Indigestion — causes and treatment without suppression

Indigestion — causes and treatment without suppression

When our digestion is interrupted, we can end up with diagnoses like heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus. We can also develop irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones and even cancer.

When our digestion is interrupted, we can end up with diagnoses like heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus. We can also develop irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones and even cancer.

by Dr. Theresa Ramsey — 

Stress, pathogens and irritating substances all disrupt digestive function. When our digestion is interrupted, we can end up with diagnoses like heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus. We can also develop irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones and even cancer.

Knowing that the host of digestive disturbances originates from stress, pathogens and irritating substances, the first step is to diagnose and treat the cause. Unfortunately, this step is often skipped; instead, an acid blocker or a proton pump inhibitor is prescribed to turn off acid production.

Would it not make more sense to first identify and reduce your source of stress? What about identifying if pathogens are playing a role? Since we all must eat to live, why not recognize that we don’t live to eat, and that most likely the foods we eat every day are contributing to our digestive disturbance? Food allergy testing still remains the number one test and is considered the best health insurance policy ever purchased since most digestive disturbances clear after removing the foods that irritate the lining of the digestive tract.

Many patients on acid blockers — Nexium, Pepcid AC, Prilosec, Tums, Rolaids, etc. — notice that their symptoms are worse with increased stress. Therein lies the relationship between gut health and gastritis.

To make it simple, we have two sides of our nervous system, the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (relaxation). When the sympathetic is stimulated more than the parasympathetic, we have acid problems. The reason for this is that the substance secreted, when the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, is hydrochloric acid, which is what the drugs are designed to turn off.

If instead, we increased the parasympathetic nervous system by sleeping longer and more deeply, meditating and praying, slowing down our thoughts and actions, and exercising for stress reduction rather than over-exercising, our gastric secretions would change. This means we would produce more mucin (mucous), which protects our lining from the acid. The idea then is to stop turning off acid production and instead protect our lining with mucin. If it is impossible to decrease our stress response, we can increase our mucin by using products like slippery elm, deglycerized licorice and baking soda.

If you want to heal your lining and not become dependent upon herbs, consider the product, Tum Ease. There are over 40 published studies on the effectiveness of it healing ulcers, ridding the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, restoring optimal pH for enzyme secretion and stimulating mucin from the digestive tract. The tablets are chewable so that they also treat the esophagus, which is helpful for patients with reflux. Tum Ease is also beneficial for gas and bloating associated with poor digestion.

The active ingredients are a blend of zinc and L-histamine, beta alanine (carnosine). They work independently of each other in assisting digestive health; however, together the effectiveness goes up to 98 percent. This product is one of the most valuable tools to treat any “ITIS” (inflammatory bowel condition).

In addition to decreasing inflammation, by increasing mucus and allowing the natural production of hydrochloric acid, we can assist enzyme availability to digest our food by taking Digest Well, which is an enzyme compound that comes from fermented foods. The company that provides this product has been in production in Japan since 1950. It provides safety and specificity on each and every batch released from their laboratory.

The benefit of Digest Well is to enhance the breakdown of the food you eat for energy. It, along with Tum Ease, releases bloating, fullness, constipation, reflux. Other companies make enzymes such as the mint enzyme called Bioenzymes, which taste like mints and help alleviate any sugar cravings following meals. Children and adults can use them between and after meals as often as needed.

Often, when we are exposed to pathogens, either by travel or from home, we can use acidophilus to bump the bad guys out. Daily use of HMF Superpowder mixed in a small amount of water will keep the bacteria in our gut balanced and strong.

You can make your own tinctures of herbs that are gastric tonics. They won’t heal an ulcer like the Tum Ease, but can certainly offer relief from indigestion.

Make a tincture by mixing one ounce of drinking liquor (vodka) to one-half cup of water. Add any herbs that you like, being sure to include a minty herb such as spearmint, peppermint or marjoram, along with any of the following: turmeric, rosemary, chamomile, anise, coriander and ginger. Let it sit for a few days, then strain. Take one-half teaspoon as needed and after meals. If you do not use alcohol, you can steep in water, then strain. If using the tea, you will need a larger dosage to feel the effects, perhaps one-half to one cup once daily, if not three times.

My overall suggestions are to decrease your stress, sleep like a dream, increase the good bacteria in your gut, diagnose possible pathogens and food allergies and then use any supplements that you may need to patch things up in the meantime. The three main supplements with the greatest success are Tum Ease, Digest Well and HMF Superpowder alternating with Saccromycin.

 

Dr. Theresa Ramsey, co-owner of the Center for Natural Healing in Paradise Valley, Ariz., is a naturopathic medical doctor with a family practice. Her specialty is in Functional Medicine, and she is the author of Healing 101. 480-970-0077 or www.drramsey.com.

From the AZNetNews library, December 2008/January 2009

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