Problems with your digestive system can be acute or chronic. You might have lifelong problems digesting certain foods, or you might react to certain medications.
Whatever the cause, there is often a solution.
Learning to identify triggers may be all that is required to solve common digestive problems.
Around one in four people have at least one digestive symptom at any one time – so if you are struggling with digestive problems, you are certainly not alone.
The most common digestive problems are stomach ache, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and heartburn.
CBD oil could offer some relief to those living with chronic conditions such as IBS.
However, it’s also excellent when used alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle to enhance wellness.
If you’re looking for the best supplements for digestion and relief from your digestive problems, consider the following herbal supplements and common remedies.
What's in this Guide?
What Is The Digestive Tract?
The digestive tract is incredibly complex, so it’s no wonder that so much can go wrong and cause problems. Slight imbalances in your digestive system can cause a domino effect that is felt throughout the body.
The digestive system starts with the mouth and salivary glands. Next, food travels down the oesophagus and into the stomach, where the digestion process begins.
The digestive tract also includes the small and large intestine, the rectum and anus.
Other organs such as the liver, gallbladder and pancreas also contribute to the digestion process.
Your digestive tract is also filled with bacteria, known as the gut biome.
For the whole system to work together effectively, nerves, hormones, bacteria and blood are required.
The digestive tract lining is just one cell thick, which leaves it vulnerable to inflammation and irritation.
What Are Some Common Digestive Issues?
The most common problems with the digestive system include stomach upset, changes in bowel movements, indigestion and heartburn.
There are also chronic conditions that affect the digestive tract, including Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease.
Digestive problems are widespread in people of all ages.
They can be persistent or come and go in response to allergens.
For example, you might suffer from gas and bloating after eating certain vegetables. And those suffering from IBS may find they have a flare-up during periods of intense stress.
What Causes Digestive Problems?
Digestive problems may be caused by chronic illness, or they may be the result of environmental factors. Environmental factors could include sensitivities to certain medications or foods.
Digestive problems may also be linked to infection, bacteria in food and even stress. Identifying the cause of your digestive problems is often the first step towards treatment.
If you live with frequent digestive problems, you may be keen to find a potential treatment for your discomfort.
This is because digestive issues can have a considerable impact on your life, particularly if you have a frequent and urgent need to use the bathroom.
We are also learning that digestive problems can also have an impact on your mental health.
The link between gut health and the brain is revealing that digestive upset could be the cause of anxiety and depression for some people.
What Can I Take To Improve My Digestion?
If you have identified that you do not have a chronic condition or food intolerance, then it’s time to work out what is causing the disruption so you can take steps to fix it.
Sometimes it’s a case of figuring out what to cut out to help with digestion.
Some medications can trigger stomach upset.
These include aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, tranquilisers, iron tablets and even cough medicine.
Don’t stop taking your medication; instead, visit your GP or pharmacist to find out how you can reduce the adverse side effects.
Another common cause of digestive problems is related to your diet. If you aren’t getting enough fibre, this can lead to digestive problems.
A diet high in fat and sugar can also lead to issues. Eating too quickly and not chewing your food properly can also cause issues.
And finally, stress can also contribute to digestive problems. In some cases, stress can slow down digestion which leads to bloating, gas and constipation.
In others, it can speed up digestion, leading to diarrhoea.
Identifying your triggers and eliminating them is often the first step to tackling digestion problems.
What Are The Best Supplements for Digestion and Digestive Issues?
Using a probiotic supplement can help to support the gut biome. If an imbalance in your gut biome causes your digestive problems, this can help to correct it.
CBD oil may help to support your health and wellbeing. It is thought to lower cortisol levels, which can help to protect the gut lining.
Cortisol breaks down tissue in the body and can attack the thin lining of the intestinal tract. By allowing your gut to heal, you may be able to enhance your sense of wellness.
Peppermint and ginger
Peppermint and ginger are excellent choices for settling an upset stomach. If you suffer from nausea, cramping or bloating, drinking tea made with ginger or peppermint may help.
Oregano oil is also commonly used to help tackle digestive problems by tackling something known as “leaky gut”. It can also help to reduce the presence of parasites in the gut.
L-theanine is another common supplement to support gut health. It is thought to have a positive influence on intestinal bacteria by supporting the good bacteria while suppressing the harmful bacteria. It also helps to alleviate intestinal stress.
Is There A Link Between Mental Health and Gut Health?
Researchers are learning more about how gut health influences wider health. For example, researchers have discovered something known as the gut-brain axis, which suggests direct communication between the central nervous system and the gut microbiota.
This discovery suggests that protecting your gut health could have a positive impact on mental health.
One review by researchers at Texas Tech University suggests that restoring normal microbial balance could show potential for treating anxiety and depression.
In a 30-day study, healthy volunteers with no previous depressive symptoms were either given probiotics or antidepressants.
Those given probiotics showed reduced cortisol levels and improved self-reported mood.
The results were in line with what researchers would expect to see following the use of Diazepam, a commonly used anti-anxiety medication.