One of my most popular posts of all time was a little one I wrote about Stomach Bugs and home remedies that might help them. It wasn’t particularly in-depth, but had some simple foods to eat to hopefully get your through the worst of it.
I thought it might be time to follow it up with a post on different things you can buy to help prevent or treat stomach bugs – as they are no fun for anyone!
In my first post I spoke about using fresh ginger in water to help alleviate nausea. It is also possible to buy ginger liquid extract or tablets which are much stronger and very effective. Many people purchase them prior to cruises, or long car rides/bus trips if they suffer from motion sickness, however they are amazing to have in a ‘medicine’ cabinet for any kind of stomach upset. Lifestream have wonderful capsules, however liquid is best purchased from a naturopath or compounding pharmacy.
Another wonderful elixir to have on hand is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). It helps to increase the acidity of the stomach which is effective at creating an environment which is too harsh for most common bacterial and pathogenic bugs. Ideally we would like to take this over time to create a healthy acidic stomach environment , but if taken fast enough when you feel a bit of squirliness it may help to decrease its effect on your gut. (I know – you may all be thinking that an acidic stomach will cause reflux and cannot be good, but as I will explain in an upcoming post, it is very necessary to break down our food, and absorb our nutrients). Always buy a good Apple Cider Vinegar with ‘the mother’ – floaty bits of goodness – such as Bragg’s. It is really inexpensive and has thousands of uses. (May be a slight exaggeration).
Something I have found to be very effective even after the onset of a stomach bug is Grapefruit seed extract (GSE). The only one I have found available in Australia is called Traveler’s Friend – and is labelled Citrus Seed extract, however it is grapefruit and it works so well. There has been some bad press about it containing chemicals, however from most of my reading it is just that tests done on it have found natural compounds in it similar to some of the most antibacterial chemicals – not actual chemicals. When we were in Fiji, I ate a dodgy chicken dish that had me up in the middle of the night in an amazing rain storm with an outdoor bathroom! I mixed one drop in a glass of water, and was back in bed asleep in half an hour with no more ‘relapses’. I have since used it on many occasions and the way it settles my stomach is amazing. For anyone travelling overseas, or with a tendency to stomach bugs this would be a must. It can be used preventatively, or after after onset. It tastes pretty horrible to start with – very bitter, but I find you don’t need much more than 1 or 2 drops to be effective. Its antiparasitic, antibacterial, and antiviral and safe in small doses for the whole family.
When you plan to kill off bacteria in the gut it is important to follow it with some probiotics. They can be used in situations of gastric discomfort in higher doses than normal to try and out number the ‘bad’ bacteria, in the hope it doesn’t get a foot hold. It is a good idea to get a multi-strain probiotic with 20-50 billion CFU (Colony forming units) as this helps to recolonise the gut more effectively. Some good options include Bioceuticals Ultrabiotic 45, Nutrition care Polybac 8, or Fusion Probiotic Advanced. Inner Health Plus is a good maintenance probiotic, but only contains 2 strains, so it can be beneficial to use one course of a higher strength option first.
Along with GSE and probiotics, we often used to travel with Colostrum powder or tablets. It works in a different way to probiotics but is equally helpful at protecting the gut from invaders. It is often cows milk based, and contains amazing nutrients for many conditions, but beware if you are lactose intolerant.
Sacchromyces Boullardi (SB) is another amazing beneficial yeast. It crowds out pathogenic bacteria and yeast in the gut and increases the bodies ability to protect itself by creating a sticky gut lining that has antibacterial properties. It is also safe out of the fridge so if you are looking for something to travel with to hot countries it is a good choice over probiotics which tend to need refrigeration. It is useful against candida as well, and very beneficial after antibiotics which can wipe out the ‘sticky lining’ in the gut leaving our good bacteria with nowhere to live. A course of SB can be enough to increase that again. Two brands we often sold were Bioceutical SB Floractiv, and Blooms IBS and Bowel.
These are all products you can purchase at a good local health shop, and are generally safe for the entire family barring any allergies or intolerances. Many health shops have naturopaths available to consult with if you have any concerns or questions, otherwise feel free to ask below.
Another thing I couldn’t live without is Young Living’s Peppermint oil. A drop in water will calm most nausea and stomach upsets very quickly. I keep it in my hand bag as a general pick me up, but sometimes after a fatty meal, or overindulgence it is handy to have on hand! These are not available in shops so I have a page about their oils here – and how you can order one.
If you think your stomach ‘bug’ is more serious and is lasting more than a few days I would recommend seeing your primary healthcare practitioner for diagnosis, through something like a comprehensive digestive stool analysis which can show the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, parasites, or yeast overgrowth. Naturopaths have access to more in-depth functional testing than most GP’s will initially prescribe, and can tailor a safe treatment plan to eradicate the issue.
I will write another post soon on how to help with more chronic gastrointestinal problems, and ways to heal the gut. Even with a short bout of vomiting or diarrhoea we lose many essential nutrients and fluids, so with longer term issues it is important to get to the root of it and prevent deficiencies occurring.
Do you have any other suggestions that you have found useful? I would love to hear about it!
*This post is not sponsored by any of the above mentioned brands – they are just provided as a guide to assist you. This is not meant to diagnose or be used as sole medical advise.