Although it’s a very common thing for both women and men to experience, bloating particularly affects women and can be very uncomfortable. Hormone fluctuations experienced by women, particularly right before and during your period means you’re more prone to the dreaded bloat. Certain lifestyle changes such as cutting back on alcohol and ultra-processed foods can certainly help alleviate the symptoms but sometimes you need that little extra push. That’s why we have spoken to a gut health and naturopathic expert to bring you the best supplements to stop bloating.
The Best Supplements To Stop Bloating
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Chances are you might already be familiar with or even taking probiotics regularly. But did you know not all probiotics are created equal?
“What is sometimes the cause of bloating is an unbalance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut which leads to a build up of gas in your stomach. Your gut microbiome is a fragile eco-system which can easily be thrown out of balance by things such as antibiotics, stress, ultra-processed foods or excessive alcohol consumption among other things. If you’ve taken to the steps to reduce this but are still experiencing bloating, it’s worth including more fermented foods in your daily diet such as Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi or Sauerkraut which are all full of beneficial gut bacteria. I would recommend starting with a couple of days of prebiotics followed by probiotic supplements, particularly ones which contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains can be highly beneficial as well”.D.O France Engels
Psyllium is a fibre derived from an herb called Plantago Ovata and comes in a powder form. It can be taken as is or added to yogurts or even baked goods. According to a recent study (1), taking psyllium can improve constipation and lower blood sugar levels as well as lower bad cholesterol.
“Psyllium is a great addition to your diet. Rich in soluble fibres, it also acts as a prebiotic to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. It has been shown to improve constipation, intestinal inflammation and bloating. It can be taken as a capsule or in powder form as it has a rather neutral taste. It can be added to smoothies or baked goods for example which makes it easy to incorporate into your daily diet.”D.O France Engels
If you know that you’re sensitive to dairy (this can manifests itself as stomach distress, acne, skin rash etc..) then chances are it could also be causing your bloating too. Food intolerances can play a big part in your bloating and trying an elimination diet can really help narrow down which foods are causing issues. Dairy is a common culprit and if you’re not willing to completely part ways with cheese and ice-cream, you could take a Lactase Enzyme supplement to help your body process the lactose.
“Here’s the thing, no one NEEDS dairy. Yes it’s full of calcium, vitamin D and protein. But so are many other foods out there. Ideally someone who is sensitive to dairy should eliminate it from their diet altogether and try alternative milks instead such as Almond milk. But if that’s not always possible and you would still like to occasionally indulge, a Lactase Enzyme supplement can help your body digest dairy and therefore avoid the dreaded bloat.”D.O France Engels
There’s a very good reason why fennel can be found in most detox teas on the market. It’s highly anti-inflammatory and helps relax intestinal muscles. That’s why many people with IBS or IBD swear by taking fennel extract right before or during a meal. These properties are also what make fennel great at reducing bloating and cramping.
“Fennel works at reducing bloating by relaxing intestinal muscles and allowing gas to pass more easily. It also helps with cramps which often accompany bloating. I recommend fennel supplements or fennel tea rather than just eating the plant as you’re likely to need a lot of it to notice any real results.”D.O France Engels
Activated charcoal is a great supplement to take occasionally when you’re bloated although it isn’t recommended to take it every day as it’s more about treating than preventing bloating. Charcoal works by absorbing toxins and excess gas in the intestinal tracts which is also what makes it a great supplement to take before alcohol consumption. If you are under any medication, do not take charcoal tablets as this will reduce its absorption.
“Charcoal is a great supplement to have on hand at all times. This is because activated charcoal contains millions of tiny pores that absorb toxins in the digestive tract and helps reduce gas. I do not recommend taking this daily however as it can also bind itself to essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your food. But when you’re looking for a quick and occasional fix to your bloating, charcoal is a great option.”D.O France Engels