Supplements for Digestive Health

By: Amber Klampferer, ND

Maintaining healthy digestive function is optimal for overall health and wellbeing. There are a variety of supplements that can be supportive for digestive health; here are five common ones that can help promote optimal gastrointestinal (GI) function.



  • L-glutamine is an amino acid, which are building blocks of protein. It is the most abundant amino acid found in the body. This amino acid is considered to be conditionally essential, meaning that usually our bodies are able to produce enough, but in certain circumstances, we may need to obtain more via diet or supplementation. L–glutamine is the primary fuel source for the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. It helps maintain the intestinal barrier, which prevents leaky gut and can therefore reduce the inflammatory response.


Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)

  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, or DGL, is a sweet root that can be beneficial for a variety of digestive issues. This root is a demulcent, which is a class of herbs that produce a mucilaginous layer that helps soothe irritated mucous membranes. The demulcent activity of licorice therefore can be helpful in conditions like acid reflux and gastric, peptic, and/or duodenal ulcers. The deglycyrrhizinated form of licorice is preferred, as glycyrrhizinated licorice can potentiate hypertension and water retention in certain people.



  • Probiotics are tiny organisms within the GI tract that support digestive function in a variety of ways. They can be obtained supplementally or in the diet via foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods. Supplementation with probiotics can be beneficial for a variety of different health concerns, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, lactose intolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.



  • Peppermint exerts both carminative and antispasmodic actions within the GI tract, meaning it helps dispel gas and reduce spasticity. The preparation is important depending on the intended use. For example, peppermint tea may be a better preparation for issues such as indigestion. Peppermint oil within enteric coated capsules bypasses the stomach and exerts these same carminative and antispasmodic actions within the intestines, and can therefore be helpful for conditions like IBS.


Magnesium (citrate)

  • Ideally this nutrient is obtained in adequate amounts via diet. Unfortunately, most Americans are deficient in magnesium. For patients with constipation, magnesium (citrate) can support healthy bowel function and elimination. Magnesium acts as an osmotic laxative, which means it pulls water into the intestines and exerts a bulking effect on stool making it easier to pass. It may also reduce spasticity with the GI tract, and may be helpful for cramping associated with IBS and as well as abdominal cramping.

Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional can help determine whether you may benefit from any one of these supplements. To learn more click the link in our bio to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with one of our experts to discuss your concerns.

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