Monthly Archives: January 2022

Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease

In 2016, I started experiencing some very strange, life-altering symptoms: debilitating fatigue, GI issues, and unbearably sore joints. 18 months and many doctors later, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called reactive arthritis.

It was a frustrating process, and I wish I would’ve had more information about how to better manage my condition at the time.

Autoimmune diseases are notoriously hard to diagnose, and oftentimes even harder to treat.

And while there are many approved drugs for certain conditions, some of them come with unwanted side effects, which leads many of us to seek out supplements and alternative / homeopathic treatment options that might help.

In this article, we’ll look at supplements that may help with certain types of autoimmune disease. More research is definitely needed in this area, but there are some clinical studies available to help us understand what may work and what appears not to.

It should go without saying, but always talk to your healthcare professional before taking supplements for your autoimmune conditions … especially if you’re taking other medications.

Let’s jump right in …

What Is An Autoimmune Disease?

This description from Cleveland Clinic sums it up well:

Imagine that your body is a castle and your immune system is your army fighting off invaders like bacteria. If your army malfunctions and attacks the castle, you may have lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and/or psoriasis, among a hundred other autoimmune diseases. You may experience pain, fatigue, dizziness, rashes, depression and many more symptoms.

Autoimmune conditions are becoming more and more common. 1 in 15 people in the U.S. now have an autoimmune disease. And unfortunately, they’re one of the top 10 causes of death in women in all age groups (up to age 64).

Let’s look at some of the different types …

Types of Autoimmune Disorders

There are over 100 types of autoimmune diseases. Here are just a few of the most common:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac disease
  • Graves’ disease

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

The causes are still unknown but there are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of getting one, including:

  • Certain medications (some blood pressure meds, statins and antibiotics appear to increase risk)
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Being female — 78% of people who have an autoimmune disease are women
  • Obesity
  • Infections

Scientists have also implicated the gut microbiome in numerous autoimmune conditions, including lupus, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Treatment Options for Autoimmune Disorders

Most autoimmune diseases are not curable, but you can manage symptoms with the right treatment methods. Everyone’s immune system, genetics and environment are different, and it’s important to work with your doctor (often a rheumatologist) to determine the best treatment approach for your autoimmune condition.

Common treatment options for autoimmune diseases include:

  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Depression and anxiety meds
  • Insulin
  • Sleep meds
  • Plasma exchanges
  • Corticosteroids
  • Rash creams and pills
  • Intravenous immune globulin
  • Drugs that suppress (subdue) your immune system (like Humira and Enbrel)

Best Natural Supplements for Autoimmune Disease

Supplements can also play a role in keeping symptoms at bay. Here are few that show promise:

Zinc

According to a 2018 metaanalysis, zinc deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infections and higher risk of autoimmune diseases. People with autoimmune disorders tend to show lower zinc levels.

A research team published a 2020 review that states:

The immune system is highly affected by fluctuations of zinc. Zinc is required for the proper functioning of every immune cell; thus maintaining adequate zinc homeostasis is essential for supporting an effective immune response.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31841960/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793296/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128053782000036

Learn More About Pure Food Supplements Containing Zinc

Vitamin D

An analysis of more than 130 studies showed an inverse association between vitamin D and the development of several autoimmune diseases, such as SLE, thyrotoxicosis, type 1 DM, MS, iridocyclitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis vulgaris, seropositive RA, polymyalgia rheumatica.

And a 2021 research team hypothesized that high doses of Vitamin D may be used to treat autoimmune diseases.

Vitamin D resistance provides a plausible pathomechanism for the development of autoimmune diseases, which could be treated using high-dose vitamin D3 therapy.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31323357/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.655739/full

Quercetin

Quercetin is a natural flavonoid (neuroprotective antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits) that’s in nearly all fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

According to a 2021 research paper titled Potential Implications of Quercetin in Autoimmune Diseases

In several recent studies quercetin has reportedly attenuated rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus in humans or animal models.

Quercetin will be expected to become a potential opportunity and supplement for the treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases.

However, the research team went on to point out that the direct effects of quercetin on immune imbalance in patients are still unconfirmed and further randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to better understand the efficacy and safety of quercetin for the treatment of autoimmune disorders.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260830/

https://www.jimmunol.org/content/184/12/6815

Turmeric / Curcumin

Curcumin is a yellow-hued polyphenolic compound that’s the primary bioactive substance in turmeric, a flowering plant of the ginger family best known as a spice used in curry.

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-boosting properties, and is used as a supplement to help with many conditions.

Studies have shown that curcumin may support patients suffering from autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Curcumin inhibits these autoimmune diseases by regulating inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma and associated JAK-STAT, AP-1, and NF-kappaB signaling pathways in immune cells.

The use of purified active compounds such as curcumin at higher doses for therapeutic purposes needs further study.

It has poor bioavailability alone, necessitating special formulations (notably black pepper extract) to be efficiently absorbed.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17569223/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28059453/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18662800/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19594223/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Turmeric Supplement

Glucosamine / Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are the building blocks for cartilage and appear to stimulate the body to make more cartilage.

There are conflicting studies on the efficacy glucosamine and chondroitin, but based on what we know now it does appear that glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce the rate of collagen (joint tissue) degradation and symptoms of osteoarthritis, particularly in the knees.

Glucosamine and chondroitin’s effectiveness for rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as clear, as only a handful of studies have been conducted in relation to RA. Here’s what we know so far …

For RA patients, glucosamine appears to have positive effects for pain. When compared to NSAIDs for pain relief, glucosamine has shown evidence to produce similar pain reduction in RA patients as NSAIDs, without the side effects.

Here’s what Hugh Duckworth, M.D. from the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network has to say:

In general, when taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supplements, if no improvement is seen in two months, you’ll likely not see any improvement over time. Most physicians advise patients to stop taking the supplements altogether after six months if no indication of improvement presents itself.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828858/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11350488/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412843/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138964/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110930123057.htm

https://examine.com/supplements/glucosamine/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Glucosamine Supplement

Fish Oil / Krill Oil 

Fish oil and krill oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your body reduce triglycerides, reduce the symptoms of depression, and improve some painful, inflammatory conditions.

The fatty acids EPA and DHA contained in fish and krill oils are involved in regulating various biological processes such as the inflammatory response, various metabolic signaling pathways, and brain function.

There have been a number of clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches.

According to one research review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition:

Many of the placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefit, including decreased disease activity and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Another research team found that fish oil/krill oil may have “huge potential” to treat autoimmune diseases as type 1 diabetes, RA, SLE, MS.

An animal study found that krill oil helped protect against rheumatoid arthritis.

More research is needed, but fish and krill oils appear to have some benefits that may help people suffering from autoimmune conditions.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12480795/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907316/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11802309/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8401900/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17875549/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776881/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Glucosamine Supplement

Ginger

Zingiber officinale is a plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, which has traditionally been used for treatment of RA in alternative / homeopathic medicines of many countries.

According to a University of Michigan Medicine study, the main bioactive compound of ginger root, 6-gingerol, is therapeutic in countering the mechanism that fuels certain autoimmune diseases in mice (notably antiphospholipid syndrome and lupus). Hopefully this will lead to human trials to further test the effectiveness of ginger for autoimmune diseases like lupus.

And in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, seventy active RA patients were allocated randomly into two groups who either received 1500 mg ginger powder or placebo daily for 12 weeks.

Disease activity score and gene expression of immunity and inflammation intermediate factors were measured before and after the intervention.

The research team found that ginger can improve RA by decreasing disease manifestations via increasing FoxP3 genes expression and by decreasing RORγt and T-bet genes expression.

Again, further study is needed but ginger may be a supplement worth talking to your doctor about.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30844477/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058601/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34159624/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26714420/

https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/138385

Probiotics

Research on the role probiotics play in autoimmune disorders is limited, but there are a few randomized, controlled trials that have shown that microbial modification by probiotics may improve gastrointestinal symptoms and multi-organ inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and multiple sclerosis.

One research review found that synbiotics and probiotics supplementation has significant effect on some inflammatory and oxidative stress markers; but, “the number of trials was too small and further investigations may be needed.”

One thing is for certain though: our microbiomes play a role in many autoimmune diseases. An article published in the journal Nature had this to say:

Scientists are trying to understand the mechanisms behind the apparent ability of the gut microbiota to trigger or to sustain autoimmune conditions. They hope to turn that knowledge into better therapies for conditions that are currently difficult to treat — perhaps even in the form of simple probiotic pills.

Future studies are definitely needed to assess safety issues and understand optimal strains and combinations.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30340338/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33642142/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213508/

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00197-z

Learn More About Pure Food’s Probiotic Supplement

Summary: Will Autoimmune Supplements Work for You?

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your doctor(s) to decide which treatment options are best for your autoimmune conditions.

Before taking any supplement, it’s important to have a conversation with a healthcare professional so they can evaluate the potential benefits, risks, and side effects based on your unique condition. This is especially important if you’re taking medications to ensure there are no drug interactions you need to worry about.

More research is definitely needed in this area, but supplements may be able to help you alleviate at least some of your symptoms, depending on your condition.

Again, talk to several different healthcare experts so you’re armed with as much knowledge from as many experts as you can and then use that knowledge to make informed decisions that are best for your unique autoimmune condition.

Speaking from experience, it can be an arduous journey, but once you identify 1 or 2 supplements that work well for you, it can make quite the difference in how you feel.

Lactose / Dairy Free Protein Shakes for Weight Loss, Lean Muscle Gain

If you’re looking to lose weight and/or gain muscle using protein shakes, without the unpleasant side effects that come from lactose / milk / dairy, then we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll share:

  • Why so many people can’t digest lactose from dairy products properly (and the potential health implications).
  • What protein powders are best for lactose intolerance.
  • How to find the best dairy / lactose free protein shakes for you.
  • 8 delicious, non dairy protein shake ideas you can make today to help with weight loss.

Let’s get started!

What Is Lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products.

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

When you’re lactose intolerant, you can’t fully digest lactose in milk and other dairy-based foods and drinks. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products.

Lactose intolerance affects an estimated 36% of Americans and 68% of the world population.

Lactose intolerance also seems to impact people from certain ethnic populations and races more prominently, including Latin Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asians, East Europeans and Middle Easterners.lactose free protein shakes

Why Are So Many People Lactose Intolerant?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Too little of an enzyme produced in your small intestine (lactase) is usually responsible for lactose intolerance. You can have low levels of lactase and still be able to digest milk products. But if your levels are too low you become lactose intolerant, leading to symptoms after you eat or drink dairy.

Certain diseases that affect the digestive systems (including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease), stomach or intestinal infections, and injuries to the small intestine (from surgery, trauma, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy) may reduce the amount of the digestive enzyme lactase available to process lactose properly.

What Types of Foods Are High in Lactose?

High lactose foods include the usual suspects like milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products. But lactose is often hiding in common grocery store foods like bread and baked goods, chocolate and many types of candy, salad dressings and sauces, breakfast cereals and cereal bars, instant potatoes, soups, rice and noodle mixes, lunch meats, mixes for pancakes, biscuits, and cookies, margarine and butter.

Most people also don’t realize that lactose is also present in about 20% of prescription medications, such as birth control pills (oral contraceptives), and about 6% of over-the-counter medications, including many tablets for stomach acid and gas.

So if you’re on a lactose-free diet, it’s important to scrutinize ingredient lists and food labels.

What Protein Powders Are Best for Lactose Intolerance?

Most milk-based protein powders, including whey protein, contain lactose. So it comes as no surprise that these types of animal proteins can lead to gut disturbances for folks who are lactose intolerant.

There are certain whey protein powder brands that are lactose-free and/or contain the digestive enzyme lactase, which helps your body break down lactose. But it’s up to you the consumer to determine if these products are actually “non-dairy” like they claim to be.

Vegan / plant based protein powders are completely free of any dairy, so these may be a safer / more suitable option if you’re trying to avoid lactose.

How to Find the Best Non Dairy Protein Powders for Your Health Needs

First off, what are your health goals? What do you want your protein powder to do for you?

Help you feel better?

Look better?

Lose weight?

Do you care where the ingredients come from and if they’re organic? Or is cost more important to you?

For example, I choose supplements that help me look and feel better. I want my supplements to be organic and plant-based whenever possible, free of dairy and other allergens, and have no sugar added (because added sugar is one of the biggest causes of weight gain).

I also look for ingredients grown in the U.S. and Canada instead of China, where most brands source their ingredients from.

So determine what your top 3-4 most important criteria are, and then find a protein powder that fits your needs. It takes a little work, in full disclosure, because most of the top selling brands have ingredients that come from China, added sugar, and hidden junk that may not be dairy free.

8 Lactose and Dairy Free Protein Shake and Meal Replacement Recipes for Weight Loss

We used our protein powder, Pure Food, for these smoothie recipes, but any non-dairy protein powder option will work (as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar).

dairy free protein shake recipes

Get 20 More Non Dairy Protein Shake Recipes When You Sign Up for Our Weekly Emails

Probiotics, Digestive Enzyme, and Other Supplements for IBS and IBD

Anyone who suffers from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) know the symptoms can have a major impact on your daily life. Of course we’re talking about two very different conditions, one (IBD) being more serious and life-altering.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best (science-backed) supplements to treat IBS and IBD. We’ll look at the vitamins, minerals, and other supplements (like probiotics and digestive enzymes) along with several other therapies indicated for these conditions.

What’s the Difference Between IBS and IBD?

While they may present with similar symptoms, IBS and IBD are definitely not the same thing.

According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is classified as a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which means there’s a disturbance in bowel function, but not enough to constitute a “disease.” Symptoms include intermittent abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, or alternating episodes of both.

IBS affects at least 10-15% of adults in the U.S. and women are affected more often than men. It is the disorder most commonly diagnosed by gastroenterologists, and one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions among U.S. physicians. Symptoms often begin in your late teens or early twenties.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), on the other hand, is characterized by chronic irritation and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common disorders.

The disorders are usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30, but can develop at any age. IBD can lead to destructive inflammation and permanent harm to the intestinal tract, and significantly increases one’s risk of developing colon cancer.

Treatments for IBS and IBD

Treating IBS

Treating IBS generally involves relieving symptoms so that you can live as normally as possible.

You can usually treat mild symptoms with lifestyle changes like:

  1. Managing stress
  2. Eating healthy (particularly a diet high in fiber)
  3. Getting enough sleep
  4. Exercising

Doctors often recommend removing high gas foods from your diet (like carbonated and alcoholic beverages and FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). This includes certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

Research also shows that some people with IBS can improve symptoms by removing gluten (wheat, barley and rye) from their diets.

In addition, the following treatments have been shown to help certain people:

  • Fiber supplements
  • Laxatives
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Anticholinergic medications
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • SSRI antidepressants

Medications approved to treat IBS include:

  • Alosetron (Lotronex)
  • Eluxadoline (Viberzi)
  • Rifaximin (Xifaxan)
  • Lubiprostone (Amitiza)
  • Linaclotide (Linzess)

Researchers are also investigating several newer treatments for IBS, including:

  • Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)
  • Hypnosis
  • Peppermint
  • Stress reduction
  • Probiotics (more on this below)

Treating IBD

IBD is much trickier to treat.

According to the Mayo Clinic, IBD treatment often involves drugs (many of which come with serious side effects) and/or surgery. The following are among the most common treatment options, depending on which area of the colon is affected:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Ccorticosteroids and aminosalicylates, such as mesalamine (Asacol HD, Delzicol, etc.)
    • Balsalazide (Colazal)
    • Olsalazine (Dipentum)
  • Immune system suppressors
    • Azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)
    • Mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixan)
    • Methotrexate (Trexall)
  • Biologics
    • Infliximab (Remicade)
    • Adalimumab (Humira)
    • Golimumab (Simponi)
    • Certolizumab (Cimzia)
    • Vedolizumab (Entyvio)
    • Ustekinumab (Stelara)
  • Antibiotics
    • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
    • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Other medications and supplements
    • Anti-diarrheal medications. A fiber supplement — such as psyllium powder (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) — can help relieve mild to moderate diarrhea by adding bulk to your stool. For more-severe diarrhea, loperamide (Imodium A-D) may be effective.
    • Pain relievers. For mild pain, your doctor may recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). However, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and diclofenac sodium likely will make your symptoms worse and can make your disease worse as well.
    • Vitamins and supplements. If you’re not absorbing enough nutrients, your doctor may recommend vitamins and nutritional supplements, including digestive enzymes.

Do Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes Work for IBS and IBD?

Probiotics and IBS

In a meta-analysis of more than 30 studies published in The American College of Gastroenterology, researchers found that certain probiotic strains may improve overall symptoms, as well as gas and bloating, in patients with IBS.

The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium bifidum, in particular, has been reported to adhere particularly well to intestinal cells, and therefore may have an advantage in altering the intestinal microbiota and increasing the intestinal barrier.

In a clinical study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Bifidobacterium bifidum significantly improved overall IBS symptoms, as well as individual IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, and fecal urgency.

A 2020 study that looked at 59 studies, including 6,761 patients found that:

Probiotics are effective and safe for IBS patients.

And yet another 2020 metaanalysis concluded that probiotics can improve IBS symptoms compared to placebo.

Finally, a 2010 research study looked at specific probiotic strains, and found the following ones appear to work to treat some IBS symptoms:

  • Bifidobacterium (B. longum, B. infantis, B. breve)
  • Lactobacillus (L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. helveticus, L rhamnosus GG)

Probiotics and IBD

Studies on probiotics for the treatment of IBD are limited.

Probiotics may induce clinical remission in active ulcerative colitis when compared to placebo, according to a 2018 study.

Another 2018 research review found that:

Studies on probiotics in animal models of IBD are promising, and clinical results in IBD patients are encouraging; however, the data are limited, and few studies are placebo controlled. Additional placebo-controlled, double-blind studies in IBD are required before recommendations can be offered for routine use of probiotics in IBD.

More recently, a research team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has created a living-material that uses a strain of genetically engineered E.coli Nissle gut bacteria as a locally acting probiotic. The engineered bacteria produce a network of nanofibers that directly binds to mucus to fill inflamed areas like a patch, shielding them from gut microbes and environmental factors. This probiotic-based therapeutic strategy protected mice against the effects of colitis induced by a chemical agent and promoted mucosal healing.

The Probiotic Associated Therapeutic Curli Hybrids (PATCH) approach, as we named it, creates a biocompatible, mucoadhesive coating that functions as a stable, self-regenerating Band-Aid and provides biological cues for mucosal healing.

-Neel Joshi, Ph.D.

Joshi and his team think that their approach could be developed as a companion therapy to existing anti-inflammatory, immuno-suppressant, and antibiotic therapies to help minimize patients’ exposure to harsh medications with serious side effects and potentially provide protection against IBD relapses.

Best Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements for IBS

According to Harvard Medical School, the following supplements may be effective for treating IBS:

  1. Fiber. Soluble fiber supplements (Metamucil or ones with psyllium husk) can be helpful for constipation. Taking large amounts of fiber can affect absorption of medications though, so Harvard recommends taking your meds 1-2 hours prior to taking any fiber supplement. Soluble fiber is also found in foods such as beans, avocados, oats, flax seeds, sweet potatoes, and pears. Drinking lots of water is important too when taking a fiber supplement for IBS.
  2. Probiotics. An analysis of nearly 1,800 patients from multiple studies showed that taking probiotic supplements can help reduce pain and symptom severity in IBS compared to placebo. 
  3. Peppermint Oil. Peppermint oil can help relax the GI tract and decrease abdominal pain associated with IBS.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements for IBD

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the following supplements may help with IBD:

  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins A, E, and K
  • Zinc

Summary

More research is needed to understand which strains of probiotics and/or digestive enzymes work for IBS and IBD. But early results look promising. If you have either of these conditions, talk with your GI doctor to understand which supplements, if any, you should be taking.

How to Find the Best Dr Formulated Probiotics: 3 Things to Look for

Not all probiotic supplements are created equal. Even ones that are doctor formulated can be complete junk, and a waste of your hard-earned money.

That’s why we put together this guide to help you find the best Dr. formulated probiotics. Read on to find out the most important things to look for to find the right probiotics for your unique health needs.

Why You Should Choose Dr. Formulated Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits. There are over 500 different types, which is one of the reasons why it’s important to look for probiotics that are formulated by healthcare experts, not giant corporations.

Large corporations put profits over health. Their number one goal is generating more value for their share holders.

(Most) doctors understand which strains offer the most benefits, and which ones are safest. When you choose a product created by marketers instead of physicians, it’s probably a safe bet their products are going to contain the cheapest, lowest quality ingredients possible.

Other Things to Look for When Choosing a Probiotic Supplement

Aside from looking for Dr.-developed probiotics, there are several other criteria to pay attention to when selecting probiotics:

  1. Where the ingredients come from. Most supplement companies source their ingredients from countries like China, where ingredients are cheap and regulations aren’t as stringent. On top of that, they often use highly allergenic mediums to spawn their probiotics and/or as fillers in their products (like dairy, corn, soy, and gluten). These allergens can lead to inflammation and other issues, which defeats the purpose of taking a probiotic supplement in the first place). We recommend looking for products that are sourced from North America (like Pure Food DIGEST).
  2. What type of capsule they use. Here’s a little-known truth about probiotic supplements–even many of the ones that are developed by doctors: most probiotic strains will die in your stomach before they reach your lower gut, where they convey the most benefit. That’s why it’s so important to look for a probiotic with a delayed release capsule. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
  3. What types of strains they use. Not all probiotic strains have been extensively studied in peer reviewed research studies for safety and efficacy. The ingredient list should tell you exactly what strains they use. It’s up to you to determine if those strains are actually beneficial to you. If you’re not well versed in nutritional science, we recommend showing the label to a trusted medical professional who is, and letting them share their thoughts on the effectiveness of each strain. Or try this strategy …

How to Find the Best Doctor-Developed Probiotics for You

The number one thing to do when looking for a new probiotic supplement is:

Identify the condition or conditions you’re looking to treat, and then find a product with probiotic strains that actually have been proven to work for those conditions.

It’s amazing how many folks just buy the best selling product at Amazon or another store, instead of doing their research and figuring out what products are best for them.

A good place to start is PubMed, the online database of medical studies. If you’ve never used PubMed to conduct online research before, it’s actually quite easy. Here’s how …

Head over to Google and type in the name of the condition you’re looking to treat, along with the word “probiotics”.

For example, if I was looking for information on how to treat IBS with probiotics, I would conduct a google search that said:

best probiotic strains for ibs pubmed

In the results, you’ll see a nice list of research studies you can pore over on your own:

dr formulated probiotics

And there you have it! If you have questions about probiotics, leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you with an answer.

How to Get in the Best Physical and Mental Shape of Your Life this Year

Why do so many people set health goals in January only to have them fizzle out by February?

The truth is, 99% of effort (when it comes to most things in life–work, relationships, health) is wasted.

The secret is to find that 1% that works for YOU.

The big question: how do you do this?

It starts with discovering or identifying those healthy behaviors, actions, or efforts that you actually enjoy, and then GOING ALL IN on those behaviors.

When you do this, you create habits.

And habits are what lead to drastic, sustainable changes to your health.

For example, I realized about 15 years ago that I really enjoy cooking. So I went all in, buying cook books, searching for healthy recipes online, and experimenting with healthier versions of my favorite foods in the kitchen every day. Today, I still prepare almost every meal for my family, and it’s one of those “keystone habits” that has made an enormous difference.

You don’t have to make big changes overnight, because you’re setting yourself up for failure when you do that (case-in-point: all the new January gym-goers who slog through workouts they hate, only to stop going by March).

So long story short, instead of setting goals this year, cultivate new habits. I advise doing some self-reflection and answering these two questions:

  1. What have I learned that works for me based on my past experience?
  2. What have I learned doesn’t work for me? (Note: it’s amazing how often humans repeat the same mistakes over and over … if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten).

When you find those few things that you enjoy and work for you, invest in them. Just like money, compound interest is the “secret sauce” to big returns in the long-run when it comes to your health.

It’s OK (and encouraged) to start small. If you love cycling, invest in 5-10 minutes every other day. If meditation has worked for you in the past and you enjoy it, but you can’t seem to stick with it, then schedule just 2 minutes every day.

That’s how you create habits that stick and find your 1%.