Finding the best vitamins for digestive health can be a daunting task. Our digestive systems are critical to our overall wellbeing. When it is not functioning correctly, it can lead to all sorts of problems. While some issues with the digestive system stem from autoimmune disorders, like Crohn’s, other can be prevented by getting the right nutrients.

Unfortunately, while the first step should always start with changes to your diet, that is not always possible. Some people have a hard time getting enough vitamins to aid their digestive tract through food sources. When this happens, they turn to vitamin supplements and enzymes.

If you have ever stood in front of rows of vitamins, you know how frustrating it can be to find the right ones. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have enough knowledge to find the best vitamins for digestive health.

What Does the Digestive Tract Do?

The best vitamins for digestive health feed a large system of organs.

Image: CC by 4.0 International, by Natalieconstancehall, via Wikimedia Commons

The digestive tract is part of the digestive system. The digestive tract, also known as the GI tract, is divided into two sections: upper and lower.

The upper digestive tract includes the mouth, esophagus, small intestine, and stomach. The upper digestive tract is made up of the large intestine and anus.

As a whole, your digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food you eat. When the food is small enough, your body absorbs the nutrients that were separated from the waste. It then uses those nutrients to repair your cells, fuel your body, and growth. Your digestive tract is responsible for moving the food through your system, absorbing the nutrients, and disposing of its waste. If one of the organs in the process starts experiencing difficulty, it can cause your whole body to go haywire. That’s why it is so vital that you find the best vitamins for digestive health.

The best digestive enzymes for you

Now, you know how the digestive system works, you might be wondering,”How exactly does the food get broken down.” Digestive enzymes, that’s how.

Digestive enzymes are produced in the small intestine, pancreas, stomach, and saliva glands. If we do not have enough digestive enzymes, your food will not be broken down. As a result, you won’t have enough nutrients being absorbed into your body. That is where enzyme supplements can come in handy.

There are probably hundreds of different types of digestive enzyme supplements on the market that help all things. So many, that it’s hard to know what exactly you should buy. You are going to want to choose a supplement that has a blend of different enzymes, especially these:

  • Amylase: helps your body digest carbohydrates
  • Proteases: breaks down proteins
  • Lipases: helps break down fats
  • Lactase: aids in digesting lactose

Keep in mind, when you start taking digestive enzyme supplements, there is probably going to be some trial and error. As with anything, your body will let you know whether or not it is working for you. Moreover, to help figure out which brand to buy, we recommend speaking to your physician. He or she can point you in the right direction and make the whole process a lot less frustrating.

You can also ask your friends and families for recommendations.

Digestive supplements that work

Supplements in a long aisle at the grocery store

Image CC by 0, via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, when you are trying to find the best vitamins for digestive health, it is helpful to know exactly which vitamins help your GI tract. Here is a list of what you need and how they function within your body.

Arguably, the most important vitamins are B-vitamins. These vitamins help your body form red blood cells and get energy from your food. They are not water-soluble, which means that they are not stored in your fat cells and need to be taken regularly. These B-vitamins are as follows:

  • B6: helps your body process the protein you consume
  • B3: also known as Niacin, it breaks down fats, alcohol, and carbohydrates
  • B1: Thiamine works with your digestive system to change carbohydrates into energy
  • Biotin: helps produce cholesterol and process proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids

If you suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder, like Crohn’s, you may want to add some other things to your daily dose of vitamins, such as:

Vitamin A: people with GI issues often suffer from a vitamin A deficiency. This can worsen the diseases and should be taken as a supplement.

Omega 3s: can reduce inflammation and help with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Tumeric: can reduce inflammation and soothe digestive issues.

Just like with the enzymes, you want to consult your physician about what are the best vitamins for digestive health for you. They can run blood tests and tell you what vitamins you are lacking and work with you to find the correct dosage.

Does Vitamin D help with digestion?

Vitamin D plays an important role in digestion. It helps your body absorb the calcium you take in. It also plays an important role in how your immune system, nerves, and muscles function.

Vitamin D receptor cells are actually present all along your digestive system. Hormones rely on vitamin D to perform their normal functions and amino acids do as well.

In a study published in Gut, scientists explained that Vitamin D and colon cancer are linked. The study found, “High plasma 25(OH)D level is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer with intense immune reaction, supporting a role of vitamin D in cancer immunoprevention through tumor-host interaction.” In laymen’s terms, that means healthy levels of vitamin D can reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Furthermore, Vitamin D has been found to aid in the prevention of prostate cancer, breast cancer, glucose intolerance, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

With all of those jobs, it is extremely important that you make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D. If you have a hard time processing the food that it is found in, like milk and yogurt, you can find supplements at your local health food or drug store.

Help Your Gut with the Best Vitamins for Digestive Health

child eating apple at window, healthy gut makes happy healthy people

Images CC by 0, via Pixabay

See? There is no reason to be overwhelmed while shopping for the best vitamins for digestive health. You just have to know what you are looking for, first and foremost. This can be accomplished by speaking to your doctor. A simple blood test will tell your doctor what you are lacking. Then you want to discuss with the doctor which supplements are best for you, whether that be an enzyme to aid in digestion or a vitamin. With the enzymes, remember there will probably be a period of trial and error. With so many on the market, you may have to try a few before you find one that provides exactly what you are looking for.

Vitamins, on the other hand, are pretty straightforward. Your doctor will tell you what your body needs, and then you can either buy them online or pick some up at a health store or pharmacy.

The good news is that once you find what you are looking for and begin taking them regularly, you will probably feel a whole lot better. One of the easiest ways to help your digestion run smoothly is by getting enough of the enzymes and vitamins it needs.

 

Featured image: CC0 Creative Commons, by cateyz, via Pixabay

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