6 Science-Backed Supplements for Gut Health

By: Molly Apel
April 28, 2020

6 Science-Backed Supplements for Gut Health

  • Want to supercharge your gut health? Certain supplements can feed and support the beneficial gut bacteria that help you feel your best.
  • You want a stellar gut microbiome. A healthy gut supports immunity, helps you get more nutrients out of your food and affects pretty much everything in your body.
  • Read on to learn which supplements to add to your routine. Plus, cover your bases with foundational ways to support your gut without supplements.

Your gut health affects pretty much everything in your body, and it’s affected by pretty much everything you do to your body. Now is a good time to learn about the supplements that can help support a healthy gut microbiome, boost your immunity and help you get more nutrition out of your food. Keep reading to learn the top supplements for gut health to add to your daily routine.

Related: How to Improve Gut Health and Support Your Microbiome

Supplements for gut health

Every day, new science tells us more about the connection between gut health and the strength of your immune system. Nourish your gut bacteria with a diet rich in whole foods (tons. of. vegetables.) and few processed foods. To keep your gut microbiome at the top of its game, try these gut health supplements. They help fill in the gaps in your diet, boosting your microbiome and strengthening your gut lining for optimal performance.

1. Probiotics

Illustration of gut bacteria

Your gut is a diverse microbiome with thousands of bacteria living in harmony, working to help your body get nutrition and maintain a line of defense against invaders. Probiotics are the supplement form of those gut bacteria, and they help build the population.

When choosing a supplement, make sure your probiotic contains these bacteria strains: Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus plantarum. These strains are less likely to increase the production of inflammatory histamines. Learn more about probiotics.

2. Prebiotics

Adding Bulletproof InnerFuel Prebiotic to a blender of coffee

Now that we’ve covered probiotics, you need to think about what feeds them — you guessed it, prebiotics. Prebiotic fiber helps nourish your gut bacteria, especially when you can’t eat enough fiber-rich foods. Prebiotics provide the nourishment your digestive bacteria need to do their job, and help you feel fuller, longer. Find out why prebiotics are more important than probiotics for your gut.

One supplement we recommend: Innerfuel Prebiotic. It includes Larch Arabinogalactan, a natural immune-booster derived from the bark and heartwood of the Larch tree that is full of free-radical fighting polyphenols.

3. Licorice root

Licorice root and powder

To improve gut health, first you have to have a well-functioning gut lining — aka a nice place for your gut bacteria to live. Licorice root has beneficial effects on gut health when it has been treated to remove glycyrrhizic acid, a substance that appears naturally in licorice root that is thought to cause high blood-pressure and low potassium levels.[1] A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found licorice root provided reduced pain and nausea, as well as faster healing in patients with ulcers.[2]

4. Collagen protein

Adding a scoop of Bulletproof Unflavored Gut Health Collagen Protein to a mug

Collagen makes up structures throughout your body, including your gut. You naturally make collagen. But unless you eat a lot of organ meats and bone broth, you probably aren’t giving your body enough amino acid building blocks to produce enough collagen protein. That’s where a collagen protein supplement comes in handy.

Bulletproof Unflavored Gut Health Collagen Protein contains collagen, naturally, as well as prebiotics, probiotics and zinc carnosine to support a healthy gut microbiome. Because it’s unflavored, you can mix this beneficial formula into both hot, cold, savory or sweet foods and beverages.

5. Zinc carnosine

Fingers holding a pill

This compound form of zinc and carnosine is pretty amazing for gut health. Preliminary studies show that it enhances gut integrity — your stomach’s ability to maintain a strong gut lining.[3] [4]

6. L-Glutamine

Scoop of white powder

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair injuries in the intestinal wall to keep it strong, and studies show it can improve nutrition absorption.[5] [6] It also helps your body produce cytokines. Your immune system secretes cytokines to signal “mayday!” when attacked by antigens, viruses and microorganisms.[7]

How to support gut health without supplements

Green vegetables on table

As with all supplements, prioritize whole food nutrition first, and use supplements to fill in the gaps. Follow these tips to get a gut boost from the food you eat.

  • Eat probiotic foods: Experiment with fermented foods that are rich in probiotic bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and yogurt. During the fermenting process, bacterial cultures start to thrive in the food, so when you eat them, you’re supplementing the same bacteria found in your gut. Pay attention to how you feel after eating these foods — fermented foods don’t work for everyone.
  • Add more fiber: Fiber ferments in your gut and becomes food for your gut bacteria instead of just passing through. As a general rule, prebiotic fiber and resistant starch feed beneficial gut bacteria, giving them the fuel to thrive.[8] When fiber ferments in your gut, it’s broken down into short-chain fatty acids that fight inflammation and help maintain the health of your gut lining.[9] Here are some tips for getting more veggies in your diet.
  • Cut back on sugar and processed foods: Diets high in sugar and preservatives do serious damage to your gut. Some bacteria love sugar, so they multiply — but this can throw off the delicate balance in your microbiome. Cutting out sugar not only means eliminating candy and cookies. It also means less fruit (high in a natural sugar called fructose), low-nutrient carbs and alcohol. These alternative sweeteners make it easier to kick your sugar habit.
  • Drink bone broth: Mmmm, nothing soothes the gut like a cup of warm bone broth. Look for broth from 100% grass-fed beef or free-range chicken for a savory, satisfying snack. Collagen-rich bone broth delivers the essential amino acids your body needs to fortify and rebuild your gut and tissues. Make it at home with this Homemade Bone Broth recipe.
  • Get enough sleep: Healthy guts are filled with unique, diverse combinations of bacteria. That microbiome changes when you don’t sleep enough. Studies have found that sleep loss increases toxins, increases inflammation and negatively changes the ratio of bacteria in your gut, among other bad news.

Now is a good time to focus on bringing your health to tip-top shape. When you have a healthy gut, you’re getting more nutrients out of your food and supporting a strong immune system. Adding supplements and changing your diet can help fortify your defenses and keep you going strong.

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