Digestive Health Supplements: Effective Ways to Support Digestion‡

If you are like most of us, you may have searched for both short-term and long-term relief in supporting your gastrointestinal (GI) health. In this blog, you’ll learn how nutrients and digestive health supplements may help support your digestive and GI health. 

Taking It Personally!

We can all recall a situation or two when we ate something that didn’t agree with us, meaning that not long after indulging (or overindulging!) a favorite food or meal, we experienced some GI discomfort. And it’s even worse when you’re out in public!

Having to navigate these concerns and wondering what might happen after eating something can be draining physically and emotionally. We also know it is not just food-related but also how we respond to stress, which may impact our digestive health. Let’s check out how nutrition, lifestyle and digestive health supplements can help to support your GI health and overall wellness.

Your Gut History

A healthy digestive system is on our checklist, especially since it’s essential for our overall health and well-being. But where do you begin? You've likely experienced numerous trials, discovering which foods are challenging to digest and which you can tolerate. Knowing that occasional bloating and gas may be manageable with digestive health supplements can add some light to the situation.

But first, it is important to understand your health history. That means digging deep into your medical history to understand best what may impact your health. Being able to discuss with your healthcare practitioner exactly what you are experiencing and coupling this with sound information from your medical history is an excellent place to start.

Keeping ‘tabs’ on what you eat may serve you well; however, keeping a mental note of your do’s and don’ts may not be enough to see the whole picture. A simple tool like a food, fluid and mood journal with times and details will help you track and create awareness of how you tolerate a particular food and stressful situations.

Looking at healthier options may help support your GI health, too. Also, feeling comfortable to open up about your GI health may help create awareness for others experiencing the same.

Your GI Tract’s Function

If you’ve been following some of our Pure blogs, you may remember that we’ve discussed digestion before and it’s always good to brush up on the basics, so let’s revisit.

The digestion process starts before you take your first bite of food. Before you even start to think about, see, or smell food, you begin to produce saliva. Saliva helps start the digestive process and prepares your body for digestion. Saliva contains salivary amylase, an enzyme whose function is to break down or begin to digest dietary starches into smaller sugars. It also includes another enzyme called lingual lipase, which starts to digest some fats. Then, after chewing, the food bolus goes through the esophagus and into the stomach, with a long journey through the small and large intestines. After the body has absorbed the nutrients it needs from our food, they are put to use and any waste is subsequently excreted.

Though quite an amazing process, there are times when you may experience some common GI symptoms such as occasional gas and bloating. Some other enzymes and processes occur during digestion, and digestive health supplements like digestive enzymes can support protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and dairy digestion. Let’s see how this works!

The Breakdown of Digestive Enzymes

First, get comfortable because this section may be a little techy, but hang in there because you will understand how digestive health supplements like enzymes work. A little rule to follow is most enzymes have the ending “-ase” at the end of their name. Now, let’s look at how dietary enzymes support protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and dairy digestion.

Our Digestive Enzymes Ultra supports enhanced digestion of protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, and dairy while promoting enhanced nutrient absorption. Dietary starch and glycogen (the stored carbohydrate source in the body) are broken down by amylase (found in saliva and the pancreas) and glucoamylase.1 Digestion of other carbohydrates, specifically disaccharides like lactose, the primary sugar found in milk and dairy, is supported by the inclusion of enzymes invertase and lactase.2‡ 

Adding fiber to your diet is a win; however, you may have noticed it may take some time for your body to digest these fiber-rich foods completely - maybe a little rumbling in your stomach or even some unwelcome digestion side effects. Suppose you experience gas or occasional bloating. In this case, enzymes like cellulase, hemicellulase, beta-glucanase and phytase may be the ticket to help you break down these fiber-containing foods. In doing so, nutrients in the fiber-containing foods become more bioavailable for your body!3 Also, for support in the breakdown of certain complex carbohydrates like those found in vegetables, legumes and grains, we have you covered with this dietary enzyme supplement with the addition of alpha-galactosdase to help relieve occasional bloating or gas.4‡

Next is the start of protein digestion. Enzymes in this digestive health supplement, called proteases (see the “-ase”?), facilitate the breakdown of dietary protein into smaller protein pieces or peptides through proteolysis. During this process, proteins and di- and tripeptides are broken down.5 The enzyme lipase in Digestive Enzymes Ultra supports the breakdown of fats (also known as lipids).

If you are still wondering how you can aid your digestion and if gluten concerns you, consider discussing with your healthcare practitioner the use of enzymes like Gluten/Dairy Digest that specifically targets gluten and dairy digestion. Gluten/Dairy Digest includes a blend of unique proteases, like the scientifically researched prolyl-endopeptidase enzyme, for targeting gluten breakdown.

In some trials, individuals consuming this specific enzyme (prolyl-endopeptidase enzyme) and gluten showed a lower α-gliadin (a main component of gluten) concentration in the stomach and duodenum.6 The enzyme degrades the gluten protein's immunogenic or allergenic parts. Research indicates that certain gluten-sensitive T-cells no longer react after gluten has been broken down with the enzyme.7 Additionally, this formula provides a unique mixture of protease enzymes and lactase to assist in the digestion of multiple constituents of milk and dairy products, helping with occasional bloating or gas that some people can experience from dairy consumption.8‡ 

People who do not have enough digestive enzymes or are looking to continue to support healthy digestion should speak with their healthcare practitioner or a gastroenterologist (a GI specialist) to discuss supplementing their diet with digestive health supplements like digestive enzymes.

Continuing to Support Your Gut Health

Gastrointestinal (GI) Integrity
Speaking of gut health - have you ever heard of the term gut integrity? If it sounds familiar, maybe you’ve read or heard the term. But did you know it refers to a sound and functioning intestinal lining? This protective membrane barrier is integral to overall health because it decides what to absorb (i.e., nutrients and water) and what to exclude (i.e., bacteria and large particles and unwanted proteins).

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, plays a large role in maintaining healthy intestinal integrity by enhancing the intestine’s protective mucosal lining.9 L-Glutamine Powder can be taken as a dietary supplement. In times of metabolic stress, glutamine is utilized by the body for tissue repair and gastrointestinal tract support.10,11‡   

Pure Encapsulations® G.I. Fortify promotes intestinal health and integrity. It has a unique blend of fiber, which includes psyllium, a soluble fiber, that helps to support overall gastrointestinal function and occasional constipation. Psyllium is fermented in the intestines to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), providing energy for healthy colon cell function and promoting beneficial microflora.12 G.I. Fortify contains flaxseed, which provides a source of lignans, fatty acids, and both soluble and insoluble fibers, which are important for gut health.13 G.I. Fortify also contains deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), aloe, slippery elm and marshmallow root to support gut integrity and provide a soothing effect.14,15 ‡

Your Microbiome & Microbiota
The role of the gut is complex. Let me introduce another area supporting your gut and immune health - your microbiome. If you just thought probiotics, then you are right on track! For you good flora fans, you already know that microbiota make up your microbiome. But what exactly does that mean?

Your microbiome refers to the collective genetic material (genomes) of the micro-organisms in a particular environment, such as your GI tract, and the microbiota is the group of micro-organisms themselves. Approximately 100 trillion micro-organisms exist in the human gastrointestinal tract.16,17

The gut microbiota aids in the fermentation of non-digestible substrates like dietary fibers and intestinal mucus. This fermentation supports the growth of specialist microbes that produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and gases. The major SCFAs produced are acetate, propionate, and butyrate. But butyrate is the main source of energy for a person’s colonocytes, or cells in the colon. 18-19

How can you ensure you are contributing to the support of your microbiome? Probiotic supplements, like PureGG 25B, contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, one of the best characterized and widely used probiotic strains. The GG strain has been studied in numerous clinical trials across all ages. It is used for its resistance to gastric juices, has excellent intestinal adhesion properties and can support healthy gut microflora.

As you may know, prebiotics are nondigestible food components that modulate and support the gut microbiota. Prebiotics play an integral role in gut health by serving metabolic, trophic and protective functions within the gut.20, 21‡ 

Research indicates that prebiotics PreticX™ XOS (xylo-oligosaccharides), found in our Poly-Prebiotic capsules, enhances the growth of Bifidobacteria, an important intestinal bacterial genus that maintains healthy gastrointestinal function.22-26 Clinical research also shows that XOS enhances the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) that serves as a major energy source for colonocytes.27, 28, 29 In preclinical models, XOS supports intestinal barrier function, cytokine balance and colon cell health.30‡

Nutritionally Speaking

Remember, your intake, lifestyle, optimal nutrition and digestive health supplements can support your quality of life. Pure Encapsulations® gastrointestinal supplements are designed to support healthy digestive, immune and gastrointestinal health. Since you have gained some insight into the various nutrients that support gut health, microbial balance, digestion, and GI tract protection, talk with your healthcare practitioner to see what may work for you!

With great intentions, Purely for You! 


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