There are a ton of supplements out there that purport to help you slim down. Be careful about these claims. Not only are most too good to be true, but some can be dangerous and do long term damage to your metabolism and overall health. I started researching this a few months ago after looking for a high quality vitamin D supplement brand…what I found was a Consumer Reports study saying:
We found levels of lead in nine of 12 supplements that combine vitamin D with calcium that would have triggered warnings for reproductive risk under California Proposition 65.
Horrendous!! And these are LEADING DRUGSTORE BRANDS. Be very careful where you get your supplements from. Just because it’s a leading brand doesn’t mean it’s safe. There has been lead and even arsenic found in a bunch of other ones as well. Make it easy on yourself and skip the clutter and opt for a clean brand like Care/of. In fact they’re not only clean and reliable, but they personalize vitamin packs for you and they’re affordable (vitamin D is just $5 for a month supply).
I turned to Dr. Jeffrey Glad, who is on the Care/of Scientific Advisory Board, to ask him a few questions about what supplements to take to fight bloating and inflammation.
What supplements do you suggest to fight bloating/inflammation?
Taking the right supplements can help support healthy digestion, but when it comes to bloating, I recommend a much more comprehensive approach. You should have a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle already in place, which includes whole foods nutrition, quality rest and sleep, and habits around relaxation. Often, the foods you consume can contribute to bloating, so adopting certain healthy diets that exclude gluten and dairy can be beneficial. However, there are plenty of times where the discomfort persists despite a focus on diet and lifestyle. Supplements to consider including in your health routine are:
Digestive enzymes: Enzymes are can help break down foods and minimize any discomfort that they may be causing. It is best to take 1-2 digestive enzyme capsules 30-45 minutes before the meal to ensure adequate presence in the digestive tract at the time of eating.
Probiotics: A good starting point for finding an effective probiotic is to choose products with 10-20 billion colonies. These good bugs not only protect the immune system, but also play a role in aiding in the digestion and processing of food.
Acid support: Many people find benefits in supporting acid levels for digestion prior to a meal. Apple cider vinegar or betaine and pepsin can be beneficial in these cases, with the following precautions. Start with small doses and gradually increase as tolerated to avoid irritating the digestive tract.
Are these supplements you suggest people take “forever”?
Ideally supplements are recommended on an as-needed basis as opposed to “forever.” For that reason, I emphasize the lifestyle aspects of health first and foremost as therapy. There are certainly individuals who take digestive supplements like probiotics or digestive enzymes on a long-term basis for support, and that can be a healthy decision, too. That being said, if one has to remain on a restricted diet or can only tolerate food with the help of supplementation, they should consider investigating the health and function of their digestive system with a functional medicine specialist.
How long till people can expect to see a result?
I usually recommend four to six weeks for people to start monitoring any changes in digestive health. Sometimes, people see results sooner, however that should not be the expectation or else people change their plan every week and have little insight into knowing what works. Once you’ve found the right balance of supplementation and diet changes, I recommend staying the course for at least a month without change before starting to add foods back or altering your supplement regimen.
When picking supplements there are a lof of options, what are particular things to look for, for the specific ones you recommend?
I generally avoid recommending specific products because every individual is different and has their own specific needs- there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Ultimately, I advise that you incorporate products into your health routine that are high quality, pharmaceutical-grade and from natural sources.
Enzymes: Look for products that contain a variety of vegetarian-sourced enzymes to ensure the breakdown of a variety of foods.
Probiotics: Look for products that deliver 10-20 billion colonies of a variety of species of bacteria. The list on the back label should be 7 or more types of bugs.
Apple Cider Vinegar: An organic liquid version or capsules can be used for those who are on the go and cannot conveniently carry liquid.
What do you suggest for people who are already getting enough fiber in their diet, but still feeling like their digestion is sluggish?
First, look into your diet. Try eliminating some of the common food irritants starting with gluten and dairy. Often those foods are harder to breakdown and may cause some stagnation in the digestive tract. I also recommend having the thyroid function tested to ensure optimal levels. Work with a provider that looks beyond just the TSH and instead also evaluates free T4 and free T3. After that, consideration for the above recommendation for bloating can be therapeutic. If you don’t see results, then it is time to consider investigation into digestive function and bacteria levels to determine if there is a root cause.