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Managing Digestive Health

How do I manage my digestive health?

Vitamins, Minerals and other Supplements

Eat high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains;

High-fiber extracts of fruits and vegetables could help those who for various reasons do not consume enough fruits and vegetables.

Fiber supplements derived from plants are generally considered the safest of laxatives. They must be taken with plenty of water to avoid obstruction in the digestive tracks.

Ispaghula husk is the most widely used fiber supplement. Ispaghula or psyllium is the common name of the plant genus, whose seeds provide the husk from which the fiber is extracted to make fiber supplements. 

The fiber as it passes through the intestine absorbs excess water and stimulates normal bowel elimination. Although used mainly as laxative, it can also help reduce symptoms of mild diarrhea.

In addition, supplements derived  from the seed of this plant genus is used in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and dysentery. Other uses include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, weight control, and serious renal disease.

While it has been proven that psyllium can help lower cholesterol levels, there is no proof yet that it reduce the risk of developing heart disease. It is not included in dietary therapy by the American Heart Association.

Probiotics: these supplements contain living organisms – friendly bacteria, particularly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, and one type of yeast normally found in the human digestive tract. These resemble good bacteria in the gut that contribute to proper digestion. These probiotics taken together can  reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo, according to clinical studies.

Please consult your physician if you must take supplements.

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