Healthy digestion is the foundation of well being. When it’s working as it should, our body extracts the necessary nutrients from our food to give us energy and vitality and keep us well, and then removes the rest as waste. When there is constipation, heartburn, loose stools, bloating, or abdominal pain, the body is signaling that something is wrong. Unfortunately, this is all too common in America today. But because something is common doesn’t mean that it’s normal. It’s normal for our bodies to work properly.
For example, heartburn is especially common in the U.S., but it’s not normal at all to have heartburn. Also common are prescriptions for acid blockers. But—incredibly—the majority of people are NOT producing too much stomach acid. Rather, they have an underlying condition typically caused by certain foods that are not digesting well. Incomplete or inadequate digestion, in turn, can cause a reflux reaction. Suppressing the acid does not solve that problem.
In the long run, using acid blockers can sometimes make the situation worse by limiting the body’s ability to produce enough stomach acid to digest the food. In addition, some acid blocking medications have been associated with an increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heart disease, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer.
Constipation is also widespread. It can be caused by many different things. A poor diet with insufficient fiber and water are common culprits, but it can also be due to medications or certain medical conditions like low thyroid hormone levels. When it comes to loose stools, in addition to a poor diet, they can be caused by food allergies, food sensitivities, or even things like parasites. Also, both constipation and diarrhea can be caused by Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Recent research has shown a link between chronic constipation and cognitive decline, the precursor to dementia.
When people are frequently gassy, it’s often a sign that something they’re eating isn’t digesting well. That could be due to food allergies or sensitivities or not having enough digestive enzymes. No laughing matter.