How To Improve Gut Health: The Definitive Guide (2022)
What foods, drinks & supplements can actually help your gut health...and what might not work so well? In this mega guide, we're going to show you all the cool findings we've discovered over the years when researching everything from probiotics to SIBO diets to reflux remedies. Finally, you'll know what works and what doesn't to improve your gut health in 2022!
Table of Contents
What is, timing, pro vs pre
- What are probiotics -
- Prebiotics vs probiotics -
- When is the best time to take a probiotic -
- Benefits of probiotics -
- Saccharomyces boulardii - since we sell this product, you can bet we've done our research on it! And in this guide, we are basically presenting all the interesting things we've found regarding S boulardii over the years. We start out with the history of it - which is really interesting as it involves an Indiana Jones-style microbiologist named Mr Boulard in IndoChina! And of course we dive into all the purported benefits and studies that have been done. So you'll see everything from how it may support diarrhea to how much to take (based on studies). Not the easiest read you'll find on our site, but we covered everything in this. This truly is the definitive guide for s boulardii!
Fermented foods & drinks
We always knew kombucha was growing in popularity. But then we saw the stat...over $5 billion in kombucha is expected to be sold this year alone! And given so many of our readers are guzzling it by the gallon, we decided to investigate this fermented tea drink, to see what all the fuss is about. And of course, to work out whether kombucha is actually helpful for our gut health - or perhaps, more of an overhyped digestive health product.
What is kombucha - to kick off this series, we looked at the 8 most asked questions about kombucha. From what the drink is to how it is made with a 'SCOBY' to what ingredients are in it (and gee did we go deep here, looking at everything from the probiotics to polyphenol content!). If you've been puzzled about kombucha, this is the place to start.
- Kombucha 101 - after writing the in-depth 'what is' guide immediately above, we wanted to create something a bit shorter, sharper and easier to digest. This is a quick look at taste, how it's made and how to buy a good quality bucha.
- Simple kombucha recipe - there are 1000s of kombucha recipes out there and they get really confusing as so many self-proclaimed 'bucha brewmasters' pretend they are the Gordon Ramsay of fermentation! So we decided to show you our crazy simple recipe for making kombucha at home...in just 10 minutes.
- Kombucha SCOBY - so the magic behind kombucha is actually the jellyfish-looking 'thing' that floats inside the brewing vessel, and it's called a SCOBY. This word is an acronym of symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. And look...in order to appreciate the health benefits of kombucha, and of course, in order to get good at making your own kombucha, you need to learn a bit about the SCOBY. So this is our in-depth guide to that. Not the most enjoyable article we've done, but important nonetheless.
- Benefits of kombucha - in this article we analyze the top 7 health claims kombucha lovers like to throw around when recommending kombucha. Since many of them call it the "elixir of life", we went pretty deep into the studies on kombucha to find the truth. While it showed good promise for overall gut health, our findings were less encouraging for other health claims, eg blood sugar levels. Overall, this article is a must read if you've been spending hours making your own kombucha or if you've spent $100s buying expensive commercial kombucha.
- Dangers of kombucha - if you've been following the kombucha scandals over the years...from the homebrew mishaps in the 1990s to the alcohol fiascos of the 00s, you'll know kombucha has some potential risks. But since we've read so many fearmongering news headlines over our time, we decided to spend some time diving into what's a real risk and what's not. This actually turned out to be a fascinating research piece as we found 5 potential dangers, including alcohol, FODMAPs and even mold. Best of all, it's an easy read. Enjoy!
- Product reviews - given the popularity of commercial kombucha, we donned our 'watchdog' hats to investigate whether the most popular brands are actually selling a decent quality kombucha...or if they are selling fancy soda! We found some surprising results.
- GT's Kombucha review - GTs is basically the #1 selling brand and its been around for the longest. Run by GT Dave - a true lover of all things fermented - we found their kombucha set the gold standard in the industry. No other brand comes close in fact.
- Kevita Kombucha review - trailing just behind GTs in terms of sales, is Kevita. Given it's popularity and the fact that Pepsi owns it, we spent some serious time reviewing their kombucha. We found some unusual things during our research, like high caffeine content and long ingredient lists - the type of things you don't really want to see, if you're a kombucha purist. Overall, I think we did a very good and fair analysis of Kevita. We even argued it from both sides. So you could make up your own mind.
- Health Ade Kombucha review - Health Ade makes some very sexy looking kombucha. And it seems to be the favorite of the Instagram crowd! Normally for us, that's not a great sign. So we did some digging to see if the quality of their product lives up to the marketing. And what we found - it's not bad, but it's a long way off the GT standard.
- Humm Kombucha review - Humm is a really interesting brand. Although we reviewed their 'Original' line (in order to fairly compare it with the other kombucha brands), it was cool to see Humm also making a sugar free kombucha line. Obviously, there are pros and cons to this. And so you can read our full analysis in the article, as well as our conclusion on how it stacks up against the others.
- GTs vs Kevita vs Health Ade vs Humm - it's hard to compare all the big brands across everything from sugar content to probiotic count to flavoring agents etc. So we used our spreadsheets of data to do it for you! This article is huge!! But as you go through it, you'll be able to see which brand is best for you. Which we think is a huge help, given just how much money people are spending on kombucha these days.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- SIBO treatment - trying to tackle SIBO can get very confusing. And indeed, we get into the weeds of potential diets and treatment systems in the articles below. So we wanted to create this simple 7-step checklist of ideas to try.
- Constipation relief - using our research and clinical experience, we put together 24 of the best ideas for relieving constipation. This is a fantastic checklist of remedies and you'll find the obvious ones in here like 'drink more water' (hydration promotes movement!), but also the more unusual ideas like 'magnesium supplements'.
- How to get rid of acid reflux - similar to our constipation protocol above, we decided to bring together the best ideas for reducing acid reflux and put them in one place. Very easy to use checklist. Importantly, we also rate each idea based on potential efficacy, making it easier to see the best paths.
Low stomach acid
- Low stomach acid - this is a monster research piece we did on stomach acid! We crammed literally everything into it, including...
- Normal stomach acid vs low stomach acid
- What causes low stomach acid & how common it is
- Why stomach acid is important
- Common symptoms of low stomach acid
- How to test for it - both professional and at-home tests
- Potential treatments
- H pylori - given helicobacter pylori infection impacts nearly 50% of the world population (wowsers!), we pooled all our research together into this guide. You'll learn about everything from what causes h pylori to common symptoms, and of course the various treatment options.
- Excessive flatulence - whether it is too much farting or just plain old smelly, excessive flatulence can quickly become no joking matter. So we went deep to deliver you the most comprehensive guide to fighting flatulence. In this epic guide, we look at...
- Normal vs excessive flatulence
- What causes flatulence & what causes the smelly type
- 13 commons trigger foods to avoid
- The best ways to reduce flatulence over both the short term (aka 'quick' fixes) and the long term
An evidence hierarchy is followed to ensure conclusions are formed off of the most up-to-date and well-designed studies available. We aim to reference studies conducted within the past five years when possible.
- Systematic review or meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
- Randomized controlled trials
- Controlled trials without randomization
- Case-control (retrospective) and cohort (prospective) studies
- A systematic review of descriptive, qualitative, or mixed-method studies
- A single descriptive, qualitative, or mixed-method study
- Studies without controls, case reports, and case series
- Animal research
- In vitro research