The 7 Best Nutrients for Gut Health, According to Nutritionists

The 7 Best Nutrients for Gut Health, According to Nutritionists

From persistent stomach pain to bouts of bloating, bouts of nausea, watery stools and difficulty having a bowel movement, signs of indigestion are more common than you think. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, nearly 70 million people in the United States suffer from some form of digestive dysfunction.

When it comes to relieving the pain of gastrointestinal discomfort, people may turn to probiotics and prebiotics. “While probiotics and prebiotics are tools that play a role in optimizing gut health, they are not the only important tools for improving the balance of your gut flora,” says JeJe Noval, PhD, MS, RDN, integrative and functional registered dietitian nutritionist , specializes in digestive and hormonal health. A healthy gut also requires a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of the following vitamins and minerals.

1. Zinc

As the second most abundant trace mineral in the human body, zinc serves a variety of functions. While zinc is best known for its role in immunity, wound healing, growth and development, it is also critical for gut health, according to a 2022 study published in Nature. Biomolecules. In fact, “Zinc plays a vital role in maintaining proper gastrointestinal health by helping to produce the stomach acid needed for efficient digestion,” says Sara Korzeniewski, registered dietitian nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, transformational coach, and CEO (Registered Dietitian Dietitian, FDN-P) said Organic Nutritionist. Zinc and sodium are required for optimal stomach acid levels to perform this function effectively, she adds.

But the benefits of enhanced gut function don’t stop there. Noval adds, “Zinc can also help restore the tightness of cells in the gastrointestinal tract.” This means zinc “is necessary to maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining and prevent leaky gut syndrome and food intolerances,” Korzeniewski said. explained. “Some good sources of zinc are dairy products, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds,” Noval says. But “the most easily absorbed dietary sources of zinc include oysters, red meat, and poultry,” Korzenevsky emphasizes.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium is an extraordinary mineral that keeps your intestines moving and running smoothly. More specifically, “it helps relax intestinal muscles, further aiding the smooth passage of food through the digestive tract and preventing constipation. Insufficient magnesium intake can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. Therefore, adding it to your diet Tolerable magnesium-rich foods are critical, such as spinach, avocado, anchovies and dark chocolate,” says Korzeniewski.

3. Selenium

Although selenium is primarily known for its role in thyroid hormone metabolism, it is also a key mineral for digestive health. “Selenium maintains healthy digestion by supporting pancreatic homeostasis, thereby regulating the production of digestive juices. This essential mineral also helps prevent inflammation and oxidative damage that can negatively impact gastrointestinal health,” explains Korzeniewski. road.

Noval chimed in: “Selenium may also help balance gut flora.” According to a study published in 2021 Nutrition Frontier, a diet containing adequate selenium can enhance the gut microbiota and prevent intestinal dysfunction. To make sure you’re getting enough of this important mineral, “top food sources of selenium include corn, garlic, goat’s and cow’s milk, Brazil nuts (depending on soil content), beef, pork chops, chicken breasts, seafood, and eggs,” Co. Zerniewski said.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D does more than just keep your bones in tip-top shape.Narrated by Korzenevsky Eat well, “Vitamin D is an essential nutrient critical for maintaining gastrointestinal health. The active form of vitamin D helps regulate the function of the immune system, including gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which is critical for the intestinal immune response .” Therefore, “vitamin D deficiency can have negative effects on the gut, including impaired immune function and increased inflammation,” Korzeniewski added. In addition to adequate sun exposure, she believes the best dietary sources include foods such as oily fish, pastured egg yolks, pastured butter, grass-fed beef, liver and offal.

5. Vitamin A

Your eyes aren’t the only organ that benefits from adequate vitamin A intake. Like zinc, vitamin A is an important nutrient that “helps in the growth, repair and maintenance of the intestinal mucosal lining, which serves as a barrier against harmful toxins and pathogens,” Korzeniewski says. “Vitamin A also improves the immune system by enhancing the production of immune cells, which keeps the gut healthy,” adds Korzeniewski.

Vitamin A deficiency, on the other hand, “can exacerbate the deterioration of the gut microbiota,” Noval points out. 2022 Comments posted by Nutrients Mentioned that vitamin A deficiency may significantly alter the diversity of the gut microbiota, reducing beneficial bacteria and increasing harmful bacteria. Fortunately, vitamin A is found in its best form in foods such as eggs, fish, liver, and fortified foods. Plant foods like leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash contain beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A (although the rate of conversion depends on genetic factors, according to a 2022 review) Nutrition Frontier).

6. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is popular for its immune-supporting properties. But your gut also relies on vitamin C to function optimally. Most notably, “Vitamin C plays a vital role in gastrointestinal health by acting as an antioxidant and aiding in the absorption of nutrients. It also aids in collagen synthesis, which promotes intestinal lining health,” Korzeniewski emphasized. You can get all the vitamin C you need for the day by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The best sources include kiwi, guava, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and of course, oranges.

7.B vitamins

Of the eight B vitamins, several stand out for their ability to support gut health. “For example, vitamin B1 is required for the proper functioning of the digestive system, while vitamin B6 helps synthesize neurotransmitters that regulate intestinal motility. Other B vitamins, such as B9 and B12, are important for forming healthy intestinal cells and preventing digestive disease. It’s important,” Korzeniewski said.

Additionally, “certain B vitamins can affect the proliferation of certain bacteria in the gut flora,” says Noval.For example, comments posted in 2021 nutrition research emphasize High intake of vitamin B2 and increased Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and strengthening intestinal lining properties. Fortunately, you can find B vitamins in a variety of foods, including whole grains, nuts, mushrooms, leafy green vegetables, avocados, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy.

Other factors affecting gut health

Although the intestines require adequate amounts of the above nutrients, other aspects of gastrointestinal health are often overlooked. “Gut healing is a complex and multifaceted process that involves many factors. This includes dietary changes and other lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep quality, reducing environmental toxins, and regulating the nervous system,” Korzeniewski shares.

Additionally, both nutritionists agree that addressing unresolved stress and trauma can dramatically change gut health. “Our bodies are incredibly resilient and have the ability to stay healthy, but when we experience psychological stress, trauma, and other adverse events, our resilience decreases. So, address these underlying factors that contribute to gut issues Essential for effective healing of the gut and optimizing gut health,” says Korzeniewski. “Therefore, embracing joy, passion, and other positive aspects of life can significantly improve the overall health and function of your gut. A holistic approach to enhancing gut health will yield better long-term results than probiotics and prebiotics [alone]”, Korzenevsky added.

bottom line

One way to improve gut health is to ensure a nutrient-dense diet rich in zinc, magnesium, selenium and vitamins A, D, B and C. Each of these micronutrients works to maintain the intestinal lining, reduce intestinal inflammation, keep digestive juices flowing, and help your gut run smoothly. But in addition to the dietary aspects of gut health, it can also be beneficial to assess your sleep quality and toxin exposure and address any underlying stressors. “Finally, it’s important to note that gut healing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one person may not work for someone else,” Korzeniewski says. Therefore, you may find it helpful to work with a registered dietitian who can guide you through your unique gut healing journey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *