Digestion Suggestion

Did you ever notice when you go visit a doctor for the first time we have you fill out  forms that ask you to list the medications you are taking, the signs and symptoms you are having and conditions you have been diagnosed with in the past and present?  You probably did, but what you didn’t know that some of us make a copy and draw red arrows all over it doing the detective work to see if there are relations between the categories.

The most common pattern I see that is causing chronic and debilitating digestive problems and devastating ramifications is from the use of ANTACIDS and Proton Pump Inhibitors for heartburn.  The problem is widespread and profound, and quite unnecessary from a functional medicine perspective which I will elucidate upon here.

Antacids can cause ulcers, inflammation of the gut, leaky gut, food allergies, anemia, inflammatory bowel disease and a lot more.  Sadly they are prescribed liberally and even sold OTC as so many people seek relief from the burning pain they feel from mal-digestion.

As a doctor and functional medicine specialist I seek instead to find the source of mal-digestion and correct it rather than treat a symptom, which is more like quieting an alarm rather than putting out a fire, antacids quite literally add fuel to the fire.

You see, your stomach should be very acid environment, its pH should be 2 or less (neutral pH is 7).  This strong acidity is no accident of nature.  The hydrochloric acid of your stomach creates an environment in which digestion begins.  The acids drive chemical reactions which digest protein.  Undigested protein inflames the intestines and can start all sorts of bowel syndromes and chronic allergies.    Stomach acids destroy bacteria, yeasts, and parasites.  They help the stomach secrete intrinsic factor which is critical to absorption of vitamin B12.  It is necessary for absorption of minerals that trigger release of pancreatic hormones, which can work to prevent diabetes. 

If that isn’t gut-wrenching enough, inadequate stomach acid sets the stage for H. Pylori bacterial infection.  H. Pylori can be 60% present in a healthy gut, if we take antacids or blockers we are inviting the development of these bacteria into damaging colonies which can cause ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, blood diseases and cancer.  Typical medical answer to this is not to acidify the stomach, but rather use more antacids if an ulcer develops.  Often the symptom is addressed with pink milky liquid and antibiotics.

Some signs I notice clinically that indicate a stomach acid deficiency include fatigue, white spots on the nails, systemic yeast infections, undigested food in stools, meal related bloating, GERD/heartburn, weight gain, drowsiness after meals, generalized flatulence, adult acne and much more.

Some conditions I’ve found to be associated with low gastric acidity are Asthma, Dermatitis, Diabetes, Eczema, Psoriasis, Thyroid problems, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Vitiligo, and many more immune and auto-immune disorders.

What we have found is that as we age and as we eat processed and modified foods our natural ability to produce stomach acids diminish in most of us.  When we swallow our typically unhealthy food, poorly chewed food into an acid deficient stomach it just sits there.  The proteins become rather rancid and decay there and produce gas and discomfort.  The burning we feel can be just that, the aftermath of undigested proteins

Why anyone would put an antacid into this undigested soup is unthinkable to me.
There may be a very occasional patient who truly hypersecretes hydrochloric acid, but rarely have I head of this being tested by the doctor and the reason determined.  Is it the prescription drug manufacturers who teach and encourage doctors about what to prescribe and make millions off of these quick fixes? 

In my office, we use several methods of discovery, then seek to functionally improve digestion.  I advise patients to stay away from alkaline water products, to chew their food more fully than they think necessary, and I often have them augment their system with whole food digestive enzymes.   

There is a home test which can be self-administered which I call the HCl Sensitivity Test
To help you determine if stomach enzymes are in order or if the acid would be too upsetting to an already raw gut. 

To check for sensitivity, mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 4 ounces of water.  Drink this before a meal on an empty stomach.  If this causes any burning, do not use Zypan (my preferred HCl) yet.  Instead, you may use Multizyme, which is a pancreatic digestive enzyme complex that is not acidic.

If there was no burning, you can start taking one Zypan (digestive enzyme product) mid-meal.  Increase this to 2 with each meal.  Zypan aids protein digestion, reduces foul gas and bloating, reduces constipation, helps in the prevention of parasites and improves overall digestion. 

Every few days, increase the dosage of Zypan by one tablet to tolerance.  If there is a bit of burn after the meal, we just determined your maximum dose plus one.  Revert to the lower amount to prevent that feeling.  Some poorly digesting patients have needed as many as 3-4 tablets to digest a meal.  Typically this normalizes after a few weeks of use, and 1-2 work very well from then on.

It is especially gratifying to see over time, the emergence of a much happier patient with better skin and hair, diminished allergies, weight loss, no need for  inhalers, antibiotics, or antacids.

Eating healtier whole food, and digesting it completely is Functional Medicine’s Revolution in GI Health Restoration and your segway into health and vitality.



doctors notes


Headache Relief with Chiropractic Care
Many people suffer from chronic headaches needlessly. Some headaches can be attributed to stress or tension which can affect the neck. In fact the latest medical literature1 reports that many cases of chronic headache are caused by a biomechanical problem in the neck—which is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized by physicians.
Continue >

Power Immunity
Just say no to H1N1

Our bodies do not have an immune system, as much as it is an immune system in its functional totality.  Systems such as the skeletal system, respiratory system, reproductive system, endocrine system, central nervous system, etc. are complete functioning systems with a clear set of organs and responses.  The human body does not have a single immune system, as it is better described as having an immune alliance among various systems  and organs which when coordinated by the brain, give an immune response to the presence of disease associated factors, such as bacteria or vital invasion.  The immune alliance is comprised of the thymus gland for lymphocytes, the spleen for antibodies, bone marrow for blood cell formation, digestive system and its acid to destroy parasites, intestinal flora, which destroy pathogenic microbes, and the liver for detoxification and enzyme production.
Continue >

Whole Food for whole body health
As a chiropractor I came to my work in whole food nutrition not by design but by necessity. My earlier thought was that there were plenty of nutritionists, plenty of nutritional advice, and lots of vegetables to be had if one wished to follow that path.
Continue >

We can help arthritis
Twenty-five years in the back-care field has brought more people through my door who thought they had no hope concerning their daily quota of aches and pains. "Oh its my "arthritis", or my "rhematism", nothing anyone can do about it, my mother had it, four of my brothers have it, it just runs in our family...
Continue >

Click here to view past blogs



Copyright 2014, Downes Whole Health Solutions