5 Ways to Ease Gut Inflammation - Wakunaga of America


5 Ways to Ease Gut Inflammation

If you frequently deal with digestive distress, you may have an inflamed gut. Sometimes the signs are obvious—think diarrhea or cramping. But other times, the signs can be subtle and perplexing.

If you suffer from frequent digestive issues, inflammation may be at the root of your problems. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to quell the flames and ease your symptoms naturally.

What Causes Gut Inflammation

Low level, chronic gut inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors. Routinely eating a diet filled with ultra processed foods—commonly known as the Standard American Diet or SAD—has been found to be an all-to-common cause of inflammation.1  Poor sleep, regular alcohol consumption, smoking, and the use of some medications can also spark inflammation and negatively affect your microbiome.2,3,4,5

Another culprit—and one many of us deal with daily—is stress. This is because stress affects how the gut-brain-immune axis works.6  Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling stressed, you’re more likely to experience digestive upset? That’s because, when you’re under duress, the neurons in your brain send signals to the neurons in your gut. The gut contains hundreds of millions of neurons that make up the enteric nervous system. Your enteric nervous system is part of your immune system that reacts to stop threats to your body—and that includes feelings of stress. As a result, the immune system sends out proteins called cytokines that trigger inflammation.7

Making matters worse, all of these factors can upend the balance of the bacteria in your gut—a condition known as dysbiosis. This may leave the tissues of your gut even more susceptible to inflammation.8

Symptoms of an Inflamed Gut

While symptoms can vary from person to person, here are some of the typical symptoms that you may be experiencing if you have gut inflammation:

  • Abdominal cramping and/or pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Persistent acne or skin rashes 9
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss

How To Reduce Inflammation

Often times, you can reduce gut inflammation with some simple DIY strategies. Here are five of the most effective:

  1. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods. According to a 2022 study in the journal Nutrients, avoiding pro-inflammatory foods like red meat, unhealthy fats and sugar, and upping your intake of nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce gut inflammation and improve your microbiota.10 The best anti-inflammatory foods include leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, and spices.
  2. Manage stress. Stress doesn’t just affect your brain. It also impacts your gut. But studies show that relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can effectively relieve stress when practiced on a regular basis. Findings in the British Medical Journal’s General Psychiatry have also shown that long term meditation activates several protective anti-inflammatory pathways and improves bacterial diversity in the gut.11
  3. Prioritize sleep. Studies show that making sure you get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night can help to reduce gut inflammation and improve intestinal immunity. Getting enough zzzz’s also promotes a diverse microbiome.12 To improve the quality of your sleep, focus on keeping a consistent sleep schedule, making sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet, and shutting off electronics an hour or two before turning in.
  4. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. While the occasional drink likely won’t do any long-term damage, alcohol can trigger inflammation, disrupt your gut’s bacterial balance, and damage your intestinal barrier when consumed in excess.13 If you routinely partake, limit yourself to two drinks per day if you’re a man and just one drink if you’re a woman.
  5. Take probiotics. Inflammation can develop due to an intestinal infection, antibiotic use, dysbiosis, or simply because you’re getting older.14 But a growing number of studies suggest that specific Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterum probiotic strains provide the body with powerful antipathogenic and anti-inflammatory tools that can ward off infections and tame inflammation.15 Research has found that a daily dose of probiotics not only fosters a healthy microbiome, it can also reduce intestinal inflammation by modulating immune and inflammatory mechanisms in the gut.16 To get the most from your probiotic, look for one that contains beneficial CFU counts and strains that have been clinically shown to support gut health. It’s also smart to choose a probiotic that is DNA verified to ensure you’re truly getting the strains that are listed on the label.

When to Call a Doctor

Although these changes can help to reduce inflammation, it’s wise to see your health care provider if symptoms persist. Ongoing digestive problems, weight loss, or fatigue could be a sign of something more serious such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to reduce gut inflammation and support a healthy microbiome. Long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle—and the addition of a supplemental probiotic—can be an effective first step in your journey to less inflammation and a healthier gut.


  1. Tristan Asensi M, Napoletano A, Sofi F, et al. Low-grade inflammation and ultra-processed foods consumption: a review.Nutrients. 2023;15(6):1546.
  2. Wang Z, Chen WH, Li SX, et al. Gut microbiota modulates the inflammatory response and cognitive impairment induced by sleep deprivation. Molecular Psychiatry. 2021;26:6277–92.
  3. Bishehsari F, Magno E, Swanson G, et al. Alcohol and gut-derived inflammation. Alcohol Research. 2017;38(2):163-71.
  4. Berkowitz L, Schultz BM, Salazar GA, et al. Impact of cigarette smoking on the gastrointestinal tract inflammation: opposing effects in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018;9:74.
  5. Herlihy N, Feakins R. Gut inflammation induced by drugs: Can pathology help to differentiate from inflammatory bowel disease? United European Gastroenterology Journal. 2022;10(5):451-64.
  6. Hart A, Kamm MA. Review article: mechanisms of initiation and perpetuation of gut inflammation by stress. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2002;16(12):2017-28.
  7. Geng ZH, Zhu Y, Li QL, et al. Enteric nervous system: the bridge between the gut microbiota and neurological disorders. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2022;14:810483.
  8. Zhao M, Chu J, Feng S, et al. Immunological mechanisms of inflammatory diseases caused by gut microbiota dysbiosis: A review. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2023;164:114985.
  9. Widhiati S, Purnomosari D, Wibawa T, et al. The role of gut microbiome in inflammatory skin disorders: A systematic review. Dermatology Reports. 2021;14(1):9188.
  10. Bagheri S, Zolghadri S, Stanek A. Beneficial effects of anti-inflammatory diet in modulating gut microbiota and controlling obesity. Nutrients. 2022;14(19):3985.
  11. SunY, Ju P, Xue T, et al. Alteration of faecal microbiota balance related to long-term deep meditation. General Psychiatry. 2023;36:
  12. Smith RP, Easson C, Lyle SM, et al. Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. PLoS One. 2019;14(10):e0222394.
  13. Leclercq S, de Timary P, Delzenne N, et al. The link between inflammation, bugs, the intestine and the brain in alcohol dependence. Translational Psychiatry. 2017;7: e1048.
  14. Ghosh AR. Chapter 6 – Probiotics in the rescue of gut inflammation. Therapeutic, Probiotic, and Unconventional Foods. 2018;101-16.
  15. Isolauri E, Kirjavainen PV, Salminen S. Probiotics: a role in the treatment of intestinal infection and inflammation? Gut. 2002;50 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):III54-9.
  16. Cristofori F, Dargenio VN, Dargenio C, et al. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of probiotics in gut inflammation: a door to the body. Frontiers in Immunology. 2021;12:578386.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.