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Bloated With Gas? These 2 Important Nutrients May Help

Diet is one of the key causes of distressing GI symptoms. You can feel too full to move around freely or the sounds in the stomach are loud enough

Bloated With Gas? These 2 Important Nutrients May Help

Diet is one of the key causes of distressing GI symptoms. You can feel too full to move around freely or the sounds in the stomach are loud enough to be heard next door. Anyway, it feels bad to be bloated and gassy. Although there are innumerable potential causes of uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, there is no denying that the diet contributes to the health of the gut.

"Diet is possibly the primary cause of a lot of GI symptoms in general," says Shanti Eswaran, MD, a Michigan Medicine gastroenterologist, and internist. "What we eat moves through our body and undergoes transformations as the enzymes and bacteria break it down in the GI tract."

When we experience gas and bloating after eating, it is often because of the by-products that are created in the GI tract by bacteria that help break down our food. "Byproducts of what we consume can also increase the amount of water in the stomach, pull fluids in and make us feel bloated," adds Dr. Eswaran.

Gas and bloating is mostly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. "IBS is caused by a variety of different factors," according to Dr. Eswaran, "the hallmarks include abdominal pain and discomfort, and altered bowel function such as constipation and diarrhea."

Those with IBS appear to have "hyper-aware GI tracts," which means they may feel increased discomfort or bloat after eating, regardless of what kind of food they consume. General strategies for minimizing gas and bloat include consuming smaller meals during the day and avoiding carbonated drinks and less gas-forming foods (think: beans, cruciferous vegetables, bran, and meat, if not well tolerated).

Yet what about the nutrients? Read on for expert takes on the potential links between common nutrients and your troubled intestines.

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a mineral in limited supply, so most of us don't get enough of it. While research suggests that deficiencies in vitamin D are particularly prevalent among people with IBS, low nutrient levels are not unique to that population.

"Most adults living in certain geographies or leading indoor lifestyles tend to have low levels of vitamin D and are generally associated with lack of sun exposure, although obesity is another risk factor," says Tamara Duker Freuman, RDN, a dietitian based in New York City and author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer.

While the exact mechanism by which the two are related remains unclear, several small studies have reported that supplementation with vitamin D can be of help to people with IBS.

For example, one study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine in February 2019 reported that supplementation with vitamin D significantly improved the severity of symptoms and disease-specific quality of life in people with IBS compared to those who did not get supplementation. Unfortunately, vitamin D supplementation alone does not cure your gut-specific symptoms, says Dr. Eswaran.

"Nevertheless, it may boost overall symptoms of vitamin D deficiency such as brain fog and exhaustion, and if you feel better enough, it does not concern you as much with your GI symptoms."

How To Obtain More Vitamin D?

Naturally, vitamin D is present in only a handful of foods, including egg yolks, other types of mushrooms, and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, although there are ample fortified alternatives.

Vitamin D can be found in fortified dairy products (such as milk and yogurt), and alternatives based on plants (such as almond, oat, and soy milk), breakfast cereals, and some orange juices.

Vitamin D Top Food Sources

  1. Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
  2. White mushrooms
  3. Fortified dairy, soy, oat, or almond milk
  4. Egg yolks

2. Fiber

To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, add more vegetables to your day. Fiber can become confusing. A high-fiber diet can induce or exacerbate gas and bloating for some people. A low- fiber diet may bring on bloat for others.

"Everybody is different, so you have to analyze each bloating case personally in order to understand what's behind it," Freuman says. "The same remedy that helps relieve one person's symptoms can make someone else's symptoms worse."

Let's break it down even further: "A high fiber intake can cause some people to experience intestinal gas or bloating as a result of a heavy stool burden, or more fiber coming in than coming out, which causes stools to build up," Freuman says. High intakes of fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) from naturally high-fiber foods may also cause bowel disturbance in people sensitive to these plant classes. On the other hand, a diet that lacks sufficient amounts of fiber may also cause tummy problems for some.

"People with a chronically low fiber intake can often experience intestinal gas or bloating if their low fiber intake contributes to chronic constipation and/or incomplete defecation of hard, tiny stools," Freuman continues.

So, are we loading up all of the fiber or foregoing it all together? None of that either. When you're overweight, just adding more fiber to the diet will relieve your symptoms is not automatic.

"Nonetheless, if anyone is bloated from a low-fiber diet due to constipation, the correct response is to add fiber quite slowly, perhaps in combination with a gentle bowel regimen (or laxative) to help clear the residual stool that triggers a backup so that the fiber is absorbed better," Freuman says. As always, make adjustments not on your own, with the help of a gastroenterologist or registered dietitian.

Want to Achieve More Fiber?

To increase your fiber intake while minimizing your risk of aggravating gas and bloat, choose fiber-containing foods that are lower in FODMAPs and that have been texture-modified to reduce the fiber particle size, Freuman suggests.

"Smoothies and soups may be better tolerated in people prone to bloating from higher fiber diets instead of salads, nut butter and nut flours instead of whole nuts, and cooked rather than raw veggies," she says.

Top Current Fiberfood Sources

  1. Whole grains (brown rice, oats, whole-wheat bread)
  2. Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds)
  3. Fruits (raspberries, apples, avocado)
  4. Vegetables (leafy greens like kale,
  5. Legumes (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils)

Don't forget to load up on H2O as you add more fiber to your diet.

"Fiber and fluid should always be increased concurrently," says Lauren Cornell, RDN, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles and the founder of Lauren Cornell Nutrition, a private practice.

"Even if you don't have FODMAP intolerances (most FODMAPs are a form of fiber), increasing your fiber intake is bound to cause some gas or bloating without also increasing your fluid intake."

To avoid discomfort, Cornell recommends gradually increasing your fiber intake by about 3 to 5 grams and staying at that level for a few days before increasing your fiber intake by another 3 to 5 grams.

If you continue to feel pain, visit a licensed dietitian who will help you define your causes better and discuss more solutions such as a low-FODMAP diet.



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YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters: Bloated With Gas? These 2 Important Nutrients May Help
Bloated With Gas? These 2 Important Nutrients May Help
Diet is one of the key causes of distressing GI symptoms. You can feel too full to move around freely or the sounds in the stomach are loud enough
YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters
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