Happy New Year 2014! Today is the first day for a wonderful new start for health in 2014! January is going to be the month to sort out your digestion issues. Let’s start at the Upper Gastrointestinal tract.
If you have been Living Hard these Holidays you may be experiencing that “Burning” Desire for a New Healthy Year!
Oesophagitis/ otherwise called “Heart burn” is exacerbated with typical holiday fare: alcohol, sugar and a high carbohydrate diet.
READ about the causes and what you can do to prevent it, but if you are in a hurry HERE are my HANDY HELP Tips: Oesophagitis needs an increase in gut function and better digestion.
Firstly let me dis-spell a myth: the burning is NOT generally caused by too much stomach acid, but by the acid being in the wrong place! This is because often as we age, we decrease the amount of stomach acid we produce. Digestive bitter herbs and tonics can increase this, but our Western diet and our taste buds prefer sweet- not bitter. TAKING ANTACIDS SUCH AS NEXIUM AND OTHER PPI (proton pump inhibitors) have a negative impact on digestion, Vitamin B12 and cause MORE heartburn *
Therefore our food sits undigested for longer in our stomach, and this is what causes the gastric reflux- a lack of motility and the belching and bloating is a byproduct of poor acid production.
Here are some helping hints:
Stay hydrated! Drink one glass of water every 2 hours (more in the heat) Dissolve 2 Blackmore’s SPPC tabs in your drinking water and sip this throughout the day. Chew one if experiencing stomach pain. Start your day by-Drink 2x 200 ml glasses of warm water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it, or a cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (ACV) upon waking as you will be slightly dehydrated after your last intake of fluids- which was probably about 12 hours previousl. If either of these drinks gives you a burning sensation then see your doctor for gastric ulceration investigation; stomach ulcers often need triple drug therapy to treat Helicobacter pyloris. Otherwise the lemon or the ACV will rebalance the poor stomach acid, which is often deficient.
- Mix 1 tsp of slippery elm powder with warm water and drink this 1 hour before meals. This will coat the sore areas and soothe them.
- Do not eat anything for 3 hours before bedtime, go for an 20 minute walk an hour after eating dinner, and spend the evening relaxing- eg. with a hot Epsom salts bath.
- Sleep with the head of the bed slightly elevated.
- Try Iberogast or equivalent essential oils or peppermint, dill, fennel teas.
|Approximately 20% of the adult population over the age of 50 will have some upper gastrointestinal discomfort, and of these a majority will be on the spectrum of GORD or GERD (the “O” or “E” depends on which part of the equator and English syllabus you reside in!Oesophagitis/Gord (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease)= Gerd(gastro-esophageal dyspepsia or disease) is a burning sensation which sometimes mimics a cardiac pain, hence the term ‘Heart Burn”. It’s always a good idea to see an internist to rule out primary heart problems, however be aware that it is almost impossible to diagnose heart problems- which may present in a similar fashion. Although an ECG (electrocardiogram) and blood tests may not pick up any coronary vasculature blockage, a stress test and an angiogram will. I have seen several patients (human variety) who had recently visited their GP and been declared within normal on basic testing for heart health, only to find them suffer a major coronary attack days to weeks later. (GP by the way is General Practitioner, not “Guinea Pig”—laughing out loud as there are so many ways to confuse the veterinarian talk with the human medical talk!)
Many doctors prescribe antacids for this GORD, as the acid reflux is very painful and analgesia is important to the patient The common pain relieving medications such as the NSAID’s (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, are contraindicated (not recommended) because they cause gastric ulceration and kidney disease.
The pain from the acid reflux should be addressed at the root cause, which generally is a poor digestion system. This is contrary to the general medical profession’s concept which states that there is OVER production of acid. What is really happening is that there is NOT ENOUGH stomach acid, or a deficiency of movement from the gastric juices downwards. To fix the problem at the root cause means to improve digestion and to get the contractility moving!
Naturopaths will take a careful history and find out what is in the diet that is slowing down digestion.
It’s very important to fix this system, as a prevention of chronic inflammation- not only to reduce the pain in the oesophagus, but also to stop the progression oesophagitis to Barrett’s disease.
Barrett’s esophagus is a serious complication of GERD. In Barrett’s esophagus, changes to oesophageal mucosal tissue occur—to less keratinized and softer more vulnerable tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. About 10% of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop Barrett’s oesophagus
|Contributing Factors:Medications that patients are on can predispose to developing poor motility and oesophagitis. Antacid tablets that decrease or act as proton pump inhibition such as Nexium slow down digestion, and anticholesterol statin drugs lead to muscle weakness and slow contractility.
-Putting / eating bad combinations of food together, such as carbohydrates with proteins (sandwiches and pasta require a lower stomach acid to digest the carbohydrate, while meat proteins require a higher pH, thus the combination is difficult to digest).
A diet full of preserved meats is also problematic, as salami, pepperoni, Ham, release nitrosamines and are known carcinogens and pro inflammatory agents.
– dehydration-1.4-2 litres of isotonic water is needed to keep the body lubricated. A dried out intestinal tract will not contract efficiently. Chyme needs to churn over with a steady intake of fluids. A dry mouth and oesophagus will lead to food clogging and difficulty swallowing.
– Stress! Adrenaline (epinephrine if you live in the northern hemisphere and speak “American”) causes xerostomia, or dry mouth, which leads to tacky and sluggish gut movement.
-Food triggers / allergenic foods- high gluten diet consisting mainly of wheat is as a cause of inflammation.
– Heart disease- both medication and sluggish vascular movement secondary to heart disease will lead to a slower digestive system.
– smoking – this dries out the oesophagus as well as adding carcinogenic substances and inflammatory mediators directly to the mucosa
– alcohol and spicy foods induce GORD
|– Medications- acid inhibitors such as Nexium and Statin drugs ( which are often recommended by doctors for elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease) perpetuate GORD; Nexium reduces stomach acid and therefore decreases digestion; causing a slower gastro-intestinal emptying with food fermenting in stomach and leaving partially digested; therefore bloating pushes the antrum and stomach opening up in to the chest causing a hiatal hernia and burning sensation at the base of oesophagus.Statin drugs cause myopathy, with decreased peristalsis measured by an increase in serum CK (creatine kinase) levels as well as decreasing mitochondrial enzyme function and necessary coenzyme Q 10 – an antioxidant system for the “powerhouse” cell. This causes more cellular damage and decreased muscle function- often resulting in micro tears and bruising of ligaments, tendons and muscles.
-Poor choices and Putting / eating bad combinations of food together
-Continuing to eat food triggers / allergenic foods
-Eating food close to bedtime – not sure if client does that
-Lying down immediately after eating
Naturopathic Analysis/Causative Factors:
What’s possibly making it happen physically –based on biochemistry and personal choices as listed above
| In this condition, there are a number of factors that increase pressure on the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle, preventing it from effectively blocking acid from washing into the oesophagus.Hiatal hernia is one reason why the upper part of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm which can result in GORD or GERD. Excess weight can also increase pressure within the abdomen. The excess weight in pregnancy teamed with hormonal effects can result in GORD or GERD. Particular foods (acidic foods) such as onions, garlic, citrus foods, mint, chocolate and tomato based foods etc can potentially irritate the oesophagus or relax the sphincter too much. In addition, if the stomach is not positioned where it should be and intra-abdominal pressure is increased, this can irritate / exacerbate GORD or GERD such as in the case of lying down immediately after eating or sleeping with piles of pillows on the bed, wearing tight belts, lifting, bending and more.
Poor food choices and particular foods or food combining create a decrease in digestion and slow peristalsis down, hence the GORD / GERD burping, belching, and bloating occur.
Smoking, drinking, and alcohol imbibation plus medications that can perpetuate oesophagitis.
Be mindful or how you eat—sitting, and portion control at correct times 3 meals a day, how relaxed you are at meal times, how your parasympathetic calm feeling is at the time of eating, the foods you choose and how you combine them, and the time you go to bed in relation to when you have eaten.
Think about your emotional state, and practice enjoyment of life and your food! Take up yoga, Tai chi, Bush walking, snorkelling, swimming or some other relaxing exercise that allows your body to move and helps move your digesting tract along as well as supporting your mood.
Nexium: What is the second bestselling drug, after Lipitor? The Purple Pill. Like statins, Nexium and the other Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPI) to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), became household medications thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising. Before Proton-Pump Inhibitors, people took over-the-counter treatments like Tums or Tagamet when they had heartburn or indigestion. As the afflictions were upgraded into the “disease” of GERD, Nexium made almost $5 billion in the US in one year and the class of PPIs made $13.6 billion in one year, translating into 119 million prescriptions.
In 2012, the same year the FDA warned about statins, the FDA warned the public that Nexium and the whole class of PPIs are linked to Clostridium Difficile, a stubborn and sometimes deadly intestinal infection that is becoming increasingly drug-resistant and hard to treat. In 2013, medical literature linked PPIs to fractures, calcium and magnesium deficiencies, community-acquired pneumonia and vitamin B-12 deficiencies. Research by John P. Cooke, clinical professor at Houston Methodist Hospital, found in 2013 that PPIs might cause blood vessels to constrict and cardiovascular risks. Not a great ending for the blockbuster Nexium, whose patent runs out in 2014.