Digestion 101: Bloating, Gas & Pain


Everyone experiences gas, bloating and pain periodically, especially when we eat the entire steak, the whole box of donuts or a friend’s experimental cooking. But to have these symptoms as part of your daily digestive routine is not only inconvenient, it is indicative of a larger problem. There are a few possibilities here. The most obvious is the gallbladder. Often periodic abdominal pain, particularly when located in the upper abdominal area is the gallbladder and its ducts. Many people, even in their teens, living in our society today, fail to have a free, unobstructed flow of bile from the gall bladder. Many of the foods eaten, whether refined, processed or even fresh, are mineral deficient because they were grown in depleted, chemically treated soil. Lack of regular, vigorous exercise, stress, multiple distractions during meals, and many other unnatural aspects of today’s lifestyle have combined to alter the chemistry of bile so that formation of solid particles from bile components is a commonplace occurrence among Americans.

These solid particles remain in the gall bladder for years and become progressively harder and more compacted, leading to calcification. Long before this occurs, however, metabolic problems are underway. When a significant amount of solid bile particles accumulate, the free flow of the gall bladder contents is diminished, causing progressive stagnation and congestion of the liver. The body begins to suffer the effects of poor assimilation of fat-soluble nutrients and low bile levels which may play a role in the development of eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, falling hair, tendonitis, night blindness, constipation, accumulation of calcium in tissues and sometimes prostate enlargement in men. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins, which drain to the liver, are also often the result of this congestion.

The most common symptoms of current gallbladder distress is bloating and gas, particularly if a while after eating, dry skin, not handling fatty foods well and pain in the upper abdominal area. Foods such as blueberries, beets and shellfish all contain high levels of iodine which the gallbladder uses to cleanse. Soybean lecithin is the very best cleanser for cholesterol and calcium buildup in the gallbladder acting almost a Liquid Plumber for the bile pathway. Staying out of hot tubs and jacuzzis is essential during gallbladder treatment as the heat will increase the gallbladder inflammation. Peppermint and spearmint teas are excellent for relaxing the sphincters of the bile duct and allowing sediment to pass through unobstructed.

A second possibility is that the chemical part of digestion is imbalanced and plaque from improperly digested foods may have lined the stomach and gut. This not only provides a habitat for bacteria that are then stirred up with every passing meal, but also will block the tiny ducts that allow digestive enzymes to enter the intestinal tract. All of this can create a problem assimilating your nutrition. If there is an imbalance in the chemistry of digestion, you might want to look at how you are combining foods, or add digestive enzymes and flora to your daily regimen. I prefer a good prebiotic as opposed to a probiotic. In other words, food to support your body’s bacterial colonies, instead of simply replacing bacteria. Often the problem is that your intestinal system is a bit too alkaline, and the bacteria cannot survive well. So by utilizing a prebiotic, you are preparing the environment so that your bacteria can survive. Sometimes something as simple as organic apple cider vinegar can be the most effective solution for restoring the natural pH of the gut. It is the rare occasion when your bacterial colonies are not replaceable, and require a probiotic. This is true after a lengthy course of antibiotics and occasionally if you are taking oral contraceptives.

Most of your digestive enzymes are found in the intestinal tract, both made and excreted by the pancreas, and also from the lining of the brush border of your tract. You might try pancreatic support to help here such as Standard Process Pancreatrophin PMG, or occasionally even a good vegetarian digestive enzyme will help. But you might try looking even a bit higher — your mouth. Much of your digestive process and effectiveness is controlled by the length of time food remains in your mouth exposed to salivary digestive enzymes, and how well you chew your food. Also, chronic TMJ issues will reduce your salivary digestive action, so Standard Process Parotid PMG can be essential. But try the old-fashioned idea of actually sitting down calmly to eat your meals. You may be surprised by the result!

If you are getting pain between your shoulder blades or in the center of the back, then you can be sure this is a stomach problem. Check out the article Digestion 101: Stomach Acid & Reflux for some answers.

Bloating and gas may also be typical symptoms when plaque is the issue or when candidiasis is present. Beginning with a comprehensive intestinal cleanse is essential in order to remove the plaque from the lining of the gut. Standard Process Protefood is excellent if the plaque is the result of chronic acid issues in the stomach, which will allow proteins to lie undigested along the gut. Increasing the acidity factor of the gut can also be essential to dissolve the plaque and mucoid lining that can prevent assimilation of food. If all else fails in relieving gas and bloating, I suggest a combination of Chamomile extract and Standard Process Gastrex which generally helps to resolve chronic, unexplained bloating.