found naturally in bone broth, grass fed beef, spirulina and whey protein.
Other herbs that help reduce intestinal inflammation and/or tone up the gaps between intestinal cells include pau d’arco, cat’s claw, turmeric, kudzu and black walnut. Much of this information comes from a publication by my favorite herbalist Steven Horne. Drop by the store for a copy of his complete presentation, while copies last, if you have further interest.
– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.