Try This “Low Tech” Digestive Fix

“Food combining” is a basic principle of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent.

Do you ever feel wiped out after a meal? I’m talking about that bloated, gassy feeling; or for some people, they feel tired or even mentally foggy. All of these signs are telling you there’s a problem. But instead of covering up the problem with drugs, there are natural ways to fix the problem. Here’s a wellness approach that can help people with digestive issues.Wellness Minute Food Combining 13

To start with, let’s define protein. In food language that translates into beef, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese. These are all concentrated proteins. Our body needs protein for every facet of life: for building and repairing our body and to feed muscle tissue. (You know that toned look that keeps you looking young.) Okay you’re saying, “I’m eating protein.” You may be eating enough protein, but what if I told you, you are probably not “digesting” or getting the health benefits of all the protein you eat. It has to do the way we COMBINE FOODS. I’m talking about the OTHER foods you eat with protein.

Now pause it right there so I can reveal a hidden factor in this digestive formula. The hidden factor is HCL or hydrochloric acid! HCL is a natural acid made in your stomach. It releases pepsin which breaks down food, goes to work on that protein, dissolves it, and amazingly the body absorbs and transports the little building blocks called amino acids where they are needed. So you need the right amount of HCL to do the job. That’s where the red flag goes up because there’s another factor… starches. Combining starches with protein during meals actually reduces the secretion of HCL levels in your stomach. Starches reduce or soak up HCL. If that happens, there’s not enough left to fully digest protein. As a result, you don’t get all the benefits from the protein. The undigested food can ferment or putrefy and make you feel bloated and sluggish.

What’s happening? A couple of things. The first one is that sugars inhibit the secretion of HCL in the stomach. Of course starchy foods are classified as sugars. This means that if we eat a big steak and our stomachs begin the secretion of HCL to digest the food, a good thing; but then we add simple sugars like bread, potatoes, pie, brownies, soft drinks, and most fruit juices; the stomach slows down its release of HCL. You guessed it, a bad thing.

Think of the traditional fast food meal, hamburger patty, on a sugar laden bun, tempered with hot french fried potatoes, washed down with a biggy sized sugary pop. The sugars found in the bun, the fries, and the drink all slow down the release of HCL. And secondly, not only do sugars inhibit the secretion of HCL, the sugars combine with the hydrochloric acid already in the stomach. That prevents the HCL from breaking down the protein and prevents the activation of other enzymes which are needed for complete protein digestion.

Dr. George Goodheart, a strong advocate of food combining, describes it with this word picture. Just as bread will soak up water when we put it in a dish, in our stomachs the SAME bread will soak up the free HCL in the stomach. There’s not enough HCL left to completely digest the protein it was intended to digest.

Wellness Minute Food Combining 14When we are young we have sufficient levels of enzymes, but with stress and age our enzymes are depleted. So here’s the strategy for combining foods. When you eat concentrated protein (beef, poultry or fish), reduce the heavy starches like bread, potatoes, pasta, even soft drinks. Instead increase vegetables.

Remember, it’s how you “combine” foods. If you eat cereal at breakfast, which is a starch, don’t have an egg or meat. If you have eggs, leave out the toast or cut back. You get the idea. Try it. You’ll have more energy, less digestion problems, and you’ll be more mentally alert after meals.

“Food combining” is a basic principle of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent. Ask Dr. Godo for more information about food combining and talk to him about any digestion problems you are experiencing. Don’t ignore the symptoms when you feel tired and bloated after meals. Do something to feel better… and fixing your digestion is the best place to start.

Dr. Jason Godo, DC


What You Should Know About Acid Blockers

“Acid blocking drugs may seem great but the longer you take these drugs, the more potential problems can arise.”

If you have problems with acid indigestion chances are you’ve heard about acid blocking drugs. We’ve all seen the commercials, fast relief. It may seem great but what long term effects do these drugs have on your digestive system?

In recent years, we’ve heard news stories about dangerous bacteria on food, Salmonella and E. coli. What seems interesting to me however is that  some people eat the tainted food and get violently sick, some get mildly sick and still others never skip a beat? Maybe it’s not so much that there is more Salmonella and E. coli in our midst, but could it be related to the fact that people are taking more acid-suppressing medications than ever which leaves them less resistant to the germs?

Remember, as we suppress the amount of HCL in the stomach, we are also affecting other functions. Here are a few that come to mind: Healthy HCL “turns on” pepsin which is a key player in protein digestion. Healthy HCL activates secretin which “turns on” pancreatic digestive enzymes which help digest vegetables and starches as well as proteins and fats. The correct stomach pH “turns on” cholecystokinin which also activates healthy fat digestion.One of the forgotten roles and certainly one of the main roles of HCL is to kill the bacteria on our food. I have heard microbiologists say that if we could see all the bacteria on our food, we would think twice about eating it.

Healthy HCL function kills many of the bacteria that cause GI distress. Jonathon Wright, MD has been a major proponent of HCL therapy for years. He has his patients swallow a little radio transmitter device called a Heidelberg capsule to measure HCL levels. He finds a high percentage of his patients do not have too much HCL but are actually deficient in HCL.

In his book, “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You,” he discusses how harmful bacteria are destroyed by healthy HCL levels. He shares a study in India where a cholera epidemic found some villagers very sick and yet other villagers did not contract the disease. Public health officials found that the villagers who did not get sick had healthy levels of HCL.

The “DIRTY LITTLE SECRET” about these acid suppressing drugs is that “the manufacturers of acid blockers originally only suggested 16 weeks of therapy while allowing the tissues to cool down and repair.” The drugs were never intended to be lifelong therapies. However money talks for most people; if they can take a pill and be pain free, why not! So a whole new over the counter market has evolved. Who’s thinking about tomorrow when we can have relief today?

Another interesting note: Stomach cancer is on the rise and the bacteria H-pylori has been associated with it. Could it be that the drugs we are taking to give temporary relief could be changing the pH of the stomach and actually causing all kinds of serious side effects? A 2006 study from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates a serious side effect of acid suppressing drugs, a 44% increased risk of hip fractures for people taking a class of acid suppressors called Proton Pump Inhibitors longer than one year. This is probably due to the fact that insufficient stomach acid limits the way nutrients are absorbed, particularly calcium and other minerals essential for bone growth, like zinc and copper.

There have been other studies that document more subtle nutritional deficiencies caused by acid-suppressors. Acid blockers may adversely affect bone remodeling or bone metabolism. This can be a problem because throughout our lives, not only while growing, our bones completely replace themselves, cell by cell, every 7-10 years.

Here’s the point. Your body doesn’t have a deficiency in acid suppressing drugs. But the symptoms you have are telling you there’s a deficiency somewhere. The drug companies will encourage you to eat whatever you want and keep buying their overpriced products. Chances are that you have a HCL deficiency that is accompanied with one or more other issues that can be helped by using natural therapies.

Make an appointment with Dr. Godo and let them help you find a natural way to deal with digestion issues. The longer you take acid blocking drugs, the more potential problems can arise.

Life and death begins in the gut. With a Wellness approach, you can choose life.

Dr. Jason Godo