Consider this; if people consume the best food and supplements but have poor gut health, they won't be able to fully glean the potential health benefits of these nutritional components.
The “gut” is essentially the entire digestive system—which is made up of more than solely the stomach or intestines. It begins with the mouth and ends with one’s “backside,” encompassing everything in between, including the liver and gallbladder. Each area or part is equally important as the others.
In most cases, consumers don't look for something to support one of their digestive system areas until they are having an issue. Examples would be diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating or indigestion/acid reflux. Several key botanicals may provide support for these concerns, and possibilities exist to create targeted blends.
Fiber is well accepted as a key part of the daily diet to support digestive health and other considerations such as blood sugar,1 weight2 and cardiovascular health.3 Insoluble, soluble and prebiotic fibers are all required for digestive health. Fiber is often referred to as “the toothbrush for the colon,” which may have come about due to its effects with constipation.4 Ironically though, fiber is also helpful with diarrhea.5 This is thought to be due to fiber’s ability to absorb water.
Matricaria recutita (chamomile) is traditionally used for numerous gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, including digestive disorders, spasms, colic, upset stomach, flatulence, ulcers and GI irritation.6 Additionally, research with chamomile has shown it to help with diarrhea.7
To read this article in its entirety, check out The gut microbiome – digital magazine.
David Foreman is a registered pharmacist, author and media personality known to consumers internationally as “The Herbal Pharmacist.” A background in pharmacy and natural medicine puts Foreman in an elite class of health experts who can teach integrative medicine practices. He helps consumers achieve health and vitality through his four pillars of health: diet, exercise, spirituality and supplements. Foreman is a graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, currently serves on the Organic & Natural Health Association’s (O&N) scientific advisory board and is the author of “4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease.”
1 Frati-Munari AC et al. “Decrease in serum lipids, glycemia and body weight by Plantago psyllium in obese and diabetic patients.” Arch Invest Med (Mex). 1983;14(3):259-268.
2 Dehghan P et al. “Inulin controls inflammation and metabolic endotoxemia in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized-controlled clinical trial.” Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014;65(1):117-123.
3 McRae MP. “Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses.” J Chiropr Med. 2017;16(4):289-299.
4 Collado YL. “Effectiveness of inulin intake on indicators of chronic constipation; a meta-analysis of controlled randomized clinical trials.” Nutr Hosp. 2014;30(2):244-252.
5 Spapen H et al. “Soluble fiber reduces the incidence of diarrhea in septic patients receiving total enteral nutrition: a prospective, double-blind, randomized, and controlled trial.” Clin Nutr. 2001;20:301-305.
6 Kroll U, Cordes C. “Pharmaceutical prerequisites for a multi-target therapy.” Phytomedicine. 2006;13 Suppl 5:12-9.
7 Becker B, Kuhn U, Hardewig-Budny B. “Double-blind, randomized evaluation of clinical efficacy and tolerability of an apple pectin-chamomile extract in children with unspecific diarrhea.” Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(6):387-393.