Suffering from symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux or heartburn? Patients complain about these problems often. Regel’s staff RN, Anita Hester, would like to share what has worked for her as well as others.
For most of my life I suffered with a lot of these symptoms. I learned many years ago that taking probiotics to keep my intestinal tract healthy eliminated some of these issues. Josh Regel, Pharm.D. recently discussed probiotics. Find out more about probiotics by clicking here. Even after identifying and dealing with food allergies, I continued to deal with some GI discomfort. Over time I learned about digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid(HCL) supplements to help break down the foods I was eating.
Why is this important?
Enzymes break down our foods: proteins (protease), carbohydrates (amylase), and fats (lipase). They are necessary for proper digestion. This process begins as we chew our food (Always chew your food slowly and thoroughly.) In the stomach, a substance called pepsin helps break down proteins. Hydrochloric acid (HCL) or “stomach acid” is necessary for activating the pepsin.
So why is there a problem?
As we age we produce less enzymes and also less stomach acid. Zinc and thiamine, among other nutrients, are necessary for production of stomach acid. If we are deficient in these nutrients, there may be too little acid to react with our food as it passes from the stomach to the intestines. When this is the case, the pancreas may not release its enzymes which are necessary to process the digested material so that the body can utilize it. Hence the annoying symptoms of improperly digested food. To make matters worse, many of us eat refined, processed and fatty foods that require more enzymes and tend to further deplete what our bodies produce. Raw foods that are naturally rich in enzymes are a better choice.
Why did my doctor tell me I have too much acid?
Acid reflux and heartburn were major problems for me. l had difficulty eating protein without excruciating heartburn and chest pain. I was told I had a serious problem with too much stomach acid. A prescription remedy was recommended and I only got worse.
Seems like almost everyone I know is on a drug to decrease stomach acid and many of them still have symptoms. Acid reducing drugs are one of the most prescribed medications in this country. Hydrochloric acid is vital for digestion, proper stomach emptying, triggering release of digestive enzymes, absorption of nutrients, and killing harmful bacteria that may be ingested with foods.
SYMPTOMS OF STOMACH ACID DEFICIENCY CAN BE THE SAME AS THOSE OF ACID EXCESS! A few years later another doctor told me that my problem was actually a stomach acid deficiency rather than an excess. He recommended that I try taking a supplement of betaine with pepsin. This totally eliminated the acid reflux and heartburn problem! Relief at last, after years of suffering! Now I very rarely have any kind of stomach upset.Using digestive enzymes or a stomach acid supplement may be helpful for you too. Of course, you want to use caution if you have a history of ulcers, or take medications that can cause stomach irritation. Below are a couple of suggestions that I am happy to discuss with you in further detail if you would like to give me a call at 757-9434 or if you would like a recommendation for your particular situation, click here to have Anita, Josh or Natalie recommend a digestive enzyme that is customized for you.