“All Disease Begins in the Gut.” ~Hippocrates
“You are what you eat.” Actually, you are what you absorb and assimilate. Over two-thirds of neurotransmitters are made in the gut. The gut is considered the second brain since the majority of serotonin, 90-95 percent, is made in the gut, not the brain. In addition to neurotransmitters, 80 percent of the immune system cells line the gastrointestinal tract, creating a protective, impermeable barrier.
If your gut is inflamed or not functioning optimally, production of serotonin will be impaired and the end result can be depression. Bear in mind that an inflamed gut = an inflamed brain = increased risk of depression and dementia. With one in four American women on prescription drugs for stress, anxiety and depression, addressing gut dysfunction should be a priority and cannot be overlooked.
More often than not, people with gut dysfunction have low levels of hydrochloric acid, essential amino acids and nearly all minerals. The two main causes of poor digestion and HCL deficiency are aging and stressful lifestyles. The older we get, the probability of hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria are more common than not. HCL deficiency is very common after age 50. By age 65, a high percentage of individuals are achlorhydric.
Hydrochloric acid (HCL) is essential to protein digestion and the assimilation of B12 and folate plus 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. Individuals with low stomach acid may experience constipation, while others have diarrhea. And then, there are those with little or no stomach acid who experience absolutely no symptoms at all.
Insufficient HCL cause carbohydrates to ferment and protein to putrefy in your body. HCL deficiency inhibits your body to breakdown and use food or your supplements to be absorbed at the cellular level creating an environment of malnourishment. In addition, if you’re not digesting food properly, your risk for Candida and other health conditions increase.
Advertising suggests that heartburn and indigestion are caused by too much stomach acid. This is hardly ever the case. Actually it is just the opposite, not enough stomach acid. It is unfortunate that many doctors fail to recognize how serious a health problem hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria are.
Conditions and Symptoms associated with Poor Gut Health and HCL Deficiency:
|Asthma, allergies or food sensitivities||Anemia||Alcoholism|
|Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis||Celiac Disease||Candida; Parasites|
|Gallbladder dysfunction||Depression||Leaky Gut Syndrome; Dysbiosis|
|Gas, Bloating and Belching||Diabetes||Depression|
|Chronic Hives, Dermatitis, Eczema,Psoriasis and/or Rosacea||Hair Loss||Heartburn; Acid Reflux|
|Hormone Imbalances (Thyroid Dysfunction, elevated cortisol; chronic stress; adrenal fatigue)||Osteoporosis||Lupus and other Auto-immune conditions|
Do You Experience Any of the Following?
|Bad breath, body odor and foul smelling stools||Hives; Skin conditions|
|Diet high in sugar, processed carb and junk food||Chronic infections|
|Feel like skipping breakfast||Loss of taste for meat|
|Food Sensitivities/intolerances||Stomach upset by taking vitamins|
|Gas and/or bloating shortly after eating||Undigested food in your stool|
|Heartburn, Acid reflux or excessive fullness after meals||Vegan diet (no meat, fish or eggs)|
|Overuse of antibiotics, NSAIDs, BC pills||Constipation or diarrhea|
Avoid laxatives if you suffer from constipation Constipation often stems back to healthy gut function. Drink plenty of filtered water. Practice deep, full belly breathing. Increase soluble fiber intake from fruits, vegetables and leafy greens such as dandelion, kale, chard and spinach, as well as broccoli and cauliflower. Include more healthy fats in your diet. Eliminate all dairy products, sugar, wheat, gluten, processed foods and foods that your body is sensitive to. Many prescription and OTC meds cause constipation. Address emotions and let go of what you’re holding onto. Determine if you have an underactive thyroid or irritable bowel syndrome (both of which can cause constipation). Place your feet on a stool so your knees are raised when you sit on the toilet. Consider supplementation with magnesium glycinate, probiotics, aloe vera and L-glutamine.
Antacids and commonly prescribed drugs for heartburn (Zantac, Mylanta, Tagamet, etc.) set the stage for later degenerative diseases by interfering with digestion and absorption of minerals, proteins and vitamins. These drugs neutralize stomach acid and reduce or block stomach acid production – exactly what you don’t want. Many commercial antacids contain toxic ingredients such as aluminum, artificial colors and sweeteners. Jonathan Wright, M.D. says “These chemicals disrupt digestion and alter the structure and function of stomach lining cells and cause side effects like headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain.”
A simple remedy for hypochlohydria is to supplement with a quality HCL digestive enzyme (Digestzymes), not OTC antacids or Rx drugs such as “the purple pill.” When you take supplemental betaine hydrochloride with pepsin you can expect improved digestion and assimilation of protein and amino acids, minerals, and other important nutrients. Your energy, strength, endurance and sleep will also improve.
Avoid HCL if you suspect you have an ulcer and instead use Gastrazyme, vitamin U (raw cabbage juice) and other nutrient components for digestion.
TAKE THE HCL TEST – Determine Your Personal Dose
Start with two Digestzyme capsules – Must be IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MEAL. All meals must include animal protein. Eat half of your protein and take 2 capsules. Finish the remainder of your meal.
Notice when a “heat” or warming sensation develops in the upper abdomen. If you do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, at your next meal, take 3 caps. If you do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, at your next meal, take 4 caps. If you do not feel a warming sensation in your stomach, at your next meal, take 5 caps.
Keep increasing by one per meal until you feel a warming sensation. Once you feel a warming sensation, back off by one capsule. This will be your personal dose per meal.
For instance, if you feel a warming sensation at 5 caps, your dose is 4 capsules per meal.
The initial optimum dosage may be quite high and will decrease over time to a lower maintenance dosage.
Proper digestion and absorption are fundamental requirements for optimal health.
“When organs get older, they usually don’t work as well as they did when they were younger.....we don’t run as fast at age 47 as we did at 27.....WHY WOULD OUR STOMACHS BE ANY DIFFERENT?” ~Jonathan Wright, MD
Copyright © Paula Owens
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