Commonly thought of as only a gym supplement, glutamine is actually best understood to repair and support the gut lining, especially while under stress. In Japan, glutamine is the most popular anti-ulcer medication prescribed by doctors in dosages of 20 grams a day or more.
As seen in the improvement of gut permeability, glutamine can improve the growth and survival of enterocytes, or intestinal cells. This finding alone leaves us with further and more important connections to make on overall stress, inflammation, and immune response.
#2 Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber means that it is fermentable, or digestible by the body. The primary mechanism of soluble forms of fiber is that it increases levels of beneficial or friendly bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Soluble fiber serves to calm the stomach, increase digestion efficiency while easing constipation and other adverse gut side effects such as diarrhea. Finally, we can find soluble fiber in studies lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, appetite, and body weight.
Dietary fiber still remains a “Keto-friendly” and “Vegan-friendly” food source we find in popular options such as avocados, nuts, and even some fiber supplements, such as psyllium. As previously discussed, dietary fiber produces SCFAs, serotonin, and GABA in the body.
#3 Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble does not dissolve in water, contains no calories, and is not digestible by the gut. Despite not being digestible, we have discovered insoluble fiber to alter the gut microbiome positively in as little as two weeks.
Containing no usable carbohydrates, we refer to insoluble fiber as a metaphoric “brush for the insides”. In contrast to soluble fiber, insoluble fiber speeds up digestion, to reduce constipation, by adding “bulk” thus maintaining regularity.
We find insoluble fiber to lower the risk of heart disease in high-risk individuals. Finally, insoluble fiber improves insulin sensitivity and risk for type 2 diabetes.
#4 Digestive Enzymes
The aging process along with stress lowers the production of our natural digestive enzymes. Optimizing digestion is critically important as undigested food matter feeds the harmful bacteria, which further worsens the problem of gut dysbiosis, a condition where the balance in the gut microbiome favors the “bad” bacteria.
Plant-based enzymes can work for vegans, however, full-spectrum animal-sourced enzymes are more effective, as they more closely resemble human enzymes. We can use a full spectrum of digestive enzymes to supplement our meals, to optimize our digestion.
#5 Marine Collagen (Or Glycine, Hydroxyproline, Proline)
Marine based collagen in studies perform as the best type of collagen for repairing and supporting the gut. While glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline are the three amino acids involved with this process, vegans can use separate glycine and proline supplements as an option.
Vegan collagen supplements do not appear to perform as effectively as taking the isolated amino acids. Because of their promotion of deeper sleep and drowsiness, many will take collagen supplements before bedtime.
#6 Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a proven gut workhorse. Not only does aloe vera lower gut inflammation, it as well can soothe, calm, and repair the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Also proven to heal ulcers and lower gut permeability, aloe is available in both aloe vera juice and capsules. Aloe remains a reliable option for everyday gut health for all health optimizers.
The active polyphenol compound found in turmeric, curcumin, is a member of the ginger family and has a gastro-protective mechanism of action according to several studies. Curcumin relaxes the intestinal tract for more efficient digestion, supports healthy microbiome bacterial balance, protects the stomach from inflammation, and finally supports the liver and storage of blood fats, by increasing bile secretion.
We have found piperine from black pepper to increase the otherwise low bioavailability of curcumin. When taken with meals containing black pepper, fat will also increase the absorption of curcumin.
Often considered a potent blood sugar modulator, the use of berberine is finding support for gut inflammation diseases. Much like curcumin, berberine improves the gut microbiome balance and additionally lowers overall inflammation.
Berberine offers anti-pathogenic properties including activity on viruses and bacteria besides its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. One study found it in combination with NAC to be a disruptor of the bacterial biofilm.
#9 Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
Licorice, in this patented form of Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), does not carry adverse blood pressure effects, while still delivering valuable protection of digestive tract lining along with more efficient digestion support.
Popular in use as an aid for gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD), DGL typically comes in a chewable form, much like an antacid chewable, and is likewise available in capsule form.