Acid Reflux

Gut Health and Acid Reflux

Sara Health, NUTRITION


Do you suffer from functional digestive complaints, gut health and acid reflux, such as gas and bloating, indigestion, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea?

If so I suggest you read this blog as gastrointestinal disease does not spring from nothing, nor do symptoms develop for no reason.

You may have had a formal diagnosis of a gastrointestinal complaint such as Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s microscopic/collagenous/lymphocytic colitis, ulcerative colitis (UC), gastritis, ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis/diverticulitis, gastric or peptic ulcer. If you have any of the above you will be on prescription drugs, which are great at managing symptoms, but they fail to get to the root of the problem and come with a variety of side effects.

The approach for managing gastrointestinal symptoms and striking at the underlying reasons why disease developed in the first place requires us to take a close look at each unique individual and their circumstance and lifestyle, yet there are several general core principles that we can use to help all people across the board.

I am sure that rather than relying on a single drug, or a variety of drugs, if you could add or take away one thing away from your daily routine, and employ a better approach to restoring your GI function you would feel much better. This approach covers many facets of good GI health that may not be obviously connected.

It is well known that many GI diseases and symptoms create other changes in the gastrointestinal tract. Largely through inflammatory pathways, increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), disruptions in gut flora, overgrowth of harmful bacteria or yeasts, lowered enzymatic output and decreased stomach acid production are all probable and commonly seen concurrently with these conditions. Unfortunately this initiates a body-wide ripple of other effects that can include even more GI symptoms, nutrient insufficiencies, headaches, skin rash, mood changes, hormonal changes, and many other seemingly unrelated symptoms that make one feel horrible.

So how do we get our gut feeling healthier and correct the underpinnings that allowed disease to manifest in the first place?

If you are suffering from stomach problems then follow these steps first and you will be giving yourself the best possible opportunity of digestive restoration:

  1. Remove: In this step, foods are removed from the diet that are inherently allergenic and inflammatory, plus any foods that you as an individual know yourself to be sensitive to. Gluten, dairy products, soy, nightshade veggies (white potato, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato), legumes (peanuts and beans), processed foods, dyes, guar gum, and white sugar can all be inherently allergenic and inflammatory and exacerbate digestive issues. It is also important to remove any infections that may be present. This refers to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast/candida overgrowth, and infection with parasites.
  1. Reinoculate: We may not like to think about it much, but we have a whopping four pounds of bacteria that live in our large intestine! The gut flora is crucial for digestive health and well being. They provide a variety of functions including nutrient absorption and assimilation, vitamin production, digestion of sugars and proteins, hormonal signaling, prevent colds, flu’s, and yeast infections, decrease inflammation, help protect against food poisoning, help protect against and modulate autoimmune conditions, break down and rebuild hormones and bile acids, help with optimal body composition – even improve heart health. The gut floras are the unsung heroes of our GI tract and they can be used to help with virtually every GI complaint under the sun. When you have bacteria infection and take antibiotics your gut flora is massively disturbed. So when taking antibiotics, make sure you take probiotics alongside to replenish your good gut bacteria’s. In the supplemental form, probiotics help allay a variety of GI distress and are a cornerstone of an excellent gut restoration program.
  1. Replete: Next we want to rekindle digestive fire and replace nutrients or compounds that may be missing. Supplementation with a broad-spectrum enzyme for the duration of your restoration program will help increase digestive strength. Nutrients like the B vitamins, fish oil and selenium may be indicated.
  1. Repair: This aspect of gut restoration is one of the most important and unfortunately the one most overlooked by most practitioners. The lining of the GI tract takes a beating in all GI disorders and associated symptoms. Even though the lining regenerates itself every 3 days, if there is chronic, low-grade inflammation in the gut (present in virtually all bowel disease) it will keep the lining compromised until the cycle of inflammation is broken. Using nutrients like glutamine, mucin, pectin and anti-inflammatory and slippery herbs like boswellia, okra, cat’s claw, slippery elm and licorice we begin to build up the lining of the intestine and break the cycle of inflammation – for good.
  1. Retrain: There are more nerve cells in between the lower esophagus and the anus than there are in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves combined. There are more receptors for serotonin in the gastrointestinal system than there are in the brain. The term “neurotransmitter” is a misnomer because more of these compounds act on the gut than the nervous system! This nervous tissue in the gastrointestinal tract is called the enteric nervous system, and is often referred to as the “second brain” of the body.

It even functions independently of the brain!

If you suffer from a nervous stomach, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation, it is imperative to begin to retrain your nervous system of the gut to be calm and to move correctly. Utilizing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and meditation can be very beneficial here. Using mind set techniques, self-realisation techniques, having reiki healing or cognitive behavioral therapy can also help.

Lastly of course, looking after your health, getting enough rest and sleep, eating a healthy well balanced diet, and exercising on a regular basis will all help to regulate your bowels.  Doing a Cleanse programme alongside a 30 day healthy eating plan to detox your body from toxins really helps.

Boosting your antioxidants and vitamin intake is vitally important.  Drinking plenty of water is also key to alleviate constipation. Taking Aloe Vera, Vitamin B supplements, serotonin and dopamine sensitizing agents like St. John’s wart and omega fish oil, can also be beneficial. I supply NSPUK supplements in many forms for stress, anxiety, nervous disorders, hormones, mineral deficiencies etc.

Please ask for a FREE lifestyle analysis to determine what you are lacking and let me advice you holistically.