The Power of 3 for Optimal Digestive Health

If having better gut health (or maintaining the good gut health you currently enjoy) is one of your self-care goals, there is no better way than by adding the power of three – probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes.

Putting these three powerful tools together will help improve your digestion and help eliminate digestive issues. Together they can also help maximize the nutrition you get from everything you eat, which boosts your immune system and your overall health.

 

Your Gut Health

Your gut contains trillions of both good and bad bacteria; together, they make up your gut microbiome. When your microbiome is in balance, meaning good bacteria dominate and far outnumber harmful bacteria – all of your bodily systems work better.

Eating yogurt and fermented foods rich in probiotics is an excellent way to help maintain gut balance. Another way you can help the good bacteria thrive is by taking probiotics and prebiotic supplements together.

 

Probiotics & Prebiotics – What’s the Difference?

Think of the relationship between probiotics and prebiotics like a garden. Probiotics are the diverse plants, flowers, and trees that bring the garden to life. Prebiotics are like fertilizer that helps the plants in your garden grow lush and strong.

Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help your gut perform many duties that dramatically benefit your overall health. Probiotics supplements reinforce helpful bacteria, delivering microbes directly to where you need them.

Prebiotics are types of starches and fiber that feed the good bacteria in your microbiome and allow them to thrive.

But that’s not all prebiotics do for you; their benefits go beyond food for good gut bacteria. Prebiotics strengthen your bones by enhancing the absorption of magnesium and calcium. Prebiotic also take part in fat metabolism and appetite regulation.

Taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements together like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics and Ulitmate Prebiotic Complex helps create a more balanced microbiome, leading to better digestion, fewer gastric disruptions, and more complete nutrient absorption. And better nutrient absorption means your entire body gets more of what it needs for health and wellbeing.

Digestive Enzymes

Enzymes are a type of protein within cells that create chemical reactions. Your body contains many different kinds of enzymes that help perform various tasks like removing toxins from your body, digesting food, and building muscles. Digestive enzymes are enzymes that turn the food you eat into the molecules you use as energy.

There are four primary digestive enzymes. Protease helps breakdown protein. Amylase comes from the salivary glands, pancreas, and intestines to break down starch and carbs. Lactase breaks down lactose or milk sugar. And lipase comes from the intestines and breaks down oils and fats.

Several factors impact your digestive enzymes. Food choices can either help or hinder them, and certain foods like pineapple, papaya, mango, and spinach contain some digestive enzymes.

Unhealthy things we consume like alcohol can alter the stomach and intestines’ pH and reduce the number of digestive enzymes in your system. Some health issues and prescription medications like antibiotics can also reduce digestive enzymes.

Without enough digestive enzymes, your body can’t digest your food correctly, which leads to food intolerances that feel like cramps, uncomfortable bloating, and gas or worse. When the enzymes in your body are affected, or your digestive enzyme production isn’t as good as it should be, digestive enzyme supplements can help.

Digestive enzyme supplements help fortify the enzymes in your stomach and intestines to help improve digestion. Chose a digestive enzyme supplement like Stonehenge Health’s Incredible Digestive Enzymes that contains a complete range of enzymes able to break down the most troublesome foods like dairy and gluten.

Whether you reach for prebiotic or probiotic supplements, digestive enzymes, or all three, it’s well worth the benefits you’ll feel. Boosting your gut health will give you long-term benefits that affect your entire body, get more nutrition from the foods you eat and give you a more robust immune system, and so much more.

Sources:

  1. “Probiotics | American Gastroenterological Association”. 2020. American Gastroenterological Association. https://gastro.org/practice-guidance/gi-patient-center/topic/probiotics/.Bottom of Form
  2. Deng Y, Misselwitz B, Dai N, Fox M. Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary ManagementNutrients. 2015;7(9):8020-35. doi:10.3390/nu7095380
  3. Peyrot des Gachons C, Breslin PA. Salivary amylase: digestion and metabolic syndromeCurr Diab Rep. 2016;16(10):102. doi:10.1007/s11892-016-0794-7
  4. Legette, LeeCole L., WangHee Lee, Berdine R. Martin, Jon A. Story, Jessica K. Campbell, and Connie M. Weaver. 2012. “Prebiotics Enhance Magnesium Absorption And Inulin-Based Fibers Exert Chronic Effects On Calcium Utilization In A Postmenopausal Rodent Model”. Journal Of Food Science77 (4): 88-94. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02612.x.
  5. FDA 101: Dietary supplements. (2015).gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements
  6. Gut reaction: A limited role for digestive enzyme supplements. (2018).harvard.edu/staying-healthy/gut-reaction-a-limited-role-for-digestive-enzyme-supplements
  7. “Probiotics | American Gastroenterological Association”. 2020. American Gastroenterological Association. https://gastro.org/practice-guidance/gi-patient-center/topic/probiotics/
  8. “23 Effects Of Alcohol On Your Body”. 2020. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body#2.

5 Common Signs of a Gluten Sensitivity and How to Remedy It

Gluten has, in recent years, been demonized in many circles, leading to a mass boycott of this family of proteins. But gluten is harmless if you don’t have an adverse reaction to it.

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. Gluten consists of two main proteins called glutenin and gliadin. When these two proteins mix with water, they become glue-like in consistency, hence the name. Gluten gives bread dough it’s elastic nature and gives the final product its much-beloved chewy texture.

Around one percent of the population has celiac disease, which is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. In people with celiac disease, the immune system believes that the gluten proteins are foreign invaders, and it attacks them–along with the gut wall. Classified as an autoimmune disease, celiac disease can cause severe damage to the digestive system.

Gluten sensitivity, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is different from celiac disease and has milder symptoms. Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity doesn’t damage the gut lining, but it can cause serious intestinal discomfort nonetheless.

Studies show that the majority of people who believe they’re gluten intolerant may not have a gluten sensitivity at all. One study found that only 25 percent of those who reported gluten sensitivity met the diagnostic criteria. That doesn’t mean that eating a lot of gluten still won’t make your gut unhappy.

Common Symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity are wide-ranging, and some, like headaches, aren’t directly related to digestion. On their own, each symptom can have a myriad of causes. But if multiple symptoms occur together, it could be a sign of gluten sensitivity. The following are the five most common signs of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

1. Bloating


Bloating is a very common digestive woe, and it’s associated with all kinds of foods and conditions. Research shows that around 87 percent of people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience frequent bloating discomfort.

2. Diarrhea and constipation


People who have regular bouts of diarrhea or constipation may be gluten-sensitive, especially if their feces are particularly foul-smelling. A recent study found that over half of people with gluten sensitivity have frequent diarrhea, and around 25 percent experience regular constipation.

3. Headaches


While headaches are very common and have numerous causes, regular headaches that occur along with digestive symptoms can indicate a gluten sensitivity. In fact, some studies show that gluten-sensitive people may be more likely to experience migraines than non-sensitive people.

4. Fatigue


Up to 82 percent of people with gluten sensitivity frequently feel tired and fatigued, according to research, especially after eating foods containing gluten. In some cases, gluten intolerance can cause anemia, which contributes to fatigue.

5. Skin issues


Skin problems are common in people with celiac disease, and they can also indicate a gluten sensitivity in those without celiac. Skin problems associated with gluten sensitivity include psoriasis (scaly, red skin), alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss), and chronic urticaria (itchy, pink or red lesions with pale centers).

How Gluten Sensitivity is Diagnosed and Treated

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is diagnosed if:

•You experience immediate symptoms after ingesting gluten.
•You cut out gluten and symptoms disappear.
•You re-introduce gluten and experience symptoms again.
•Medical exams rule out celiac disease and wheat allergy.
•A blinded gluten test confirms non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

If you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the most important thing to do is to take good care of your digestive health every day to reduce symptoms. A daily probiotic like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics can help keep your gut flora in balance to reduce digestive discomfort, while our Incredible Digestive Enzymes support gluten digestion as well as the digestion of carbs, dairy, and fiber.

Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your gluten sensitivity, you may need to avoid gluten altogether, although some people with this condition can consume small amounts of gluten without too much trouble. Through trial and error, and with supplemental digestive support, you can find out what works best for you.





 

 

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24740495
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19362553
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24885375/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12741468/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003198/

The 10 Worst Foods for IBS

For many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms may be triggered by specific foods. What triggers your symptoms may be different from what triggers the symptoms of fellow sufferers, but these 10 foods are likely culprits for anyone with IBS.

1. Gluten

Although gluten is often unfairly demonized, it’s fair to say that gluten can be a major trigger for IBS. Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains, including rye, wheat, and barley. Many people who have IBS are also gluten intolerant and may experience symptoms like bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.

2. Fried Foods

Fried foods are high in fat and can be particularly hard on the digestive systems of people who have IBS. Frying food makes it more difficult to digest, so other cooking methods are recommended for people with IBS and other gastrointestinal problems.

3. Caffeine

Coffee and other drinks containing caffeine stimulate the intestines and can cause diarrhea. Instead of consuming drinks with caffeine when you need a little boost, go for a brisk walk.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are found in sugarless gum, candy, and diet drinks. Commonly used artificial sweeteners include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, and sucralose, and since these and other sugar substitutes are difficult for the body to absorb, they can easily trigger IBS symptoms.

5. Alcohol

Many people with IBS have trouble drinking alcohol because of how their body digests it. The dehydrating effects of alcohol are also problematic for people with IBS. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, stick with gluten-free beer, or enjoy a cocktail mixed with soda water.

6. Broccoli and Cauliflower

While broccoli and cauliflower are healthy vegetables, they’re not always ideal for people with IBS. These vegetables are among the hardest for people to digest, and when they’re broken down in the intestines, they produce gas and may cause constipation.

7. Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is that which can’t be digested. Although it adds healthy bulk to your diet, insoluble fiber can make diarrhea worse for people with IBS. Soluble fiber, which is found in grains, root vegetables, legumes, and berries, is a better choice if you have digestive woes.

8. Dairy

Dairy products contain fat, which can worsen diarrhea. They also contain lactose, and since many people with IBS are also lactose intolerant, dairy products may need to be restricted. Suitable dairy substitutes include rice, soy, or nut milks and cheeses.

9. Beans and Legumes

For some people, beans and legumes can help reduce constipation by increasing the bulk in the stool. But they’re also notorious for causing gas, cramping, and bloating, especially in people with IBS. Different varieties can produce different results, so trial and error may help you find which types you can safely eat.

10. Processed Foods

Highly processed foods like bread, crackers, sweets, and chips contain high levels of fat, sugar, preservatives, and other additives that can cause problems with digestion. Choosing mostly fresh, whole foods is the healthiest way to eat whether or not you have IBS.

Everyone’s IBS triggers are different, and once you know what yours are, staying away from those foods will help you remain as symptom-free as possible. Regardless of what you eat, a daily probiotic like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics can help you maintain optimal gut flora balance for better digestion and fewer IBS symptoms.



Sources:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/eating-diet-nutrition
https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs-a-to-z

The Mysteries of Your Digestive System Revealed

human digestive system

If you often feel cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or pain in your gut, you must know that digestive woes are extremely common. In America 60 to 70 million people live with a digestive disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

From chronic constipation to Crohn’s disease and from gallstones to gastroesophageal reflux disease, digestive problems can dramatically lower your quality of life. Understanding how Continue reading “The Mysteries of Your Digestive System Revealed”

Taking Antibiotics? Here’s What You Should Eat

Woman taking antibiotic

Antibiotics save lives, but they can do a number on your gut microbiota (flora), a complex ecosystem of microbes that helps keep us healthy. In recent years, healthy gut flora has been associated with optimal functioning of numerous body systems, including the nervous and digestive systems, and it promotes a healthy brain and optimal hormonal function.

Continue reading “Taking Antibiotics? Here’s What You Should Eat”

Fighting IBS with Behavioral Therapy

Up to 20 percent of Americans have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. In some cases, the symptoms are minor, but in others, they border on debilitating. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating and gas, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. A diagnosis of IBS is made when symptoms occur at least three days out of the week and last at least three months.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for IBS. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms, and this typically requires a range of lifestyle changes.

Common home remedies and lifestyle changes include:
•Getting regular exercise to help keep things moving and improve overall health.
•Reducing caffeine, which can excite the digestive system.
•Eating smaller meals to reduce the impact of food on the gut.
•Minimizing stress, which can worsen symptoms.
•Taking daily probiotics: Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics.
•Avoiding spicy and deep-fried foods, which can cause pain, bloating and other issues.

If lifestyle changes don’t work to control your IBS symptoms, a few medications may be used to control muscle spasms, combat constipation, and reduce pain. But before you throw in the towel and opt for medication, consider giving cognitive-behavioral therapy a shot.

Treating IBS with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Increasingly, the medical community is recommending cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, as part of a holistic approach to treating IBS. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.” According to an article published in the journal Psychology Research and Behavior Management, CBT has been tested in numerous randomized, controlled trials and has been found to consistently produce significant effects on symptoms of IBS and overall quality of life.

The biopsychosocial framework of IBS addresses the interactions between biology, behavior, cognitive processes, and the environment. CBT addresses these interactions.

To break it down:
•Biology refers to things like genetic predisposition, low-grade inflammation, and altered gut microbiota.
•Behavior includes things like illness-related behaviors and symptom avoidance behaviors.
•Cognitive processes include coping skills, brain-gut dysregulation, and visceral anxiety.
•Environment refers to things like stressful life events, trauma, and lifestyle choices.

The biopsychosocial model centers on the brain-gut axis, which refers to the bi-directional and highly complex interactions between the brain and the gut. Stress and other psychological factors directly influence the functioning of the gut and contribute to IBS symptoms.

Recent research using brain imaging techniques have found abnormalities in central sensory processing among people with IBS. These include greater activation of emotional arousal networks among people with IBS, compared to those without, and a reduced ability to down-regulate pain.

Research also shows that people with IBS have increased anxiety and may develop a fear of social situations, worry about eating in public and misinterpret normal digestive processes as dangerous. They also may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that increase stress and worsen symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy targets cognitive processes that influence the brain-gut axis and improves symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals with IBS examine their thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes concerning their illness and change those that are dysfunctional or which make symptoms worse. By modifying thought and behavior patterns, people with IBS can enjoy improved symptoms and better coping skills, and research shows that these improvements are maintained for at least a year after treatment.

CBT for IBS is becoming more prevalent, but it’s still not easily accessible for some. Talk to your doctor about a referral to a licensed cognitive-behavioral therapist who works with IBS patients. If one isn’t available in your community, you can find one who conducts sessions online. If you have IBS and haven’t found relief from your symptoms through lifestyle changes, consider CBT. It can help you feel better and improve your quality of life by leaps and bounds.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5530860/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28819814