Our digestive systems have a lot to answer for. Indigestion, bloating, wind and irregularity — to name a few things we’ve long known it’s guilty of.
But that’s not the end of it. In recent years, studies have found gut health to be behind a whole host of other issues, including immunity and even the condition of our skin.
If you’ve been on TikTok in the last month, you’re likely to have been sucked into #guttok. If so, it’s likely you may have come across some information that may not have been fully correct.
Thankfully, Myprotein product developer Katie Brown has taken the time to lay out the best science-backed supplements to aid digestion and your gut.
The digestion process
The digestion process starts earlier than you perhaps ever realised — before food even passes your lips. It actually starts when you first see or even smell food, because this stimulates saliva production. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the process of breaking down food. Your “mouth watering” is the first stage of digestion.
And when you can’t stand to wait anymore and finally take that first big bite, the second stage of digestion is underway. Chewing your food is a huge part in the digestive process. You’re breaking the food down into smaller pieces, not only so you can swallow them, but so food has a greater surface area, allowing the digestive enzymes in your saliva to get to work more easily.
When your food is sufficiently chewed (the average person chews their food 32 times before swallowing, by the way) you’ll then swallow it. It then goes through your internal digestive system, where it’s broken down even further.
During this process of breaking the food down, all the important nutrients will be taken from the food — this is when nutrients, like precious protein, are taken from the food.
And that, in a nutshell, is the digestive process. Now for the explanation for how it protects your gut. As you can probably imagine, your diet plays the biggest part in your digestive health, but there are some supplements that can make your digestive life a little bit easier.
Derived from pineapples, bromelain functions as a protease. A protease breaks down proteins, some of which might be more difficult to digest. As you get older, the number of digestive enzymes in your stomach naturally reduces. With fewer enzymes you might experience bloating or cramps. Bromelain might help to reduce this.