This is the second post in a two part series on supplements for a gluten-free lifestyle. Part Two: More ways to keep your insides healthy focuses on further steps to take if problems persist, while Part One: Rebuild what’s been lost or damaged focused on early steps to take. I am not a doctor and these articles should NOT be taken as medical advice. Talk to your doctor or GP before beginning any new supplements.
In part one, we talked about adding gluten free probiotics to help rebuild your digestive flora. Hopefully after about a month of probiotics, you’ll already be feeling better. But maybe you’re still not totally where you want to be. Here are a few more specific symptoms you might be experiencing, and some gluten free supplements to address them.
REMINDER: I am not a doctor. Always consult your doctor before starting or changing any vitamin and/or supplement plan.
*Enzymedica’s Digest is a supplement that provides enzymes for digestion. Your stomach already produces enzymes that break down food so that the nutrients can be absorbed by your body. The supplement gives your stomach a little help by providing more of these enzymes.
I know, this sounds weird. I was skeptical too, but even after I finished using probiotics, I kept up with Digest and psyllium husk fiber (coming up later in this article) and it really did help keep things under control.
Oregano oil is good for gastrointestinal problems due to its anti-fungal (and possibly anti-viral and anti-parasitic) properties. Remember our yeast overgrowth problems from part one? Oregano oil is a nice way to maintain balance if you decide a daily probiotic isn’t the right choice for you. My doctor recommended *Biotics Research ADP, because it’s emulsified and processed for long release. I did try this one first and it really did help. Later, I bought some oregano oil capsules at my local health food store and found them to be just as effective (but not as expensive.) I’ve been taking *Nature’s Way Oregano Oil and it seems to be working fine! Read more about the many benefits of oregano oil at the Huffington Post.
Turmeric is getting a lot of good press lately due to its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory. You can read more about this here. In his book *Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, Dr. David Perlmutter recommends adding this supplement to your daily routine (after eliminating gluten and most grains, and sugar!) I started taking turmeric after reading the book, largely because when I get glutened, one of my major symptoms is joint pain and inflammation. I still get occasional flare-ups, even without gluten in my diet, but the turmeric has really minimized this. Good thing too, because my daily commute involves a lot of stairs, and the knee pain could get really bad! I currently take a brand only available in the United Kingdom, but in the United States I’d buy *Nature Made Tumeric Capsules.
Psyllium husk fiber
According to Wikipedia, “dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants.” Fiber affects how nutrients and chemicals are absorbed, as well as how waste is expelled from the body. It improves gastrointestinal health and helps maintain microflora balance in the colon. It also bulks stool and helps move it from your system faster (it helps you poop!) Wheat is a major source of dietary fiber, so when you eliminate it and other gluten-containing grains from your diet, you can find it hard to get enough fiber in your daily diet. My doctor recommended I take *NOW Foods Psyllium Husk capsules to help make up for what I was missing in my diet. Take as directed on the bottle, and start slow! You don’t want to go from no fiber to all the fiber – your pooper will not be pleased. Also, it’s really important to drink lots of water to keep the fiber moving through your system – if you don’t, you may find yourself backed up.
If you don’t want to go for a supplement, other non-gluten sources of fiber include beans and lentils, brown rice, popcorn, nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts in particular), baked potatoes WITH skin, berries, and crunchy vegetables. However, you may find that some or all of the food sources make you gassy. Psyllium husk usually doesn’t have this effect, so if you’re struggling after trying to add more fiber through your diet, maybe give it a try.
As you might expect, it’s also important to maintain a healthy, gluten free diet. I find that eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and dairy, and minimal grains has me feeling best. Depending if you are celiac/coeliac or dealing with food allergies, you may have completely different requirements. I think we can all agree that you’re not going to feel great living on pizza and french fries, though, so try to eat a variety of healthy foods that suit your needs.
So, for the last time, I’m not a doctor, and you should consult yours before starting any new supplement. The recommendations above are what worked for me; you should do your own research and remember, all bodies are different and your mileage may vary. With that said, I hope I’ve helped some of you find ways to overcome some of the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms that can be left over after eliminating gluten from your diet!
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