With the prevalence of digestive issues on the rise, it is easy to dismiss gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pains, and acid reflux as “normal” parts of everyday life. I frequently hear statements like “_______ food makes me bloat … hurt … not feel good” but is this normal, or just common? Stop and think about it. If you are over 40, you may remember a time when human bodies were not expected to feel this way. The term IBS was only beginning to be used in the 1990s and is a classification for a compilation of symptoms that have causes ranging from disrupted gut bacteria to slow gut transit. IBS is a group of symptoms rather than a disorder in itself. While it is impossible to mention every possible natural remedy for these symptoms, we are going to discuss a few that might give you relief.
We have discussed leaky gut in previous articles, so if you need a refresher, take a few minutes to go back and read through those articles:
When the gut is disrupted, it is likely that you will have some level of food intolerance. Make sure that while you are working to heal your gut, you avoid those offending foods completely to allow the gut wall to fully heal and seal before a careful reintroduction. Here are some basic tips to getting your gut back on track. Remember, just because a symptom is COMMON doesn’t mean it is NORMAL.
Quick education on digestion……how it is supposed to work. Digestion actually starts in our brain when we smell food. This triggers our salivary enzymes to begin producing. As we chew our food, the stomach breaks what we have swallowed down using hydrochloric acid. When we have proper levels of HCl, it effectively breaks down proteins, and kills bacteria ant pathogens. After this process, food moves to the small intestine where fats are further broken down and absorbed. The pancreas then secretes enzymes after which time the waste moves into the large intestine where saliva and bile can be reabsorbed, a final waste product (feces) is formed, and the bowels move toward excretion through the process of peristalsis. Read below some of Heart In Motion’s favorite natural remedies to heal the SOURCE of digestive issues….not jut treat the symptoms.
- CALM. CALM is a powdered magnesium supplement that is AMAZING for helping regulate the gut. It is a highly absorbable form of magnesium and is helpful for depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and constipation. If you decide to try this, start with a small dose (1 tsp) to determine how much your body needs to produce a result. There are several flavors as well as several formulations. If you look at the ingredients on Amazon, they also sell a blend with GABA and L-theanine which add an extra boost for relaxation, anxiety reduction, and sleep.
- Digestive enzymes. As we age, or digestive enzymes decrease which can lead to gas, bloating, and acid reflux. Acid reflux is often related to NOT ENOUGH digestive secretions instead of too much acid. Digestive enzymes are like the catalyst that speeds the process along. When foods digest too slowly, they stay in the gut too long which can cause acids to “backwash” causing the feeling of acid reflux. Because digestive enzymes speed the process, food stays in the stomach for an appropriate period of time which can alleviate reflux symptoms while allowing for better breakdown of foods and nutrient absorption and digestion. There are many good digestive enzymes out there. This is a good one if you are looking for a specific suggestion. Try to take 30 minutes before you eat and especially when you eat difficult to digest foods like dairy and cruciferous vegetables.
3. Collagen. Collagen does not help immediately with digestive symptoms, but because it helps to heal and seal the gut, it is a vital part of any gut healing protocol. Add to your favorite hot drink, or dissolve in your coffee or tea and cool with ice. You will not even know it is there!
4. Relax during meals. We live in such a hurry up world that we have lost the art of relaxing during meals. If you are in “fight or flight,” you cannot be in “rest and digest.” Do the best you can to relax and enjoy your meals. Often when we have digestive upset, it is more related to hurrying through stressful meals than an actual physiological problem.
5. Digest Zen. This oil blend by doterra is my absolute favorite essential oil for (believe it or not) ANY gut upset. Mix with coconut oil in a roller bottle or apply 1-2 drops directly to the abdomen. I have seen this work beautifully for constipation, diarrhea, and nausea within minutes.
6. Healthy fat. Constipation is often caused by eating too little fat. Fat is a lubricant in the gut, so having enough is important to keep things moving. Aim for about 1 tbs of healthy fat at each meal.
7. Avoid sucralose and other artificial sweeteners. This is a sneaky one that even the healthiest eaters fall into. Most people avoid aspartame, but SUCRALOSE is still sneaking into protein shakes and bars often undetected. Because just one packet of sucralose (AKA Splenda) can destroy 50% of present gut bacteria (which leads to the digestive issues listed above), it is important to avoid it at all costs.
8. Avoid acid blockers. Acid blockers were never made for long term use. Without a proper balance of PH in the stomach, pathogens can proliferate and cause bigger problems than you started with. Instead try some of the suggestions above to get your acid issues under control.
9. Peppermint beadlets. Doterra peppermint beadlets are fantastic for the occasional bout of indigestion. Let the beadlet pop in the back of your throat and swallow for almost instant relief.
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- Assess your digestive health. Read back through previous Heart In Motion articles that you have received. You can search them by going to "my articles" and search for keywords like gut. Think about whether you are medicating symptoms or looking for/treating the root cause. There are so many natural remedies to help you get to the bottom of digestive challenges. As always, please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to help!