Whether it’s Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, or bloating, a lot of people have their fair share of gastrointestinal troubles. I’ve certainly had more than my fair share. GI problems aren’t always talked about because it’s embarrassing and personal and smelly. But, a lot of people are suffering just like you, and you shouldn’t suffer in silence! I’m going to review the latest food and supplements for GI health.

Probiotics– Probiotics are very popular and seem to be quite effective. Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a benefit to the host (your GI tract). Probiotics have minimal side effects and many people do quite well with them and find that they can provide relief for bloating, gas, cramping, and mild to moderate IBS. They can be consumed in food (yogurt) or as a supplement.There are several different strains of the bacteria that you can buy, all seem to be moderately effective. When buying supplements make sure that the bottle is labeled USP. This means that the supplement has been regulated by the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Peppermint Oil– Studies support the use of peppermint oil for nausea, indigestion, and IBS. In clinical trials with peppermint oil it has found to be more effective than antispasmodic drugs and fiber. It is especially useful in diarrhea predominant IBS.

Melatonin – Melatonin is a well known natural sleep aid. Recently it has been studied in regards to IBS. Melatonin has been shown to reduce pain in IBS patients when taken for two weeks. This is a short time period and further trials are needed. The recommended dose is 3 mg/day taken at night. Since it is a sleep aid it is important to take it at night. Users did not report any sleep disturbances or drowsiness while taking the supplement. Here is a great article.

Fiber – Last but not least, we have our good friend fiber. Of course fiber is best for constipation and people who have IBS-C. The recommendation for fiber is 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed. Since most people consume about 2000 calories, that makes the recommendation 28 grams per day. The majority of Americans could use a little more fiber in their diets. When increasing your fiber be sure to add it in slowly and drink plenty of water!
Are there any supplements or functional foods, that you have questions about? Please let me know! I wish everyone happy, healthy tummies.