(February, 2011) Even eating a healthy menu at a party can cause indigestion. Why? What can you do?
Excess stomach acid can really slow you down. But so can an inadequate level. Here's some insight to symptoms and some tips to regulate stomach acid.
Symptoms and Related Conditions
If you have insufficient gastric acid output, you may experience several of the following symptoms:
Bloating, belching, burning, and flatulence immediately after meals
Prolonged feeling of “fullness” after eating
Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation
Multiple food allergies
Nausea, including after taking supplements
Itching around the rectum
Weak, peeling, and cracked fingernails
Dilated capillaries in the cheeks and nose
Chronic intestinal parasites or abnormal flora
Undigested food in the stool
Chronic candida infections
Gassiness in the upper digestive tract
Not surprisingly, given so many symptoms, insufficient gastric acid has been linked to a number of health conditions and diseases:
Chronic autoimmune disorders
Dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin disease characterized by groups of itchy and red bumps or blisters, leaving colored spots)
Diabetes mellitus, or Type 2 diabetes
Myasthenia gravis (abnormal condition of long-term muscle weakness)
Ensure adequate nutrients. Emphasize a whole-foods diet with adequate protein, fiber, vegetables, fruits, and balanced essential fatty acids; avoid refined carbohydrates and harmful oils (i.e., trans fats).
Chew food thoroughly. Chewing stimulates the salivary glands to secrete saliva, which contains the digestive enzyme salivary amylase, salts, antibodies, and other substances that kill bacteria.
Relax at mealtime. Stress and anxiety stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which diverts blood away from digestive organs into the muscles as a natural response to stress. Eating when relaxed allows digestive functions to operate more smoothly.
Limit fluid intake with meals. Washing food down with excess fluids dilutes stomach acid and enzymes and can compromise normal digestion. Drink only a small amount of fluid when you eat, and avoid drinking alcohol with meals. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) prevents stomach contents from coming back up into the esophagus. Alcoholic beverages may reduce pressure in the LES (as does smoking), contributing to gastroesophageal reflux.
Avoid overeating, which burdens digestive function.
Eat no later than 7:00 p.m. Allowing food to digest before bedtime allows the parasympathetic nervous system to perform restorative body functions during sleep, so that you operate at an optimal level the next day.