Fermented Supplements: Why the Gut Benefits of Fermented Foods Also Apply to Supplements

By Nikki Lyn Pugh

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Chances are you’ve read or heard about the numerous health benefits of fermented foods such as sauerkraut (cabbage) and other veggies, kombucha drinks, and even fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. But have you heard of the advantages of fermented supplements? If not, read on! If you want to get the best bang for your supplement buck, then fermented supplements from a quality source is definitely something to consider.

Your Gut Health Depends on Your Gut Bacteria

Why Fermentation is Good For Your BodyDid you know that there are trillions of tiny organisms living in your digestive tract? These go by different names including gut flora, intestinal flora, gut bacteria, or even microbiota.

Collectively this biological system in known as the “microbiome.” You can remember it this way… you have trillions of microbiota in your microbiome, which resides in your GI tract, or gut.

Now some of these microbiota are healthy for you. They are helpers and may assist in everything from food assimilation to the creation of T Cells for your immune system. Other bacteria, however, are not so helpful. In fact, they can be downright dangerous and often lead to all kinds of digestive and other health issues.

When it comes to gut health, the name of the game is to have sufficient quantities of the good bacteria in your gut at all times that outnumber the “bad.” That’s not to say that a little bit of the “bad” bacteria isn’t important as well. Having a small quantity of bad bacteria keeps the helpful bacteria, as well as your immune system in general, primed and ready to go.

Since our environment, lifestyle, and the foods we typically eat provide plenty of opportunities for harmful bacteria to flourish, our ongoing job is to keep that supply of good bacteria coming into (and thriving in) our gut. We do this by eating the right kinds of foods (and eliminating harmful ones), drinking plenty of filtered water for detoxifying, and getting the right kinds of supplements for our unique needs.

Foods that Help or Harm Your Microbiome

Some of the ways you may be putting your microbiota out of balance and taxing your digestive system include:

  • Lack of fermented foods in your diet
  • Lack of probiotics in your diet
  • Lack of prebiotics in your diet
  • Insufficient enzyme-rich foods
  • Diet high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Diet high in poor quality fats
  • Too many inflammatory foods, too few anti-inflammatory foods and substances
  • Foods laden with antibiotics, preservatives, toxins, and chemicals
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of polyphenols and resveratrol
  • Too few antioxidant-rich foods

Why Fermentation is Good for Your Gut Health

Fermentation is “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.” It has been used (accidentally and on purpose) since antiquity. Prior to electricity and refrigeration, fermentation was (and still is) a way to make wine and beer and to preserve all categories of foods, including meats. Because bacteria are responsible for the fermentation process, when you eat fermented foods you bring a dose of these probiotic or good bacteria (“probiotic” means “pro-life”) into your digestive system.

Some of the health effects that many people report feeling from consuming fermented foods include reduced stress, less fatigue, higher antioxidant content, improved mood, and a boosted immune system!

In general, fermentation does some very important things in your body. It helps pathogens be destroyed more rapidly, it strengthens the barriers between your blood supply and your GI tract (when this barrier is weak, you may be at risk of “leaky gut”). It also introduces very helpful antimicrobials into your system, such as bacteriocins, which are tiny amino acids that stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

Most important to our discussion here, fermentation helps enhance the vitamin and mineral content of whatever is being fermented. You guessed it: this goes for vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements as well!

9 Ways That Fermentation Helps to “Super-Charge” Your Supplements

BasicallySuper-Charge Your Supplements with Fermentation, what fermentation does for food it can also do for your supplements, and then some! Research shows that fermenting vitamins, minerals, and herbs before encapsulating them can enhance them in a number of ways:

  1. Increased antioxidants – fermentation can increase the antioxidant properties of your supplements, which means that your bones, immune system, and intestinal lining are all getting super antioxidant support.
  2. Increased bioavailability – it can increase the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, magnesium, zinc, and many others. (Making something more “bioavailable” means making the nutrients more available for your body to absorb.)
  3. Natural preservative – fermentation can protect against spoilage as fermentation is a natural preservation process. While fermentation is a chemical process, it doesn’t rely on the addition of harmful chemicals.
  4. Boosts anti-inflammatory potential – it boosts the potential of anti-inflammatory substances such as capsicum significantly.
  5. Enhances amino acid content – fermentation makes amino acids more available, including in freeze-dried and powdered green drink mixes and protein powders. One study found that fermentation of organic, sprouted brown rice protein powder enhanced both the amino acid content as well as the bioavailability of the product as a whole.
  6. Enhanced Chelation – fermentation of substances such as chlorella and spirulina can enhance their ability to chelate (bind with) heavy metals.
  7. Better absorption – it helps your supplement become absorbed in your GI tract more effectively.
  8. Formation of new nutrients – fermentation of certain plants and other foods may actually form phytonutrients and other nutrients that weren’t there before. For example, a report published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that naturally fermenting fenugreek leaves not only enhanced levels of pyridoxine and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), but actually created vitamin B12, which was not in the herb before fermentation.
  9. Supports healthy cells – consuming fermented foods in any form helps your cells stay pliable and toxin-free!

Are Fermented Foods & Supplements for You?

Adding fermentation into your diet in some way every day simply needs to be part of any good digestive health protocol. There was a time when “going fermented” was a fun and interesting adjunct to an otherwise fairly healthy diet. Or perhaps you think that eating fermented foods is just for people who are “sick.” Times have changed, however.

The toxic burden we’re all exposed to on a daily basis is much higher and our stress levels are greater than ever. Chances are your digestive system and your body as a whole may be feeling the effects of these burdens more and more. If you’re not consuming fermented foods on a regular basis, then a good quality probiotic can make a world of difference to your gut health.

When it comes to choosing basic supplements − whether you decide to go fermented or not − be sure to choose quality products that you know do not contain harmful fillers. Check your labels and do a little research before you buy that supplement. Believe it or not, some low quality, mass produced multivitamins and other supplements contain toxins such as hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, and worse!

If your budget permits, go for the fermented supplements whenever you get a chance. When it comes from a quality source, you’ll be getting more of the good things you want (and your body needs) in a supplement.


Organixx ProBiotixx+ formula contains a single, super-strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, designed to help alleviate constipation… eliminate gas and belly bloat… support your entire immune system… and give you total digestive protection.

Organixx ProBiotixx probiotic formula
Nikki Lyn Pugh
Nikki Lyn Pugh, MFA, INHC is a natural health researcher and writer. She is also an integrative nutritional health coach specializing in autoimmune conditions, chronic stress, and energy medicine. She loves to inspire people to become empowered with their health through education and gentle guidance. Nikki lives and works in Cottonwood, AZ, with her bunny "Mr. Dot."

Article Summary

  • Did you know that there are trillions of tiny organisms living in your digestive tract? These go by different names including gut flora, intestinal flora, gut bacteria, or even microbiota.

  • Since our environment, lifestyle, and the foods we typically eat provide plenty of opportunities for harmful bacteria to flourish, our ongoing job is to keep the supply of good bacteria coming into (and thriving in) our gut.

  • Some of the ways you may be putting your microbiota out of balance and taxing your digestive system include:

    • Lack of fermented foods in your diet
    • Lack of probiotics in your diet
    • Lack of prebiotics in your diet
    • Insufficient enzyme-rich foods
    • Diet high in carbohydrates and sugar
    • Diet high in poor quality fats
    • Too many inflammatory foods, too few anti-inflammatory foods and substances
    • Foods laden with antibiotics, preservatives, toxins, and chemicals
    • Alcohol
    • Lack of polyphenols and resveratrol
    • Too few antioxidant-rich foods
  • Because bacteria are responsible for the fermentation process, when you eat fermented foods you bring a dose of these probiotic or good bacteria (“probiotic” means “pro-life”) into your digestive system.

  • Research shows that fermenting vitamins, minerals, and herbs before encapsulating them can enhance them in a number of ways.

  • If you’re not consuming fermented foods on a regular basis, then a good quality probiotic can make a world of difference to your gut health.

Comments

  1. Now that's an interesting article and believe me I was looking for all the information I can on fermented foods and now we have the supplements great article matter of fact it to Super at Co and yes Foods into my diet and I will be ordering the fermented supplements along the way if you do any more out of cosine fermented foods please keep me in mind and send them my way Tricia in Hawaii

      • Ahmed, you really should research this; it is very worthwhile. I don't know a good easy definition to tell you, or I would. It has something to do with taking out oxygen, I think, and thus helping your body fight oxidation. Natural apple cider vinegar with the mother is one of the best things for you there is and it is fermented. I wish I could help. But I'm better at just knowing if something is good or bad and figuring out what to take for it, than actually remembering things to where I can explain them easily. Hopefully someone else on here may be able to give a good answer for you. But it is DEFINITELY work looking into for you--for anyone!

    • I have found that using Vetiver essential oil morning and night decreases the tremors. I put in on my wrists and rub it in to my wrists and inside my elbow bend.

    • Gut health always great to do ... big support to epigenetics...Joan check out a company called Elixinol .. google some info on Dr Philip Blair to check out tremor info

    • Joan, I just read that mercury exposure can cause tremors. Consider doing a heavy metal detox (chelation). I know things like parsley & cilantro are chelators too. I just heard about the fermented supplements myself so I am unable to comment on that.

      • I have had a ''non essential'' tremor in my left hand for well over 10 years (maybe 15). Just recently, it has spread to my right hand. It is also getting more essential! When I hold my Kindle with that hand now, it shakes so bad I can't read it anymore. I have TONS of mercury in my mouth. I watch it everywhere else. No tuna, fish maybe once a year, NO MORE MERCURY LIGHT BULBS! But now that I see this, I wonder if it might be from the mercury overload, and I wonder why no doctor has ever mentioned this to me at ALL! I would love to find something easy and cheap to chelate the mercury!

      • I have a hand tremor also. Last time I was tested, I had no heavy metals in my body. It's a problem. Makes my handwriting ugly & squiggly and I spill food from spoons and forks.

        • If you went to western medicine doc. you may want to consider going to a functional medicine doc and send your test results to them. What western medicine considers normal is so far out of wack with what healthy is.

  2. OK, the supplements I take are primarily from MegaFoods, including their MegaFlora probiotics. Also drink GT's Kombucha regularly as well as Kefir. Also consume organic whole milk yogurt, Bubbies Sauerkraut, and Dr Mercola's fermented chlorella.

    Sorry, but cannot see the point of more fermented supplements, but appreciate the info.

    • Worth every cent. I take them all at 71 and never felt better. POWERFUL. I also sprout, juice, culture and ferment

      • Sauerkraut is VERY good for you! Whoever said it is not, you need to very carefully evaluate everything you hear from them! Unless you have some specific illness that would make you unable to digest it. Fermented foods are VERY good for you Jorge! Do some research on it (not from Quackwatch or Universities or mainstream funded organizations) and you will find out! It is hard for me to eat because I do not like bitter or salty or sour tastes, so it is really hard. I actually love it on hot dogs, but that kind of defeats the purpose of eating it! I wonder if t here is something you could add to it to kind of kill some of the taste??? Ideas, anyone?

      • I was told by a Life Extension advisor that Sauer kraut is more goitrogenic for hypothyroid patients than regular raw cabbage, and that fermenting cabbage increases the goitrogenic strength. I have Hashimotos and so don't use sauer kraut. Its hard to find ready made fermented foods without cabbage in the stores. I'd like to know if you sell fermented non-goitrogenic veggies or fruit in jars, or where I can get them. Also fermented supplements. Didn't see any supps on this site here. Thanks

        • I am making my own sauerkraut at home. I know the quality of the cabbages and carrots. Than cutting in little pieces add salt (18g per each kg of cabbage). After the cabbage starts sweating I smash it hit it to make enough sause to cover while container with liquid. If not enough pour a bit of water. On top you have to put some leads from the cabbage. Those delayed one's from the top of the cabbages.

      • Sorry, i didn't mean to say that i bought the book, Nourishing Traditions twice, although i have actually bought my mom a copy as a Christmas present several years ago.

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