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Bloat

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Wellness Education

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Discover the current legal status of CBD, state and federal regulations, requirements for legal products, and potential future changes in Texas law.

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Supplements For Bloating

What Are Some Common Causes Of Bloating?

Bloating can be triggered by numerous factors, and identifying the root cause is essential for effective treatment. Some of the most common causes include:

Dietary Choices

Consuming foods that are difficult to digest, such as beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, and certain vegetables (like broccoli and cabbage), can lead to bloating. These foods produce more gas during digestion, which can build up in the intestines and cause discomfort. High-fiber foods, while beneficial for overall health, can also contribute to bloating if introduced too quickly into the diet. Additionally, artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and aspartame can ferment in the gut, leading to increased gas and bloating.

Overeating

Eating large meals or eating too quickly can cause the stomach to expand, leading to a feeling of fullness and bloating. When you eat too fast, you also tend to swallow more air, which can contribute to gas build-up in the digestive tract. Furthermore, overeating can overwhelm the digestive system, making it harder for the stomach to properly break down food, which can result in bloating and discomfort.

Food Intolerances

Lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity, and other food intolerances can cause bloating as the body struggles to digest certain substances. In individuals with lactose intolerance, the lack of the enzyme lactase leads to fermentation of lactose in the gut, producing gas. Similarly, gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation and bloating in the intestines. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods is crucial for managing bloating related to food intolerances.

Gas Build-up

Swallowing air while eating or drinking, or the fermentation of undigested food in the gut, can produce excess gas, leading to bloating. Activities such as chewing gum, drinking through a straw, or talking while eating can increase the amount of air swallowed. Additionally, certain foods and beverages, like carbonated drinks, can introduce more gas into the digestive system, causing discomfort and bloating.

Constipation

When stool builds up in the intestines, it can cause bloating and discomfort. Constipation slows down the movement of food waste through the digestive tract, leading to a build-up of gas behind the stool. This trapped gas can cause the abdomen to feel full and swollen. Ensuring regular bowel movements through adequate fiber intake, hydration, and physical activity can help prevent constipation-related bloating.

Hormonal Changes

Women may experience bloating due to hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. Hormones like progesterone can slow down digestion and cause water retention, leading to a bloated feeling. During pregnancy, the growing uterus can also put pressure on the intestines, contributing to bloating. Hormonal changes during menopause can affect digestive function, increasing the likelihood of bloating.

Medical Conditions

Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and gastrointestinal infections can cause chronic bloating. IBS often involves a dysfunction in how the brain and gut interact, leading to bloating and abdominal pain. SIBO, where excess bacteria grow in the small intestine, can result in fermentation of food and gas production. Gastrointestinal infections, such as gastroenteritis, can disrupt normal digestive processes and cause bloating.

How Do These Supplements  Help WIth Bloating?

Supplements can be an effective way to manage and reduce bloating, especially when lifestyle and dietary adjustments alone are insufficient. They work by addressing various underlying causes of bloating, such as poor digestion, imbalances in gut bacteria, and inflammation. Here are some ways supplements can help:

Improving Digestion

Certain supplements, like digestive enzymes, aid in breaking down food more efficiently, preventing the build-up of undigested food that can cause gas and bloating. These enzymes, such as amylase, protease, and lipase, help digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats respectively. By enhancing the digestive process, these supplements ensure that food is fully broken down and absorbed, minimizing the chances of fermentation in the gut. This can lead to a significant reduction in bloating and overall digestive discomfort.

Balancing Gut Bacteria

Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system, helping to balance the gut microbiome. This can reduce symptoms of bloating caused by bacterial imbalances, such as those seen in conditions like IBS and SIBO. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is essential for proper digestion and preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that produce gas. Regular use of probiotics can support long-term digestive health and reduce the frequency and severity of bloating episodes.

Reducing Inflammation

Some supplements have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the digestive tract and reduce bloating caused by inflammation. Ingredients like ginger and peppermint oil are known for their soothing effects on the gastrointestinal system. Ginger contains compounds like gingerol that can reduce inflammation and improve gastric motility, while peppermint oil can relax the muscles of the GI tract, alleviating spasms and discomfort. These anti-inflammatory properties help to calm the digestive system and reduce bloating and pain.

Relieving Gas

Supplements that contain ingredients like simethicone can help break up gas bubbles in the gut, providing quick relief from bloating and discomfort. Simethicone works by reducing the surface tension of gas bubbles, causing them to coalesce and be expelled more easily from the body. This can provide almost immediate relief from the pressure and fullness associated with gas build-up. By addressing the physical presence of gas, these supplements can make a noticeable difference in bloating symptoms.

Promoting Regular Bowel Movements

Fiber supplements can help prevent constipation, a common cause of bloating, by promoting regular bowel movements and improving overall digestive health. Soluble fiber, such as psyllium husk, absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance that helps move stool smoothly through the intestines. This can prevent the build-up of waste and gas that leads to bloating. Regular use of fiber supplements can enhance bowel regularity, reducing the risk of constipation-related bloating and discomfort.

What Are Some Popular Supplements For Bloating?

There are several supplements available that can help alleviate bloating. Here are some of the most popular and effective options:

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for your digestive system. They help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, which can be disrupted by factors like antibiotics, poor diet, or stress. Probiotics are particularly useful for reducing bloating associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

  • Benefits: Improve gut health, reduce gas production, enhance digestion.
  • Common Sources: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, supplements containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are proteins that aid in the breakdown of food into nutrients that the body can absorb. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can help alleviate bloating caused by incomplete digestion, especially when consuming protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

  • Benefits: Improve nutrient absorption, reduce bloating and gas, support overall digestive health.
  • Common Enzymes: Amylase, protease, lipase, lactase.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has antispasmodic properties, which means it can relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. This relaxation can help relieve symptoms of bloating, especially in cases of IBS.

  • Benefits: Reduce muscle spasms in the gut, alleviate gas and bloating, soothe digestive tract.
  • Forms: Enteric-coated capsules, peppermint tea.

Ginger

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that has been used for centuries to treat various digestive issues. It can help reduce bloating by speeding up stomach emptying and reducing inflammation in the gut.

  • Benefits: Enhance digestion, reduce inflammation, relieve nausea and bloating.
  • Forms: Fresh ginger, ginger tea, capsules, extracts.

Fennel

Fennel seeds have been traditionally used to treat bloating and other digestive issues. They have carminative properties, which means they can help expel gas from the digestive tract and reduce bloating.

  • Benefits: Relieve gas and bloating, improve digestion, reduce intestinal spasms.
  • Forms: Whole seeds, teas, supplements.

These supplements can be effective tools in managing bloating, but it's important to choose the right one for your specific needs. In the next section, we will discuss how to choose the right supplement for you.

How Do You Choose The Right Supplement For You?

Selecting the right supplement to alleviate bloating involves considering your specific symptoms, underlying causes, and individual health needs. Here are some tips to help you choose the most suitable option:

Identify The Cause

Understanding the primary cause of your bloating is crucial. If your bloating is due to poor digestion, digestive enzymes may be beneficial as they help break down food more effectively. If it's related to gut bacteria imbalances, probiotics might be more effective by restoring a healthy balance of gut flora. Identifying whether your bloating is caused by dietary factors, medical conditions, or lifestyle habits will guide you to the appropriate supplement.

Consider Your Diet

If your diet lacks fiber, you might benefit from a fiber supplement to promote regular bowel movements and reduce bloating. Fiber helps move waste through the digestive tract efficiently, preventing constipation and the buildup of gas. Conversely, if you're already consuming high-fiber foods, additional fiber may not be necessary and could even exacerbate bloating. Tailoring your supplement choice to complement your dietary habits can enhance its effectiveness.

Check For Allergies And Sensitivities

Ensure that the supplement you choose does not contain ingredients you are allergic to or sensitive to. This is especially important for supplements with multiple ingredients, as they may contain allergens like gluten, soy, or dairy. Reading labels carefully and choosing hypoallergenic options can prevent adverse reactions and ensure that the supplement supports rather than hinders your health.

Consult A Healthcare Professional

Before starting any new supplement, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications. A healthcare professional can provide personalized advice based on your health history and current medications, helping you avoid potential interactions and side effects. Their guidance ensures that you choose a supplement that is both safe and effective for your specific needs.

Start With A Low Dose

If you’re trying a new supplement for the first time, start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts. This cautious approach can help you identify any potential side effects without overwhelming your system. Gradually increase the dose as needed, following the manufacturer's guidelines, to find the optimal amount that provides relief without causing discomfort.

Monitor Your Symptoms

Keep track of your symptoms and any changes you notice after starting the supplement. This will help you determine its effectiveness and whether you need to adjust the dosage or try a different supplement. Maintaining a symptom diary can provide valuable insights into how your body responds and assist in fine-tuning your supplement regimen for maximum benefit.

Quality And Brand

Choose supplements from reputable brands that have been tested for quality and purity. Look for products that are certified by third-party organizations, which verify that the supplement contains what it claims and is free from harmful contaminants. Opting for high-quality supplements ensures that you receive the intended benefits without unnecessary risks, providing peace of mind and better health outcomes.

Potential Side Effects And Precautions

While supplements can be beneficial in managing bloating, it's important to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions. Here are some common side effects and considerations for the supplements discussed:

Probiotics

  • Side Effects: Initial bloating, gas, or digestive discomfort as your body adjusts to the new bacteria.
  • Precautions: Start with a low dose and gradually increase. If you have a compromised immune system, consult a healthcare provider before using probiotics.

Digestive Enzymes

  • Side Effects: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or allergic reactions.
  • Precautions: People with pancreatitis or other pancreatic conditions should avoid these supplements unless advised by a healthcare provider. Follow dosing instructions carefully.

Peppermint Oil

  • Side Effects: Heartburn, allergic reactions, or a burning sensation in the mouth or throat.
  • Precautions: Use enteric-coated capsules to prevent heartburn. Avoid if you have GERD or a hiatal hernia. Consult a healthcare provider before use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ginger

  • Side Effects: Heartburn, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort.
  • Precautions: Avoid high doses if you are pregnant or taking blood-thinning medications. Consult a healthcare provider for appropriate dosing.

Fennel

  • Side Effects: Allergic reactions, particularly if you have an allergy to celery, carrot, or mugwort.
  • Precautions: Avoid excessive use during pregnancy. Consult a healthcare provider before use if you are taking medication or have a medical condition.

Sources:

  1. Mah, E., Chen, O., Liska, D. J., & Blumberg, J. B. (2022). Dietary Supplements for Weight Management: A Narrative Review of Safety and Metabolic Health Benefits. Nutrients, 14(9), 1787. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091787
  2. The most effective vitamins for boosting energy. (2019, October 23). Www.medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326756
  3. Crawford, C., Brown, L. L., Costello, R. B., & Deuster, P. A. (2022). Select Dietary Supplement Ingredients for Preserving and Protecting the Immune System in Healthy Individuals: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 14(21), 4604. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14214604
  4. NIH. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements - Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss. Nih.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  5. Green tea for weight loss: Does it work? (n.d.). Www.medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320540
  6. Contributors, W. E. (n.d.). Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia. WebMD. Retrieved January 17, 2024, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-garcinia-cambogia
  7. Howarth, N. C., Saltzman, E., & Roberts, S. B. (2009). Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation. Nutrition Reviews, 59(5), 129–139. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb07001.x
  8. Smith, M. (2017, January 24). Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Health. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/apple-cider-vinegar-and-your-health
  9. Dwyer, J., Coates, P., & Smith, M. (2018). Dietary Supplements: Regulatory Challenges and Research Resources. Nutrients, 10(1), 41. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10010041
  10. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2023, July 11). Weight-loss supplements: What you need to know. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  11. Mayo Clinic. (2023, August 19). Weight loss pills: Can they help you lose weight?. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/basics/weightloss-basics/hlv-20049483
  12. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2023, August 01). Dietary supplements for weight loss. https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements
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