There’s a good chance your diet is missing an important component – one that’s not associated with diet very often but should be. We typically eat foods that are sweet, salty, savory or sour. Few foods, especially popular ones, are bitter. Many people just don’t care for bitter-tasting foods.
So, why does that matter?
Bitter is one of the Western world’s five cornerstones of taste. A healthy diet incudes bitter-tasting foods because they provide components not available in other foods.
Unlike sweet, salty, savory or sour foods, bitters play important roles in digestion, bile production, breaking down fats, detoxification, promoting regularity and relieving feelings of fullness or gas.*
Yet, bitters are nothing new. They were recognized way back by one of the oldest, traditional healthcare systems – Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, a well-balanced diet must include what is called the six rasas or tastes – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter. Each rasa plays an important role in a meal and offers both physical and mental effects.
How’s Your Digestion?
Many factors take a toll on your digestive function over time, leading to weaker digestion.
Stress may be the biggest one. When your body goes into a “fight or flight” stressful response, blood shunts away from your digestive tract and fewer digestive juices are secreted.
Processed foods, excessive coffee and alcohol, hurried meals and overeating can all exhaust your digestive tract. Age is another major factor. With advancing years, digestive changes and issues can develop, including:
- A change in bowel habits due to age-related factors.
- An irregularity due to inactivity, dehydration, medication side effects and poor diet.
- A decrease in the production of digestive juices.
- A slowing of food moving through your digestive system, including your esophagus and intestines.
- A decrease in your stomach lining’s capacity to resist damage.
- An increase in bacteria overgrowth, leading to discomfort, bloating and malabsorption of certain nutrients.
Adding bitter foods to your diet can help support your digestion*. However, if you’re one of the many who don’t care for bitter-tasting foods, I’ve got another solution that I’ll tell you about shortly.
How Bitters Evolved From Self-Defense Mechanism to Health Essential
So what exactly are “bitters?”
Bitters are plant metabolites that have a bitter flavor. They include plant substances, such as iridoids, sesquiterpene lactones, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, monoterpene iridoids, alkaloids and volatile oils.
As we know them, bitters are an infusion of herbs and botanicals, usually prepared in alcohol.
In the plant world, bitter compounds are often part of the plant's self-defense system to protect them against harm. That includes threats such as oxidative damage and predators who want to eat them, including humans.
Insects and mammals learned to avoid bitter-tasting plants because many bitter compounds are poisonous or toxic.
Assuming this was the case with insects and animals, scientists thought it only made sense that humans, too, had bitter taste receptors in their mouths to protect them against harmful substances.
However, once researchers discovered special bitter taste receptors existed throughout the human body, their thinking shifted. Perhaps these receptors contributed to biological functions in the cells and tissues.
It turns out that, when consumed in small amounts, certain bitter compounds aren’t toxic or poisonous. Instead, they offer tremendous health benefits.*
Scientific Proof Your Body Benefits from Bitters
Your tongue has taste receptors that sense sweet, sour, savory, salty and bitter tastes in the food you eat. Taste receptors send a message to taste cells, and the taste cells send signals to your brain via your nerves.
Consuming something bitter activates a unique set of taste receptors called bitter taste receptors, or T2Rs, on your tongue, palate and throat.
Curiously, T2Rs don’t just exist in your mouth. Scientists have identified a total of 29 bitter taste receptors in tissues and organs throughout the human body where they appear to play important roles in health. T2Rs have been found in the:
- Lungs, airways and sinuses
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Cardiovascular system
- Skeletal muscle
- Reproductive organs
- Bladder and urinary tract
- Visceral fat surrounding your organs
Researchers are just beginning to learn how T2Rs function, but studies confirm they exist in your body for a reason – and it’s obviously not just for tasting foods.
Rodent studies suggest that the presence of T2Rs in your organs and tissues may be involved in supporting your body’s healthy immune response as an additional defense mechanism.
What Happens When You Consume Bitter Substances
When activated, your bitter taste receptors set off a complex cascade of events that involve your body’s cell signaling pathways, and immune and inflammatory responses.
Depending upon the location of the bitter taste receptor, different biological functions may be initiated. For example, the actions they direct in your airways differ from those in your intestines or heart.
These are just some of the known actions of your bitter receptors when activated:
- Digestive secretions increase, including saliva, pepsin and hydrochloric acid for the breakdown of protein and absorption of nutrients.
- Bile flow increases to aid digestion of dietary fats and to support the normal cleansing of the liver from impurities.
- Your esophageal sphincter contracts to keep stomach acid in your stomach and prevent it from entering your esophagus.
- Liver detoxification processes turn on.
- Self-repair mechanisms switch on in the pancreas and intestinal wall.
- Your gut-brain connection sends calming messages to help promote relaxation.
- Smooth muscles in airways relax and widen, supporting normal, healthy breathing.
- Ghrelin is released – an enzyme in your stomach that triggers appetite and prepares your body for food.
It’s important to note that these activities only occur when the bitter taste receptors in your mouth are activated. Taking bitter herbs in capsules doesn’t have the same effect. With regular use, bitters support the health of your entire digestive system, including your stomach, gallbladder, liver and pancreas.*
Are Bitter Taste Receptors to Blame for Health and Weight Issues?
As I mentioned, many people dislike bitter foods. Could there be a reason why?
Not surprisingly, research shows taste perception influences eating habits and food preferences. Infant studies show variations in receptor function appear to exist for sweet and bitter tastes, and the differences may be hereditary.
In one study, 34% of infants were found to be bitter-insensitive – labeled “supertasters,” while nearly 66% of study infants were bitter-sensitive, or sensitive to the taste of bitter substances.
Compared to the infants who were sensitive to bitter tastes, the supertasters in this study were more likely to consume the entire meal at first attempt. However, their intake of high fat and high-sugar foods was lower than those who were sensitive to bitter foods.
Researchers suggest that being bitter-insensitive and not avoiding bitter foods might offer protection against excessive weight gain.
While the T2Rs in the mouth appear to be involved with taste, the receptors found in the lower gastrointestinal tract play roles in GI function. The greatest concentration of T2Rs in the GI tract is in the large intestine, the home of the majority of your gut bacteria.
Could your bitter taste receptors be influencing your gut microbiome, which has a direct impact on your weight, immune and brain health, as well as overall health?
The important thing to remember is this: Any organ or tissue in your body that has bitter taste receptors may benefit from bitters.
And that includes your entire digestive system, brain, heart and arteries, muscles, urinary tract, lungs, airways and sinuses, reproductive organs and skin.*
Introducing... Organic Digestive Bitters to Feed ALL Your Bitter Taste Receptors
Knowing how potentially beneficial bitters can be for overall health, my team and I went to work to create a comprehensive formula that would provide a wide array of support.*
Our Organic Digestive Bitters is a blend of eight botanicals in a base of lemon juice, natural mandarin flavor and citrus extract in a 2 fl oz. tincture. This USDA Certified Organic formula includes:
- Burdock Root
Traditionally, burdock root has been used for centuries as a digestive aid. An antioxidant powerhouse, burdock root helps protect against oxidative damage, promotes blood cleaning, healthy circulation and supports normal detoxification. It supports digestion and gut health, and promotes an already normal inflammatory response for comfortable, easy movement.*
- Dandelion Leaf and Root
Much more than a nuisance weed in your lawn, this plant has played an important role in traditional herbal medicine practices. Highly nutritious, dandelion greens are rich in antioxidant nutrients that help support liver health, protect against cellular damage and promote an already normal inflammatory response. Its roots contain inulin, a type of soluble fiber that supports the growth and maintenance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.*
- Fennel Seed
With their mild licorice-like flavor, fennel seeds contain powerful essential oils with valuable nutrients and volatile compounds that support cell and liver health and an already normal inflammatory response. Fennel has traditionally been used to support digestive health and regularity, and helps with occasional bloating and gas. Fennel seed extract may also offer cognitive benefits.*
- Gentian Root
These thick roots come from the Gentiana lutea plant and have been used traditionally for occasional bloating, gas and other digestive issues. The root’s bitter compounds stimulate the release of digestive juices and bile to support healthy digestion. Gentian root helps control appetite and sugar cravings, and promotes gut health and healthy cells.*
- Ginger Rhizome
Ginger contains an antioxidant called gingerol that supports cell health and an already heathy inflammatory response for comfortable movement and healthy brain function. With its bioactive compounds, ginger supports immune health. Ginger also helps speed up the emptying of the stomach to support digestive processes.*
- Juniper Berry
These deep blue seed cones, known as juniper berries, come from the evergreen juniper tree. Their tart flavor makes them a popular bitters ingredient. Rich in essential oils and flavonoid antioxidants, coumarins and other compounds, they offer support for heart, brain and nerve health. They support an already normal inflammatory response and help protect cells from free radical damage.*
- Orange (Citrus sinensis) Peel
Typically discarded, the peel from fresh oranges contains many valuable nutrients and plant compounds, including polyphenols. Their essential oil, limonene, supports cell health and an already normal inflammatory response. Orange peel may also help control sugar cravings and appetite.*
- Yellow Dock Root
Long used in traditional medicine since the time of Hippocrates, yellow dock root has been valued for its use in aiding digestion. Rich in glycosides, these phytochemicals stimulate the production of digestive enzymes as well as bile to support healthy digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Its antioxidants help protect the liver and gut from oxidative damage and stress from free radicals. Regular use supports the body’s normal detoxification processes and healthy, regular elimination.*
How to Use Organic Digestive Bitters to Support Healthy Digestion*
Historically, digestive bitters have been used before mealtime to prime your digestive system for a meal.
You need to actually swallow this as a liquid, as it is important to taste the bitters to achieve their benefits. If you swallow as a pill, you will simply fail to receive all the great things bitters can do for your digestion.*
When taken 15 to 30 minutes before eating, the bitter compounds create a bitter reflex, which triggers contractions in your intestines. Your esophageal sphincter contracts to protect your esophagus from the hydrochloric acid migrating up from your stomach, thus helping to prevent occasional heartburn.*
Another way you can use Organic Digestive Bitters is right after a meal for soothing relief.
You can take Organic Digestive Bitters (we recommend two droppers per day.) as is or mixed in a small amount of water. There’s no harsh taste as our product does not contain alcohol.
Our Organic Digestive Bitters are made using a unique counter-current extraction process. This proprietary technology gently produces the liquid extracts and concentrates without sacrificing flavors and botanical qualities. This process avoids excessive heat and requires minimal solvent, resulting in a more bioactive end product.
Take Control of Your Digestive Health and Comfort With Our Organic Digestive Bitters Today*
Many factors can challenge healthy digestive function, especially aging and a stress-filled lifestyle, but you don’t have to put up with digestive distress.
Our Organic Digestive Bitters can help with occasional gas, bloating, heartburn and irregularity, and make eating enjoyable again.*
We’ve selected only premium herbs and nutrients for our USDA Certified Organic Digestive Bitters. Lemon juice, natural mandarin flavor and citrus extract provides a complimentary base for the eight botanical flavors.
Give your digestive tract the helping hand it may need, and order your supply of Organic Digestive Bitters today.