Best supplements for gut health to rebalance the microbiome and keep you feeling your best

·13-min read
 (The Nue Co.)
(The Nue Co.)

In the post-party season, we all crave some balance. After the indulgent eating, drinking and celebrating of the festive period, our health can take a bit of a beating and leave you feeling worse for wear. The first step is healthy eating. Good nourishment affects everything from our energy levels, to our metabolism and our appearance - and it all starts in a complex network of organs that make up the gut.

Gut health plays a huge role in our body’s ability to function and is an incredibly important component in our overall health. An unhappy gut can result in a host of digestive issues, but also has a starring role in so many other aspects in the body including our brain and heart health, maintaining a robust immune system, and can impact our skin, hair and nails.

There’s no better time to give your gut a helping hand to reap all the benefits of a healthy and happy tummy. But if you’re still uncertain, we’ve broken down the science into digestible parts (pun intended) to unlock the door to better health, improved skin and boost your immunity.

What is the gut and what does it do?

Otherwise known as the gastrointestinal tract, the gut is the long tube that starts with the mouth and ends at the back door. It includes the stomach and the small and large intestine and is in charge of digesting food and absorbing the nutrients the body needs to function. One of the most important parts of the gut is the microbiome, which plays a huge role in controlling digestion and many other aspects. An imbalance in the microbiome can contribute to things like weight gain, high cholesterol and skin conditions related to inflammation such as eczema.

What exactly is a microbiome?

The first thing to know is that the gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microscopic living things known as microbes. Think of it as its own ecosystem made up of different fungi and bacteria strains co-existing with one another. It’s this teeming garden of life that affects many of the most important processes in the body including digestion and immunity - playing that oh-so important role in your health. They can weigh up to two kilograms in total, making them approximately the same weight as your brain.

Out of all the microbes living inside you, bacteria are the most studied. Fun fact: there are actually more bacteria cells in the human body than human cells (40 trillion bacterial cells over a paltry 30 trillion human cells to be exact). Which basically means we are more bacteria than human. Although this might sound like a horrifying plot twist in a science fiction film, these bacteria strains are mostly very good for us (the friendly bacteria that we want on our side). There are up to 1000 different species of bacteria in the gut microbiome, with each one playing a different and crucial part in the proper functioning of your body.

How the microbiome affects our health

A higher microbiome diversity is considered good for us. A happy gut = a diverse ecosystem of happy and friendly microbes.

Some of the ways the microbiome affects our body is digesting fibre and producing fatty acids needed for good gut health, preventing weight gain, reducing risk of cancer and preventing heart disease. What you might not know is just how big an effect a balanced microbiome has on your immunity, brain health in affecting our mood, heart health and your physical appearance including healthy skin, hair and nails.

Immunity

It makes sense that eating vitamin-rich foods can help to strengthen our immunity. But the gut microbiome also controls how well the immune system works. The microbes communicate with our body’s immune cells and control how well your body responds to infection. “70 per cent of the body’s immune system cells are found in the gut”, explains Manifesto’s naturopathic nutritionist Jess Shand. “It’s the microbiome that maintains homeostasis in the body which is why it’s so important we prioritise the health of our gut”.

Brain health

The gut is also physically connected to the brain through millions of nerve cells, and helps to control messages that are sent to the brain though those nerves. So the health of your microbiome can affect brain health and functioning which can directly affect your mood and energy levels. Some species of bacteria even help to produce chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. The antidepressant neurotransmitter Serotonin is mostly made in the gut.

Heart health

Other species of bacteria such as the Lactobacilli work to lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Taking these as a probiotic can help to offset some of the unfriendly work other bacteria in the gut does that can contribute to heart disease.

Beauty

“The skin is our largest organ and an area we’re naturally hyper aware of. It’s usually the first place we notice inflammation and if something is out of balance which is essentially a reflection of what’s going on internally” Jess reveals. “This topic is what I refer to as the ‘gut-skin connection’ because good gut health really is the key to optimising skin health”. There’s not a lot of topical skin treatments will do if there’s an imbalance in your gut. Gut TLC will offer much bigger benefits than even your most potent sheet mask.

Making our gut happy and healthy

Now that you’re up to speed on just how important our gut is, the next question is how to make it the happiest it’s ever been. One of the most important things is the food that you eat. Nutrient-rich foods let your happy microbes do their best work by helping the body to do what it needs to do to get that inner and outer glow.

“Increasing dietary fibre and boosting your meals with an abundance of colourful, nutrient-dense whole foods is simple yet powerful enough to make a difference to what your skin looks like externally and will support your entire body’s functioning”, confirms Jess. “You will be providing your internal system with the essential nutrients and gut-feeding fibre (your microbiome’s favourite type of food) to aid your digestive system function, which will help eliminate toxins and waste and help maintain hormone equilibrium to support skin and overall health”.

Aside from a balanced and nutrient rich diet, there’s also a broad spectrum of targeted supplements available on the market you can invest in for optimising gut health. “While food should always come first when it comes to enhancing gut health, supplementation can be the missing piece of the puzzle” Jess adds.

Supplements are also a great way to replenish our gut with the friendly bacteria we need to support the microbiome, which our modern diets often lack. For targeted gut health, they often include potent doses of probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live and active bacterial microbes that are good for the gut, while prebiotics are the fibre that feeds them and helps them to grow.

While we should all be trying to keep our gut happy and healthy, sometimes there may be specific areas we want to tackle. The beauty industry is fast catching up with the power of the microbiome and its effects on our skin and hair and many beauty supplements now include doses of prebiotic fibre to feed your microbiome in their ingredient list of skin-enhancing vitamins.

We’ve curated a selection of great supplements you can include in your daily regimen to support your gut and keep it feeling happy and thriving. From the targeted beauty sachets, to health-boosting powders that include digestive enzymes and prebiotics, there’s so many to choose from. One thing’s for certain, everybody and anybody can benefit from taking a small extra step in keeping and maintaining a happy, balanced gut.

The Nue Co. Probiotic + Prebiotic Supplements

This signature multi-vitamin blend from female-owned supplement brand, The Nue Co. contains a mix of prebiotic inulin and probiotic complex. Designed with happy guts in mind, the blend delivers 15 billion spores in a daily dose. They work to aid digestion and stabilise blood sugar levels ,while feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut.

The probiotic used is derived from soil and delivers a hefty five billion potent Bacillus Coagulans spores per capsule. The spores are activated by the pH of your small intestine which is where they work their magic. This strain is particularly effective for flatter tummies and to increase energy levels. You will also be able to reap all the perks of a happy gut including better skin, mood, immunity and cognitive function.

The prebiotic inulin, taken from artichoke tuber, is used a ‘fertiliser’ for the bacteria to enhance its potency. With extra-powerful friendly bacteria on your side, your microbiome is set to flourish and thrive.

It’s also vegan friendly.

Buy now £45.00, Cult Beauty

Edible Health Digestive Enzyme Collagen

Edible Health has taken their popular Bovine Collagen Hydrolysate powder - a powerful probiotic collagen super-blend - and added a host of tummy-pleasing ingredients to aid digestive health. Think of it as a dose of potent collagen with all the extra benefits of probiotics, minerals and triglycerides for the happiest of guts.

The pineapple flavour is perfect for adding into smoothies. It is made up of a combination of freeze-dried pineapple (a process that retains 90 per cent of its nutritional value) and Bovine Collagen (that contains 100 per cent pure collagen protein peptides that includes 18 amino acids). Collagen aids muscle recovery and repair as well as boosts immunity, healthy joints, skin and hair.

The Digestive Enzyme Blend includes 15 added super-nutrients that target gut health including; anti-inflammatory antioxidants and herbs, a probiotic Lactospore Bacillus Coagulans and prebiotics to encourage friendly bacteria to flourish and thrive. Digestive enzymes are added to the mix to aid in nutrient absorption and reduce gas, bloating and indigestion.

Buy now £34.95, Amazon

Aguulp for gut support

Stephen Manderson, aka Professor Green, founded Aguulp after a lifelong battle with gut health. The brand specialises in liquid supplements that target and improve specific areas such as sleep, immunity and cognitive function.

Their formula for gut support, Aguulp for Gut, feeds healthy gut bacteria and repairs its lining with ingredients picked for their targeted tummy-pleasing properties.

It comes in a sweet and fairly pleasant mint flavour, which tastes like a shot of Tic Tac rather than a shot of toothpaste and the goodness is delivered in a patented liquid liposomal technology that offers up to 98 per cent absorption in one gulp.

Buy now £35.00, Aguulp

Glow Bar Moon Shakes

Shop wellness brand Glow Bar’s range of Moon Milk powders for a daily dose of wellness that ticks multiple boxes. The ingredient list is packed with superfoods and healing adaptogenic herbs.

The Yoni Moon Milk and Naked Moon Shake both include the natural prebiotic chicory root inulin fibre to keep guts happy and healthy.

Buy now £30.00, Glow Bar London

Manifesto Beauty Gummies

These Beauty Gummy supplements from Manfiesto support healthy hair, skin and nail growth. They include a dose of prebiotic fibre inulin to feed the microbiome and keep your gut healthy and happy - which aids towards glowing skin. Other ingredients include biotin as well as potent antioxidants astaxanthin and acai berries for a supercharged beauty supplement.

Buy now £39.90, Manifesto

Wild Nutrition Multi Strain Biotic

This probiotic formula restores and replenishes friendly bacteria in the gut to support a healthy and thriving microbiome. The formulas are high-strength at 30 billion per dose, and are ideal for both every day support and for recovery purposes. It comes in handy when the good bacteria in you tummy might be in need of some extra TLC such as in the post-party season or perhaps after a course of medication when friendly bacteria is commonly lost.

Use by mixing a teaspoons filled amount into a glass of water daily, and drinking on an empty stomach.

Buy now £37.00, Planet Organic

Sons Gut Health Supplement

These live bacterial supplements from Sons aim to specifically treat digestive problems and improve the health of the gut. They are aimed at men who are experiencing gut issues such as bloating, abdominal pain and other IBS symptoms.

The probiotic used in the formula is LP299V, which binds to the gut wall and encourages the lining to produce mucus. This in turn helps to strengthen the gut wall and protect it against irritation.

Buy now £44.00, Sons

Symprove

This water-based formula is a packed with live and active friendly bacteria to replenish and feed the good bacteria in the microbiome. The water-based solution creates the best set of conditions for the bacterial goodness to reach your gut alive and kicking. This is by not triggering digestion when ingested (where the acids of the stomach can be too harsh for the bacteria) but by giving them a better chance to reach the gut safe and sound where they can to their best work in helping to create a thriving ecosystem.

The recommended course for best results is 12 weeks, and requires taking 70ml of the formula every morning on an empty stomach.

Buy now £149.00, Symprove

Inessa Advanced Biotic Complex

This supplement contains 50 billion live organisms from seven science-backed strains selected for specific gut health requirements such as IBS and IBD.

The high-strength formula is great for targeted recovery from food poisoning or tummy bugs, and for giving you an extra bit of support when taking antibiotics. Included in the formula are five billion saccharomyces boulardii cultures, a strain that is proven to be effective in treating gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea.

The delayed-release capsules also help the live formula to reach the gut in one piece without being damaged by stomach acid.

Buy now £19.99, Amazon

Naked Biotics 90 Day Starter Plan

The supplements in Naked Biotics range each have healthy guts in mind. Their daily probiotic shot replenishes good bacteria in the gut, helping to restore balance.

The 12 strains of friendly bacteria in the formulas are developed in a fermenting process where they are grown at the average body temperature and are given 18-21 days to develop. This process means the bacteria are strong and have learned to coexist together before they get inside your gut, giving them the best chance of thriving and multiplying once there. As well being packed with probiotics, the blends include herbs and botanicals selected for their abilities in restoring and maintaining gut health.

The 90-day Starter Plan includes an eight week supply of the Restore Daily Bacteria Shot and a four week supply of the Maintain formula. Naked Biotics recommend that it can take up to 90 days to rebalance an unbalanced gut, so this a great choice for those that want to kickstart their journey to a happy and healthy gut.

Buy now £89.85, Naked Biotics

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