Tuesday, 29 August 2023
Many people understand that for overall wellbeing you need a healthy gut. But what does this mean, and if you’ve identified your gut needs a boost, how do you choose the right supplement? Clinical Nutritionist and educator Dr Brad Leech explores these questions.
“All disease begins in the gut” is a quote attributed to Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician who practised nearly 2,500 years ago,” Brad said. “Mounting scientific evidence shows he was on the money. Most health conditions are linked to the gut, so if we heal the gut first, other interventions are more likely to be more effective.
“You know your gut is healthy if it’s free of symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea and bloating,” Brad explained. “You need at least one healthy bowel motion daily, preferably before breakfast.
“If you recognise that you need to improve your gut health, please work with a qualified nutritionist or naturopath to get a comprehensive view of what’s causing your symptoms and how to address them. There are many supplements for gut health – prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, zinc, ginger, and glutamine – to name a few. Before you take any, get to the root cause of your symptoms. Otherwise, you could be wasting your money on a supplement that doesn’t benefit you.
“Not all supplements are created equal. Practitioners have access to higher quality, evidence-based supplements than the ones available at your chemist, supermarket or online,” Brad explained. “They also work with suppliers to request further information about your optimal treatment and dose.
“Gut health supplements can provide a higher dose of nutrition or herbs that you can’t get in food,” he said. “So, supplements can be very effective in the short-term to help your body resolve symptoms. But the long-term goal is to address the cause.”
To comprehensively assess your gut health, Brad recommends seeing a practitioner who will discuss your clinical history and symptoms, conduct a physical examination and review your microbiome with the use of stool testing.
“Measuring the microbiome is more readily available, but you need a practitioner to interpret the findings and prescribe an accurate supplement if needed,” he said. “When taking a supplement, make sure you understand the dose you need, what time to take it, how many times and for how long.
“With your practitioner, choose the form – liquid, capsules or powder – that works for your lifestyle. That way, you’re more likely to stay the course. Supplements are only one part of a treatment approach that includes healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.”
Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.
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