Good digestive health within reach


Some helpful preparations for patients to keep handy.

If you want good digestive health, eat right and exercise. However, that really is not always possible; sometimes we overindulge or stray from our healthy goals. To get back on track, consumers may have to search for just the right product to quiet that upset stomach and heartburn, relieve bothersome constipation, or promote good digestive balance. Here are some helpful products to recommend to your patients.

Digestion support

Heartburn affects about 40% of adults on a monthly basis, 7% to 30% on a weekly basis, and 7% to 10% on a daily basis, according to the literature. To combat this problem, Garden of Life offers Acid Defense for occasional heartburn relief. Its Stomach Soothe Enzyme Blend includes barley grass, beet, and carrot juice concentrates. The company suggests mixing one heaping teaspoon of Acid Defense with 8 oz of water or juice for easier ingestion. (Image courtesy of Garden of Life)

To settle the occasional upset stomach, Nature’s Sunshine offers Stomach Comfort tablets, with calcium carbonate to help buffer acid. Other ingredients include alginic acid from brown seaweed, papaya fruit, guar gum, slippery elm bark, ginger rhizome, licorice root concentrate, and caseinate powder. For optimal pH balancing, the recommended dose is one to two tablets taken between meals.


Martha Stewart has also joined the digestive health arena, with a new supplement line that includes Martha Stewart Essentials for Digestive Health. The Digestive Health capsules provide a blend of enzymes to aid digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These capsules are recommended for adults 18 years and older. Two can be taken daily with a meal. (Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Essentials)

For vegetarians seeking a gluten-free option, Country Life has developed a Tropical Papaya enzyme supplement that the company says promotes healthy protein digestion. Adults can consume two to four wafers after every meal. A four-wafer serving has 22 mg of papaya, 24 mg of mylase and protease, and 28 mg of papain.



For patients who need a strong, fast-acting product for prevention and relief of heartburn and acid indigestion, Boehringer Ingelheim has produced Maximum Strength Zantac 150 Cool Mint Tablets, a clinically proven formulation that contains ranitidine. The effect can be felt approximately 30 minutes after administration and may last for up to 12 hours, the manufacturer says. Individuals 12 years of age and older can take one tablet twice daily before or after eating. (Image courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim)





Constipation relief

Consumers requiring a good source of fiber can try Now Foods’ Whole Psyllium Husks, a dietary supplement that the company calls a convenient way to increase dietary fiber intake. The bulking agent can be used daily, starting with one level teaspoon mixed in 12 oz of water or juice. The dose can gradually increase to two teaspoons, which offer seven g of dietary fiber, 6 g of which are soluble. (Image courtesy of Now Foods)

Another option for adding bulk to the diet is Nature’s Sunshine Psyllium Hulls Combination. For adults, the recommended dose is two teaspoons in water or juice. For children six years and older, a quarter teaspoon can be mixed in half a glass of water or juice for daily consumption. This product contains psyllium seed hulls, hibiscus flowers, and licorice root.



Garden of Life’s Super Seed is a whole-food formula containing flax seeds, sprouted grains, and legumes, helpful for the support of normal gut flora, regular bowel function, and overall health, according to the company. Two daily servings provide half the daily value for fiber, with each serving containing six g of fiber.  The company suggests mixing one scoop with any food or beverage, such as smoothies, vegetable or fruit juices, cereal, yogurt, or soup. “Super Seed was formulated to include naturally occurring soluble and insoluble fiber from carefully selected grains, seeds, and legumes that are easy on the gastrointestinal system,” according to the manufacturer’s website. “Super Seed does not include psyllium husk, which provides no nutritional value.” (Image courtesy of Garden of Life)


Nature Made’s Triple Probiotic is a blend of three probiotics and essential vitamins and minerals that helps to support one’s immune system, the company says. The three-layered caplet should be taken daily, two hours before or after other medications, with cold or room-temperature liquids, and should be taken with food. The Triple Probiotic, which has no preservatives or artificial flavors, delivers live probiotics to the gut and releases vitamins and minerals for optimal absorption. (Image courtesy of Nature Made)

Advanced Enzyme Optima by Rainbow Light provides broad-spectrum plant enzymes, herbs, prebiotics, and probiotics to help with digestion by breaking down all types of food, including complex proteins and carbohydrates, says the company, and is perfect for consumption by vegetarians and vegans. Free of animal products, it contains 11 plant enzymes, such as amylase and bromelain, and a digestive blend of extra-fibrous herbs, such as ginger, peppermint, fennel, and turmeric, to alleviate any gas or bloating. Lactobacillus sporogenes helps promote gut health. The product has no gluten, soy, yeast, milk, eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish.

For children who need probiotics, Garden of Life’s Primal Defense Kids contains a four billion live cell count of four species of probiotic cultures, including Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Each has been clinically studied in children, according to the company. Primal Defense Kids is safe and effective for children three years of age and older. The recommended dose is a quarter teaspoon added to food or beverage once daily, which can be increased to a half teaspoon if needed. (Image courtesy of Garden of Life)



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