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You’re likely familiar with the feeling of rushing to unbutton your pants after a big dinner or at the end of a long day of period puffiness. Bloating—a pretty universal conundrum, let’s be real—is why anti-bloat supplements from brands like HUM, Arrae, and The Nue Co. entered the wellness ring. © Christine Giordano Anti-bloat supplements contain enzymes and herbs that promise to aid digestion and relieve gas. Experts explain whether they really work and how to pick one.
While the ingredients vary from product to product, these oral supps are generally packed with a blend of digestive enzymes and herbal ingredients (dandelion root, ginger, to name a couple) that are said to aid digestion and promote a healthy gut and, in turn, reduce the swell. Sounds attractive, but can they really deliver on the promises? What experts say about these offerings…
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Meet the experts: Samantha Nazareth, MD, is certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology/hepatology. She has served as an authoritative source on gut and digestive health for national media outlets like CNN and Women's Health, and her research has been featured in The New York Times.
Marvin Singh, MD, is one of two physicians in the country to hold certification in internal medicine, gastroenterology/hepatology, and integrative medicine. He is currently the director of integrative gastroenterology at the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute at University of California Irvine, and a voluntary clinical professor at University of California San Diego.
How Anti-Bloat Supplements Work For Gas And Bloating
Your gut is like a long hose lined with smooth muscle, which becomes stretched when your intestines expand from excess gas, says NYC gastroenterologist and advisor Samantha Nazareth, MD. Some ingredients, such as fennel and peppermint, can relax muscles and aid in moving food and air along, easing discomfort. So they may help after a meal or a night out, for example, and are generally safe if used as directed.
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These remedies aren’t must-haves, though—sometimes a simple lifestyle tweak, like slowing down when you eat or consuming smaller meals, does the trick.
One important PSA from Dr. Nazareth: Bloating could be a sign of different conditions, from dietary intolerance to colon cancer. She recommends that you talk to a doc if you feel so uncomfortable that you are looking for help and if the problem is ongoing and persistent. “You can't really rule out all the bad, scary stuff unless you get a full workup,” she says.
Anti-Bloat Supplements For Heartburn
If the burn is a result of food not being digested properly, an anti-bloat supp might help, says Dr. Nazareth. When you eat a lot and the food takes a long time to break down, that can prevent the valve connecting the esophagus and the stomach (known as the esophageal sphincter) from closing properly—allowing stomach acid and contents to flow back, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
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In these cases, digestive enzymes and herbs can help the issue. But there are other possible causes of heartburn unrelated to digestion, such as a hiatal hernia and pregnancy. So, consult your MD first to rule out other reasons.
How To Determine Which Anti-Bloat Supplement Is Right For You
Choose a tablet with enzymes that specifically target what you have trouble digesting. For example, if fats are the source of your woes, you’ll want one with lipase. One note: It’s hard to tell if you’re getting the therapeutic dose because de-bloat supps (or any) are not FDA regulated.
“I encourage people to do their own research into a company,” says Marvin Singh, MD, a California-based integrative gastroenterologist. Look at their track record online and research the manufacturer, product, and ingredients.
FYI: If you have a blood disorder, you’ll want to avoid a formula that includes bromelain. It breaks down proteins, but can also interfere with platelets and clotting. Ultimately, for a well-functioning gut, go back to basics: eating a well-balanced diet, managing stress, and prioritizing sleep. “Those are fundamentals for everybody,” Dr. Nazareth says. Good reminder!
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HUM's de-bloat aid includes a comprehensive array of digestive enzymes to target many foods. Besides covering the basics of carbs, proteins, and fats, this particular blend also contains enzymes that home in on specific types of eats, like the starch found in certain veggies and nuts.
Bye Bye Bloat
Looking for gut health support made up of clean ingredients? This calming mix of organic herbs like fennel, dandelion, and fenugreek from Love Wellness combined with digestive enzymes will deliver natural relief whether you're puffed up from hormonal fluctuations around your period or a big meal.
This supplement goes way beyond nixing gas and discomfort. Featuring licorice root and turmeric, this supplement promises to also reduce IBS symptoms like stomach pains and protect against ulcers and heartburn.
No Bloat Supplement
You know probiotics are an important part of keeping you regular. Instead of buying another bottle, you'd get the essential nutrient you need on top of all the bloat-busting goodness in one with this product. It also packs tons of plant extracts aimed to get things moving, including turmeric, ginger, dandelion, fennel seed, and cinnamon.
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