Indigestion is big business in the United States. Americans spend more than 7 billion dollars per year on acid suppressing drugs and over 4 billion dollars per year on over-the-counter antacids.
Most people assume that too much stomach acid is the cause of acid indigestion and take acid suppressors. Surprisingly, the primary cause of indigestion in over 90 percent of the people is not enough stomach acid – yes, I meant not enough stomach acid.
Stomach acid is good and necessary for health. Stomach acid is essential for proper digestion and healthy immune response. Blocking stomach acid for long periods can lead to other health problems. When stomach acid is low, many essential nutrients cannot be absorbed. These include amino acids, vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc.
Common symptoms of low stomach acid include gas, indigestion, iron deficiency, dilated blood vessels in the cheeks and nose, chronic yeast and fungal infections, chronic intestinal parasites, weak fingernails, acne, and nausea after taking supplements. Diseases associated with low stomach acid include eczema, gallbladder disease, hepatitis, osteoporosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
An easy way to tell if you are part of the 90 percent with too little stomach acid is to take 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water at the beginning of a meal. If this lessens or eliminates indigestion, then chances are your stomach does not produce enough acid. A good natural remedy for this kind of indigestion is HCl and pepsin or a product called Food Enzymes.
If you are part of the 10 percent with enough stomach acid, but a bad stomach lining, you will want something to help repair the lining so it functions normally. I like products with deglycyrrhized licorice to support the stomach lining and inhibit H.pylori – a bacteria that lives on damaged stomach linings. My favorite product that helps repair the stomach lining is called Gastro Health.
Here is some more information so you can troubleshoot your own stomach issue. Stomach acid production tends to decline with age. The stomach lining suffers damage from certain things that we ingest such as aspirin, ibuprofen, coffee, chocolate, potassium chloride tablets and iron salts.
Food allergies are also a culprit in indigestion. Certain foods cause inflammation in our digestive tract. An inflamed digestive tract cannot perform normally. Almost everyone in the United States has a food allergy to white flour and products made with white flour. Other common food allergens that lead to indigestion include orange juice, coffee, and milk. Try 2 weeks without these foods and see if your digestion improves.
Having good digestion is essential to good health. Over the years, I have seen many conditions improve to go completely away once digestive issues were resolved. Try some natural steps to improve your digestion – you might be surprised at how good you feel.
Tagged Acid, Acid Reflux, Betaine, Coffee, DGL, Digestion, Enzymes, Food Allergies, Food Enzymes, Gastro Health, GERD, H. Pylori, Indigestion HCL, Pepsin, Stomach Lining, White Flour
Vitamins and other supplements need to work. I find that some very basic nutritional supplements help almost everybody.
A good multivitamin is the first basic. What makes a multivitamin good is the quality of the contents along with the technology used to encapsulate or tablet the contents.
The better vitamins do not have pharmaceutical glaze, artificial coloring, several kinds of cellulose, nor do they contain synthetic vitamins such as synthetic E or dl-alpha tocopherol. Read your labels.
A good multivitamin will have the basic pharmaceutical grade A, B, C, D, and E vitamins in good ratios along with essential trace minerals such as selenium, iodine, copper, manganese and zinc – all in the most easily assimilated form. They should be either with or without iron depending on your needs.
A good multivitamin will not cause nausea or constipation – both of which are signs of low quality synthetic vitamins and / or unusable forms of the essential minerals. Another sign of a low quality vitamin is if the first ingredient is calcium carbonate – this automatically limits absorption to 10 percent which is actually a blessing because if it’s that cheap, you don’t need the petroleum based synthetic vitamins in it.
My favorite multivitamins are those tailored to specific body needs. For example, there are vitamins formulated specifically for those with high blood sugar or insulin resistance. There are multiple vitamins for those who have low blood sugar. There are multiples for men that address their specific health issues and multiples specifically for women. Some of the women’s multivitamins are formulated specifically to help with issues of menopause. Multiple vitamins are also formulated for cardiovascular issues, vision health and better hair, skin, and nails.
The second basic is omega 3 oil. These oils are essential to our health, yet they are not consistently in our diet. An omega 3 supplement will help with dry skin and dry eyes. It will help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Omega 3’s help brain and nerve function and also promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
There are many kinds of omega 3 oils. The best ones do not have a fishy aftertaste. There are super concentrated omega 3 oils for better brain and nerve function and for cardiovascular health. There are omega 3 oils specifically for children. My favorite omega 3 oil is a blend which includes borage oil which is important for hormonal health.
The third basic is a digestive enzyme. Enzymes run many of our body processes, yet we find ourselves without enough enzymes for various metabolic functions since most of the food we eat is cooked. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement helps us digest our food, saving our valuable enzyme making ability for metabolic processes. I prefer enzymes with betaine HCL which is a mild hydrochloric acid that is necessary to sterilize our food and break down protein. Those with sensitive stomach linings can take an enzyme without betaine.
The fourth basic is a green supplement – there are many different ones from liquid chlorophyll to super blue green algae. These support the body by cleaning, alkalizing, adding trace minerals, and functioning as antioxidants.
These basics help compensate for the deficiencies in the average American diet. Try them for 90 days and see if you can tell the difference.
Tagged Alkalize, Antioxidants, Blue-Green Algae, Brain, Calcium Carbonate, Chlorophyll, Digestion, Enzymes, Fillers, Food Based, HCL, Insulin, Iron, Low Quality, Mulitple Vitamins, Natural, Omega 3, Petroleum Based, Pharmaceutical Glaze, Quality, Synthetic, Trace Minerals, Vitamins
This article is one of my attempts to distiguish the difference between a natural, holistic approach and a conventional medical approach. A natural, holistic approach is about supplying nutrition to the body so that the body can heal itself. Our current health care system is one of disease management that is governed by expensive pharmaceutical drugs and insurance companies. (Note that I still don’t understand why these drugs are so expensive.) Our current health care system will never be affordable based on this model.
Health tends to be greatly misunderstood. Either that or most people do not think of health like I do. One of the first ways that people think when they want to restore health is allopathically. Allopathic means that a disease or condition is treated with a substance that causes the opposite effect of the symptoms – as in modern conventional medicine.. Examples of allopathic remedies include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, beta blockers, proton pump inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, COX-2 inhibitors, etc. If you are over 50, chances are you are on one or more of these allopathic remedies also known as pharmaceutical drugs. Allopathy works to address symptoms. Symptoms are the body’s way of reporting an imbalance. Merely treating the symptoms does not address the cause of the imbalance. Treating just the symptoms tends to result in greater imbalance sometime in the future. Yes, I did say that treating just the symptoms tends to lead to greater imbalance in the future – meaning that you are not getting well by taking an allopathic medicine. Now there are cases where the allopathic medicine helps you have the quality of life you want and it can hold life threatening symptoms at bay, but allopathic medicines do not restore true health. If you follow my column, or have visited with me, surely you know that I am interested in why your body is functioning the way it is and what is causing that – ie. finding the underlying cause. In searching for answers, I always think of the confession in the Episcopal prayer book. What has been done that should not have been done and what should have been done that was left undone? I tend look at issues nutritionally, because that is what make sense to me. (If I were a surgeon, I might have a completely different approach.) The answer for most health problems typically involves more than just one simple pill. The issues tend to be complex and unique for each individual. In other words, your high blood pressure has a different underlying cause than my high blood pressure. From my perspective, if you give the body concentrated nutrition that helps correct deficiencies, the body balances itself over time. I like herbs, vitamins and minerals because they can help restore health to organs and glands and help the body work better. Part of the reason that the natural remedies seem to be so confusing is that what works for one person may not work for another. Natural remedies work when they correct the underlying cause of the condition and not because they are working to suppress a symptom of imbalance. Herbs and natural remedies were not meant to be used allopathically except in certain acute situations. Herbs are natural, concentrated packages of particular nutrients that help correct the result of imbalances in nutrition. Specific herbs have an affinity for certain dandelion cleans the blood; red beet root cleans and nourishes the liver, etc. Herbs are very safe when used correctly. Naturopaths and herbalists spend years studying herbs and other natural remedies. If you are unsure about usage, talk to someone that is qualified.
Flu Ban is my new favorite cold and flu remedy – it is an olive leaf, neem, homeopathic combination. I have gotten very good feed back on this from customers.
For respiratory symptoms, I have several recommendations. These include: Fenugreek and Thyme, a great combination for both cough and drainage. CongestEeze is another great product for helping with congestion and cough. Sinus Blaster is another customer favorite – this stuff tastes bad, but it works fast and helps relieve sinus and respiratory congestion.
I also like old-fashioned herbals like echinacea. Echinacea is a blood cleaner that helps break down mucous while boosting immunity. Elderberry is another good herbal that helps keep viruses from spreading while boosting immunity. Oregano oil is another great natural remedy. Oregano oil kills lots of viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus. It is really strong stuff – especially the kind that is at least 70 percent carvacrol.
If you are deficient in zinc or vitamin A, you will need to supplement these to get your immune system to do its job. Zinc deficiency is common in anyone who is stressed – a good sign of zinc deficiency is white dots on fingernails. Vitamin A is deficiency is not as easy to find. Beta-carotene is not true vitamin A – people with blood sugar problems or thyroid problems cannot convert beta-carotene to vitamin A and will be deficient. Cod liver oil is a great source of natural vitamin A.
I also recommend keeping your body on the more alkaline side since viruses such as the flu will thrive in an acid environment. Most of us do not know what is acid and what is alkaline – so, I will summarize it for you.
Good – or alkalizing includes vegetables and fruits (raw being the most alkaline), raw vegetable juices, kombucha tea, coral calcium, green supplements, enzymes, raw lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar and raw almonds. For instant alkalizing, drink 6 ounces of water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda stirred in.
Bad – or acid forming foods include sodas (diet sodas are the worst), tea, coffee, chocolate, smoking, and foods made with white flour and/or white sugar. Remember that sugar takes your immune system down for 5 hours – so in addition to being acid forming, it zaps your ability to recover.
Remember that diseases such as the flu are opportunistic. If the host is full of acid waste and other toxins, then the flu will love their body and thrive. If the host is healthy and alkaline, then the flu will have a hard time and will move on.
Stress and the typical American diet tend to make us good homes for viruses because they make our pH acid and deplete our vitamins and minerals. We are also inundated with chemicals that are bodies cannot break down and eliminate. To stay in balance, alkalize your diet, use herbal cleanses periodically to get rid of excess toxins, and take good high quality supplements that help keep you balanced so you are not a good host (or hostess) for the flu.
Tagged Acid, Acid Buffer, Alkaline, Balance, Cleanse, Cold & Flu Prevention, CongestEeze, Congestion, Cough, Cough, D-Lenolate, Drainage, Echinacea, Elderberry, Fenugreek, Flu, Flu Ban, Olive Leaf, Oregano Oil, pH, Respiratory, Sinus, Thyme, Thyme, Virus, Vitamin A, Zinc, Zinc Deficiency