The parietal cells of the stomach produce hydrochloric acid (HCl) and intrinsic factor (IF). HCl is needed to properly break down proteins and minerals into free amino acids and ionic minerals, respectively. The pH of the stomach should be around 5.0, quite acidic to accommodate this function. The problem with most people is NOT high HCl, but actually, low HCl. Low HCl causes malabsorption of minerals (especially iron, copper, calcium and zinc) and proteins. When proteins are not broken down into free amino acids, this leads to elevated cortisol followed by adrenal fatigue. Low HCl also prevents the valve from closing between the large and small intestines, allowing bacteria to migrate into the small intestine and causing Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Low HCl with low IF causes malabsorption of vitamins B12 and folate.
If most people actually have too little HCl in the stomach (especially those over the age of 50) then antacids and acid blocker medications only worsen digestive problems (as many people often report), including poor digestion of proteins and minerals with an increase in H. pylori bacterial overgrowth in the upper stomach. If you have low HCl you will experience food sitting heavy in the stomach; acid indigestion in the stomach one hour after eating; gas, bloating and belching after eating; SIBO and yeast overgrowth. Low HCl will then trigger a negative feedback system to cause the parietal cells to produce more HCl.
GERD occurs when acid from the stomach flows upward into the lower part of the esophagus due to a hiatal hernia. This is extremely common. A sliding hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach slides through the diaphragm (made for the esophagus) and causes the entrance into the esophagus to remain open. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, difficulty breathing, belching, bloating, poor appetite, cravings for sugar, constipation or diarrhea, IBS and inflammatory bowel disease. Having GERD can also contribute to irritability, depression, brain fog, ADHD, inflammation, headaches, allergies, asthma, skin issues, chronic sinusitis, weight loss resistance and recurrent infections.
One half of people’s health concerns in the U.S. can be improved by healing the gastrointestinal system, both digestion and elimination. Almost all chronic and degenerative illnesses have a direct link to the gastrointestinal tract. Optimum digestion in the stomach, as well as the pancreas and gallbladder, will bring better health to the small and large intestines. Poor digestion leads to increased toxicity in the intestines from bacterial overgrowth and undigested proteins. Let’s look at how to improve the function of the stomach in order to eliminate GERD and improve the health of the body’s eliminative functions and organs - the small and large intestines.
HOW TO ELIMINATE GERD AND IMPROVE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE SMALL AND LARGE INTESTINES
View the following video on youtube.com to assess and correct a potential hiatal hernia - (How to Identify and Correct a Hiatal Hernia: Part 1 and 2 by Steven Horne). Do this for 4-6 weeks for the best results. Suspect a hiatal hernia when someone experiences chronic GERD, is tall and skinny or has asthma, COPD, cancer, heart problems, bone and joint issues and autoimmune conditions. It is difficult to take a deep breath if a hiatal hernia is present.
Drink half of your body weight IN ounces of water/day. Drink 16 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before each meal for best digestion. Dehydration can lead to poor protein digestion, gastritis and a hiatal hernia.
Take Food Enzymes or PDA Combination with each meal to help the body digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Both of these supplements have HCl in them. PDA Combination is great for low HCl, improved protein and mineral digestion and the control of SIBO. Food Enzymes is great for anyone with poor digestion, especially seniors. It can also be taken on an empty stomach as an intestinal cleanser.
Spleen Activator TCM or Intestinal Soothe and Build are both great for keeping the ileocecal valve (between the small and large intestines) healthy and closed. There will be tenderness and swelling in area of this valve or the lower right quadrant of the abdomen.
Deal with stress and anxiety because they increase the sympathetic tones of the nervous system, causing decreased production of saliva and pancreatic secretions in addition to decreased movement of the bowels. Deep breathing, exercise, meditations and calming herbs will increase the parasympathetic tones causing increased saliva and pancreatic secretions, increased bowel movements and increased stomach and intestinal secretions.
Other supplements: Catnip and Fennel is calming to stomach irritation, gas and bloating. Coral Calcium powder is used when someone truly has excessive production of HCl in the stomach. Calcium carbonate will suppress HCl production. Aloe Vera Juice is soothing and healing to the entire gastrointestinal tract, providing relief from irritation in the esophagus and the stomach. Eleven Elevated is a probiotic. Anti-Gas TCM helps acute indigestion with gas and bloating, pain in the stomach, foul belching, heaviness in the stomach after eating, loss of appetite, digestive secretions and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. GastroHealth combines herbs to stimulate digestion, control H. pylori bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and soothes the stomach lining.
Consultations are available for individualized guidance for GERD or other gastrointestinal concerns. THE GI SYSTEM IS THE BEGINNING OF OVERALL HEALTH AND OPTIMUM WELLNESS.
Adapted from a natural healing class with Steven Horne, master herbalist.