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Digestive problems: Head them off or treat them after they strike


'Tis the season for celebration, overindulgence - and tummy troubles. Here's some help, just in case.

Regardless of our age, some of the things we eat and drink do not always agree with us. As a result, problems such as heartburn, gastric reflux, flatulence, and constipation can occur. These digestive consequences can be particularly troublesome during the holiday season, when some people tend to overindulge or find themselves eating different foods during family or work get-togethers.

Whether products are needed to prevent digestive problems or lessen symptoms once they occur, consumers can find many alternatives for everyone from babies to seniors, ranging from supplements and probiotics that promise to prevent or ease problems to well-known OTC items that attack  problems after the fact.

For the youngest among us

Ultimate Flora Baby Probiotic (Renew Life) provides necessary “friendly” bacteria to support a baby’s optimum digestive and immune function. The unflavored gluten-free powder can be mixed with infant formulas, juice, milk, or other liquids. Each serving contains four billion live probiotic cultures of five bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains. (www.renewlife.com)

Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic (Renew Life) includes six strains of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli to help replenish those good bacteria in a child’s intestines and to support a growing child’s immune system. This product is free of sugar, dairy, gluten, and soy. Naturally sweetened with xylitol, each berry-flavored tablet provides three billion live cultures. (www.renewlife.com)

Colief Infant Digestive Aid (Sigma Tau Pharmaceuticals) is designed to meet the needs of both mothers who breast-feed and those who use infant formulas. A dietary supplement based on lactase, a naturally occurring enzyme produced in the small intestine, it is formulated to ease colic associated with temporary lactose intolerance (TLI).

The manufacturer states that when Colief is added to a baby’s usual milk, it significantly reduces the milk’s level of lactose by breaking it down into glucose and galactose before the baby is fed. This in turn aids in the infant’s digestion of milk and limits the discomfort caused by TLI. The company notes that unlike many other OTC colic products, Colief is added to the milk before the baby feeds rather than after the problem occurs. (www.coliefusa.com)

Rx options

Zantac 75 (Boehringer Ingelheim) promises to prevent or relieve heartburn in as little as 30 minutes. The product can be taken up to an hour before eating to prevent heartburn. This product is sugar-free and sodium-free. Its active ingredient is ranitidine. The dosage suggested by the manufacturer is one tablet, taken up to twice a day and not to exceed  14 days of continuous use. (www.zantacotc.com)

Mylanta Regular Strength (McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals) promises to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, upset stomach, pressure, and bloating. This product is suitable for adults and children over the age of 12. It can be taken between meals, at bedtime, or as directed by a doctor. Active ingredients include aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, and simethicone. (www.mylanta.com)


Probiotics for young and old

MegaFood has introduced several probiotic products designed to aid digestion and improve immune health. “We are excited to introduce our newest MegaFlora products because each one was designed to address a specific health need or condition with additional clinically researched strains, prebiotics, and supportive whole foods fresh from our trusted farm partners,” said Stacey Gillespie, MegaFood’s director of Innovation. The company’s new products include:

MegaFlora for Baby & Me, a blend of 14 probiotics formulated to promote immune health and nutrient absorption in pregnant mothers and their children. Organic ginger is included to soothe upset stomachs and improve digestive function. (https://megafood.com)

MegaFlora for Women, containing organic cranberry, a natural support for urinary tract health. It also contains beet, burdock, and dandelion root to nourish existing microbiome and feminine health. (https://megafood.com)

Megaflora for Over 50 [4], which includes various probiotics to support regularity, healthy bowel function, and proper digestion for reduced gas and bloating. This product contains organic turmeric root to promote a healthy colon in men and women. (https://megafood.com)

Agel BIO [5] (Agel Enterprises) delivers probiotic strains through a water-based suspension gel, said to be a more effective way to deliver the product’s probiotic strains and to spread them more evenly in the intesstine than probiotic pills or capsules would do. Agel BIO uses two different probiotic strains that work together, once absorbed by the body. (www.agel.com)

Zicam total Immune Crystals [6] (Matrixx Initiatives) support immune and digestive health with prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, minerals,and amino acids to help rally, restore, and reenergize the body. The berry-flavored product comes in single-dose sachets and can be taken with or without water. (wwwzicam.com)

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