Archive for the ‘burping’ Category

Better Late Than Never

IMG_1917 (2)Phew! I can’t believe it is already March 10, 2013 but so be it. Last Monday blew by me in a puff of childish laughter and, if I dare say, infant tears and upset. I was so busy being Nonna for the grandsons there just wasn’t time to share but as always there is time to care, so this week I want to share some really interesting information.

Before I get started, I did want to let you know that my Vitamin D results came back this week. I have supplemented my Sunsplash Renew this 6 months because I want to take Vitamin K for my bones, so on average 4 days a week I take a Vitamin D/Vitamin K supplement that includes about 1000 iu’s of Vitamin D per dose. In August my Vitamin D was 91 ng/ml in February my levels were 84 ng/ml. I have been using the Sunsplash about three times a week 10 or 20 minutes at a time but there are times like right before I drew blood this time that I haven’t been in front of the lights for 7 days or more. I think 84 ng/ml isn’t too bad for the middle of a dreich winter.

Pain, searing pain!

Last Monday, along with the joy of grandchildren filling my life I had a doctor’s appointment with my homeopathic MD, Dr. Kim Lane. It was an appointment that was meant to be but almost wasn’t. The weather conspired against me, a bad back belonging to my son-in-law conspired against me but in the end it was an incident that occurred while caring for my almost two-year old grandson that scared me right in to her office.

On Saturday afternoon, Odin and his now 59-year-old Nonna were out frolicking in the snow. I love having Odin around because I find my inner child and that inner child was walking through calf high snow hauling my bundle of joy around on his sled. We slid down hills several times and walked back up them. When that got boring we took a trek through virgin snow to see the neigh-boring horses. By the time we got back to the house I was overheated and thirsty as heck.

I remembered I had a cold container of water sitting in a nearby car, so I got the container out and chugged icy cold water. It tasted so good and was so thirst quenching I probably inhaled about 10 ounces of water in the blink of an eyelid. Odin and I were going to feed the birds, aka Caw Caws, so as he watched me I bent over and started filling a pail with black sunflower seeds.

When I stood back up to reach for Odin’s hand I was nearly floored by a searing pain in my upper left quadrant. The paralyzing affliction occurred each time I inhaled and then each stab was followed by low, rumbling and horrible sounding belches. I belched and belched but tried to take slow shallow inhalations in between each agonizing stab. This level of intensity lasted for about 15 minutes but in the first few minutes I knew I needed to get Odin inside close to Grandpa just in case something happened to me. While keeping a brave face (I hope) and thus assuring Odin all was well we slowly, ever so slowly made our way inside the house, birdseed suddenly forgotten.

What the heck?

At moments like this I try to keep my cool but all I could imagine was that I was having a heart attack in front of a very impressionable two-year old and how that could affect his life from here on out. His life? Ha, how would it affect my life? How could I miss his growing up and going to his games, meeting his friends, etc? What if I never saw Arthur walk and talk? Gosh the awful places your brain goes when something like this occurs but deep down a pervasive thought was growing.

I have had this pain before and it wasn’t a heart attack but I never did figure out what it was. It actually originates from a very specific spot in my upper left quadrant, right under my left breast at the edge of my ribcage (I can touch the spot at the moment and it is still tender). As I belched and ached I made my way downstairs where the SU was exercising and tried to tell him I was in trouble (hard to do with ear phones securely attached to said head and person off in space somewhere). He basically blew me off but did keep an eye on Odin who was now semi-securely placed in his “Pack and Play (“semi” because he knows how to get out quite easily).

I then sat down and took my blood pressure. It was an astounding 129/98. My pulse was 112 and all this didn’t help settle my panic. My blood pressure is normally well within normal limits if not a bit low, so these numbers were, on their own, frightening. I could tell that the pain, while not subsiding, was not getting worse and as each jab was accompanied by a low rumble of escaping gas I now was convinced this was not a heart attack. Exertion did not bring it on but breathing did, great! Like that is somehow better.

Come Hell or high water

Within an hour all pain had subsided and my breathing was back to normal. In fact, after a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and a few more belches I returned to normal as if nothing had happened. I was physically and emotionally drained after a scare like that but there was no digestive upset, no pain in my upper left quadrant and my blood pressure had gone down to 98/65 (adrenal stress brought that baby right down) I was as normal as I get (which, depending on who you ask is not all that normal).

At this point I knew my appointment with Dr. Lane was fortuitous. It had not been planned but I needed some prescriptions (SR Potassium and T3) filled just in case ordering from overseas becomes impossible (the new health care bill tagged Obamacare wants to forbid overseas prescriptions from entering our borders). I actually got the appointment because friend Chloe had cancelled hers that afternoon to take a later one and I was offered her time. Hurrah! It was all meant to happen. I needed an answer or I needed guidance as to what to do next and I knew she could help me.

Dr. Lane

On Monday, after checking in I sat down in Dr. Lane’s new digs and started to pour out my story. She asked very pointed questions and did an exam of my chest, back and lower abdomen. I told her about the physical activity, the cold water, the stooping over, standing up and the resultant searing pains accompanied by loud heavy belching all coming from my upper left quadrant.

Her questions were as follows:

Did any pain occur during the physical activity? “No”

Was the water really cold? “Yes”

How long did it take for the pain to subside? “About an hour”

Where did it hurt? I showed her the exact spot the pain originated from and she palpated it later.

Diagnosis? Do you want to take some guesses before I tell you? I will answer below in Krisinsight just in case you want to try it out. I know I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion but her reasons were very sound and based on what doctors know about heart attacks in women.

Now for homeopathy

Dr. Lane is also a homeopathic doctor, so we discussed my latest remedy and the results. When I took my Aconite 200 about three weeks ago I screwed up everything I could possibly screw up. I put something in my mouth minutes after taking the first remedy. I did this despite knowing I needed to have a window of time when you have nothing 30 minutes prior to taking the remedy and nothing for 30 minutes after. The second time, exactly 12 hours later, I dropped almost all the pellets on the floor and had to pick them up and sort out 4-5 to take. Once the pellets are touched the energy of the remedy changes, so really even that dose was tainted.

My energy has been fine but my hands have been cold especially when keyboarding. My overall body temperature continues to run on the low side. My weight is probably stable but I remain on the heavy side of where I should be weight-wise. I think my sex hormones are more balanced than they were on bio-identical hormones and hot flashes while they do exist are minimal. Vaginal lubrication is better than it has been in years (I know, I know but for some this can be very important) and in general my interest in sex has increased and my fasting glucose numbers are always in the low 80’s.

The homeopathic prescription was to repeat the Aconite 200, 12 hours apart and wait about 6 weeks. I took it on Thursday March 6. That night I slept very poorly even though I was exhausted but the next day my morning temperatures were up. At 10:00 my thermometer read 98.4, higher than it has been in some while. Now it is a wait and see game, wait to see what effect the remedy has on my overall health.

Krisinsight

First, Dr. Lane’s insight or better said, her diagnosis: Esophageal Spasm It makes perfect sense to me now but I never would have concluded that on my own. When you expose your esophagus to radical temperatures changes you can cause a spasm. Until the spasm relaxes you might get belching with each contraction. You will get searing pain from each contraction and it will eventually relax and go away. The fact that the pain did not come on while I was exerting myself was quite indicative of spasm vs. heart attack. The increased blood pressure and pulse was my flight or fight response to a tense situation and my body did just what it was supposed to do. I have had this pain and belching before and was left in wonder as to what it was, what was happening. At the very least I will now know what it is and perhaps I will also avoid temperature extremes in my food and liquid intake.

As for my insight on homeopathy, I am intrigued. First, I really like Dr. Kim Lane. She is easy to talk to, very down to earth with a dry sense of humor. She is first and foremost a medical doctor but with her knowledge of the body she can make homeopathy work even better. We have had some real heart to heart discussions and many of them have left me in tears, drained of emotion. All these difficult questions are helping her assess the situation and prescribe the correct remedy. Since I started with her last autumn I have changed. Some things are better; some are the same but overall I have more confidence and I understand myself better than ever before. My sleep, while not perfect, is so much better I cannot describe how good that feels.

I don’t have blood labs to prove any organic change but when I do get my blood labs run I will report the results right here. My thinking is, at this point, I don’t really care what the labs say, I feel better. We have made it through the worst of the flu season with nary a sniffle between us (Did I really just say that? Oh dear!). I can climb through snow up to my thighs and while it leaves me breathless I can do it. I am still taking 37.5 mcg of T3 and with increasing temperatures I am going to hold the status quo. I take some K-Dur and I still take 2 teaspoons of sea salt in water every day, so some things stay the same but overall if you continue to fight for that next level of healthiness with your thyroid dis-ease I can safely recommend trying homeopathy. It may just heal your soul and, after all is said and done, every body needs to heal from the inside out.

Santé,

Kris

Got Greens?

It has been a dark and gloomy week in Minnesota with intermittent spring-like thunderstorms and warmer temperatures. If barometric pressure bothers you this has been a bad week and many are complaining of renewed pain and restless nights.

Personally I have an ache in my head that is constantly there above my eyes and in the occipital portion of my skull, aka sinus/allergy headache, and I wish it would abate. I take comfort in knowing, this too shall pass like the waxing and waning cloud cover and the budding and blooming trees and shrubs.

Speaking of budding and blooming trees, allergies and headaches, reminds me of the color green. The color green reminds me that I wanted to tell you that I may have finally found a green powder that doesn’t turn my world inside out. A green food that doesn’t wreak havoc but has all the benefits of a super green powder.

Why think green?

My interest in greens started a few years ago when Mercola extolled their virtues and recommended juicing lots of green vegetables as a breast cancer preventive measure (of particular interest having lost a sister-in-law to breast cancer and another sister-in-law having had a double mastectomy). Most of dis-ease is a result of uncontrolled inflammation and greens reduce inflammation.

They have visibly reduced inflammatory responses in my body. What do I mean by visible change in my body? When I started with Boku Superfood years ago there was a large cyst on my right ring finger that was impinging on the growth of my fingernail and causing a deformed nail. One doctor suggested a trip to a surgeon to have it removed but I resisted.

I tried numerous experiments to get rid of the cyst (thinking it might be a ganglion cyst I hit it hard several times to no avail) and then I started on Boku Superfood, a nutrient dense powder with lots of greens, and over time the cyst disappeared along with one that was on a toe and a small one on my left hand. In my opinion, these cysts were inflammatory in nature and as inflammation decreased they were resorbed.

The only trouble was Boku Superfood caused some major tummy upsets. I just didn’t know it was Boku at the time, I thought it was something else. I also ignored the heavy reliance on brassicas in Boku but eventually I had to admit to myself and now to you my reader that the powder was messing with my delicate innards. I just hadn’t quite figured out what ingredient was responsible.

So when do you admit defeat?

Actually I admitted defeat for reasons other than my upset tummy. My endocrine system got really messed up about 7 years ago when I took myself off my thyroid meds and unbeknownst to me this eventually caused adrenal fatigue and an irregular heartbeat that was, let’s just say, bothersome.

I looked for every reason under the sun for that erratic, unpredictable and  irritating heartbeat as many of you may know. Thanks to all my research I am more knowledgeable than I was but in the process I did come to some erroneous (but potentially correct) conclusions. One was that the brassica vegetables were causing my thyroid to be under productive (check out this blog post) and that Boku Superfood was ultimately responsible because it was largely composed of the dreaded brassica veggies. Don’t get me wrong, brassica vegetables are a problem for those with hypothyroidism but I now know green powder was not the culprit responsible for my irregular heartbeat.

Long story, short, for various and sundry reasons I quit drinking Boku Superfood and my tummy aches got better. I hated to give up my anti-inflammatory drink but I had  to admit defeat and move on.

On refusing to take chemicals

If you think green drinks are bad for your digestion and your thyroid what can you do for inflammation? Take ibuprofen? Acetaminophen? Aspirin? Ah, no. Not me anyway. I was determined to find a green powder that I could use, so my quest began. I would carefully scrutinize the ingredients and choose powders low in brassicas but the upset tummy persisted and the rumbling gas and loss of nutrients to diarrhea seemed to plague me.

I was and have been suspicious of flax-seed, particularly flax-seed meal, for some time. Flax and flax meal are both supposedly “so good for you” that I just couldn’t accept that flax was the offending ingredient. As time passed the light slowly dawned, if I took just Chlorella or Spirulina I didn’t have an upset tummy. I even tried E3Live and never had a moment of discord in the nether regions. As soon as I tried Garden of Life’s Perfect Food Super Greens I was running to the bathroom with that all too familiar discomfort again.

That did it, I ran in to the kitchen and tore the container out of the pantry, put on my reading glasses (yes, you read that right, reading glasses) and scrutinized the list of ingredients. There it was. I had failed to see it in the online list of ingredients: flax-seed. Another green powder bites the dust.

Kris Insight

At last I know I need a green powder that has no flax and is filled with greens from every green source and not a preponderance of brassica veggies. I don’t like fillers nor sweeteners in my green powder. I would prefer it blended easily in to water with a spoon but if it will blend with a whisk I am fine with that. Taste and texture are unimportant when compared with diarrhea and gaseous bloating.

Midori Greens seems to be the best answer for me. Midori Greens are sold at http://www.iHerb.com (WordPress won’t even allow a simple link to iHerb, urgh!). Admittedly, it seems expensive for the size of the container but one small scoop seems adequate, so the cost comes down. If you want more and don’t mind the cost, have several scoops a day.

The powder will whisk in to water easily and the taste, while not fabulous, is not bad. It tastes green and unadulterated and could easily be added to apple juice or juiced vegetables. There is a little residue at the bottom of the glass if I mix it with filtered water but if you add it to a smoothie it disappears and is undetectable.

For me the best part is I am getting my greens, my inflammation has not returned and wait for it……I’m not flatulent. Hurrah! Every day without bloating and gas is a great day. By the way, I thought you should know the sinus headache  that I spoke of in the beginning is a distant memory. I wonder if the barometer is finally rising?

Santé,

Kris

When a Little of This Leads to More of That

In researching last week’s blog on progesterone I happened across a headline that read something like “Estrogen Dominance Leads to Increase of Gallstone Formation”. It would normally go totally unnoticed if not for the fact that for several years now I have experienced a feeling of fullness in my upper right quadrant at times and occasionally a sharp pain under my right shoulder blade in my back.

The aforementioned symptoms are all signs of gall bladder issues and I am always looking for a non-surgical solution to the problem. Personally I have no desire to lose another organ after losing my appendix in 1987. But what amazed me the most was the fact that this pain associated with what ostensibly has to be gall bladder attacks has increased in the last few years since I started using bio-identical hormones, specifically E1 and E2 and it was only with reading the headline that it dawned on me that my increased levels of estrogen may be part and parcel of the problem.

After digesting that particular bit of news, I started to aggregate more information from various sites to see if, in fact, with higher estrogen levels your chances of gall bladder attack increased. There may very well have been a “Duh” moment when, after hours of research, I remembered what our esteemed medical professionals always sited as the the 3F’s of gall bladder disease, fat, fertile and forty all things that also occur at a time of your life when your estrogen levels are what? At their highest.

I am not going to report all the facts and figures of every study I found nor can I verify the facts and figures of the studies I read. I also have drawn no conclusions, so this is a work in progress. I can report that whether you look at holistic sites or conventional medical sites like The Mayo Clinic estrogen dominance is always mentioned as a possible exacerbating factor in what amounts to decreased function of the gall bladder and liver.

The why of this is simple, increased estrogen can increase cholesterol in the bile and lessen gallbladder movement, increasing the risk of gallstones. If you, like me, already have a low functioning gall bladder due to hypothyroidism even a slight increase in estrogen may increase your chances of gallstones and gall bladder attack.

Okay I said I hadn’t gone in any one direction but perhaps I have come to one minor fork in the road. I am seriously considering the cessation of my bio-identical hormones. This is not an easy decision and it is not a decision that is in concrete. I firmly believe that women’s bodies are healthier with hormones than without (after reading countless books on the subject). That said, if you are a woman with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you need to know that increasing your estrogen levels may also increase your chances of developing gallstones? Especially if you can answer nearly all the questions on this  Do you have gall bladder dysfunction? questionnaire with a “yes” or “maybe”.

The good news is some symptoms can be controlled with diet and exercise and following many of the suggestions on Deb Graefer’s site  has made a difference for this perplexed menopausal woman. I decided, if I do nothing else, to make an appointment with a homeopath/MD and my appointment is at the end of August. She feels she can balance my hormones with homeopathy and I hope she can assist me in what, at the moment,  seems like somewhat vain efforts to save my gall bladder.

If you have any wisdom or a personal experience to share on this subject, please feel free to comment. I know, and you know, if I reach any conclusion on this little matter of cholesterol/bilirubin stones congregating where they don’t belong, I will let you know, as they say, yesterday.

Until next week,

Kris

News on the Supplement Front

As Sunday is devoted to writing my blog today is Mother’s Day in the USA, so I wish every mother, be they the proud mothers of babies, adult children, puppies, kittens, employees, or even spouses (yes everyone needs to be mothered now and then) a very pleasant day filled with happiness and pampering.

Last week I updated you on my latest blood test panel and I thought as long as I was “updating” things perhaps it was time to talk about some new supplements, good and bad. Let’s talk about the bad ones and get it out of the way. It is a short list and bad isn’t really descriptive, ineffectual is the word.

Jigsaw Magnesium is tops on my list of ineffectual and I can offer no explanation other than they do use fillers. the fillers are necessary to allow for slow absorption and very little effect on the bowels but the product doesn’t work for me. I was asked by the company to review their product and I told them about my experience. To their credit, and I think they are a good reliable company, they apologized and offered a refund but couldn’t offer a reason why I continued to have leg cramps and other complaints whilst taking the maximum dose per day. It didn’t cause any stomach complaints, no gripping bowels but it didn’t seem to help with anything and I have quit taking it. I should have taken the refund as even my spousal unit finds Pure Essence Ionic Fizz Magnesium more to his taste, so the Jigsaw Magnesium sits in my cupboard unused.

I looked through my supplements and the only other one that I will not take is a True Health Krill oil sold by Dr. Michael Cutler. The company offered a really good deal for the krill oil, so I paid very little for 30-1000 mg capsules ($7.95) but the capsules are coated with lemon oil and I burp the lemon oil all day. This may not be an issue for other people but lemon oil  and orange oil additives do not agree with me and I avoid flavored fish or krill oil supplements for this reason. I guess I would prefer a fish oil burp to a fish oil burp that tastes of lemon or orange and in most cases if it has no citrus additives and is fresh fish oil or krill oil it will cause no production of excess gas and thus no “fishy burps”.

With my “Not taking those again” list behind me I can address the new supplements that are a part of my daily routine. I will skip a few of my old reliable supplements too allow room to talk about the new ones. I don’t know about any fellow blogging readers but I find there is only so much room in a weekly blog and I don’t want to ruminate too long and lose your interest.

My most interesting supplement that I added within the last month or two is a B-12 supplement that comes in a gum form, B Fresh Breath Freshening Gum  (It does contain xylitol and there was a rather damning article this week about the chemical nature of most xylitol produced these days. It would be best if you knew your xylitol was sourced from birch bark and from trees found in the USA). Especially if you have Sjogren’s your mouth is dry all the time and it is a problem that can be helped with a bit of chewing gum as the mere action produces saliva but don’t do any prolonged chewing as it is hard on your TMJ (5 minutes is about right). Many of us with thyroid issues have dry mouths and low B12 levels, so the combination seems a little like supplement nirvana to me.

Each piece of gum provides 125 mcg of B12, which is nowhere near the amount of B12 a person needs to raise low levels of B12 but it can’t hurt you to take 125 mcg more B12 per day (you excrete excess B vitamins with the exception of B6 which should not exceed 50-100 mg). I love the big bubbles you can create but I can only recommended you imbibe in bubble making in the privacy of your own home. The looks generated by the site of a silver haired female of “middle age” driving a cute little Jetta diesel wagon blowing gigantic bubbles of  pink gum from her mouth are priceless.

My gall bladder package of supplements also seems to be a winner. I have irregular flare ups with my gall bladder and when it happens these two supplements seem to greatly relieve the discomfort. To soften gallstones and thus taken every day at least once a day is a combination of orthophosphoric acid, inositol and riboflavin in a supplement called O.P.A. or Super Phos which instead of Riboflavin has Choline Bitartrate. It is best taken in apple juice but I use water. The other supplement that will always be around for those times when my sluggish gall bladder complains is  Gallbladder Nano-Detox by Premier Research Labs. It is a probiotic generated formula full of herbs that aid with gallbladder function.

If you find yourself complaining of indigestion or  burping frequently (often either a lack of a gall bladder or because of a sluggish gall bladder) I also recommend Thorne Dipan-9, one or two capsules prior to eating. During the meal Nutricology Ox Bile should be taken and varying the number of capsules you take is recommended. With a snack perhaps just one capsule, with a meal 2-3 capsules. Throughout the meal Betaine HCL can be taken or if taken after a meal you have to experiment to see how many capsules bring on a pleasant warm feeling. I find three is perfect for me taken after a meal but I am going to try one at the beginning, middle and end to see if I get more or less indigestion when indigestion is the problem.

While some blood test results last week were not perfect my CRP was very good. A high CRP is directly related to the amount of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the cause of many a malady including cancers. My CRP was very low and thus a reflection of a low amount of inflammation. I am not the only one to report that by taking 1000-2000 mg of Krill oil every day inflammation has been reduced.

My latest Krill was from iHerb but Mercola sells Krill oil in capliques which are easier to swallow and made from fish gelatin for those who object to animal products but not fish in their supplements. I did, by the way, try fish oil supplements recently but they are just too big and hard to swallow, so I went back to krill. Me thinks I should have added fish oil to the “Not taking those again”  list but I may try again and see if the size still bothers me.

Also for inflammation reduction I am taking Chlorella and Spirulina as a greens supplement. Greens naturally reduce inflammation and I have experienced the eradication of cysts on my fingers and toes with the consumption of green drinks.However, recently I have shied away from green drinks because of their goitrogenic effects and my thyroid takes priority over any other minor complaints I have. Greens in general, but especially chlorella and spirulina are high in Vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and chlorophyll and they help our bodies deal with any increased levels of radioactive iodine that may be with us as a result of the nuclear meltdown in Japan.

My friends and I find our cupboards full of disused supplements because in our experimentation we find supplements that worked and supplements that didn’t seem to make any improvements in our health. First we have the collections of supplements that our doctors recommend. We try them and even though doctor recommended they aren’t right. The other source of supplementation recommendations are the plethora of online experts. They each have a company they support and thus a supplement that is just the thing to cure what ails ya. At long last, after much experimentation, I am finally finding the supplements that I buy repeatedly and the ones I will never buy again (many of them doctor recommended). I hope some of my suggestions assist you in making the right decision for taking control of your health but if not don’t give up just try, try again. The answer will be around one corner or another and then, you too, will have a collection. Not one you brag about but a collection none the less.

Have a healthy, happy week,

Kris

‘Zymes for your Good Health

I ‘zyme, you ‘zyme, we all should take enzymes! They are a necessary part of digestion and good body health and yet they are sadly undiscovered and under appreciated. Most of us just accept that indigestion is part of eating, or burping is a polite way to say you enjoyed the meal. When all the gas and indigestion becomes too much we reach for Tums and down them by the handful. Folks there is nothing good for you in a Tums and it is merely a band-aid that temporarily covers up the problem but does nothing to help solve it. Improving digestion will actually stop the pain and the gas thus healing what ails you and this is where digestive enzymes enter.

So what exactly do enzymes do in the digestive tract? Whether a person has indigestion, acid reflux, gas , bloating, fatigue after eating, etc. these are all side effects of an inefficient digestive system. If your digestion is inefficient you are not getting the proper nutrition to support a healthy body and over time you will become debilitated and chronically ill. Your body is not keeping up with the demand for making its own enzymes and adding either plant based enzymes or animal based enzymes will help you digest your food completely thus allowing your body to use all the nutrients you are consuming.

I think of it as the same kind of reaction that occurs when you add baking soda to vinegar, (sorry but that is what comes to mind as I use that mixture to clean my toilets every week). If you add digestive enzymes to your mix of food it works like the vinegar on the baking soda and you have this kind of dissolution of the food (like the baking soda) thus making it easier for your body to utilize every morsel. That takes the pressure off your body which is constantly in overdrive trying to digest your food and allows it to use its energy to heal itself and you become a healthier human being.

Just think of how clean your toilet is after the vinegar works with the baking soda, the solution bubbles up, eats all the bad stuff off your toilet bowl and you flush it all down the drain. Your body has the same mechanism, the enzymes work on the food you eat mushing it all up, you absorb the more completely digested food, utilize the vitamins and minerals that have been made more available and the waste is flushed away leaving you with a healthier body. Food is therefore not allowed to sit undigested in your gut where it will ferment and cause burping , bloating and gas.

My family is notorious for indigestion, gas, and bloating and there are jokes around the world about the burping and farting that we are capable of. That is no exaggeration, my daughter had a British friend who when seeing her after years of being apart asked her, in her distinct Hampshire England accent, “Andrea do you still boorp and faht like you used to?” Sadly my daughter had to laugh and say she did. We have laughed about this and other digestive maladies over the years but I find it less humorous these days as I realize it is the sign of a troubled digestive tract. If your digestion doesn’t work properly eventually your brain won’t work properly, your eyes will fail you, your heart will become congested and lethargic, you will have aches and pains and life will seem less appealing. You will die one of those people who asks for death to be swift and merciful with the feeling it cannot come too soon. I do not wish for this future scenario and I feel digestive enzymes will help my digestion and make “boorping” and “fahting” something of the past.

Now if you are a devotee of Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” or Sandor Katz’ “Wild Fermentation” you have in your hands a mighty source of plant based enzymes. You can ferment food and get a tremendous benefit because the fermentation works just like enzymes on the raw food, breaking down the hard to digest particles and leaving you with an enzyme rich concoction that your body can easily digest. In fact, I made my favorite mixture this weekend and will share with you the technique.

First I gathered small and not totally ripe veggies from the garden. Green Roma tomatoes, tiny eggplant, small buds from the milkweed in our field, cucumbers, green beans, lots of fresh basil, 5 garlic cloves, peeled and one oak leaf (this will keep the vegetables crisp). I washed and dried them all and placed them carefully in a clean Ball jar. In with the mix I did add two dried cayenne peppers for a bit of  spice.

Next I put approximately a pint and half of filtered water in a measuring cup and to this I added 3 tablespoons of Celtic Sea Salt, stirring to dissolve the salt completely and pour this on top of the vegetables in the jar.

You need to assure that the vegetables stay covered with the salt brine, so I use a small porcelain ramekin, filled it with leftover salt solution and placed it on top. The jar thus prepared then went in a dark, coolish (as coolish as you get in the dog days of August) cupboard and will stay there about 4 days. After it has fermented to the taste I prefer I will skim off any muck that forms on top (usually doesn’t) and cap it and keep it in the refrigerator until we have eaten it all. This process mellows even the tiny, sometimes bitter eggplant and milkweed buds and creates a bite of vegetable that is at once luscious and  piquant and, need I add, full of digestive enzymes.

So what do you do if you don’t have a garden from which to pluck your vegetables?  First you can increase the amount of raw vegetables and fruit in your diet this small adjustment will increase the intake of plant enzymes. These can be purchased from your local grocery store, so no difficulty there. In addition you should take enzymes in capsules with your food to increase the digestibility of the food. Enzymes like protease help with protein digestion. Lactase will help you digest dairy. Catalase acts as an antioxidant by breaking down hydrogen peroxide in to water and oxygen. It is one of the most potent antioxidants found in nearly every cell of the body. All enzymes are useful and protective and can be used with or without food depending on what your specific purpose is for taking enzymes.

There are many reasons to take individual enzymes as they each serve a purpose but perhaps the easiest thing to do is to take a blend of enzymes.  Enzymatic Therapy’s Mega-Zyme are animal based enzymes according to Tom Bohager (Enzymedica’s founder and operating chairman) in his book “Enzymes: What the Experts Know”. He strongly believes that if you are dealing with gall bladder problems, pancreatitis, or liver cancer the animal based enzymes work better. He also mentions Michael’s and Jarrow formulas as being enzymes he has had good luck with in treating the above causes of indigestion.

I recently purchased Now brand Digest Platinum as the price was right and many people had had good experience  (iHerb reviews) with the Now brand relieving their indigestion and acid reflux. I have also used Digest Gold by Enzymedica but the expense puts me off. Having read Bohager’s book I may try Enzymatic Therapy’s Mega-Zyme  as my specific issue is at this point and time due to a congested gall bladder and it would be interesting to see if the animal based enzymes are more efficient than the plant based enzymes I have been taking.

Here is my final take on enzymes and on many things I try and write about. Taking digestive enzymes will not hurt you and it is possible that they will save your life, I guess you may never know. I am suddenly reminded of a story my husband always uses when I talk about preventing disease rather than curing it. He compares preventive medicine to the man standing in a room waving his arms. Another fellow asks him why he is waving his arms and he replies “To keep the elephants away.” “But there aren’t any elephants in this room,” the second fellow states with certainty. “See” the first fellow replies, ‘it’s working!”

Hiatal Hernia

Ever have that feeling of a lump in your throat or the sensation that you can not swallow your food properly? Well it could be a number of things but it also can be a real sensation and one of those possibilities is a hiatal hernia. My real reason to mention this possible cause of indigestion is the YouTube video at the end of my blog as many sites say there is no exercise to treat the existing herniation. This video shows a very helpful technique that may not cure but it sure makes the situation more tolerable.

I will do a cursory explanation of what a hiatal hernia is, what the symptoms might be and why you might develop a hiatal hernia and then what allopathic medicine suggests for solving the problem. I am not an expert on hiatal hernia, so what I write is simply from researching the internet. The technique that is shown in the video has proven to provide  a certain amount of comfort when I have that uncomfortably full feeling and when I have some heart arrhythmia, so I feel more capable of personally recommending that.

A hiatal hernia is defined as an abnormally loose attachment of the esophagus to the diaphragm which allows the esophagus and stomach to slip upwards.  This deviation in God’s plan exists in approximately 15% of the population and often goes unnoticed until the person develops acid reflux from a diet that is unfriendly to a healthy body. Sliding hiatal hernias, the most common type, are those in which the junction of the esophagus and stomach, referred to as the gastro-esophageal junction, and part of the stomach protrude into the chest. The junction may reside permanently in the chest, but often it juts into the chest only during a swallow. This occurs because with each swallow the muscle of the esophagus contracts causing the esophagus to shorten and to pull up the stomach. When the swallow is finished, the herniated part of the stomach falls back into the abdomen. There is another hernia called Para-esophageal hiatal hernia  that has the more serious side effect of actually making the passage of food impossible but thankfully is not very common.

Most hiatal hernias are often not even noticed by the person who has one. However, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can be the ultimate result of the larger sliding type of hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernia is not the only cause of GERD as it can exist without the herniation but it is clear that a herniation contributes to GERD. The symptoms are heartburn, worse when bending over or lying down, swallowing difficulty, regurgitation, chest pain (pain and discomfort are usually due to the reflux of gastric acid, air, or bile) and nausea.

The allopathic treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Reducing the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux) will relieve pain. Medications that neutralize stomach acidity, decrease acid production, or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that prevents acid from backing up into the esphagus) may be prescribed.

Other measures to reduce symptoms include:

  • Avoiding large or heavy meals
  • Not lying down or bending over immediately after a meal
  • Reducing weight and not smoking

If these measures failure to control the symptoms, or complications appear, surgical repair of the hernia may be necessary.

The cause is unknown, but hiatal hernias may be the result of a weakening of the supporting tissue. Increasing age, obesity, and smoking are known risk factors in adults.

Children with this condition are usually born with it (congenital). It is often associated with gastroesophageal reflux in infants.

Hiatal hernias are very common, especially in people over 50 years old. This condition may cause reflux (backflow) of gastric acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

Hiatal hernia came to my attention when my research buddy,  Chloe, went to her functional medicine doctor a month or so ago. She was put on the examination table as doctors are wont to do when you visit them. At which point her doctor looked at her and stated that her stomach was riding up in to her diaphragm, it was “too high”. She proceeded to massage the area to pull the stomach back down in to position. I was fascinated by her story and especially when Chloe told me that irregular heartbeats can be relieved with this massage. I give full credit to Chloe for finding this YouTube video explaining the massage.

I can personally recommend the technique as I do this massage frequently. I do suffer some of the listed side effects of hiatal hernia and I do only occasionally now, have an irregular heartbeat (my T3 only treatment has improved this situation beyond belief). This massage actually feels good after awhile but as he warns in the video it can make the area sore for a brief period of time. If you suffer some of the above symptoms and you want to try this technique I think you should and do it without fear, it won’t hurt anything and it may help a great deal.