Holistic Nutriton: Aging and Digestion- part 1

Many people don’t realize that digestion slows down as we age, causing discomforts  that you may not have had at an earlier age.  I often hear common complaints about burping, heartburn, indigestion, bloating and gas.  Many times, the eating patterns haven’t changed , however, the digestive juices have.  Take for example, GERD,acid reflux or heartburn, basically all the same, the little purple pill is meant to take care of it, right? Not necessarily.  That little purple pill is to reduce gastric acid.  What is most likely happening is that you have too little stomach acid. A lack of gastric acid excretion is actually a more common cause of indigestion and heartburn.  If that is the case for you, you could be making the situation worse.  You need gastric acid to break down your foods to get the nutrients from the food  and assimilate them into your system.  If you are not breaking down your foods the results will be burping, heartburn, indigestion, bloating and gas etc. Foods will sit in your gut and ferment, and cause irritation and inflammation.  Beyond the above mentioned,  impaired gastric acid secretion may include, food allergies, diarrhea, constipation, cracked or peeling fingernails and iron deficiency. There are other diseases that have been linked with insufficient gastric acid output including asthma, celiac disease, diabetes, chronic autoimmune disorder, lupus, osteoporosis and more- but don’t jump to conclusion.

One way to discern if you have decreased gastric acid is with a detailed gastric acid analysis, provided by your doctor. Many insurances don’t cover this service.  A more cost effective and simple way is to determine your need for acid is to use  hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplements.  This may take a few days to figure out what the correct dose may be, but you would find relief in a relatively short period of time IF you have insufficient gastric acid.

Process: start by purchasing HCL at a reputable store or via my website ( Metgest from Metagenics)take one tabletop capsule containing 500-600 mg of HCL with a large meal. If it doesn’t aggravate your symptoms, try upping the dosage- one tablet with your first meal, two with the meal after that and three with the next meal and so on.

Continure to increase the dose until you reach seven tablets or until you feel warmth in your stomach, whichever occurs first.  A feeling of warmth in the stomach means that you have taken too many tablets with that meal and you need to take one less for a meal of that size.  You may want to repeat the same dose a couple of times in order to feel the ‘warmth’. After you have determined the dose, stick with that for the larger meals and then reduce the dose for smaller meals.

As your stomach start to producing enough HCL on its own, you will notice that warm sensation again, when this happens reduce your dosage accordingly.

This may seem a bit tedious, but it works and will help you to get on a healthier path of digestion.

Do NOT stop taking any medication without the approval of your medical practitioner.  If you want off the little purple pill (it is only meant to be used for a short time- not forever, get to the root cause of the issue!) discuss it with your doctor and possible more natural solutions.

My next blog will be other ways to address ways digestive complaints. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Be Well, Mary

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