Category Archives: Probiotics

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.

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 Use Pure Food DIGEST for Best Results

If you’ve recently bought Pure Food DIGEST, or are considering buying it, here’s a quick primer with some tips and tricks for getting the most out of the product.

When to Take Pure Food DIGEST

First and foremost, always take DIGEST with or right after a meal. If you don’t, you will likely experience gas, bloating, and/or an upset stomach.

To that end, those type of symptoms are completely normal and expected for the first 1-3 weeks … even if you are taking the product as-recommended.

Here’s why …

When you introduce your microbiome to new probiotics, it is highly likely your gut will require some time to acclimate. If you’re still experiencing these symptoms after a few weeks, stop taking it (and contact us for a full refund).

How Many Capsules Should You Take?

If you’re new to probiotics, we recommend starting with 1 capsule, once per day (with your largest meal).

Most of our customers find that taking 2 capsules daily results in the most benefits. Some folks prefer to take more than this, but you certainly don’t need to.

Again, if you’re new to probiotics, start with one capsule. If you’re a probiotics pro, try 2 per day (1 with breakfast and 1 with dinner is a common approach that works very well for many of our customers).

How Long Until You Feel Results?

Some people experience results immediately–within 1-2 days. For others, it can take 2-4 weeks to experience the full range of benefits.

Also, while many of the benefits of taking DIGEST are tangible (improved digestion, less gas and bloating, etc.), it’s important to understand that some are not. In other words, you can’t see or feel them.

But as you can see from the list below, this product has ingredients proven by science to provide some pretty amazing intangible benefits as well.

pure food digestive enzymes plus probiotics ingredients

 

Other Tips for Improving Your GI Health With DIGEST

  • Drink lots of water (having a large water bottle next to you all day helps).
  • Eat at least 30 grams of fiber each day. The more fiber you eat, the more you’ll help “feed” the good bacteria in DIGEST.
  • Identify and avoid “trigger” foods that cause excessive gas and bloating.

Have Other Questions About DIGEST?

Contact us and we’ll get back to you!

Get DIGEST Now

 

What are the Uses and Benefits of Probiotics?

best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation

Probiotics are everywhere these days. You’ve probably seen them in the supplement aisle at the grocery store or on TV commercials talking about the best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation (among other maladies). Some food and drinks have probiotics added now for gut support. Perhaps your doctor has even recommended adding some to your daily regimen. Probiotics are more widely talked about and accessible than ever. So, let’s look at some of the uses and benefits of probiotics and why you should consider adding them to your daily health regimen.

Why Use Probiotics?

Everyone has bacteria in their body. This isn’t always a bad thing though. Because we all have “good” and “bad” bacteria. Our good bacteria help fight the bad bacteria and keep the balance. But sometimes our body needs help. We don’t always get all the vitamins and nutrients we need from the food we eat. That’s why we take vitamins and supplements.

The same goes for probiotics. Probiotics are used to help reduce stomach issues like gas and bloating and restore balance in the gut. When your gut is out of balance, it leads to a condition called dysbiosis, which causes all types of other GI issues. If you find you are often bloated and uncomfortable or suffering from constipation, you may want to investigate the best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation. And, probiotics may help give your immune system a boost too.

Also keep in mind that a poor diet that includes too much sugar and refined grains will throw off the balance of bacteria in your stomach. Using antibiotics is another example of how your stomach’s bacteria can be thrown off by killing too many healthy bacteria. Probiotics will help you restore the balance by adding good bacteria back in.

What are the Benefits of Using Probiotics?

There are many benefits to using probiotics. They can help improve your gut health, which will make you feel better overall. They may help reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms for some people, painful bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Also, don’t forget about the benefits to your immune health, as previously mentioned. Those are just a few of the benefits of using probiotics. Some probiotics may even help reduce allergy symptoms!

Choosing the best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation will limit the number of harmful bacteria in your stomach and reduce the chances of that bad bacteria growing into something more severe. Taking probiotics can also help limit the chance of you acquiring secondary problems when you’re on antibiotics.

The best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation could help you improve your health

Whether you’ve been recommended probiotics by a doctor or are exploring the world of friendly gut microbes on your own, finding the right probiotic can be overwhelming. There are tons of different types, and they all seem to offer different benefits. We’ve made it simple by offering you the best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation you will find. It’s an all-in-one capsule that will help you reduce gas and bloating, digest ALL foods better, and improve your BMs.

Click here to find out more.

Probiotics: Learn What They Can Do for You

best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation

When people think of the term “bacteria,” it’s usually in a negative light. While we’re generally taught that sterile things are good and bacteria is bad, this is often not the case.

That’s because your body is home to millions of good bacteria that work together to keep you healthy. These microorganisms are called “probiotics” and they help balance your gastrointestinal and immune systems in many different ways.

Balancing Your System

Probiotics work to restore the balance of your gut bacteria. But what causes that imbalance? Why are there more bad bacteria than good? A number of culprits can be the cause of these imbalances, but it’s often the result of illness or poor diet.

Antibiotics can also kill too many good bacteria by mistake and lead to an imbalance, as can certain medications. For this reason, it’s definitely a good idea to talk to your doctor about what the best probiotic for bloating gas and constipation (or other digestive issue) might be for you.

Strengthening Immune Systems and Prevention

Taking probiotics has been shown to strengthen your immune system and to aid in maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your body. It helps to think about it this way: your gut contains a lot of bacteria. This collection is called the microbiota. The microbiota consists of both helpful and harmful organisms. When you take probiotics, you introduce more helpful bacteria into the mix, and this gives your immune system an advantage.

Digestive Disorder Treatment

Now let’s talk about probiotics and digestive disorders. There have been several strains of probiotics that have shown positive results in treating ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. While there is, so far, limited proven efficacy in treatment of Chrohn’s disease, there has been success in the use of probiotics in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s important to understand that the best probiotics for bloating, gas, and constipation reduction contain multiple strains. So single strains probiotic supplements are not going to be as effective for relieving these types of symptoms.

Weight Loss and Mental Health

In addition to multi-strain probiotics being best for bloating, gas, and constipation, these types of probiotic supplements have also been shown to help in other areas of your body. Some exciting research is emerging in the field of probiotics and mental health. Although the study of psychobiotics is still developing, there have been some positive outcomes thus far.

Also, probiotics can help prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestines, causing the body to expel that fat instead of storing it. One study found that “Probiotic supplementation appears to change gut microbiota by decrease gut permeability, inflammation, and metabolic disorders, creating a promising environment to weight loss.”

Still Discovering

While research in the use of probiotics is still in early phases, when it comes to discovering the full benefits of these bacteria, the future seems bright.

So far, probiotics appear to be safe for most people with few reported side effects, but you should still talk to your doctor about the best probiotic for bloating, gas, or constipation if you’re suffering from those symptoms.

They’ll be able to give you the best advice for how to use probiotics to improve and maintain your body’s health. And we’re still learning more every day! Visit our website for more details.

Probiotics and Immune Health: Which Strains Are Best for Immunity?

how to boost immunity naturally with probiotics

Can probiotics boost your immune system? The answer, as you’ll learn below, is yes … but there are some caveats.

In this article we’ll review several research studies that have explored the role probiotics play in immunity and reveal what, if any, probiotic strains may help improve your immune health. We’ll also talk about the right foods to eat to boost your immunity and situations in which you should probably avoid probiotics.

Let’s dig in …

The Microbiome, Explained

You have an estimated 40 trillion bacterial cells living inside your body at any given time.

A good chunk of these microorganisms live in your gut and are part of your “microbiome,” the collective community of microbes that reside with you.

The microbiome plays quite the important role in your body, particularly when it comes to immunity …

Scientists have discovered that 70-80 percent of your immune system is controlled by your microbiome.

And your gut microbiome is largely shaped by what you eat and drink, as we’ll explore further below. First, let’s talk probiotics …

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working well. These good bacteria can provide assistance in a number of interesting ways.

Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics can help you maintain a healthy balance in your body by:

  • Supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation.
  • Helping your body digest food.
  • Keeping bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
  • Creating vitamins.
  • Helping support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed (through food or drinks) from entering your blood.

Probiotics are commonly used by medical professionals to treat the following conditions:

  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • H. pylori (the cause of ulcers)
  • Vaginal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infection of the GI tract caused by Clostridium difficile
  • Pouchitis (a possible side effect of surgery that removes the colon)
  • Eczema in children

Let’s take a deeper dive into the role probiotics play in your immune health, specifically.

Probiotics and Immune Health: What We Know Based on Current Research Studies

Study #1: Beneficial Effects of Probiotic Consumption on the Immune System

According to this 2019 study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism medical journal:

Probiotic bacteria have significant effects on the functionality of the mucosal and systemic immune systems through the activation of multiple immune mechanisms.

The researchers in the study discovered that probiotic bacteria induce signals in the intestine that improve the behavior of the immune system and the host’s health. Probiotic bacteria were deemed to be an “effective tool for the maintenance of the intestinal homeostasis and the stimulation of the mucosal immune system.”

Study #2: Prospective Study of Probiotic Supplementation Results in Immune Stimulation and Improvement of Upper Respiratory Infection Rate

In a 2018 double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, researchers found that a 3-strain probiotic supplement was “safe and effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections by boosting the immune system.”

Probiotics do appear to be somewhat effective in preventing the common cold. More research is needed but early results are promising.

“Probiotics are particularly helpful for maintaining normal bowel function and good digestive health,” says Bruce Eisendorf, M.D., a family medicine doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “They also keep your immune system strong so you can fight and prevent infection.”

Study #3: Probiotics and Immune Health

A 2011 study found that:

Probiotics showed therapeutic potential for diseases, including several immune response-related diseases, such as allergy, eczema, viral infection, and potentiating vaccination responses.

Which Probiotics Are Best for Immunity?

Here are the strain-specific probiotics that may work for boosting your immune system:

Probiotic StrainImmune System Benefit
Bifidobacterium bifidumReduces cold and flu incidence.
Lactobacillus brevisReduces the incidence of flu.
Lactobacillus GGDecreased risk of upper respiratory infections for children in daycare.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum Reduces the risk of colds in school-aged children.
Lactobacillus rhamnosusReduces the incidence of pneumonia in people in the intensive care unit.
B. longum Helps prevent the flu in elderly patients.
Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus paracaseiReduces the number of days with symptoms and severity of colds.

*Shameless Plug Alert: Our digestive health supplement, Pure Food DIGEST, contains ALL of these probiotic strains!

How to Build a Healthy Immune System By Feeding Your Microbiome the Right Foods

One way to improve the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut without probiotic supplements is to eat more foods these “good bacteria” like to eat—namely, fiber-rich foods.

This means increasing your intake of:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Beans/legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds

Getting all your fiber from a single source (like a fiber supplement, for example) is not the best way to boost your gut health and immunity.

Your goal should be to eat a variety of fiber-rich foods each day.

Another way to promote a healthy gut and immune system is to eat foods that already contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics).

This includes:

  • Yogurt, kefir, and other cultured dairy products (there are plant-based options available now too).
  • Kim-chi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables.
  • Miso, tempeh, natto, and other fermented soy products.
  • Kombucha (fermented tea).

All of these products are available on grocery store shelves or you can make them yourself, which is actually quite fun. My personal DIY foods: kombucha, preserved lemons, fermented pepper paste, and pickles.

Is it Safe to Take Probiotics When You’re Sick?

Probiotic supplements are generally safe for healthy people.

Studies show that taking probiotics may help you get sick less and reduce the amount of time you’re sick for (in regards to common colds/respiratory infections).

But there are some situations where beneficial bacteria (either from foods or supplements) can cause adverse affects.

Acute illnesses such as pancreatitis, Crohn’s, colitis, and celiac disease can lead to increased intestinal permeability, which is when bacteria penetrate the lining of the gut far enough to cause an inflammatory reaction from your immune cells. If your gut is already inflamed, that can spell trouble.

Those with compromised immune systems, either from a severe illness or due to medical treatment for a disease, are also generally advised to avoid probiotic foods and supplements. Some studies have found that using probiotics in severely ill or immunocompromised individuals can increase the risk of adverse effects such as infections.

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Digestive Enzymes vs Probiotics: What’s the Difference?

Types of Digestive Enzymes and Benefits of Each

In this guide, we will answer all of your most common questions about digestive enzymes and probiotics:

  • What are digestive enzymes, what do they do, and where do they come from?
  • Digestive enzymes vs probiotics: what’s the difference?
  • What do digestive enzymes help with?
  • Which enzyme should you take to break down carbs, fats, proteins, etc.?
  • What’s the best time to take digestive enzymes and probiotics? 
  • Do you need an enzyme supplement?

Let’s get started …

What Are Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes help break down food in your mouth and gut so nutrients are released and can be absorbed across the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream.

Therefore, one of the main things digestive enzymes do is to increase the bioavailability of nutrients. In other words, they help your body digest certain foods better

Where Do Digestive Enzymes Come From?

Our bodies make some types of digestive enzymes. They’re produced in your saliva and as exocrine secretions from the pancreas when you consume food.

Digestive enzyme supplements come from three different sources: animals, plants and microbes.

Animal-sourced

These include pancreatin, pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin. Pancreatin includes many of the enzymes necessary for digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (proteases to break down proteins into amino acids; amylase to break down complex carbohydrate molecules into manageable sugars; and lipase to help break down fats).

Plant-sourced

Plant-sourced enzymes include bromelain (from pineapple), papain (from papaya), and gluten-specific proteases, which help break down proteins.

Microbial-sourced

These enzymes come from fungi and bacterial sources and can be used by vegetarians and vegans instead of animal-based enzymes. Common enzymes in this group include amylase, glucoamylase, proteases, lipase and multiple types of saccharidases including lactase (to digest lactose), alphagalactosidase (for digesting beans, legumes and cruciferous vegetables) and cellulase (to help digest cellulose in plants).

Are Digestive Enzymes the Same As Probiotics?

Digestive enzymes and probiotics can both help you improve digestion but they’re not the same. Probiotics are living microorganisms that may provide certain health benefits when ingested while digestive enzymes are non-living molecules that help you digest specific foods better.

Your body produces enzymes but does not produce probiotics, so they must be consumed through the diet or supplemented.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are plant-based fibers that are typically high in fiber and act as food for probiotics and other microflora.

Who Should Take a Digestive Enzyme Supplement?

First, it’s important to understand that an enzyme will only help improve digestion of a food if it’s the right type of enzyme for the right type of food.

Second, digestive enzymes will also only help improve digestive symptoms if those symptoms are  related to poor digestion of particular nutrients or enzyme deficiency. 

What Causes Digestive Enzyme Deficiencies? 

There are many reasons why our bodies often don’t make enough digestive enzymes. One of the main reasons is poor exocrine pancreatic function. The causes of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) are quite diverse and include:

  • Problems with the endocrine part of the pancreas such as insulin dysregulation from diet high in refined carbohydrates and diabetes
  • Gall stones that block the bile duct and reduce/halt the flow of pancreatic juices (biliary stasis)
  • Poor function of the Sphincter of Oddi
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Micronutrient deficiency
  • Protein deficiency
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates causing hypoglycemia, insulin resistance and diabetes
  • High calorie intake
  • Too little or too much exercise

Other factors that also impact digestive enzyme output are:

  • Consuming foods or drinks that promote intestinal inflammation including coffee, alcohol, sugar, and highly processed foods
  • Individual food sensitivities like gluten, dairy, corn, soy etc.
  • Chronic GI infection or inflammation
  • Repeated antibiotic exposure, which affects gut microbiota, digestive and liver health
  • Physical, emotional or psychological stress
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging

Symptoms of Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency 

Symptoms of digestive enzyme insufficiency usually appear in the gut and may include:

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Irritable bowel type symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gut microbiota dysbiosis
  • Undigested food in the stools
  • Stools that float (steatorrhea)
  • Feeling full after only a few mouthfuls
  • Food allergies and intolerances

And for some folks, the lack of enzymes can become a chronic insufficiency that may lead to obesity, allergies and poor immune function, depression and anxiety, premenstrual syndrome, fatigue, autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Types of Digestive Enzymes and Benefits of Each

Different types of enzymes have different benefits. Here are some of the most common ones:

ENZYME CLASS

TYPE / SOURCE

FUNCTION

LipasesLipase / humans, plants and microbes
Essential for digestion of fats.
ProteasesGluten proteases / microbes
Digest gluten and casein.
Alkali proteases / microbes
Digest proteins with pH 4.0-11.
Acid proteases / microbes
Digest proteins within pH 2.0-6.0.
Bromelain / pineapples
Digest proteins.
CarbohydrasesAmylase / humans and microbes
Digest starch and glycogen-specific enzymes and gluten.
Amyloglucosidase / plants and microbes
Digest amylase disaccharides into monosaccharides. Works best with amylase.
Lactase / humans (babies), plants and microbes
Digest the milk sugar lactose.
Alpha galactosidase / microbes
Digest raffinose, stachyose and verbascose in legumes, whole grains and some vegetables.
Invertase / humans, plants and microbes
Digest sucrose and maltose.
Fibrolytic EnzymesPhytase / plants and microbes
Digest phytic acid from nuts, seeds, and grains.
Cellulase / plants and microbes
Digest cellulose, a plant fibre found in fruit and vegetables.

What to Expect When Taking Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

When introducing new bacteria and/or an enzyme supplement into your system, it’s common to experience a brief increase in GI activity like gas, bloating, etc. This normally lasts 1-2 weeks max and is your body’s way of acclimating to a shift in the balance of bacteria in your microbiome. If symptoms persist past this point, it’s probably a good idea to stop.

After a couple weeks, you should notice less of these types of symptoms, as long as you’re taking the supplements at the right times. Which leads to our next topic …

When Is the Best Time to Take Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics, and Prebiotics?

It’s best to take digestive enzymes and probiotics either right before or with a meal to maximize their time of being in contact with food. Try taking them before or with your largest meal or two of the day to start, and then before/with other meals as-needed.

You should not take probiotic or enzyme supplements first thing in the morning or on an empty stomach because you will likely experience an increase in gas and bloating (note: per the section above, it’s normal to have some of these symptoms even if you take the supplements with food for the first couple weeks). Give your body time to adjust!

Do You Need Probiotics, Prebiotics, or Digestive Enzymes?

If you’re having gut issues, the first thing you should do is go visit a licensed healthcare provider who can help you determine if you have an enzyme deficiency. We also recommend scheduling an appointment with an allergist to see which foods, if any, you may be having adverse reactions to as well.

There does appear to be some benefit to taking a combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes (this is called a synbiotic).

While digestive enzymes will help you break down food and absorb its nutrients, the probiotics will create a natural protective layer of bacteria and the prebiotic fiber will help “feed” the good bacteria.

That’s why we recommend an all-in-one digestive health capsule like DIGEST.

What to Look for In a Digestive Enzyme / Probiotic / Prebiotic (Synbiotic) Supplement

Our criteria is admittedly more stringent than others but here’s the checklist we recommend using:

  1. Formulated by a doctor or credentialed healthcare expert.
  2. Contains multiple strains of probiotics and enzymes at safe, efficacious doses.
  3. Ingredients sourced from North America or Europe.
  4. Delayed release capsule or spore-forming probiotics used to ensure most probiotics reach your small intestine.
  5. Contains prebiotic fiber to help “feed” the probiotic bacteria.
  6. Third party tested for pathogens and other contaminants and post-production testing done on each batch to ensure you’re getting what it says on the label.

About Our Probiotic / Digestive Enzyme Supplement, DIGEST

If you’re considering a supplement, here’s some more information about our product, Digest, and what sets it apart from other digestive health supplements:

pure food digestive enzymes plus probiotics ingredientsdigestive enzymes and probiotics

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How to Reduce Anxiety Naturally: Foods, Supplements, and Techniques That Actually Work

If you’ve ever felt “butterflies in your stomach” or “gone with your gut”, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source hidden in the walls of your digestive system.

Scientists call this “second brain” the enteric nervous system (ENS) and it’s made up of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from your esophagus to your rectum, connected by a giant nerve called the vagus nerve.

How, exactly, does this “gut-brain axis” affect your mental health? What role, if any, do microbes in our gut play in how we feel when we’re stressed and anxious? Can you reduce your anxiety levels just by changing the way you eat? What are some proven strategies you can use for reducing anxiety, starting right now?

We’ll answer all those questions and more in this article.

The Role of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS)

how to reduce anxiety without medicationThe ENS controls digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination, according to Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology. Pasricha states:

The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.

The ENS may trigger emotional shifts experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset. Dr. Pasricha noted:

For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around.

This means that inflammation in your gut may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes.

But feelings like anger, anxiety, sadness, surprise—all of these (and others) can also be the cause of symptoms in the gut.

With that in mind, let’s explore some strategies proven by research to help you reduce inflammation in your gut, which can help you significantly reduce your stress and anxiety as a result.

What to Eat to Decrease Your Anxiety and Stress Levels

Food plays a vital role in helping to control anxiety and stress. Let’s look at what to eat and what not to eat if you want to reduce your anxiety.

What Not to Eat

  1. Sugar: A diet low in sugar can starve out undesirable bacteria in the gut, leading to a positive effect on the gut-brain axis. Also, anxiety is often associated with hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar drops to an abnormally low level a few hours after a sugary meal or drink. Balancing blood sugar is crucial to keeping symptoms of anxiety at bay.
  2. Saturated Fat: Diets higher in saturated fat and added sugars have been associated with higher anxiety levels.
  3. Alcohol: Drinking booze is also associated with higher levels of anxiety. Moderation is key.

What to Eat

  1. Vegetables and Whole Grains: Studies have found that people who eat more vegetables and non-refined grains are less likely to suffer from anxiety.
  2. Unsaturated fats: A meta-analysis of 14 studies found that people who suffer from depression and anxiety consumed lower levels of healthy monounsaturated fats (from olive oil, fish, and nuts).
  3. Fermented foods: Fermented foods like sauerkraut have beneficial microbes that may play a role in stress, anxiety, and depression. Aim to add a serving or two of fermented vegetables to your diet each day.

Specific diets, such as a low-FODMAP diet (a diet low in carbs and sugars), eliminate certain foods that can produce gas and bloating in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) patients. But this diet is hard to adhere to and may not be healthy in the long run because you’re forced to eliminate so many beneficial foods.

Supplements That May Help Improve Your Mood and Decrease Feelings of Anxiety

By now, you know that a healthy diet is crucial for physical well-being. Researchers in recent years have also begun to study whether certain supplements can improve gastrointestinal health and your mood.

Here are some of the most promising ones:

1. Probiotics

Probiotics have been shown to help improve the overall balance of your gut flora, leading to a “broad healing effect” in multiple body systems.

Researchers have found that manipulating the gut microbiota with probiotics may help manage symptoms of mental disorders.

And a 2019 review study published in the journal General Psychiatry revealed that over half of the 21 clinical studies included in the review showed positive results in treating anxiety symptoms through regulation of intestinal microbiota.

The review looked at two kinds of interventions (probiotic and non-probiotic interventions). Both probiotic and non-probiotic (diet and exercise) interventions were found to be effective.

It’s important to note that multiple probiotic strains across varying studies were used and contributed to positive outcomes in improving gut-brain connectivity and, hence, anxiety. Diversity is key.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown in small studies to have a beneficial effect on anxiety symptoms. More research is needed but because of its other many benefits, we highly recommend magnesium as a front-line supplement for most adults.

3. CBD

While human-based research on CBD and anxiety is fairly limited at this point, there are several small studies that have been conducted:

  1. A 1993 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology followed four groups of 10 people. Groups were given either CBD, Valium, ipsapirone, or placebo. The results suggested that ipsapirone and CBD have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties in stressful situations.
  2. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, “CBD reduces anxiety in social anxiety disorder (SAD).”
  3. A 2015 review published in the journal Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may help improve the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

4. L-lysine and L-arginine

A double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study showed that taking a combination of the amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine can help reduce mental stress and anxiety.

5. Kava

Kava is a plant extract made from Piper methysticum, a plant native to the western Pacific islands. There is evidence that suggests kava may be a useful way to treat mild anxiety.

How I Have Personally Reduced My Anxiety Dramatically

These are the strategies I have personally used that have been most impactful for reducing and controlling my stress and anxiety:

best sleep dietResearch shows eating a diet high in certain foods (like sugar) is associated with higher anxiety levels. So how do you know what the “right” foods for you are?

My advice: avoid fad diets and one-size-fits-all approaches to nutrition. Different foods affect people different ways and I think we’re entering a very exciting new chapter of personalized nutrition.

To that end, I highly recommend getting a microbiome test from Viome and an allergy test at a physician’s office. These two tests will tell you exactly what foods to eat more of and which ones to avoid based on your unique gut bacteria.

how drinking impacts sleepHaving a drink or two a day may have some longevity benefits … but the problem with drinking alcohol to help ease anxiety is people who do so are more likely to develop a dependence to booze.

Let the record show I still enjoy my glass or two of wine each night but my days of hard drinking are long gone, thankfully, and it has definitely made a difference in my quality of sleep.

You sleep much worse when you’re drunk, by the way, for those of you who still have friends who think they sleep better when they’re inebriated.

sleep gratitude connectionExpressing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to feel better. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re writing down things you’re grateful for. It’ll help shift your thoughts away from what’s not going well for you now so you can focus more on what is. 

how exercise affects sleepExercise is a “keystone habit,” which means it leads to other healthy habits. When I feel stressed and anxious, working out always helps me feel better (I’m partial to strength training and playing basketball).

It’s no secret that taking care of your body is one of the best ways to quell anxiety and feel better about yourself.

deep breathing for sleep

Your brain may control your body, but the body can also control the brain. Deep breathing is a powerful tool that can be used to shift your brain-state and the stress response quickly.

Research shows deep breathing can help lower cortisol, a stress hormone your body produces when you’re anxious. It can even reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.  There are many different deep breathing techniques you can.

To learn some tools and techniques we recommend for using your breath as a weapon to stop anxiety in its tracks, check out our article How to Breathe Better

creativity for insomniaWhat’s your creative outlet? I love cooking, playing guitar, writing, and gardening. Doing these things makes me happy because I get to create, learn, and improve every single day.

I recommend scheduling time every day (even 5-10 minutes!) to work on something creative. Doing this every day significantly reduced my anxiety.

Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing.

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH

best sleep tips for insomniaIf you’re sleep-deprived, you are likely exacerbating your anxiety. Make sleep a priority.

See this guide for details on how to do it: How to Sleep Better.

nature sleep impactStudies show that spending time outside in nature can reduce anxiety and stress levels. So whenever you’re feeling anxious, go take a walk … preferably somewhere with trees and/or green space.

best expert sleep advice everThere’s no better way to feel better, in my humble opinion, than spending quality time with family and friends and bringing your full attention to being with them. That’s the real “secret sauce” to kicking your anxiety to the curb (at least temporarily).

A proactive approach focused on diet, supplements like probiotics, and breathwork may be a good place to start in controlling anxiety. But you should always consult a healthcare professional if you’re dealing with chronic anxiety or depression.