Food supplements for gut health


A healthy gut is essential for physical well-being. Here’s how food supplements can play their part – and how even simple home remedies can help.

What food supplements for the gut are available?

Selected vitamins, minerals and trace elements help maintain normal digestive function. Calcium and magnesium support metabolism, while zinc ensures an even acid-base balance. Healing clay is said to help manage gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. And plants and herbal extracts made from natural bitter substances can be taken as a substitute for grapefruit, chicory, etc.

Prebiotics and probiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics are responsible for ensuring that the gut bacteria receive the right “food”. Prebiotics are the indigestible components of food that benefit gut flora, the best-known being inulin. This is found in foods like Jerusalem artichokes, black salsify and garlic. Probiotics contain living micro-organisms such as yeast or lactic acid bacteria.

What prebiotics and probiotics do

Prebiotics and probiotics help the body build healthy gut flora. By consuming the right substances, we strengthen the micro-organisms that keep our digestion running smoothly. However, this only works on the basis of a healthy diet: one that contains lots of fibre for the gut and an overall balance of nutrients.

Preventive tips to ensure healthy gut flora

To understand what healthy gut flora is, it's worth taking a closer look at our body's recycling system: Humans are made up of billions of micro-organisms – known as the microbiome – that help us digest food or defend ourselves against pathogens. A significant portion of our microbiome is located in the gut. If the microbiome is healthy, our body generally functions well. However, if the balance is disturbed, our entire physical well-being can be affected. We then experience bloating, diarrhoea or constipation – or generally become more susceptible to infections.

Support for the gut

This means that it’s best to take care of our gut flora in advance – before any problems arise. Helpful steps include leading a stress-reduced lifestyle and eating a gut-friendly diet. It's also important to restore the health of our gut flora after taking antibiotics, as these kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria. Similarly, alcohol, fast food and highly processed foods are poison for the gut. The theory is simple: Our diet feeds our body's organisms. The good bacteria thrive on lentil dahl with natural yoghurt, while the bad feast on Big Macs and Coke.

Home remedies to prevent gut problems

There are also various home remedies that can be used to prevent gut problems. Yoghurt, as mentioned, is one of them. The lactic acid and live bacteria contained in yoghurt make for a healthy gut environment. The same effect is achieved through drinking “Brottrunk”, a fermented bread-based beverage. A course of this involves drinking a glass of this probiotic juice every day for two or more months. Sauerkraut or kimchi are also excellent foods for the gut. In addition to lactic acid bacteria, which are important for the gut's pH balance, sauerkraut and kimchi also contain fibre which helps to remove food residues from the gut. Psyllium husks are a good home remedy for constipation and diarrhoea.

Colon cleansing

Seeds, bitter substances and sufficient water also help to keep the gut flora balanced. Some people whose microbiome has been imbalanced for a long time try colon cleansing. The practice is designed to cleanse the body to some degree and rebuild the gut flora. Plenty of exercise and relaxation are also important.

Effectiveness of dietary supplements compared to home remedies

Food supplements influence our gut flora – yet it’s not conclusively clear with every product what this actually means for our body. Combining a balanced, gut-friendly diet with an otherwise healthy lifestyle is always the right approach. Food supplements can be a suitable alternative in the short or medium term, but they sometimes have other effects on the body that are difficult to assess. People who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease should consult their doctor before taking dietary supplements.

Actions for acute gut problems

Anyone suffering from acute abdominal pain, flatulence or diarrhoea will first want to get rid of these symptoms before changing their diet or taking other actions.

Help for acute gastrointestinal complaints

  • Warmth in the form of a hot water bottle, a warm bath or a cherry stone cushion.
  • Sufficient water or unsweetened tea to get rid of harmful substances and soften the stool, especially in the case of constipation. Avoiding alcohol, coffee and sweet drinks also helps for acute gut problems.
  • In the event of diarrhoea, bananas or dark chocolate thicken the stool. Here too, drinking plenty of fluids, such as a special drinking solution for diarrhoea (electrolyte solution) helps compensate for the loss.
  • To alleviate flatulence, a post-meal walk or tea made from camomile, fennel or caraway can help.


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