Digestion, Stomach Acid, and How to Heal

debbie (27)Switch Your Metabolism Class: set for Mondays: Oct 7,14,21, 6 – 7:30;  and Wednesdays: Oct 9,16,23, 1 – 2:30.  The goal: to teach you how to be a Fat Burner and not a Sugar Burner.  We’ll cover the Paleo Diet, Digestion, Blood Sugar (you HAVE to understand your biology to lose weight and get healthy), Ketosis, Power Cooking, Compliance Strategies and much more.  The class will be held at the Marshall Community Center (4133A Rectortown Rd, Marshall Va), which is right off Rt 17 and Rt 66 – it’s easy to get to.  The total cost: $100.  My goal:  to help you understand that your weight and your health are a matter of your Biology, not a low cal/low fat diet that never works, ever; and that you have the Power to change yourself.  Email me if you can attend.  Phone and Skype sessions are available if you’re long distance.

If you’ve ever been to one of my talks, or worked with me one-on-one, you know that Digestion is always a big topic for me.  Good digestion, and the health of our gut, reflects the health of our entire body.  More than 10% of Americans have some level of heartburn everyday, and almost half of all Americans have at least one episode a month.

Gas, Bloat, Reflux, Heartburn, GERD, Constipation/Diarrhea,  these aren’t normal – and they’re Fixable!  But not with the OTC or prescription meds you’ve been using ( have they solved the problem yet – on a permanent basis?)  Antacids (like Tums)  and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Prevacid) temporarily suppress stomach acid, allowing you to think that everything’s okay.  It’s not.  God put that stomach acid there for a reason:  it digests our food and kills bacteria, virus, and pathogens. Most of those things can’t live 15 minutes in a PROPERLY acidic stomach.  The acid also triggers a cascade of digestive actions that allows our body to cleave off minerals and fatty acids and amino acids and then actually use them.

Take meds to suppress the stomach acid, and you cause a detrimental shift in your gut bacterial environment (there goes your immune system), and leave yourself wide open to nutrient deficiencies( goodbye B12, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, niacin, iron, and zinc – just to name a few).  Let’s take that mentioned list, and apply it:  no B12 = high homocysteine levels; folic acid makes red blood cells and prevents birth defects; niacin improves HDL levels and lowers triglycerides; calcium and magnesium are important for heart and bone health; iron is necessary for oxygenated blood; and zinc is vital to the immune system and to make testosterone.  They’re important.

What to do if you have regular reflux?  So many options!!!  None of which would involve suppressing stomach acid – after all, we need to think Long Term, not short term. Band -aiding problems NEVER solves the problems, it just covers them.

If you’re over 40, there’s a strong chance that the cells which make the acid (parietel cells) have slowed down. There are also several OTC and prescription drugs, and chemicals in municipal water sources, that decrease stomach acid.  HCL (hydrachloric acid – the same thing that our stomach cells produce) supplements are available from any health food store. cavepeople Digestive enzymes can also help (our stomach’s HCl normally triggers the pancreas to release those enzymes, not so with insufficent acid). A little Apple Cider Vinegar added to water and consumed before the meal can make the stomach more acidic, which makes food digest quicker.  That said, if you’ve let this condition continue for years, you could have an ulcer (low stomach acid allows Hpylori to proliferate), and in that case, you’d need supplements to heal the ulcer and the gut lining.  Probiotics are probably also necessary.  These would also be available from a good Natural Health food store.  Email me if you have any questions about this.

What should you not do?? Don’t do anything that exacerbates the condition.  Got stress? Work on controlling it, because cortisol wrecks havoc on the parietal cells, it literally shuts down their HCl production in order to shift the bodies focus to a more “fight or flight” mode.  Alcohol for “relaxation”?  Alcohol destroys the thick mucus membrane that protects the stomach from the acid.  Sugar and starches? Excess ( which is EASY to consume) cause an up and down blood sugar response – that triggers cortisol.  Excess carbs also feed bacteria and yeast – hello Hpylori and candida.

Once again, what we eat, what we drink, matters.  Every bite matters.  Not only do excess carbs put on undesired weight, but they cause a really bad gut environment, and a bad gut environment leads to reflux, ulcers, nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut, a poor immune system, and just about every single disease condition.  Your food either builds you up or tears you down.  There are no neutral foods.

Eat for health, and weight loss will be a side effect.  Fill yourself up with tons of vegetables, clean meats, healthy fats, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and some full fat dairy (if your stomach says yes).  Don’t starve yourself – it always backfires.  Try to let hours lapse between your meals.  Keep your endgame in mind and let it guide you through your day.  You have the power to change your health, your energy, and your vitality.

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