I often find myself online watching the posts of people in regards to food, visiting doctors, digestion and find the advice of their doctor to be HOGWASH! I found myself in this exact BS moment in a group that I am part of.
The reason for this group is to help balance meals with protein, fats, and vegetables. Encourage the intake of fruits and vegetables and this particular group has awesome recipes and spices that make it a pleasure to eat and cook! In this particular group, they do promote more grains that what I consider healthy but that may be a post for another day!
The Social Media Set-Up
As a Certified Digestive Health Practitioner that works with Enzyme Therapy I often times will hold back "my expertise" because there are always those that like to argue; however, this time I could not hold back. Ever been there?
This particular post had to do with a woman whose doctor told her husband that because he had over-consumed for so many years that he had excess acid!! What? He needed to take an acid reducer in order to reduce heartburn, pain, and gas because he was eating healthier. He did not counsel them because you see the medical community are schooled in pharmaceuticals, not nutrition and how to make nutrition work efficiently! I have to admit my blood may have been boiling!
When I posted my response to her post I was asked by the leader of the group to please move my response as a regular post (COMPLIMENT!) so that others could learn why they may be having trouble with all the vegetable intake. As an education to you and those you love, I hope that this will help you understand why vegetables may give you bloats and farts, but DO NOT give up on them!
I have been trained by Howard Loomis, DC whom has studied the digestive system and enzymes for 40+ years. Not only is he a chiropractor but he also has a master's degree in Biochemistry. To his credit, I am a victim of higher education!
How Acid Works
First off, stomach acid is produced on demand not accumulated. Stomach acid (HCl and KCl) is used to create the enzyme called pepsinogen which activates pepsin; which is what digests or breaks down the food particles, acid does NOT digest food.
Your stomach does not produce excess stomach acid. Period. The main purpose of the stomach is to produce hydrochloric acid so that it will significantly lower the pH within the stomach to produce the pepsinogen. In turn, this will activate pepsin so that the protease [digests protein] can initiate the digestion of protein. Protease is the main digestive enzyme within the body because it helps to not only digest but repair at the cellular level.
Gas, Bloat and Pain
The resting pH of the stomach is normal 4-5 but during digestion will drop to 1-2. During this time if your mucosal lining is not fully intact you may experience gas and bloat. This does not mean you need an acid-reducer, it simply means that your mucosal lining is impaired and must be healed to be able to hold the naturally occurring acid. As we age or eat foods that break down this lining it can deteriorate giving your doctor the ability to put you on a long-term acid reducer or blocker. Have you read the complications of acid reducers and blockers? Scary stuff! Click here for one. Do you need another one? Click here.
While you are changing your eating habits it is important to support digestion. Increased vegetable intake can be quite uncomfortable, loud and smelly! Vegetables have enzymes called cellulose. Our body does not naturally produce this particular enzyme. The enzymes that are naturally occurring in humans are protease (protein), lipase (fats) and amylase (carbs). In order to convert cellulose into cellulase, you must free the cellulase enzyme from the vegetables. But how?
First, you need to thoroughly CHEW (20-30 chews), chew, and chew the vegetables to release the cellulase within the plant cell walls. Did I mention to chew your food? Doing this will make digestion much smoother, less gassy and reduced bloating. Doing this will also release enzymes called amylase in your mouth making digestion easier.
Second, you may need a digestive enzyme that has cellulase as well as amylase to help you digest the vegetables that you are consuming. Depending on your body you may also require lipase (fats) and protease (protein) enzymes to positively aid in the digestion and utilization of nutrients.
Third, you may also need to repair the mucosal lining of the esophagus, stomach and digestive system to help contain the stomach acid that is being naturally produced. When the mucosal lining starts to deteriorate it can not handle the natural amount of acid being produced. Repair the lining and that will correct the heartburn, gas and bloating.
Fourth, acid production is important as it is the body's first line of defense against parasites, bacteria, etc. If you reduce the acid you reduce the body's ability to fight the wee beasties!
Now, digestion as a whole is a lot more complicated than this! However, if you can do just a few things like:
Change diet to more fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats
Support normal acid production to reduce belly bloat
Repair mucosal lining if you are experiencing serious bloat, gas, and stomach pain
Take a digestive enzyme to help alleviate tummy issues, then...
You will find a happier tummy, healthy body and no need for acid blockers!