Gastrointestinal Tract – Stomach Health & Gut System

Natural Treatments & Supplements for Stomach Health

Stomach pain is some of the worst kind of pain out there. It is difficult to treat with pain medication, even when there is intense or radiating pain from the abdomen. Many common pain medications can also cause upset stomach, so it may feel like there is little to no relief. Rather, sometimes the best thing that you can do is give your digestive tract a break, incorporate healthy care regimens and include stomach supplements that ease symptoms and pain.

The good news is that with changing your diet or lifestyle, you can often find the relief you need to some of the most common gastrointestinal problems.

Common Gastrointestinal Health Ailments

Understanding the cause of your stomach woes is the first step in treating and preventing symptoms. Because many of the gastrointestinal problems can mimic other ones, it can sometimes be difficult trying to determine what the cause of the problem is. For this reason, you may have to undergo a number of tests ranging from colonoscopy and endoscopy to blood tests.

The good news is that many common gastrointestinal troubles can be treated and prevented without invasive surgery. Depending on your diagnosis, there may be more than one way to treat  your condition. Let’s learn about some of the more common stomach problems that supplements can help you with, so that you can know what it is that you’re dealing with.

Celiac Disease

Caused by an immune deficiency within the body, suffers from Celiac disease will find that they have an allergic reaction when they consume wheat, barley or rye. This is because they lack the normal ability to process the protein found within these grains. The reaction is slight at first, beginning in the small intestine. However, if exposed over time, the tissue lining becomes inflamed, which causes malabsorption.

Celiac disease affects both children and adults. However those young and old can have visceral reactions to the ailment. It can cause immediate pain and discomfort, which is exacerbated by eating. In time, Celiac disease wears down the body causing damage to the nervous, skeletal, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Specifically the stomach, brain and bones often take the most damage.

Stomach supplements such as licorice and mint can help the symptoms of Celiac disease. Additionally, you may want to consider looking into herbal treatments that can help itching, as the skin is often affected.  It is also recommended to take nutritional supplements such as a daily multivitamin that can help you increase the levels of the following in your body:

  • B Complex Vitamins
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

It is important to discuss your daily requirements with your doctor. They may direct you to take additional nutritional supplements for Celiac diseases based on the complications of your condition.

Diverticulitis

When small divots or pouches appear on the wall of the colon, they are referred to as diverticula. These pouches can get food stuck in them, especially vegetables, which can then cause pain because the colon has to work harder to push stool forward past the indentations. This can lead to weak spots on the walls of the colon and overstressing the muscle.

If caught early, Diverticulitis can be treated. However, there is no specific cure. The best defense is watching what you eat, monitoring symptoms and including stomach supplements in your diet. Common symptoms of the condition will start as cramping or bloating but can increase over time and include nausea, lack of interest in food, fevers and chills.

Generally Diverticulitis doesn’t hurt all the time. Rather, like many stomach problems, it will come in waves. Your system will flare up, the diverticula will become agitated or the colon will have to work harder and you will notice a period of a week or so where you have more issues with this condition. Sometimes symptoms will completely regress, only to come back again later when you eat something else that agitates the system.

Gallstones

Gallstones can occur in the gallbladder and cause a number of painful side effects including pain on the upper right corner of your abdomen (or the back) and difficulty processing high in fat or spicy foods. Pain can range from mild to searing.

Gallstones can grow large enough to block the bile duct of the gallbladder, leading to a larger problem that can require surgery or the removal of the gallbladder to treat.

Heartburn and GERD

Heartburn and GERD are two forms of a similar problem commonly referred to as Acid Reflux.  When the  body has too much stomach acid, it will then push it back up into the digestive tract. Mild heartburn can be painful and not much more than an inconvenience. Antacids and stomach supplements are often enough for the occasional bout of heartburn after a stressful period in your life or eating spicy foods.

GERD, however, can cause long term damage to the digestive tract and often causes ulcers, pain and difficulty eating.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are a number of disorders that fall under the Inflammatory Bowel Disease categories. Each disorder is slightly different but most are painful and inconvenient. They can cause a number of symptoms including stomach pain, diarrhea, urgent bowel movements (feeling like you have to to without warning), constipation, lack of appetite, fever, weight loss and anemia.

Here are two of the most common Inflammatory Bowel Disease conditions and their usual symptoms.

Crohn’s Disease

An inflammatory disease of the digestive system, Crohn’s disease can cause pain, diarrhea, weight loss and bloody stools.

Ulcerative Colitis

This disease causes sores on the colon that can only be found by a colonoscopy. Common symptoms include pain of the abdomen and diarrhea (that is sometimes associated with blood in the stool).

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Often, IBS is diagnosed when everything else has been crossed off the list as possibilities of causes to your stomach woes. It can be a hard condition to diagnose because it can mimic so many other stomach conditions as the symptoms are similar. With IBS you will likely notice stomach cramping, abdominal pain (that may wake you up at night), watery or bloody stools and reactions to spicy or greasy foods. For some people one kind of food may trigger symptoms that cause no reaction in another individual. Additionally, certain people may find that they are constipated more often, whereas others will have diarrhea.

Lactose Intolerance

When your body has the inability to process milk sugar (lactose), you are considered lactose intolerant. People with this condition will find that they react poorly to eating dairy, often resulting in stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and in some cases, vomiting. The most common treatment for lactose intolerance is by taking a stomach supplement (such as Lactaid) that helps the body break down the lactose enzymes.

Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcers)

Peptic ulcers, commonly referred to as stomach ulcers are sores that occur on the lining of the stomach and/or the small intestine. They cause pain, heartburn, nausea (sometimes vomiting) and a tell-tale burning sensation similar to heartburn that occurs either at the middle or the upper stomach in the evening or between meals.

Ulcers have a number of causes including:

  • Drinking excess amounts of alcohol
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Aspirin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Tumors that produce acid in the stomach
  • Cancer treatments and radiation therapy

Treating Symptoms Vs. Treating the Cause

There are many stomach supplements and herbal tonics that you can take to help ease gastrointestinal pain. However, this isn’t going to resolve the problem. A common issue for people seeking to cure their stomach pain with supplements is that people will ignore the root of the problem. They may take some mint for an upset stomach or diarrhea, increase fiber for bowel function or any number of other common remedies. This is all well and good, but not a permanent solution.

The stomach supplements and tips that you will find in this guide are often geared towards the symptoms. However, the reason you need to be informed about the kinds of gastrointestinal issues that you may be facing is so that you can also seek out the treatment you need. A quick fix isn’t going to resolve the problem and while stomach supplements can be helpful, they are not medicine.

Always talk to your doctor when you are including new supplements into your diet, so that they can also address the actual condition or perform the tests needed to get to the root of the problem. If a certain condition is found, it is likely that your doctor will recommend prescription medications, supplements and lifestyle changes that will work together and give you the relief that you need.

Supplements For Their Treatment

Angelica (Dong Quai)

Angelica is a plant related to the celery plan, that is found across the globe, in China, America and parts of Europe. In Chinese medicine and treatments, it is commonly referred to as Dong Quai. It’s normally found in mountainous regions, as it grows best in a cold climate.

Angelica is commonly used to treat the following symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort:

  • Heartburn
  • Gassiness
  • Bloating
  • Increasing appetite

 Artichoke (Artichoke Leaf Extract)

Artichoke is a common vegetable that can also be used to help with a number of ailments. Not only is it used to stimulate bile production, which has benefits for the liver and digestive tract, it also is a stimulant that can help with common stomach ailments and increase the flow of urine.

Artichoke is commonly used to treat the following symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort:

  • Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Kidney problems (which can contribute to stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Calcium

You may notice that when you take antacid such as Tums or Rolaids that they also include calcium in them. In fact, for years it was a common way for pregnant women to get the added calcium that they would be instructed to take antacids for this reason. They would get a heartburn solution and also more of this beneficial vitamin.

Calcium can also be found in food sources, of course. Usually, you will find it in milk and dairy. However, adding it to your diet as a stomach supplement can be beneficial to calm the stomach and to increase stomach acid.

It is important to note that recent studies have shown that too much calcium can cause stomach pain, similar to that of ulcers. If you get calcium from other sources and do not have a deficiency, you may not need to add an individual dosage as a stomach supplement. You can generally get the amount of calcium you need from a multivitamin.

Caraway

Caraway is an herb originally found in Asia, but now is grown across the globe. It is an adaptable spice to foods and is popular in a number of countries’ cuisines. The reason that caraway is so helpful with stomach problems is because of the active component that has gas-relieving properties. These carminatives reduce pressure and swelling that is often associated with stomach pain.

Caraway can help with the following gastrointestinal issues:

  • Stomach upset
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Colic

Note: Caraway can have a number of side effects that can cause interference with other disorders and diseases. Consult with your doctor before incorporating into your diet as a stomach supplement.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a popular supplement because it calms nerves and muscles. It has so many vast uses that it is actually considered to be one of the most popular herbs on the market today.

There are two different types of chamomile, both of which are grown on a number of continents. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is the more common of the two. English, or sometimes called Roman, chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a different species of plant and less common. Even though the plants are not the same species, they both do essentially the same thing and therefore are considered chamomile for herbal purposes.

Chamomile is commonly used to treat the following areas of gastrointestinal discomfort:

  • Reducing stomach ulcers
  • Reducing pain associated with stomach ulcers
  • Reduction of inflammation in the digestive tract
  • Soothing stomach and intestinal spasms

You might notice that most of the effects of chamomile are soothing. They calm the system, whether it is inflamed or agitated. Chamomile has this kind of effect on the entire body, including the mind. For this reason, it is often used in tea form or as an herbal supplement to quell anxiety.

Many stomach symptoms are exacerbated by stress and mental disorders. Chamomile works not only as a soothing stomach supplement, but can give the added relaxing effects that can help the body combat stress. In this way, the herb does double duty and can have increased effects if part of your stomach discomfort is being caused by anxiety or stress.

Cranberry

Cranberries are a popular fruit, grown around the world. Both the berry and the juice have been used to cleanse the body, including the digestive and urinary tract. Recent antioxidant research has found more uses for the fruit as well. The stomach processes chemicals, food and drink by the ton. Doing this causes it to come into contact with free radicals, which cause damage to the cells. Antioxidants protect the tissue by combating free radicals.

Greater Celandine

Greater Celandine is a plant in poppy plant that is distantly related to opium. It grows naturally in Asia, but is also cultivated in other countries for its medicinal effects. This plant makes an excellent supplement for gastrointestinal problems because it aids a variety of digestive tract issues including:

  • Intestinal polyps
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Stomach Cancer

Additionally, Greater Celandine can be used as a stomach supplement to treat the following symptoms:

  • Upset stomach
  • Symptoms of IBS
  • Constipation

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a popular herb related to the mint plant. Like mint, the leaves are aromatic and can be used to make tinctures and tea. It provides a mild soothing effect for digestive tissue and can easily help to quell a mild upset stomach.

Additionally, crushed leaves can be used as an herbal stomach supplement that can help to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Gas or bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Colic
  • Upset stomach

Licorice

Licorice grows around the globe, but most commonly in Greece, Turkey and Asia. The Asian variety of the plant is locally called Gan Zao or Chinese Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis). Most western herbal supplements that include licorice are using a more common version of Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra).

While many people think of licorice as candy, people have been using licorice root for over centuries to aid in digestion and to relieve stomach upset.

Licorice root can be used as an herbal stomach supplement that can help to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Upset stomach
  • Pain associated with stomach ulcers
  • Nausea

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in both animal and plant food sources. The kind that is generally used for a stomach supplement is a plant based compound that can help alleviate heartburn and GERD because it neutralizes acid in the stomach. Additionally, it can help nutrients be absorbed and prevent constipation due to its laxative properties.

Magnesium can be used as an herbal stomach supplement that can help to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Acid reflux
  • Nausea (especially related to surgical recovery)
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion

Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle originated from Europe but was brought to America with early colonists and now grows easily in the northern portions of the continent. The leaves and the juices (which are milky in color and what gives this plant its name) can both be used to help the body. Mainly, Milk Thistle is used as a liver supplement because it detoxifies the body naturally. However, it has also gained popularity as a stomach supplement because it helps with bile production and can ease digestion.

Peppermint

Mint of all varieties are a popular herb to treat stomach conditions. The leaves are aromatic and can be used to make tinctures and tea. It provides a mild soothing effect for digestive tissue and can easily help to quell a mild upset stomach.

Additionally, crushed leaves can be used as an herbal stomach supplement that can help to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Gas or bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Colic
  • Upset stomach

Probiotics

Who knew that you could ingest bacteria and they would be good for you? Doctors. That’s who.

That is why your healthcare professional may have already recommended that you a probiotic regimen if you have stomach problems.

Probiotics consist of live bacteria and yeasts that are actually good for your stomach. Your digestive tract is a delicate place and there are both harmful and beneficial bacteria that live within the digestive system. Probiotics are the good bacteria that generally lives within your stomach.

While research is still being done, it is thought that the reason that probiotics work is because there are times when the good and bad bacteria get out of balance in your system. When this happens, you may not be able to process nutrients or parts of food that you normally would. Additionally, if you have a natural lack of probiotics in your body, such as in the case of lactose intolerance, certain probiotics can help your body process the milk sugars.

There are two kinds of probiotics: Lactobacillus, which is the main type that treats lactose intolerance and bifidobacterium which is thought to ease the discomfort associated with a number of stomach conditions.

Generally these two kinds of probiotics are what you will be purchasing, however there are a number of others as well as stomach supplements to support healthy bacteria growth that can also be considered.

Look for probiotics to help with the following gastrointestinal conditions:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Antibiotic related diarrhea

Zinc

Another essential mineral, Zinc also has antioxidant properties that protect the stomach tissue within the digestive tract. Furthermore, it has been shown beneficial in fighting H. pylori infection, which can cause pain and discomfort.

Zinc can be used as an herbal stomach supplement that can help to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Easing inflammation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach

What Else Can You Do To Treat Your Gastrointestinal Issues?

Like most parts of the body, the digestive system requires routine care to function properly. There are plenty of things that you can do to encourage healthy interactions with your stomach, which often can be enough to alleviate the onset of symptoms or pain.

Exercise

Routine exercise keeps everything flowing in the stomach and it has shown to be helpful for regulating the digestive tract. Of course, exercise can also help you lose weight, taking pressure of the stomach which is helpful for conditions such as ulcers and GERD. Additionally, exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can wreak havoc for people with certain stomach conditions.

Eat Smaller Portions

The human digestive tract was designed to eat frequent small meals. This is less about losing weight and more about giving your body time to absorb nutrients and to process food properly. Eating smaller portions allows your body to also process any stomach supplements, allowing them to work better within your body.

Tip: Eating on a schedule has also been shown to have beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal system. Having a set time allows your body to regulate the intake of food, process it more efficiently and to do so with less irritation. This can be especially helpful for those that have IBS or IBD.

Drink More Water

When the body is hydrated, all parts work better. This is also true for the stomach. Water helps food move through the digestive tract and for it to be properly absorbed into the system. Dehydration can cause upset stomach, nausea, constipation and diarrhea. Increasing water content can help to identify conditions of the stomach and rules out a common causes for complaints that are often associated with gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, water helps to dissolve certain kinds of fiber, ensuring that they benefit your digestive tract even more so if you have been taking them as a supplement for stomach pain.

Manage Stress

You have read that there are a number of stomach supplements that help treat stress symptoms and how that can be beneficial to the gastrointestinal tract as a whole. This is because whenn the body is under an intense amount of stress, it can cause your digestive tract to work on overdrive. Managing stress helps to cut down on overproduction of stomach acid, so it can also help to reduce pain associated with heartburn and GERD. Take up activities that you enjoy, be active and allow time to wind down before and after eating in order to control the level of stress in your life and to reduce the effects of it on your digestive system.

You Don’t Have to Swallow Stomach Pain

There are a lot of things in life that are certain, pain being one of them. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be proactive and take the steps required to find a solution. Because the reasons for gastrointestinal upset can be so varied, you often have to take a trial and error approach to finding out what is wrong. Many of the life changes and stomach supplements in this guide can help you get relief while you pinpoint the specific problem. Take action today and make the changes needed to control your stomach pain.

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