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Digestive Health

Trending Natural Health Products – a focus on digestion

Leaky gut… It’s a nasty name and although this concept, officially termed “intestinal permeability” is still in its infancy, it’s quickly becoming a health buzz word with implications ranging from our digestive to brain health. Our digestive tracts are normally good at treading the fine line between allowing the good stuff to be absorbed, including nutrients like vitamins and minerals, while keeping the bad stuff, like toxins out. However, when the balance of good and bad bacteria is off, the absorption of good and bad substances can also be disrupted. In 2015 consumers can expect to see new natural health products focused on supporting the health of the digestive tract. L-glutamine is a natural health product that has shown some benefit for intestinal health. This amino acid gets called upon as a crucial building block for proteins, but it is when our bodies are injured, either physically by trauma (including exercise), or devastated by illness, that L-glutamine is called into action. It plays a crucial role in strengthening the connections between our intestinal cells, helping to repair damage to the gut wall, and reducing ‘leaky gut’ symptoms. Probiotics also play an integral role in strengthening the interior of our intestines. These good gut-bugs are being linked to health benefits including digestive and intestinal health, mental health, skin health and weight maintenance, among other benefits. A growing body of research is currently exploring the essential relationship between a healthy gut and a strong immune system, making a probiotic supplement even more important in the winter months, when our bodies are ravaged by germs. Supporting intestinal health can also come by feeding the good gut bacteria already present in our bodies. There is nothing that good gut bacteria like more than fibre. Our bodies can’t break down dietary fibre, but probiotics possess the required machinery to digest fibres to grow and thrive. As innovation in this field accelerates, a wider variety of fibres are becoming available in local health food retailers, including soluble and insoluble fibres, specially formulated to support intestinal health. The growing variety of natural health products available to support digestive health is an important trend this year, as more and more Canadians will be “trusting their gut” when trying new options.
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