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By Dr. Keith E. Lewis
May 22, 2008

Indigestion, heartburn, gastric reflux, bloating, belching, and gas sound familiar. Millions and millions of Americans suffer these symptoms daily. Oftentimes, they are very slow and insidious in their onset. Occasionally get some heartburn, occasionally feel bloated; take a Rolaids, and take a Tums, and you feel fine. Soon you start experiencing these symptoms more and more frequently and sooner or later the Rolaids or the Tums that you have been taking just do not seem to work anymore, so you start taking prescription medications. Take Prilosec or Prevacid or some other prescription medications to inhibit the production of acid in the stomach. Oftentimes, these medications you only need to take periodically, not daily; but over a period of time you find yourself taking them once a day, twice a day, three times a day, or after each meal. Many times we have patients finding that they do not even want to eat because of the misery and the discomfort they experience after eating which consequently sets a stage for a malnourished patient which can lead to a whole series of adverse physiological and biochemical reactions in the body ultimately resorting in ill health.

If it sounds like your problem we do have a solution and surprisingly it is a fairly simple solution, but first we have to understand what creates or sets up this situation of intense acid indigestion, burning, bloating, heartburn, and reflux. It may come as a surprise to you but the actual problem you are experiencing is a lack of production of the proper type of stomach acid that is necessary for digestion. The parietal cells in our stomach are small cells that produce hydrochloric acid. This type of acid is necessary for the breakdown of food stuffs. Hydrochloric acid plus a variety of other enzymes produced by the stomach as well as the pancreas help breakdown food, prepare for digestion as it enters the small intestine. If this food product is not broken down in a timely manner, it basically lies in your stomach and rots or ferments. Problem - it does create inorganic acid which is what is causing your heartburn, your indigestion, your bloating, your reflux, your belching, and your misery.

So, how is this corrected? What can we do to improve our digestive environment in our stomach?

1.    We need to start eliminating Rolaids, Tums, and some of the prescription medications from our diet. We have to encourage the production of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. We have to encourage the production of enzymes produced in our stomach. We also have to increase the production of enzymes or at least normalize the production of enzymes produced by our pancreas to breakdown carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If we are able to accomplish this, we all of a sudden create a better environment for stomach digestion. Thus, we eliminate the indigestion, the heartburn, the bloating, the belching, and so on and so forth.

2.    Supplementing a diet with Betaine Hydrochloride, lipase, protease, and amylase you actually can return your stomach to a place of normal digestion.

3.    Sometimes you have to think of your stomach as a washing machine, it is just a muscular bag and these enzymes and hydrochloric acids are mixed in with the food stuff and the stomach actually goes through a process of grinding and churning to break these foods down for preparation to enter the small intestine where nutrients are actually absorbed into your blood stream.

4.    We use several supplements. As I have previously mentioned a variety of pancreatic enzymes work extremely well in returning your stomach to normal again without the use of medication. Typically, we find these supplements only need to be ingested for a period of as little as 90 to 120 days before you notice an extremely positive symptomatic change and better digestive health.

5.    We also noticed besides reducing the symptoms involved in the stomach, we get better absorption into the small intestine and we get better elimination through the large intestine or the colon. It sounds like a too simple solution, almost too good to be true to be so simple, millions and millions of Americans are spending millions and millions of dollars on these digestive aids that are actually harming the digestive process rather than helping. They are actually treating the symptoms rather than treating the cause.