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Stomach Basics

People don't think too much about the stomach unless it starts to complain. Complaining usually shows up as what we call acid indigestion. That burning feeling can come from an ulcer and/or acid reflux.

First we will consider acid reflux. The pharma guys are doing well selling things like tums, prilosec, nexium and more. Part of these symptoms may come from really poor choices in food like the latest craze at state fairs, battered and deep-fried butter or maybe a deep-fried twinkie. If a person persists in eating such delights there is no hope.

This article is written for those want to be healthy and making an effort. The first thing to rule out is gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity (GS). Acid reflux is a common sign of GS. Gluten stimulates the production of antibodies that can attack key enzymes in the brain stem and that interferes with the neurological control of the digestion process. Eliminating gluten entirely from the diet will allow the body to begin winding down the antibody cascade. For a more complete discussion of see Gluten Resources.

Gastric ulcers can be quite serious not just in misery from symptoms but also from bleeds that can easily be life threatening. Ulcers can result from three common factors, alcohol, H. pylori infection and stress.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to cause gastric bleeds. If this is your problem, you won’t get the help you need from a short article. I will leave that diagnosis and treatment for others.

Heliobacter pylori is a species of bacteria that was identified as a key factor in gastric ulcers a couple of decades ago. Diagnosing H. pylori infections is now possible with lab tests. Routine treatment in medicine is a regimen of antibiotics and then retesting. Various herbs have shown promise in helping the body fight off an H. pylori infection. The problem with one sided treatment is that the rate of reinfection is very high. H. pylori is easily passed from person to person in the same household so most in the treatment field agree that everybody in the house would have to be treated, kids and pets too. One other opinion about H. pylori suggests that this bacteria is a common inhabitant of the stomach and is not a problem except in overgrowth. Overgrowth is prevented by adequate numbers of friendly bacteria otherwise known as probiotics. Recent studies find that the average healthy person has 500 to 1000 different kinds of bacteria in the digestive tract. Antibiotics cause dramatic reductions in the numbers and types of bacteria. This can have dramatic effects on the health of the immune system as 70-80% of our immune response is dependent on these bacteria.

If you treat your H. pylori infection with antibiotics, you might temporarily solve one problem but are setting yourself up for other chronic problems. Because you have diminished the healthy probiotics you are now even more susceptible to further H pylori infections. You see the vicious cycle.

An alternative means of helping your body balance the H pylori and probiotics would be to take herbal formulas that interfere with H pylori growth and boost the immune system and at the same time take large amounts of probiotics. Some studies have found probiotics alone to decrease H pylori infections by 75% of the cases. Adding the herbs to improve immune system function should increase that rate even more.

The products we recommend are: NuMedica: ZinCosa GI, Metagenics: Inflavonoid Intensive care, BetterGenix: FloraGenix and Pure Encapsulations: Saccharomyces boulardii.

To summarize, quit eating high fat, fried foods, get checked out for gluten sensitivity, take your probiotics and add in some key herbs as contained in the excellent products above.

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