T Nation

Digestion

What do you guys all do for digestive health. I was thinking maybe just taking psyllium would be a good idea but was wondering if there is anything else I should consider. I added steak to my diet recently and it seems to give me much more trouble digesting it than chicken ever did (chicken was never a problem, but steak seems to be a big problem).
-Jason

Are you talking about constipation? You can always add a big raw spinach salad to that steak meal. There’s plenty of fiber and most weightlifters(including myself at times) don’t get enough veggies.

Although psyllium is high in fiber it helps more with elimination then it does digestion. For digestion there are many things you can do including:
adding a high quality digestive enzyme supplement with your high protein meals, adding betaine hcl acid (take enough of a dosage to induce a feeling of warmth in the gut), adding a quality probiotic supplement with acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria. Also taking a tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar with meals has proven beneficial for some. Many people are using probiotics nowadays but the quality of some of these supplements is questionable. One way I have heard to test the effectiveness of your probiotic is to place one capsule in 1/4 cup of milk and let it sit at room temperature. Within 48 hours if the probiotic is of good quality the milk should begin turning into a yogurt like consistency.

Kelly B. in that case couldn’t he just buy yogurt? I tried probiotics and they didn’t seem to do much, but I’m really interested in buying some different brands of probiotics and testing them in milk like you’ve suggested. Have you heard of papaya and pineapple being helpful to digestion?

Along with a good digestive enzyme and some Betaaine HCL, like Mr Baggest suggested, I would follow what the Japanese do and eat some ginger before your meal. Ginger is supposed to be great in stimulating digestion.

Something I do also is as soon as I wake up, 15 minutes before breakfast I drink a hot lemon juice and water. This is also supposed to help with getting the digestive enzymes going.

Can you recommend some good quality digestive enzymes and probiotics to use? Ouster

Most yogurt is so heavily processed and sugar filled it actually does more harm than good. The enzyme I use I get from a chiropractor and they’re made by pure encapsulations (look for the website). The probiotic supplement i use is called Jaro-Dophilus…not sure who makes it. The best pro-biotic to use is probably a supplement called “Primal Defense”

Key word on yogurt: “most”.
Otherwise I would disagree and rather heartily advocate yogurt as a cheap and effective aid to digestion. Look for a brand that is fat-free AND sugar-free. They are usually labelled as “plain” yogurt and the taste is pretty plain, almost kind of sour. Try mixing a half cup in a protein drink.
Good brands to try are Mountain High and Cascade Fresh. A daily serving of yogurt contains ample amounts of the good bacteria for a healthy intestinal tract and is a good source of protein and calcium.

I agree with Cecile on the yogurt. When I said “most yogurt” i was referring to the typical store bought kind. When I use yogurt I get an organic version at a health food store and I use the sugar free/full fat variety. The taste, fullness, and texture blows away any typical store bought versions.

I’ve actually used the jaro brand of probiotic which didn’t seem to do much, but it could have gone bad if it was not properly stored. I also agree with your comment on yogurt quality, I’ve always bought organic yogurt(whole fat, sugar free), since its fairly cheap where I live and most normal grocery stores stock it. Stoney Field and Horizon provide most of the organic products in my area. I can’t stomach most dairy unless its organic, I swear I can taste the diference especially comparing the whole fat products. I’ll have to check out that “primal defense” stuff.

I have always been “big” fan of digestive enzymes!
I take Betaine Hcl, Bromelain, Pancreatin or Enzymall
(all dependant upon what kind of meal I’m eating).
Never listened to what the so-called experts were currently saying about them because I knew they worked!

Funny thing: Have had problems with belching and
“other” forms of gas all my life, but after adopting
JMB’s “massive eating” protocol last year… NO MORE GAS! And my digestion has improved “exponentially!” My digestive system has responded famously to his food combining ideas! (e.g. separating fat + carbs)

You might want to look into Fibersol 2. There is one particular supplement company that has a product that contains this ingredient. There’s not much I can say on this forum about this, but see for yourself.

Digestive enzymes are so expensive–especially the eneteric coated kinds that are often suggested. But then there’s Pancreatin, which is remarkably inexpensive. But the Pancreatin container said it included lipase and amylase, and 4x Pancreatin for protein digestion. Is it really a good supplement, or is it mediocre?