from a lecture by K. Steven Whiting Ph.D., Director, Institute
of Nutritional Science. Reproduced by permission.
In this article you will learn about: Indigestion, Enzymes, Natural Digestive Enzymes, natural digestive Aids, Natural Digestive Remedies, Natural Digestive Supplements, Natural Digestive Help, Betaine Hydrochloride, Licorice, Chamomile, Protease Enzymes, Amylase Enzymes, Lipase Enzymes, Pancreatin, Pepsin, Lipase, Ox Bile Extract, Symptoms of Poor Digestion, Gas, Bloating, Heartburn, Acid Reflux, Diarrhea, Constipation, Fiber, Fiber and Digestion, Antacids, Dangers of Antacids, Natural Alternatives to Antacids, Antacids & Calcium Absorption, Antacids & Protein Digestion
The Dangers of Antacid Abuse
Of all the over-the-counter medications available, one of the most popular groups is the antacid. These come in chewable tablets, capsules and liquids. They come in a variety of flavors and strengths. Many of the previously prescription strength antacids are now available over-the-counter as well. These medications are used by millions of people on a regular basis to relieve indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those using these products don't need them at all. Most people suffering from indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux do not, in fact, have excess stomach acid as is often portrayed, but rather the opposite and their symptoms are being caused by a lack of stomach acid instead. Millions of people suffering from indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux are addicted to antacids and have taken them for years. When abused these medications can produce several nasty side effects of the long run. When we neutralize the natural digestive acids and natural digestive enzymes present in the stomach, our digestion of foods, especially protein foods, is greatly reduced. Over time, this can lead to protein deficiency and all the problems that go along with that. Antacids and protein digestion are a bad combination, leading to premature aging, and many other problems. Antacids & calcium absorption difficulties is another area where we need to be concerned. Calcium, one of the most difficult minerals for the body to absorb at the cellular level, needs to be acidic for effective absorption. Antacids & calcium absorption therefore is a bad combination. These are just some of the potential dangers of antacids. Other problems include stomach irritation and even ulcers of the stomach due to over alkalinity. The stomach was designed to be an acidic organ and when the acid levels are constantly disturbed, the lining of the stomach becomes irritated from a lack of natural stomach acid, often called hydrochloric acid, and can form ulcers.
Digestion In The Stomach
While digestion actually begins in the mouth with an enzyme found in the saliva, the majority of digestion begins in the stomach. Proteins and minerals from foods must have the natural digestive aid of betaine hydrochloride or hydrochloric acid. This powerful acid, secreted through the stomach wall, starts the breakdown of protein and begins to work on acidifying minerals such as calcium, for better absorption. Once the acid cycle of the stomach begins, other natural digestive enzymes such as protease enzymes, amylase enzymes and lipase enzymes start to form and will play a great role in the digestion of fats and carbohydrates farther down the digestive tract. When the volume of acid being produced in the stomach is insufficient for proper protein digestion symptoms of bloating, gas and heartburn are often the result as the protein foods are actually fermenting at 100 degrees of body temperature without sufficient natural digestive aids to complete the job. Without enough acids, other enzymes such as protease, amylase, and lipase, needed for the digestion of other foods, will also be impaired. When we run for those chalky preparations in tablet or liquid form to relieve the classic symptoms of digestive issues such as indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux, we neutralize all of the existing acid production in the stomach, stopping the formation of the protease, amylase and lipase enzyme formation.
Natural Digestive Enzymes
Enzyme products have been available for many years as an aid to better digestion. With the advent and intense marketing of antacids by various drug companies, many people are no longer aware of the natural digestive enzymes. The natural digestive aids come in two basic formulations, one being whole enzymes and the second being what is referred to as enzyme precursor agents, the raw materials needed by the body to manufacture whole enzymes on its own. We prefer the later as the long-term use of whole enzyme products, except under certain specific conditions, can cause a dependency upon them. Our goal should be to create an environment wherein the body can manufacture natural digestive enzymes on its own. In order to do this, we must first re-establish the natural acid levels of the stomach. Supplementing the digestive system with betaine hydrochloride, which is natural stomach acid, does this very effectively. This will address protein digestion, which must occur in an acid environment. It will also set the stage for the formation of other enzymes as well. The next step is to provide the enzyme precursor agents that the digestive system will use to manufacture the natural digestive enzymes needed to complete the digestive cycle. These natural digestive remedies could also include licorice, chamomile and peppermint extracts as all have been shown to improve digestion. The key ingredients in a good well-rounded digestive formula would include betaine hydrochloride, pancreatin, pepsin, lipase and ox bile extract. The inclusion of pancreatin for protein digestion, pepsin for carbohydrate digestion and lipase and ox bile extract for fat digestion, will round out the formulation and provide digestive assistance at every level of the digestion process. These natural alternatives of antacids are not only very effective they actually encourage the optimal absorption of all foods including proteins. By using a natural digestive supplement, you can help ensure that key minerals such as calcium, have a better chance of absorption at the cellular level where they are needed for biological function. Betaine hydrochloric or hydrochloric acid, pancreatin, pepsin, lipase and ox bile extract help the body to form the whole enzymes necessary such as protease, amylase and lipase enzymes. By increasing the bodies potential for better digestion, we can eliminate the classic symptoms of poor digestion including indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux. Other symptoms of either poor digestion or imbalance of the pH of the digestive tract can include diarrhea and/or constipation. These problems are usually addressed by adjusting the fiber in the diet. Fiber and digestion go hand in hand, especially in the lower intestinal tract. The industrialized diet is often very low in fiber and as such the relationship between fiber and digestion is out of balance.
What should I do next?
In order to support your digestive system naturally you need to find a natural digestive supplement that can provide all the supportive factors for the digestion of protein, carbohydrate and fats. By so doing you can quickly improve your digestion and eliminate the classic symptoms of digestive disturbances including indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux. A well-balanced digestive support formula would include betaine hydrochloride, pancreatin, pepsin, lipase and ox bile extract. It may also include supportive herbal extracts such as licorice, chamomile and perhaps whole papaya, which provides papain, another protein digestive enzyme. The formula we use with our clients at our Centers around the world includes these factors in one convenient formula, which should be taken with every meal. Natural digestive help is available and is very effective. By taking these steps to improve your own natural digestive processes, you could be rewarded with increased benefits at many levels.