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

Written by Nikki Lyn Pugh

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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 importantly 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 them 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 your 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.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. For the last 2 months I’ve tried 2 fermented foods–Bubbies saurkraut (NOT the yuck kraut you’re thinking of–it is crunchy, sweet & salty, excellent quality) & have been eating coconut milk kefir. I’ve recently started making it myself to save money since I need to eat so much of it (a quart lasts me less than a week at $20/quart from the health food store).
    These both have made a HUGE difference in my digestive issues & have been life saving!!! The pain of digestive issues, in case you’re wondering, can be a 9 out of 10 on a pain scale (making me want to (but not!) grab a pain pill (only to have it constipate me more!) After ONE day of eating a tablespoon of kraut (pulverized in the blender to better absorb) before every meal & a scoop of coconut milk kefir 3x daily…food started to move through my intestines & colon creating a huge relief (& a flat stomach again because apparently I had parasites as well). Granted, the gas was embarassing but necessary. I am allergic to mold so I must be careful with kumbacha and kimchi so I can’t comment on those.
    For those with dairy issues—we all should eliminate dairy forever. Coconut milk (if you’re not nut allergic) is anti-inflammatory & soothes the digestive tract. Yes, it’s high in fat but it’s good fat. Research is finding high fat omega 3 rich foods help with digestive issues, arthritis, gout, etc. Quality bone broth has also been life changing!!!
    I’m on a long path of healing my leaky gut but coconut milk kefir & Bubbies fermented saurkraut have given me hope that one day I can return to good health without pain.

  2. I trust Ty I’m signed up @ Organixx I I’ve bought the seminar Cd’s I have stage 4 prostate cancer and looking forward to trying the fermentation supplements the other supplements have extended my quality of life along with fasting for 6 yrs.

  3. Yeah, but if you have a problem with histamine – as I do, a histamine intolerance – fermented foods will raise your histamine level violently and make your REALLY ill! Be careful as you might learn this the hard way.

  4. Very interesting but what are you sources? I cannot find any studies. I would be thankful for mentioning them.

    • Izabela,
      If you are wanting the sources for this article they are on the Sources tab that is directly above the article summary.

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