• Checklist for a healthy digestive tract, with suggested remedies

    Posted January 5, 2014: by Bill Sardi

    Digestive tract problems are many and they may be difficult to sort out, even by well-trained doctors.

    Some individuals may simultaneously suffer from bloating due to lactose (milk) intolerance, heartburn from thick sludgy bile, indigestion from lack of stomach acid caused by Helicobacter pylori infection and also have overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans).

    Symptoms of these maladies are often common and overlapping, making it even more difficult to determine their cause and cure. Different digestive tract maladies produce similar cross-over symptoms, such as heartburn, bloating, nausea, tummy pain, stomach fullness, etc.

    The following is a checklist of digestive tract problems, their common symptoms and online links provided for checking up on natural home remedies.

    Because there is no feasible way of accurately determining the cause(s) of common but complicated digestive tract disorders, it may be wise to start a regimen of natural remedies that addresses many of them.

    For example, a regimen that would include zinc carnosine to eradicate H. pylori, a low sugar diet combined with oil of oregano to reduce yeast overgrowth, avoidance of milk to eliminate symptoms of milk intolerance, and some betaine hydrochloride as a source of acid to improve digestion and nutrient absorption.

    Helicobacter pylori infection

    – ~52% of American population; H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium commonly found in the stomach. This bacterium may penetrate the stomach’s protective mucous lining and produce substances that weaken the lining and make the stomach more susceptible to damage from gastric acids.  It is the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers.

    • Abdominal pain
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Bloating
    • Burping
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting (vomit may be bloody or look like coffee grounds)
    • Black, tarry stools
    • Anemia from blood loss
    • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food

    Candida albicans– yeast overgrowth

    (sugar-craving fungi); also called candidiasis or thrush in infants; usually as a result of overconsumption of refined sugars; induces sugar craving. Avoidance of sugars may result in slight fever and stomach discomfort as yeast cells die off.  May result from over-use of antibiotics.

    • Red inflamed scaly rash
    • Vaginal yeast infection
    • Sore throat; difficulty swallowing
    • Cracking corners of the mouth
    • White or creamy blue patches on the tongue
      Infections of the fingernails
    • Often seen among alcoholics
      In severe cases can cause heart valve problems and murmurs

    Lactose intolerance

    – lack of lactase enzyme to break down lactose in milk and dairy products.  An estimated 70% of the world’s human population is lactase deficient (lactose intolerant).

    Lactose intolerance is over-estimated.  Small amounts of lactose, such as provided in a cup of milk, do not generally provoke symptoms of lactose intolerance especially when consumed with a meal.

    Poor bile flow (thick or sludgy bile)-

    • Heartburn (bile acid is major cause of heartburn, not stomach acid, as a New York Times article claims.)
    • Gallstones (gallbladder is a “squirt gun” for bile)
    • Knife-like pain under lower right rib near midsection with meals (where gall bladder is located)
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Elevated cholesterol (lack of bile flow which disposes cholesterol from the system)
    • Diarrhea
    • Bloating
    • Indigestion
    • Fever and chills
    • Sweating
    • Pain after eating fatty and spicy food items

    Declining stomach acid secretion

    (also called hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria, zero stomach acid secretion).  May be age related, lack of zinc, or H pylori infection which shuts off acid secretion.  Zinc, chloride and sodium are required to produce stomach acid.

    • Poor vitamin absorption, often vitamin B12 deficiency
    • Infections due to lack of acid
    • Anemia
    • Weight loss
    • Bloating
    • Gas, especially after meals
    • Abdominal tightness
    • Heartburn, indigestion
    • Undigested food in stools
    • Constipation
    • Abdominal cramping
    • Foul smelling gas
    • Halitosis, bad breath

    Leaky gut

    – when undigested proteins enter the blood circulation.

    Leaky gut syndrome (intestinal permeability) is a term describing loose junctions between cells in the intestines and passage of undigested proteins, germs and other inflammatory agents into the blood circulation which triggers an immune response.

    • Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    • Seasonal allergies or asthma.
    • Hormonal imbalances
    • Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
    • Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
    • Mood and mind issues (depression, anxiety)
    • Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
    • Food allergies or intolerances

    Heartburn

    – when acidic stomach contents rise up into the esophagus and throat, resulting in a burning sensation and chronically may cause esophageal erosion and/or cancer.

    • Burping
    • Nausea after meals
    • Stomach fullness
    • Upper abdominal pain
    • Esophageal irritation and discomfort

    Chronic diarrhea

    • Frequent trips to the bathroom
    • Bloody stool
    • May be a result of Clostridium difficile infection (elderly)
    • Vitamin B1 deficiency, often due to alcohol consumption

    Gluten intolerance (celiac disease)

    • Gas, bloating
    • Diarrhea, constipation
    • Keratosis pilaris (chicken skin on back of arms, from lack of vitamin A and essential fats?)
    • Fatigue, brain fog
    • Autoimmune problems (like Hashimoto’s)
    • Migraine headaches
    • Anemia (lack of iron)
    • Irritability
    • Easy skin bruising (lack of vitamin C?)
    • Weight loss due to avoidance of food
    • Panic attacks
    • Vitamin deficiencies
      Rash on elbows, knees, buttocks

    Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease)

    • Abdominal pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Blood in stool
    • Reduced appetite
    • Joint pain

    NATURAL REMEDIES

    H pylori

    Gastric ulcers (H pylori with ulcer)

    Lactose intolerance

    • Lactase enzymes may be helpful.
    • Reduction of dose (1 glass of milk) or avoidance of milk and dairy products altogether.

    Candida Albicans (yeast overgrowth)

    Heartburn

    • Fennel to reduce heartburn symptoms, intestinal gas.
    • A number of natural healers attest to the successful use of acid supplements (betaine hydrochloride) with meals to resolve heartburn symptoms.
    • Though there are no studies, use of alkaline minerals (magnesium, baking soda) often provides instant relief.
    • Avoidance of eating late at night before bedtime reduces acid reflux.  Propping pillows to keep the head up during sleep also is helpful.

    Lack of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria, achlorhydria)

    • Follow anti-H pylori regimen
    • Supplement diet with zinc which is needed to make hydrochloric acid in the stomach
    • Take betaine hydrochloride with meals to provide supplemental acid source.

    Leaky gut

    Inflammatory bowel disorders (Crohn’s, colitis)

    Irritable bowel (chronic diarrhea)

    • High-dose vitamin D supplementation (reported to resolve 70% of cases)
    • Supplemental vitamin B6
    • Thiamin (vitamin B1) as benfotiamine (fat soluble B1)
    • Mastic gum
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B3 (niacin).  Habitual consumption of coffee, tea or alcohol or use of antacids block absorption of vitamin B1.

    Constipation

    Gluten intolerance (celiac)

    • Supplement diet with vitamin C
    • A number of supplemental vitamins are suggested to make up for nutrient deficiencies among subjects with gluten intolerance.  Click here for list.

    Poor bile flow; sludgy bile, gall bladder congestion

    ©2014 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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