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Natural Ingredients Ease DigestionNatural Ingredients Ease Digestion

Sandy Almendarez

July 23, 2013

2 Min Read
Natural Ingredients Ease Digestion

People who have digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances or gas, can turn to key dietary ingredients that help boost digestion, which leads to a better quality of life.

Of all of the health benefits associated with probiotics, digestion ranks number one in consumers' minds, and with good reason. Studies have shown these beneficial bacteria can address a number of digestive ailments. Research demonstrates they can reduce potentially fatal Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea as well as reduce IBS symptoms.

While analysis of a numbers of studies show probiotics' benefit to the gut, it's important to realize each probiotic strain is unique and offers its own health benefits. For instance, the Bifidobacterium lactis strain BB-12® (from Chr. Hansen), Lactobacillus casei rhamnosu (Lcr35, from Probionov), Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (as GanedenBC30® from Ganeden Biotech) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae  (as LYNSIDE® PRO GI+ from Lesaffre Human Care) all have research backing.

It's clear research has confirmed the digestive benefits of probiotics, but adding prebiotics to the mix can help probiotics do their job better. Often made of fiber, prebiotics are components that provide the fuel to stimulate probiotics in the digestive tract. Indeed, research has shown prebiotics can significantly modulate the colonic microbiota by increasing the number of specific bacteria and thus changing the composition of the microbiota.

Prebiotics with scientific backing include inulin, fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).

Being fiber, prebiotics get a digestive health association, as consumers are well aware of the benefit of fiber to the digestive system. Common forms of fiber that help digestion include Psyllium husk (derived from Plantago ovate), fenugreek , guar gum, maize and  tapioca.

Enzyme supplementation plays a role in the management of various digestive disorders and other conditions associated with poor digestion including lactose intolerance. Plant-based enzymes, such as bromelain from pineapple, serve as effective digestive aids in the breakdown of proteins. Lactase, when consumed along with milk, cheese or other dairy products, makes those foods easier to digest. Alpha-galactosidase helps reduce gas, and aspergillopepsin helps gluten digestion. Actinidin, an enzyme from kiwi, helps digest proteins.

Learn more about how these and other botanical and mineral digestive aids help humans in INSIDER's Digestion Digital Pulse.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

editor in chief, Informa

Sandy Almendarez entered the natural products industry in 2009 when she joined Virgo Publishing (now Informa Exhibitions) as an assistant editor. Since then, she's worked her way up to editor in chief where she writes, edits and manages content for INSIDER. Under Sandy’s direction, INSIDER has won editorial awards from Folio: every year since 2014, including B2B Editorial Team of the Year in 2015.

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