Gas and Bloating: What's Going On?
In some way, your digestion has been compromised. Some causes can be:
* low HCL acid in the stomach
* pancreas produces low bicarbonate secretion
* small intestine has low sugar-digesting enzyme production
* imbalanced intestinal flora
* intestinal flora enjoying undigested foods
* chronic over-eating
* low bile flow, so foods are not emulsified
* enzyme deficient or low enzyme production
Hydrochloric acid actually comes from your blood (hydrogen and chloride). After chewing and mixing food with saliva, the enzymes within the saliva begin their digestive activity. These enzymes continue to work in the stomach after swallowing food, which is an alkaline environment until the HCL acid arrives in approximately 45-60 minutes. HCL acid will neutralize the saliva enzymes and this is when other digestive enzymes take over in a more acidic environment. What does HCL acid do? It stimulates inactive pepsinogen to become active pepsin to breakdown protein into smaller particles. When you have low HCL acid or enzyme deficiency, then proteins are not properly digested, and then they begin to rot in the intestine. The foul-smelling gas is produced from bacteria on the fermenting protein. Also, HCL acid stimulates the pancreas to release enzymes into the small intestine. When the pancreas isn't stimulated, then nutrients absorption like vitamin A, E and B12 is compromised.
Bile is part of digestion, but contains not enzymes. Fats are first emulsified by the bile, so digestive enzymes can penetrate them. Thick bile or low bile supply will compromise this process too. The food is not completely digested, build up in the lower part of the digestive tract and rot can begin. When bile flow is low or not flowing, you can experience discomfort in the abdominal area, gas and bloating.
Bicarbonate is formed in the pancreas, but substances are extracted from the blood and released when the acidic contents from the stomach enter the small intestine. The acid signals secretin to be released to make the environment very alkaline for digestion. Blood pH is need for survival, therefore these alkaline substances will stay in the blood if there isn't a good supply and making digestion incomplete. Food particles begin to rot and can create gas and bloat.
With an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, gas and belching can occur. Probiotics can help replace good bacteria. For healing the small intestine, powder is easier to consume large doses, has a high tolerance for stomach acid and they should be refrigerated. To bring levels up, 18-25 billion per day, and 3-7 billion for maintenance. There are many different strains that have different purposes. L.acidophilus stains CUL-60, CUL-21, INT-9, DDS-1 and NAS are accepted by the immune system, attach to the intestinal wall, survive stomach acid and bile acid.
Don't forget to consume enough fibre to absorb toxin by-products (gas causing) from pathogens, keep the bowel healthy and help heal gastrointestinal problems like IBS, IBD and hemorrhoids. Also, a good quality digestive enzyme to help with digestion.
YouNique Holistic Nutrition
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Loomis, Howard F. Jr., DC, FIACA. Enzymes The Key to Health. Madison, WI; Grote Publishing, 1999.
Seldin & Giebish. The Regulation of Acid-Based Balance. New York: Raven Press, Ltd., 1989.