What You Should Know About Acid Indigestion

What is acid indigestion? Acid indigestion occurs in more than 40% of Americans. The Western diet is such that indigestion occurs more easily with each bite. This disorder may be a symptom of a different disorder involving the stomach and intestines. On the other hand, it may be the disorder itself.

When food is not properly digested, fermentation occurs in the stomach. This in turn promotes the production of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Production of acids that should not occur in the stomach become prevalent. All of these factors come together to present the myriad of symptoms that we know as acid indigestion.

What may the symptoms be? Abdominal pain, acid reflux, allergy symptoms, belching, burning sensation after eating, chronic bowel irritation, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, gas, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, rumbling noises, skin disorders, sugar cravings, and heartburns. All of these could indicate acid indigestion among other things. (Balch, 2000, p.460)

What are the causes? Some causes could include swallowing air, drinking during meals which reduces enzymes for digestion, foods and beverages that irritate the digestive tract (such as caffeine, alcohol, greasy foods, spicy foods, refined foods, and white vinegar), intestinal obstruction, lack of friendly bacteria, peptic ulcer, and psychological issues such as anxiety, stress, worry, and disappointment. (Balch, 2000, p.460)

What are some problems that may occur with acid indigestion? Acid indigestion could cause a person to begin to age faster, the immune system might begin to degrade, there may be increased risk of candida yeast infection, and chronic fatigue could become a problem. (Page, 2003, p.1433)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The early symptoms of heart attack can mirror the symptoms of indigestion. If you experience pain radiating into the left arm, weakness, dizziness, and/or shortness of breath, please seek emergency help.

 

DOs and DON"Ts

Dos that have helped some people

  • Drink ¼ cup Aloe juice on an empty stomach, daily
  • Make ginger-ale a mainstay
  • Eat plenty of fiber
  • Add 2 tbsp. of flax daily
  • Add acidophilus to your daily routine
  • Wipe out the whites such as white sugar, white rice, white flour, and white potatoes
  • Drink miso
  • Take an enzyme formula per usage instructions
  • Fast monthly
  • Incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet
  • Chew THOROUGHLY
  • Drink one cup of Kefir daily
  • Exercise

DON’Ts that could possibly alleviate symptoms

  • Eat in excess
  • Eat or drink bakery foods, caffeine, citrus juice, fried or fatty foods, pasta (except whole grain), peppers, chips and snack foods, refined carbs, dairy products
  • Eat processed foods
  • Eat foods manufactured with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated products
  • Eat while upset or angry
  • Drink while eating
  • Take antacids
  • Eat red meat in excess, which creates more acid

DIETARY AND NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

 The following are not instructions but merely suggestions to help you decide what is best for you.

Primary Foods: 

20-30 % whole grains such as brown rice and barley

20-30% protein foods, see considerations above.  Get protein mostly from soy products but not soy beans, peanuts, or lentils.  Significantly reduce the amount of animal protein in your diet. (Tierra, 1998, p.47-50)

Secondary Foods:

30-40% Vegetables, lightly cooked, no tomatoes

(Tierra, 1998, p.47-50)

Tertiary Foods:

5-10% fruits, dairy, eggs, fats, and oils.  Make good use of papaya and pineapple to obtain necessary digestive enzymes from a natural source.  Decrease the amount of citrus fruit.  Increase the amount of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from sources such as Evening Primrose and Flax. (Tierra, 1998, p.47-50)

Vitamins:

Take a multi vitamin daily.  Take an increased amount of vitamin B.  Add vitamin K to your diet by using foods that increase vitamin K such as alfalfa.

Spices:

Anise, fennel, peppermint, ginger, parsley, basil, bay leaf (add to beans as you cook them), caraway

Herbal Remedy:

Use Beano as directed.

Use Charcoal tablets for gas and bloating as directed for a short term.

Drink Slippery elm tea 3x daily with 3 slices of fresh ginger boiled in.  Add valerian extract per instructions.

Additional Information

  • As we age, the amount of hydrochloric acid in our stomach is reduced by up to 65%. (Page, 2003, p.1433) It is possible that a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in 4 ounces of apple juice could possibly help correct this problem. Reduced hydrochloric acid inhibits our ability to digest properly creating an environment conducive to the fermentation of food in our stomach and intestines.
  •  Protein creates acidity as a by-product of digestion. Our bodies are able to handle this properly if we have the proper enzymes and hydrochloric acid in our stomach. However, if we eat protein in excess or eat protein foods that create more acid than others, our bodies are not able to control the excess. The result could be improper digestion, or indigestion, leading to the poor assimilation and utilization of amino acids. Care should be taken to eat the most digestible form of protein that will create a less acid condition.
  •  Fats are necessary in our diet. The problem is that people have an incorrect view of how fats are bad in our diet. Heated, fried, and cooked fats lose the ability to give our bodies what we need from fats. Therefore, knowing and utilizing proper methods of preparation is the key. Simply put, consider not eating cooked fats. In addition, not all fats are created equal. Be aware of and utilize the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and ask your doctor about eliminating hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats.

Resources

 

Page, L. (2003) Healthy Healing. USA. Traditional Wisdom.

Tierra, M. (1998) The Way of Herbs. New York. Pocket Books.

Balch, P. (2000) Prescription for Nutritional Healing. USA. Self Published.

Disclaimer

 This post is for informational purposes only.  Before making any changes to your diet or following any health advise including what is contained in this post, please seek the appropriate medical advice from a licensed practitioner.

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