Supplements for IBS

Supplements To Improve IBS Symptoms

A healthy diet and active lifestyle are the key principles to maintaing  a healthy gut, but some times you need a little extra help. According to, we may not be getting all the nutrients we need from the food we eat, due to the modern day farming and use of soil or water depletion. This is when the food is over-farmed on the same land and the soil no longer has enough nutrients to carry into the new produce. Food producers will then fortify the produce; this is adding/putting back the micronutrients (which are synthetic) lost from the production process i.e ‘Calcium fortified fruit juice’, however this is not as good as the real thing. That being said I want to make clear that the vegetables you buy from your local supermarket or farmers market still contribute to leading a healthy lifestyle, but some people my need a little extra boost in terms of specific nutrients.

So, getting back to what supplements will help improve symptoms of IBS. I have listed below supplements that I take on a regular basis to keep bloating, constipation and IBS pain at bay, symptoms that can keep people from working and is accountable for 3 million doctors visits in the US alone…wow, there’s a lot of us!

1. Peppermint Capsules

This is my life line when it comes to supplements. Peppermint is known for it’s benefits is regulating bacteria in the gut, which is great for those who suffer with SIBO. It can also relieve abdominal pain, cramping, distention and flatulence. LOOK OUT FOR: You may encounter dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite or heart problems. If taken in excess it can lead to kidney failure, seizures or death. HOW TO TAKE IT: Take 1 capsule unto twice a day after meals.

2. Digestive Enzymes

These are usually produced by the body itself from the pancreas but people who suffer with chron’s disease, celiac disease, and IBS digestive enzymes are beneficial to breaking down and absorbing nutrients. Some doctors believe that because of undigested protein that leaks into the bloodstream (leaky Gut) can cause food allergies. You can also find digestive enzymes in pineapple and unripe papaya. LOOK OUT FOR: Digestive enzymes are mostly safe but can cause stomach upset, constipation, diarrhoea or heartburn, however consult your doctor if you have malabsorption of foods. If your taking antibiotics or sedative medication it could interfere with this too. HOW TO TAKE IT: Take immediately after your meal and read the packaging of individual supplements. 

3. Probiotic Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Believe it or not you have billions of little organisms (bacteria) living in your gut, hard at work trying to breakdown everything that you eat. You may be thinking…”Ew! I have bacteria inside me!” Don’t worry they don’t look like the weired cheats living creature from  the Alien movie! These guys are good and you need them to maintain a healthy lower or small intestinal tract. They help us digest micronutients from the food we eat. They also keep the bad bacteria out, which is good. Probiotics help with a healthy gut, however more often than not probiotic supplements that we take to give our system boost are killed off by the time it gets to the small intestines, by either our stomach acid or long journey to the gut, but Lactobacillus acidophilus is usually strong enough to withstand the harsh environment of our bodies. LOOK OUT FOR: If you are pregnant, have ulcerative colitis or crown’s disease, you must consult your doctor first. HOW TO TAKE IT: Choose a high quality supplement that has 3-5 billion live organisms 1 time daily.

4. Ground Flaxseed

Many of clients who suffer with constipation are scared of fibre, but there is a right way and wrong way of taking it (see Souluble & Insoluble Fiber For Constipation). Flaxseed reduces symptoms of IBS related constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. LOOK OUT FOR: Take 1 or 2 hours after other medication. Because flaxseed has a laxative effect it plays with the absorption of medication and lessen the effect of your other medication. Also drink at least 2 litres of water a day. HOW TO TAKE IT: You can eat it raw or mix in with your food. 1-2 tsbp daily.

5. Magnesium Oxide or Citrate

This helps regulate the water absorbed by the bowel. I works by drawing water into the bowel and softening the stools and streching them, working like a gental laxative. LOOK OUT FOR: People with kidney disease, taking medication for diabetes or heart problems and certain antibiotics should not take magnesium supplements. HOW TO TAKE IT:

6. Vitamin C

If taken in high doses has a laxative effect. Vitamin C is water soluble which means the body will only use as much as it needs and you will then pee out what you don’t need. The excess of the vitamin is left sitting in the bowel resulting in speeding up the motility time (See Vitamin C | Prevention and Treatment of constipation). LOOK OUT FOR: It can cause diarrhoea. nausea. Avoid if you take warfarin. HOW TO TAKE IT: RDA is 65-75mg once daily


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Vitamin C | Prevention & Treatment of Constipation

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Solve It with Supplements by Robert A. Schulman, MD



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