IBS sucks. Whether it’s bloating with constipation or with diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, along with other digestive disorders, such as heartburn and acid reflux, can truly make you suffer.
Many people think that some bloating and gastric stress are normal. They are not.
You may hear from a friend to ‘stay away from carbs’, to ‘drink more water’, or ‘take more fibre’. Your doctor may actually just say that ‘it’s all in your head’, or that ‘IBS is incurable’,
and give you a quick-fix prescription to alleviate your symptoms, or may perform a food intolerance test and tell you to avoid foods you’re intolerant to, which you do. Various ‘health experts’ may give you glutamine and zinc to ‘build up your intestinal lining’ and garlic to kill bacteria.
But your digestion problems continue. Sometimes you bloat up as if you were pregnant, and gradually, you start developing malabsorption symptoms, due to insufficient absorption of essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins, especially B12. You may develop fatigue, weight gain, depression, insomnia, hair loss, brittle nails, or even night blindness.
You google your symptoms, spend a fortune on natural remedies, supplements and organic foods, and yet, your bloating and other gastrointestinal issues continue.
What’s happening is: you tissues are bathing in toxic, pathogenic junk, which is severely damaging your tissues and messed with your production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, and you cannot break down and digest what you eat, and cannot absorb the nutrients from your food and supplements. The undigested food (and supplements) in your stomach start rotting and feed the bacteria, candida and various parasites living inside you, further increasing your pathogenic overgrowth.
Your pathogens produce gas, so you get bloated like crazy. Depending on which ones are overgrowing, you get constipated (methane gas), develop diarrhoea (hydrogen), heartburn or acid reflux. The pH, now off in the entire digestive tract, damages the environment for billions of your good bacteria, which are also critical to proper digestion and good health.
So are you really what you eat? In fact, you are what you digest and absorb.
Optimal health requires optimal nutrition, as nutrients provide the building blocks for our entire biochemistry. But no matter how much fresh, nutrient rich foods you consume, you need a perfectly functioning digestive system to make good use of it.
For starters, you need stomach acid. Produced by our body every time we eat, stomach acid is a critical element for digestion, and is especially important for breaking down proteins into amino acids, as well as for the optimal absorption of vitamins, such as B12, and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and many more.
Stomach acid kicks off the digestive process; it triggers the release of pancreatic digestive enzymes, and helps us use the nutrients from our food.
Contrary to conventional belief that we have too much stomach acid, the opposite is the case. Most people actually have a deficiency in stomach acid, and the higher their pathogenic load and the more stress they have, the worse.
Commonly prescribed antacids such as Alka-Seltzer or Maalox, proton pump inhibitors such as Pariet or Nexium and H2 blockers such as Zantac or Tagamet all reduce stomach acid, either by neutralising it, or blocking its production.
And guess what else they have in common… A HUGE marketing budget. And they earn a lot of money. Drug companies have created a market for these products based on the premise that stomach acid is the enemy, and that if you have heartburn or acid reflux, then you’ve got too much of it.
But the problem with all this is that we actually need our stomach acid!
Sadly many doctors fail to recognise how serious a health problem parasites and low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) are. Symptoms such as heartburn actually come from pathogens and the acid from the food that is rotting in the stomach due to insufficient digestion, due to insufficient stomach acid. When the stomach does not empty correctly, partly digested food particles that have started to ferment in the stomach will back up into the oesophagus – an uncomfortable problem that is often interpreted as too much stomach acid.
This misdiagnosis and the subsequent use of acid blockers then increases the risk for further chronic disorders, such as osteoporosis, because calcium and magnesium are not getting absorbed – bone fracture rates triple with low stomach acid.
Stomach acid is also needed to destroy invading pathogens and toxins, and without sufficient stomach acid, pathogenic bacteria that should have died off in our stomach, can survive and multiply, further worsening dysbiosis (bad gut flora) and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). As bacteria produce gas, they cause bloating, and depending on the type of overgrowing bacteria, they cause constipation (bacteria that decrease intestinal motility) or diarrhoea (bacteria that increase intestinal motility).
With low stomach acid you will be 100 times more at risk of getting sick from bacterial pathogens like helicobacter pylori or e. coli than if your stomach was able to make adequate stomach acid, and having not enough stomach acid for appropriate digestion can also greatly increase your risk of stomach cancer.
It’s a vicious circle. Hypochlorhydria increases pathogenic overgrowth, and if our tissues are bathing in toxic, pathogenic junk, our organs cannot function properly, including the digestive tract.
Pathogenic load must be reduced for true healing to take place, however, this is a timely process, and in the meanwhile, stomach acid must often be replaced.
Healthy stomach acid, called hydrochloric acid (HCL) is the key to creating proper digestion and bowel speed! It starts the digestive process through the intestines and is also a first line body defence that destroys pathogens and toxins. It is essential to protein digestion and the assimilation of B12, folate and 15 minerals. Many people with low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) or no stomach acid (achlorhydria) often complain of bloating, belching, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach after eating, or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. People with low stomach acid may experience constipation, while others have diarrhoea, depending on which pathogens have overgrown. And then, there are those with little or no stomach acid who experience absolutely no gastrointestinal symptoms at all.
But pathogenic overload and HCL deficiency can also result in bad breath, asthma, allergies, food intolerance, anaemia, arthritis, parasites, depression, diabetes, hormonal imbalances (such as thyroid dysfunction, elevated cortisol or adrenal fatigue), broken capillaries, weight gain, osteoporosis, lupus and other auto-immune conditions, chronic headaches, depression, etc.
Consider this – your second brain sits in the gut. Over two-thirds of neurotransmitters are made in the gastrointestinal tract. Over 90% of serotonin, our happy neurotransmitter, is made in the gut, and not the brain. If your gut is inflamed or not functioning optimally, production of serotonin will be impaired, resulting in depression. Bear in mind that an inflamed gut = an inflamed brain = increased risk of depression and dementia.
To support digestion, drink warm water with fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger, first thing in the morning and an hour after meals. Don’t drink during meals because you would dilute your stomach acid and thus weaken digestion. You can also take digestive bitters, or a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar before food to boost HCL production. Eat slowly and chew well (try to count and chew 15 times). In some cases, supplementing with digestive enzymes may also be necessary.
If your symptoms persist, supplement with Betaine HCL in the middle of every meal, with only enough water to wash them down.
Many experience a miraculously improved digestion – less bloating, better bowel habits and less heartburn! Energy, strength, endurance and sleep also improve, and even athletic performance, as a result of better absorption of amino acids from protein, of minerals and other important nutrients.
Instead of taking capsules, I recommend using a one-percent HCL solution and using 2-10 drops of it in water during your meals, after having determined your personal dose.
To determine your personal dose, you can start with 1 or 2 drops of Betaine HCL liquid, diluted with food or some water, in the middle of a meal. Wait 2 minutes and if you do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, take 1 more drop. If after another 2 minutes you still do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, take 1 more drop. Wait again 2 minutes and if you still do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, take 1 more drop. Keep increasing the dose until you feel a ‘heat’ or warming sensation in the upper abdomen. Once you feel a warming sensation, you just need to back off by one drop and this will be your personal dose per meal. For instance, if you feel a warming sensation at 10 drops, your dose is 9 drops per meal.
The initial optimum dosage may be quite high and will decrease over time to a lower maintenance dosage, as your gastrointestinal tract heals.
If you took too much Betaine HCL and feel a burning discomfort, you can take 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a small glass of water, that quickly neutralises the acid and eliminates the discomfort.
HCL supplements were widely prescribed from the 1800s up until the first half of the 20th century, using medical judgment and common sense.
Unfortunately, poorly designed and widely misinterpreted studies starting in the 1950s has misinformed doctors ever since then, and encouraged by the pharma industry, medical students are not taught that hypochlorhydria (inadequate stomach acid production) is treatable only with unpatentable natural replacement therapies. Instead, their education concentrates on hyperchlorhydria (excess stomach acid production) and its treatment with patentable ‘acid blockers’ and highly profitable over-the-counter antacids.
But you must consider that whereas sufficient stomach acid kills off newly ingested bacteria, it cannot eradicate already existing bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines and other tissues of your body, therefore you will most probably also require a biofilm-disrupting, universal antimicrobial treatment, as elaborated on in my book ‘Purify, Regenerate, Heal’.
Studies on IBS relief with probiotics show mixed results and from my clinical experience, taking probiotics blindly and untargeted can sometimes actually aggravate symptoms. Conventional probiotics are often made from genetically modified corn and soy. And remember, the small intestine should NOT contain any bacteria and if you have SIBO, you have too much!
I like to perform a Comprehensive Stool Analysis on my patients with IBS and replace only the friendly bacteria showed deficient in their results.
Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 is so far the only probiotic that has been demonstrated to be effective for treating patients with IBS, stabilising bowel movement frequency in patients who experience either constipation or diarrhoea.
Of course, eat a clean healthy, whole-food, plant based diet, one that fuels and energises your body without adding to your acidity and toxicity levels, as described in my book ‘Nourished by Nature’.
Also, don’t strain on the toilet! You are equipped with a hormonal system that will urge you to evacuate waste effortlessly when its time. Until then, straining and pushing on the toilet is counterproductive to retraining the body to naturally poop. Not to mention too much pushing and extended toilet seat time can cause haemorrhoids and anal fissures, which nobody wants.
Try not to use laxatives and enemas, as your brain and body are always learning based on the stimuli they come into contact with and each time you use one of these methods, you are strengthening a neural pathway that says ‘you cannot poop on your own’.
Yoga poses, such as the bridge, full boat, plank or cow are often helpful.
Colonhydrotherapy only helps to clean the colon, and doesn’t improve the small intestines, where most problems are located. A true intestinal cleanse cleanses from up to down, as intended by nature, and helps to remove masses of mucoid plaque. (Order your 3 Day Cleanse here)
But if the structural components that govern digestion are broken, then all this is going to be only marginally effective.
So find out how to reduce your toxic, pathogenic load, eliminate your intestinal mucoid plaque, and in the meanwhile, replace HCL and digestive enzymes to improve your digestion!
All this is key to a flat belly and a thriving body.
Obviously, true healing is quite complex, and I’m here to help.