Bloating Tips | Are Anti-Bloat Supplements Worth It?

Eli Brecher Nutritionist Anti Bloat Supplements

Bloating Tips Beat The Bloat

Anti-Bloat Supplements: Are They Worth It?

“De-bloat” supplements are popping up on every social media platform (especially TikTok and Instagram), with seemingly every influencer under the sun promoting these anti-bloating pills as a magical solution that with cure all your digestive concerns. If you’re wondering whether these supplements actually work – and are worth the price tag – here’s what you need to know from a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) who specialises in gut health!

Eli Brecher Nutritionist Anti Bloat Supplements

What Causes Bloating?

Bloating can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

🥕 eating large quantities of food⁠

🥕 eating very quickly⁠

🥕 not chewing food well⁠

🥕 certain high fibre foods (which may be healthy!)⁠

🥕 artificial sweeteners (particularly sugar alcohols e.g. sorbitol) ⁠

🥕 fizzy drinks⁠

🥕 trapped air ⁠

🥕 irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects up 1 in 5 people in the UK⁠

🥕 small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which affects up to 80% of those with IBS

🥕 gynaecological issues e.g. endometriosis ⁠

🥕 high stress levels

 

If you want to get rid of bloating, it can be tempting to grab the first supplement you read about. However, the key is to identify the root cause of what’s causing your bloating. If you get bloated regularly and have ruled out other health problems, you may want to consider seeking personalised advice from a nutritionist (ideally one who specialises in gut health like me!). Book a FREE CALL to see how I can help you start your journey to the healthiest version of yourself today!

It is important to recognise that a bit of bloating after a heavy meal is normal, but persistent uncomfortable bloating could be an indication of a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) so speak to your GP if this is a concern.

What are Anti-Bloat Supplements?

Anti-bloat supplements generally contain digestive enzymes and herbs that may help soothe digestion after a heavy meal. Some research exists to support the use of certain ingredients like peppermint and fennel, which can help ease digestive discomfort, liquorice extract, which may be effective at relieving bloating and trapped wind, turmeric, which can help reduce inflammation in the body, and ginger, which is known for soothing the stomach and reducing nausea.

However, other herbs and ingredients that are often included lack solid research to support their use, and current evidence may be anecdotal or only just beginning to emerge.

 

Additives

Many anti-bloating supplements frequently use emulsifiers, fillers and bulking agents, including maltodextrin and microcrystalline cellulose. These highly processed artificial food additives can aid in the manufacturing process, however they can cause side effects when consumed in high doses, which, ironically may include bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

A 2012 study found that maltodextrin may be detrimental to the gut microbiome (the trillions of organisms that live in your digestive tract), by suppressing the growth of friendly gut bacteria (essential for the immune system) and promoting harmful bacteria such as E. Coli.

Even “natural” additives like gum acacia in anti-bloat supplements can induce gastrointestinal side effects (such as gas, bloating and nausea) when taken frequently.

 

Laxatives

Anti-bloating supplements often contain magnesium citrate – a form of magnesium which acts as a laxative. While this may be helpful in certain situations, it is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all effective treatment for bloating. Other laxatives such as senna leaf may also be inside the products.

 

The More The Merrier?

When it comes to the ingredients list on anti-bloat supplements, it’s not always a case of “the more the merrier”. Many supplements, including vitamins and minerals, will often boast high levels of a particular nutrient, for example 500% of the recommended daily intake of folic acid. The reality is that too much folic acid can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause damage to the nervous system if left untreated.

 

Probiotics

Similarly, anti-bloating supplements that brag about a high number of bacterial strains of probiotics may sound impressive at first, but for those suffering from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) this could be adding fuel to the fire. The NHS estimates that up to 80% of those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may have SIBO – that’s up to 10.8 million people in the UK!

Many probiotic supplements are also poor quality and have not been tested to show that they can survive your stomach acid – or that they contain what they claim on the bottle.

 

A Personalised Approach

The vast array of digestive enzymes included in many of these anti-bloat products are not necessarily helpful for everyone, and specific, targeted supplements may be more beneficial to individuals. This is the reason I take a personalised approach with all of my 1:1 clients and tailor each nutrition plan and supplement recommendation to their unique needs and goals.

 

What Supplements Do I Recommend?

While each case is different, one supplement I often recommend to my clients who struggle with bloating is pure peppermint oil capsules, which can be helpful for relaxing the intestinal muscles, thanks to a compound called L-menthol. Peppermint oil is a type of carminative herb which can encourage food and air to move along the digestive tract. However, it should be avoided in those who experience acid reflux as it can actually worsen symptoms.

Herbal teas including peppermint, liquorice and fennel tea can all be helps tools to have on hand for after a heavy meal – although it’s worth noting that the latter two should be avoided during pregnancy.

 

Top Tips For Bloating

People are constantly seeking quick fixes for bloating (among other things!) but the hard truth is that a long-term sustainable approach to health and nutrition is the best way to see results – and to reduce the frequency and intensity of your bloating.

This long-term approach goes beyond what you eat and involves other lifestyle components:

  1. Stress management – a huge contributor to digestive issues
  2. Exercise – such as daily stretching and a walk after meals, both of which can help with digestion
  3. Optimising sleep – a poor night’s sleep increases ghrelin, your hunger hormone, making you more likely to overeat and graze throughout the day, thereby contributing to bloating
  4. Mindful eating habits – I always encourage my clients to eat mindfully. Take a few deep breaths before each meal, slow down, avoid distractions at mealtimes, engage all your senses with the food you’re eating and tune into the different colours, textures and aromas. This technique of mindful eating is a simple trick that can go a long way to stimulate the digestive process and reduce bloating.

This is just a small insight into the types of things I discuss with my 1:1 clients. If you’re interested in working together to optimise your nutrition and overall wellbeing, please get in contact via Consultations or book in for a FREE call

 

Eli Brecher Nutritionist Anti Bloat Supplements

 

Did you find this post useful? If so please share it with others! For more nutrition tips and healthy recipes, check out my Instagram @elibrechernutrition

 

Check out my other nutrition-related blog posts below:

 

 

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17420159/

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052132

https://transform.england.nhs.uk/key-tools-and-info/digital-playbooks/gastroenterology-digital-playbook/remote-monitoring-of-patients-with-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth-IBS-and-food-intolerances/#:~:text=It%20is%20further%20estimated%20that,of%20the%20diagnosis%20of%20SIBO.

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