Are DIY supplement protocols a good idea?
I remember when I first began self-experimentation with digestive supplements. Five and a half years ago, I jumped into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to address my autoimmune disease.
As I began to experience dramatic shifts with my new diet, I wanted to support my recovery in all ways possible. I felt ravenous for faster, deeper healing. That led me through the Internet Doors of Holistic Health, and I googled ALL the digestive health things.
Keep in mind, even five years ago, the online resources for autoimmune support were minimal compared to the current blogosphere. So I found myself searching dusty corners of the internet for supplement recommendations, and tried supplements rather indiscriminately.
Then, I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and my perspective on supplementation flipped dramatically. Through clinical assessment techniques, I learned how to communicate with the Innate Intelligence of the body. That intelligence knows what specific nutrients and supplements our body requires at this point in time.
Connecting to the body’s wisdom in this way allowed me to choose specific supplements for faster digestive improvement. It turned out that many of the supplements I had been swallowing with the best intentions were actually stressing my body.
I felt captivated with this method of accessing the body’s Healing Wisdom. In following years, intending to open a clinical practice, I pursued advanced clinical training, private tutoring, and interned in the field.
Life recently led me on a different path than clinical work, including launching Meo EnergeticsMeo Energetics. But my exposure to hands-on, bioindividual clinical assessment gave me a unique perspective on supplementation.
Three Best Digestive Supplements For Everyone
I’ve learned that few supplements are one-size-fits-all. When we create our own hodgepodge supplement protocol from various health websites, we can actually stress our body.
For example, someone may start taking herbal antifungals without a binder such as clay or charcoal to absorb the released toxins. Or someone may start taking ox bile, and create a dependency on the supplement. Or someone may take digestive enzymes for years, and similarly create a dependency on that supplement.
That’s why I’ve been more and more conservative in my supplement recommendations to you, because supplemental advice cannot be tailored to you in the way a clinician can tailor recommendations to you.
With all that said, the following three digestive supplements are the few that DO seem to support everyone. We know this because they test universally well in clinical assessment and kinesiology.
These are also the three digestive supplements that led to the most dramatic improvement in my own health. Vagal Tone supported my digestion so much that I co-founded a company to share it with you… I’m not in the habit of doing that, it’s much easier to be an affiliate for an existing company. But there was nothing like it on the market, and the product is that phenomenal.
I also ran this post by John, my business partner at Meo Energetics, to make sure these recommendations are watertight. John has likely seen more clients than any other nutritional therapist, and he has been in clinical practice for over 25 years. If anyone knows the ins-and-outs of digestive supplements, it’s John.
Restore, for Tight Junction Restoration
What it is: This soil-derived supplement is made from — brace yourself — “decomposed prehistoric matter.” The decomposition process, with the pressure and atmosphere, creates lignite extract.
How it works: I need to give you a quick primer on Leaky Gut, called intestinal permeability in scientific literature.
Leaky gut occurs when environmental toxins, stress, genetics, pharmaceutical drugs, and processed food degrade the healthy balance of gut bacteria. We require balanced gut flora to protect the delicate lining of the small intestine.
When destroyed by stressors and toxins, our gut flora becomes imbalanced and pathogenic bacteria move in. These pathogens, along with chemicals and certain foods, loosen the junctions between the cells of the small intestine. As a result, toxins and undigested food molecules escape into the bloodstream and cause immune dysfunction.
When balanced, our gut flora communicates widely via carbon molecules called redox molecules. Restore introduces these carbon-based messenger molecules into the digestive tract, promoting essential communication of our gut flora. When our gut flora communicate, they can re-establish balance and intestinal healing.
Restore is shown in a controlled study to restore the tight junctions between small intestinal cells — in other words, it promotes the reversal of leaky gut.
Restore, along with Vagal Tone, are the two supplements that have profoundly healed my digestion and allowed me to expand my limited diet.
How to use it: Take 1 tsp. three times a day in water. It is not objectionable to take, and just tastes a bit salty.
Where to get it: Restore is available here from Amazon.
Vagal Tone, for the Parasympathetic State
What it is: An essential oil blend that supports the tone of the vagal nerve. At Meo Energetics, we were inspired by the discovery in neuroscience that light, lasers, and electricity are all forms of energy that heal the brain. Our formulator John Tjenos pioneered the approach of using essential oils as energetic support for specific brain functions.
How it works: Our vagal tone turns on the parasympathetic state of the nervous system. Only in parasympathetic does the body turn on its natural healing processes, including digestion. Digestion only happens in a parasympathetic state.
Almost all of us with digestive problems are in the Sympathetic state — the Survival Mode — most of the time. It is essential to shift your nervous system to experience significant digestive healing.
Let me clarify one thing: If we are not in Parasympathetic, we’re not fully digesting our locally-sourced, organic, free-range food and supplements. We end up with expensive urine and nutrient deficiencies.
You’ll notice that this supplement list does not include Betaine HCL, a common supplement that increases stomach acid. Adequate stomach acid is an essential ingredient for healthy digestion. John used to sell more Betaine supplements than anyone in the Northwest, but after formulating Vagal Tone, he now uses that instead. It supports the signal to turn on digestion from the brain, rather than band-aiding the lack of stomach acid.
How to use it: Apply it to the center of the occipital ridge, where the vagal nerve attaches to the brain stem. Use it four times per day, before meals and before bed. After applying it, take a deep whiff of the oil and continue to breathe deeply for a few breathes, to support the shift into Parasympathetic. (See the application video on the product page)
Where to get it: Vagal Tone is available here, from my company Meo Energetics.
Prescript Assist and/or BioKult, for Gut Flora Diversity
What it is: These clinical-strength probiotic supplements support healthy immune function and microbiome diversity.
With countless probiotics on the market, which is the best one? I don’t think there is a best, because gut flora requirements vary from individual to individual. But these are the two formulas recommended by my mentors. BioKult is also the specific probiotic recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride for the GAPS Protocol.
How it works: We require a vast diversity of bacteria in our digestive tract to maintain healthy immune function, as our gut flora orchestrates our immune response. In addition, our gut flora also produces neurotransmitters and hormones, playing a key role in our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Researchers are now churning out studies to show what many alternative practitioners already knew from clinical experience: our diet and environment determines our gut flora, and our gut flora determines our health.
Prescript Assist contains soil-based organisms that can repopulate the gut with native strains of bacteria. These native strains boast more staying power than transient strains, which are found in the majority of probiotics. A combination of native strains and transient strains restore diversity to the gut.
BioKult introduces diverse strains of flora, including some native and transient strains.
How to use it: There is controversy wether to take probiotics with or without meals. Some say that the increased stomach acid during mealtime can destroy the good bugs. But traditionally, cultures consumed fermented foods at mealtimes. So I believe its find to take probiotics with or without meals.
One capsule of Prescript Assist is taken once or twice per day. It can be used in conjunction with BioKult. 1-2 capsules taken twice per day is a standard dose, and therapeutic dosages are outlined in The GAPS Book.
Are there any digestion supplements that have supported your healing journey? Do you have experience with these supplements?