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Top 6 Nutrients for a Healthy Gut

Gas, bloating and abdominal pains are the most recognizable symptoms of digestive upset and damage to the intestinal lining. Other, less obvious, signs that the integrity of your intestinal lining has been compromised include acne, skin rashes, irritability, anxiety, brain fog and poor memory, focus or concentration. To address your digestive concerns your health care practitioner should first look to diet and then nutrient intake to support the health and healing of the gut lining.

These are the TOP 6 NUTRIENTS I love to use to promote a healthy gut.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that plays a major role in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and regenerating the cells that make up the intestinal walls. This nutrient comes in the form of a capsule or a powder, which can be swallowed or easily added to a morning smoothie.

Quercetin

Researchers are discovering that mast cells – the same cells that are activated during an allergic reaction to release histamines – play a role in damaging the gut lining during prolonged times of stress. Quercetin, a strong bioflavonoid and antioxidant, helps to stabilize mast cells, preventing the release of histamines and thus protecting the gut lining from histamine damage. Quercetin has also been shown to have a “sealing” effect on the intestinal cells, which promotes a tightening of the gaps between cells, thus aiding in regulation of intestinal permeability.

DGL

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL is an active constituent in licorice. This is a herb with a wide array of actions. Notably for the gut, it provides a protective layer to the mucous membrane of the intestinal lining while also reducing excess gastric secretions that may be contributing to the damage of the lining.

Chamomile

A gentle and beautiful herb! Chamomile is a soothing herb with actions that target to the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Specifically, it has a calming effect on the nervous system and an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic effect on the gut. This herb can be used internally in many different forms (tea, powdered into a capsule or tincture). I also love to recommend patients to have a bouquet of chamomile flowers in their home while following a gut healing protocol as a visual and energetic calming reminder.

Marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is a mucilaginous herb, which means it contains soothing and healing properties that specifically target mucous membranes including that of the intestinal lining. The mucilage coats and protects the lining to heal and prevent any future damage.

Aloe vera

The interior gel of an aloe plant contains properties that modulate inflammation and act as a healing agent both internally (for the gut) and externally (for the skin).

Aloe contains nutrients such vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc which all support wound healing.

Resources

Konturek, P. et al. (2011). Stress and the gut: Pathology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. Volume 62, Issue 6, pp. 591-599.

Marciano, M. The Naturopathic Herbalist. www.thenaturopathicherbalist.com

Pearce, F.L. et al. (1984). Mucosal mast cells. III. Effects of querceting and other flavonoids on antigen-induced histamine secretion from rat intestinal mast cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 819-823.

Santos, J. et al. (2001). Role of mast cells in chronic stress induced colonic epithelial barrier dysfunction in the rat. Gut. Volume 48, pp 6t30-636.

Suzuki, T. and Hara, H. (2011). Role of flavonoids in intestinal tight junction regulation. The journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 401-408.

Yamamoto, T. et al. (2017). Dietary and enteral interventions fro Crohn’s disease. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. Volume 44, pp 69-73.

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