In today’s world, stomach pain and belly bloat are more common than ever before. Are you frustrated with Belly Bulge? Do you swell and bloat easily or find that you can gain 2-3 lbs. just overnight making it hard to fit into your pants the next day? Are you asking yourself “What is going on? Why can’t I have a normal life without gas and pain?” Fear not, your trusted tummy is trying to tell you something.
According to Oracle ThinkQuest, an education foundation, digestive problems cost Americans approximately $50 billion each year. Many people suffer from stomach pain, gas, bloating, heartburn or cramping. Doctors run tests, but often find nothing significant and tell you that you have acid reflux. They will give you medication to help with the symptoms, but many people are left without knowing what the cause is, much less a game plan for a permanent solution. As a digestive specialist in the natural health field, I look at the most common root causes of these stomach symptoms and address the problem there. The following will explain the top 5 reasons or “root causes” for your unhappy tummy.
Digestion is dependent upon the production of enzymes and stomach acid (HCL).
We produce digestive enzymes and acids in our stomach that aid the digestion process. As one gets older, especially after age 35, enzyme and Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) production start to decrease, making it harder for your digestive tract to break down foods. This leads to symptoms of gas, bloating, stomach pain, acid reflux, and inflammation or Gastritis.
If your body is producing insufficient enzymes (proteins, that break down food), significant problems can occur in the digestive system. Food will sit in the stomach and give you that heavy, bloated feeling. Hydrochloric Acid, secreted by the stomach, plays an integral part in the digestive process and is responsible for the breakdown of proteins as well as to prevent infections. It is absolutely necessary for proper break down and absorption of Calcium and also helps to kill any parasites we have ingested.
You may have been told that your stomach is making too much acid, causing acid reflux, but odds are this isn’t quite true. This can be the case for a small percentage of people, but I believe it is the undigested food, fermenting and bubbling up that is causing most symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Toxins are formed from this bubbling stew of undigested food and circulate through the digestive system eventually affecting the whole body. This causes high levels of inflammation throughout the body, often leading to other chronic inflammatory illnesses.
If you are experiencing gas, pain, bloating or heartburn, odds are you may need an enzyme supplement to help you digest your food. A full spectrum enzyme will help digest proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. Some enzyme formulations contain Betaine HCL which helps supply extra “acid” that your body may not be producing. Insufficient enzyme and Hydrochloric Acid production is only one of the root causes for heartburn, acid reflux, gas, stomach pain and bloating.
Many medications can affect your digestion.
Medications often cause an imbalance in the micro-flora (a complex ecosystem of microorganisms) of the stomach and intestines (gut). Scientists estimate that several hundred species are a part of this complex ecosystem. Antibiotics, steroids, cholesterol medications, even “The Pill”, can harm good bacteria that help the digestion process. Continual use of medication can cause inflammation of the gut, leading to gas, stomach pain and bloating. This eventually can lead to other chronic inflammatory illnesses.
In many cases the continued use of medication puts a person in a loop of symptom relief by the medication, new symptoms of inflammation and digestive problems caused by that medication, new medication to relieve those symptoms and new symptoms from the side effects of that medication.
The only way to alleviate this chronic cycle of illness is to get at the root cause of your problem. Often times this can be a combination of nutritional deficiencies, toxicities and stress. Once your digestive tract is cleaned up and healed many other chronic conditions start clearing up as well. If you are tired of having to take medication with no game plan to get off of it and no promise of actually healing the condition, I recommend seeing a trained natural health practitioner that can get to the bottom of your issues and address the root cause. This is the only path for long-term healing.
Parasites and/or Candida overgrowth create havoc in your body
The definition of a parasite is “an animal or plant that lives in or on another (the host) from which it obtains nourishment. The host does not benefit from the association and is often harmed by it” (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Biology.)
We live in a highly developed country and practice good personal hygiene; but those factors alone do not safeguard us against parasites. We are often exposed to parasites from our pets, undercooked foods, sushi, or from traveling out of the country and consuming infected food and water.
Common human intestinal parasites include roundworms, heartworms, tapeworms, pinworms, hookworms and threadworms, Giardia and amoebas. Hookworms are the most common roundworm infection of the human intestines. The World Health Organization estimates 740 million people are infected with this parasite which is usually picked up by walking barefoot on infected soil.
Stomach pain, cramping, gas, bloating, repeated diarrhea or constipation and even internal bleeding are just a few of the symptoms of a parasitic infection. Parasitic infections can cause a tremendous burden on the human body. Here are some statistics from the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention): “Trichomoniasis is the most common parasite infection in the U.S. , accounting for an estimated 7.4 million cases per year. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are estimated to cause 2 million and 300,000 infections annually in the U.S. respectively. Giardia is found on surfaces or in soil, food or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals. Cryptosporidiosis is the most frequent cause of recreational water-related disease outbreaks in the U.S.”
There are a few things you can do to limit your exposure to parasites. Always wash your hands after dealing with pets or their feces and wear shoes when walking. Use gloves and wash thoroughly after preparing meat or chicken for consumption and make sure your food is cooked thoroughly. When eating raw sushi, make sure you consume plenty of the wasabi sauce and pickled ginger as they both have natural anti-parasite properties.
Candida albicans is the most common species of yeast that is naturally occurring in our digestive tract. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates provides a literal feast for the yeast and can cause the Candida population to explode and become systemic-affecting the whole body.
Additionally, antibiotics can affect the levels of Candida in our gut. Good bacteria keep the Candida population in check, but are often wiped out with one round of antibiotics. If you are suffering from gas, stomach pain, bloating, heartburn or acid reflux, you may have a systemic Candida infection.
Candida overgrowth can also cause muscle aches and pains, brain fog, sugar cravings and associated weight gain, rashes, eczema, allergies and sinus infections. Many of my client’s who have “cleaned up” the yeast in their systems, enjoy increased energy, weight loss, clear healthy skin and a much healthier immune system. Basically they have a whole new lease on life and can enjoy many of the activities that were previously limited to them because they “just didn’t have the energy” or they were embarrassed by skin issues, bloating and weight gain.
This type of infection is more common than you think. I believe more than 90 % of the population is currently struggling with Candida overgrowth. If you have regular Belly Bloat, this is a major root cause.
Food allergies and sensitivities are a common digestive problem
Food is fuel for our body. Unfortunately not all food supports the efficient running of our cells. Your body can react to food in a very positive way or a very negative way. Most of us probably know someone who has a food allergy. They might break out in a rash or their tongue swells or they need to go to the hospital when they come into contact with a certain food. Some food allergies can be very serious and result in anaphylaxis, a serious rapid allergic reaction, which can be life threatening. You know you have a food allergy when you feel a reaction in or on your body within minutes or seconds of coming into contact with the suspected substance. Common foods that can create severe reactions include, but are not limited to:
• Gluten – wheat, barley, spelt, rye
• Shell fish
• Cow dairy - Milk, cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream and butter
Food sensitivities and intolerances on the other hand do not usually cause immediate life threatening situations. They are unique to the individual and compromise digestion, inhibiting the breakdown of food which can result in stomach pain, skin breakouts, gas and bloating. Continuous consumption of these foods increases inflammation and the toxic load in the body leading to chronic conditions, such as eczema, arthritis, osteoporosis, gallbladder problems, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases.
In today’s world of packaged and highly processed foods, we aren’t always eating what we think we are. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and over hybridized plants are no longer naturally occurring (God given foods). These foods have been significantly altered from the foods our ancestors consumed and contain new substances that are very difficult to digest. You might have heard the term “Frankenfoods” which refers to the unnatural state of these foods.
Most soy, corn and wheat grown in the U.S. today are GMO or extremely hybridized. What this means for us is a food that is very difficult to digest, causing a host of digestive issues and inflammation. Wheat that has been over hybridized no longer looks or acts like the parent seed or plant. There is evidence that the different proteins that are formed in these manipulated plants are difficult for the body to break down causing inflammation and toxins in the digestive tract. As the toxic load increases, inflammation becomes more severe.
Soy has actual enzyme inhibitors which block our natural enzyme activity. This makes it very difficult to digest soy unless it has been fermented. The fermentation process breaks down those enzyme inhibitors. Fermented soy such as miso, tempeh and soy sauce can be enjoyed by most, along with soy lecithin or good quality soy protein isolate, which is an amino acid based product. Make sure any soy you consume is fermented and GMO Free!
A food sensitivity assessment is a great way to identify the foods that are causing you discomfort or digestive problems. When you know which foods are making you feel sick, it is easy to eliminate them from your diet. You will feel so much better when you can support your body naturally and nourish it with good quality food and drink.
Stress and a bacteria by the name of Helicobactor Pylori
Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori.) bacteria, naturally occurs in our stomachs. Normally, our good bacteria keep the populations of H. Pylori down to a healthy level. However, stress can wreak havoc on our digestion and negatively affect the balance of the microbial ecosystem of our gut.
You should never eat when you are stressed, because stress shuts down enzyme production. When you feel stressed, your adrenals produce a hormone called Cortisol which gets you ready for a “fight or flight” response. This signals your body to shut down the digestive process which takes a lot of energy, energy you need for your fight or flight response. The worst thing you can do is reach for some high carbohydrate comfort food when you are stressed. Stress plus inflammatory foods means a very unhappy tummy.
An overabundance of H.Pylori, coupled with stress can cause acid reflux or heartburn. It is estimated that 90% of ulcers are related to Helicobacter Pylori. This bacteria burrows into the stomach lining and creates its own “acid free zone” by creating Urease, which neutralizes stomach acid. A bad infection may fool your stomach into producing more acid, causing pain and burning. Stress intensifies this situation. In this case your body actually may be producing too much acid.
Many people are infected with H. Pylori bacteria and have no symptoms until the ulcer is formed. It is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population is infected with H. Pylori bacteria (National Cancer Institute). There is a blood test to check for H. Pylori and the medical protocol is heavy duty antibiotics. This, however, as previously explained, can cause more imbalances with other bacteria and Candida. There is also an association between long-term infection and stomach cancer. Studies show, 50% of people with stomach cancer have an H. Pylori bacteria infection.
Food for thought
I hope I have given you some “Food for Thought” about why you are having stomach pain. There are natural safe alternatives to drugs that actually get at the root cause of these issues. You may be skeptical, but I see these situations every day and help everyone get to the root cause of their particular issue. A natural approach will not only help with symptom relief, it will lead to a long-term healing of the gut/stomach which will positively affect your overall health and wellbeing. Think about how much you spend each month on doctor’s tests, medication, and “band-aid” fixes. Doctors are not really trained to look at the whole body and put this “picture” together for you personally. If you have tried a Candida cleanse or decided to cut out gluten and have not gotten the results you were hoping for, you may not have cleansed for a long enough period of time or you may have only addressed a part of the picture for your specific situation. Until you have someone qualified put together a whole program that will address all of your specific issues, you really may be taking a “shot in the dark”.
It may be time to invest in your long-term health and get to the root cause of your issues. I work with people all over the United States and can “tune in” through a unique intuitive healing technique, that gets to the bottom of your specific issues. For more information about my services visit www.debkitt.com or call me at 303-668-8891.
Best Wishes for Great Health, Deb Kitt