Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Indigestion, Gas, Bloating, Reflux, or Heartburn?

Most people with indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn, and reflux suffer from too little stomach acid, not too much. The burning in your esophagus is from acid- organic acids from the putrification of undigested food that has not moved from your stomach. The lack of stomach acid and enzymes in the presence of food means that you are unable to digest your food and instead it sits in your stomach, emitting gaseous organic acids-the byproduct of putrification. Of course, you burp to relieve the excess pressure and viola! You have heart burn.
Now the medical advice on this one has been to take antacids or better yet, expensive pharmaceuticals like Histamine-2 blockers (Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet and Axid) or Proton Pump inhibitors (Nexium, Aciphex, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix) to either neutralize the acid or as in the case of the pharma drugs, stop the acid production altogether. Because for most the issue is not making enough acid, using the above remedies will cause a more major problem of malnutrition over the long term without addressing the root cause.
Think about it this way- if you take away your body’s ability to properly break down food then how are you going to absorb the nutrients properly? Not only that but you will now be sending food downstream for processing steps that it has not been prepared for. This is not rocket science. If you have a part of your body that has a specialized task that it performs, the task is performed best when the material that it processes arrives in the expected condition. If not, it cant be properly processed. This has a cascade effect in the digestive system which is made up of roughly 7 highly specialized regions each requiring food to be in a particular state prior to processing and absorbing.
The best way to address the issue of heartburn, etc. then, is to look at the root cause of heartburn, reflux, bloating, and gas which generally falls into one or more of three general categories:

1) Poor diet, poor food combining, overeating, and a high refined carbohydrate-sugar intake.
2) Poor or inadequate digestive enzyme function in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine.
3) Perscription drugs that contribute to reflux problems.

For numbers one and two dietary changes and acid/enzyme supplementation usually do the trick. Number three can be readily solved by working with your MD to get off the offending medication. In most cases, it really comes down to whether or not you are ready to make minor lifestyle changes to avoid serious long term problems.
Stay tuned for next weeks article where I will discuss more specifically, what you can do to address this issue.

As always, let me know your comments and needs surrounding this posting.

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  1. As a Traditional Naturopath myself, I have to say that I am in complete agreement with your thoughts and this message is of utmost importance for your followers. Thank you!

  2. You are welcome Glen! Thanks for reading!

  3. Medical diagnosis on acid reflux or heartburn may have caused by regular smoking, drinking alcohol and stress. But changing the kind of lifestyle and diet that you practice can control lessen the pain. It's better to take natural medications to improve one's health condition.