3 Supplements to Help Balance
Your Gut This Thanksgiving
By Dr Sara Celik, ND
With Thanksgiving around the corner, many of us will soon be overindulging in foods that we love. From grandma’s famous stuffing to mashed potatoes doused in gravy, and a table spread of decadent desserts, saying ‘no thanks’ is unlikely on this special holiday.
Overindulging in Thanksgiving foods that are not part of your typical diet can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, heartburn, and diarrhoea. Although we look forward to celebrating this holiday with family and friends, many of us dread the heavy feeling in our gut after the plates are washed and put away.
The good news is that there are natural supplements to support healthier digestion. Today I’m sharing my top 3 supplements to keep your gut happy this Thanksgiving season.
Supplement #1 – High-Potency, Multi-Strain Probiotic
- While many people know that taking probiotics is a good idea with antibiotics, few realize how amazing these gut bugs can be for digestion. Consider taking a probiotic supplement to help with the digestion of food.
Probiotic supplements come in a range of doses from 1 billion up to 100 billion. Since this time of year, our digestive system needs all the help it can get, opt for a high potency probiotic supplement that has 50 billion (or more) live bacteria per capsule. Probiotics help maintain healthy gut flora and are especially helpful when overeating or choosing foods that are difficult to digest.
When it comes to supplements, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Understanding probiotic labels are not always easy.
Three key features to look for include:
- multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
- a delivery system to ensure bacteria make it to the intestines and don’t get destroyed by stomach acid
- high amounts of live bacteria per capsule (you may not see results if the potency is too low)
Different strains of bacteria have different roles in the body. If you expect to be gassy at dinner, opt for a probiotic that contains Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis. One triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that this probiotic strain reduced the frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as flatulence (gas).1
Supplement #2 – Digestive Enzyme
- Digestive enzymes are important for optimal digestion. They are naturally found in a variety of foods, such as pineapple and papaya. Unfortunately, the average person is not eating enzyme-rich foods, especially during the colder Fall season. This time of year we often consume too many overcooked vegetables and comfort foods, which lack enzymes.
Taking a digestive enzyme supplement before meals may help reduce symptoms such as gas and bloating. When shopping for a digestive enzyme supplement, look for a plant-based, multi-enzyme formula to help break down protein, carbs, and lipids (fats). If you’re having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, chances are you’ll need help digesting these macronutrients.
Supplement #3 – L-Glutamine
- Food sensitivities are on the rise, especially in Canada. During the holiday season, many people find that their symptoms get worse.
If you suspect you’re intolerant to certain foods (e.g. dairy, eggs, and wheat), you may want to seek advice from a naturopathic doctor (ND) and get tested. The IgG blood test will assess over 120 foods to identify food intolerances.
If the blood test confirms food intolerances, your ND will ask you to avoid the foods for a period of 1 – 3 months. In addition to avoiding the reactive foods, there is one key supplement to take. Look for an intestinal healing supplement that contains ingredients like L-Glutamine, Ginger Root, Gamma-Oryzanol, and N-Acetylglucosamine. In my clinical practice, I recommend 5000mg of L-Glutamine per day when food sensitivities are identified.
Since it’s highly unlikely you’ll be eating kale and artichokes at Thanksgiving dinner, why not pick up these supplements from your local GNC store? If you do, I bet your digestive system will be saying ‘thanks’ this Thanksgiving.
Renew Life offers a range of digestive enzyme supplements. DigestMORE by Renew Life is a plant-based digestive enzyme that contains a mix of natural ingredients known for their ability to break down macronutrients, such as protein, carbs, and fats.
Waller, PA et al (2011). Dose-response effect of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on whole gut
transit time and functional gastrointestinal symptoms in adults. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Sep; 46(9): 1057–1064.