A common question asked by patients of natural medicine practitioners is how to achieve healthy digestive function naturally. This is a great question to explore, because so many of us struggle with indigestion, constipation, diarrhea or other gastric upset. Here’s an overview of a few of the alternative health products that may keep your digestion running smoothly.
HCL (Hydrochloride): If you’re over sixty, or past menopause, and often experience bloating, indigestion, diarrhea or aren’t able to tolerate oral supplements, it’s possible these symptoms are caused by a lack of gastric acid secretion by the stomach. Without this acid secretion, what you eat isn’t fully digested and causes all kinds of digestive upsets. Nutritional supplement experts are advocating the ingestion of HCL to aid in the digestion of protein, in particular.
Lipase: This plant enzyme is reported by natural health advocates to be helpful in the metabolism of fat. The inability to properly metabolize fat can be seen in two ways: constant stomach upset or the inability to gain weight. Lipase has also been found to be important in the correct processing of triglycerides and other harmful fats.
L-Acidophilus: This probiotic is essential for complete digestion of food. People with low levels of this microorganism in their digestive systems might, for example, have trouble digesting dairy foods. For that reason, some products such as milk and yogurt may have L-Acidophilus added to aid in their digestion. Also look for L-Acidophilus in supplement form.
Berberine: A plant alkaloid found in several plant species, berberine has long been used by Chinese medicine practitioners. They believe it to be helpful to inhibit fungus such as yeast in the digestive tract, while not harming helpful microorganisms.
Fiber Supplements: Many recent studies have proven the benefit of dietary fiber. It’s been touted as the simplest method of lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. If you find it difficult to eat enough fiber every day, a fiber supplement can provide the same benefit, as well as cleansing the digestive tract and preventing constipation.
One of the best fiber supplement ingredients to look for is psyllium husks, which absorb large amounts of water and form a sticky substance that removes hardened matter from the colon. Natural remedies such as psyllium husks keep the colon clear without pharmaceuticals.
L-Carnitine: One of the most popular amino acid supplements is L-Carnitine, which supplements the same amino acid your liver creates when you eat meat. If you’re a vegetarian, you must find another way to introduce this essential amino acid into your system, as it helps to metabolize fat at the cellular level so it can be used as energy. A lack of L-Carnitine in the body can cause all fat ingested to be stored rather than metabolized, resulting in weight gain.
No matter your digestive issue, there is an herb, plant compound or other alternative health product that may help. Work with your alternative medicine provider to determine which nutritional supplements to try.
Look for the purest form of each, those without fillers or additives. Pay careful attention to dosage instructions, as these are powerful compounds with possible side effects when misused.
Natural remedies have been used for centuries by natural health practitioners. Consider these alternative health products when looking for a way to build digestive health naturally.