Recently a lady posted in a food group on facebook. She was asking what food the group would recommend other than medicine to ease Ulcers. She has suffered from the condition for a total of 15 years.
It’s heartbreaking to not enjoy food for an entire decade and half without any hope for relief in the near future.
The army of facebookers responded with all kind of recipes and advise.. some cabbage juice, carrot juice and so on. No new ideas were posted. I also wondered in thought.. “for some 15 years, don’t you think the lady could have tried some cabbage or carrot and it never worked?”
Ulcers and Heartburn are a multi billion industry sustained by big pharma. World Health statistics show that 50% of the world population has H.pyroli (the bacteria that causes ulcers). so basically the pharmacists have 4 billion potential customers waiting for a moment when the intestine balance is disrupted and and they get sick.
Understanding the Digestive System
I don’t want you to feel like you are in a bilogical class, so I’ll try to make it as simple and relevant to the topic as possible.
There are two important things in your gut that play a very central role:
- Microbes (good bacteria)
- Acid (yes Acid is good).
there are billions of bacteria, yeast and subspecies found in our gut. some are pathogenic and others are very good for our bodies. Microbes help digest complex nutrients like carbohydrates into simple nutrients like sugar. They also breakdown toxins complex into less harmful simple substances that can be eliminated by the liver.
We therefore cannot discount the role microbes play in our digestive system. We need the bacteria so that the food we eat can be beneficial to our bodies, where the bacteria breaks it down into easily absorb-able nutrients.
Digestive Acid is also key in assisting break down the food we eat. A snake or a crocodile for example has high levels of acid that it can digest a whole animal, breaking down the skin and bones of the carcass. Humans equally have a level of acid suitable to breakdown the foods we eat.
Acid is good.. but its only useful if it stays on the stomach and doesn’t reflex up the esophagus (food pipe between throat and stomach).
One of the main reasons (there could be other medical reasons) that acid moves from the stomach up to near the throat is increased hydrogen and other gases in the stomach.. so when the stomach can’t hold it releases the gas and incidentally the acid is let out.
The stomach is protected by a mucus lining which means the stomach wall is not affected by the acid. the food pipe is not covered, and is therefore sensitive to acid that may have left the stomach (hence the heartburn).
Have you ever had someone who just brushed their teeth but their mouth smells? Most likely these people have heartburn and other stomach related problems. Before you treat your throat and lungs, get your stomach checked too.
Ulcers is NOT an Acid Problem
As you can tell, ulcers is NOT an acid problem, since your doctor will ask for a H.Pyroli test to be done. H.Pyroli is a bacteria, so what has acid got to do with it?
Other than digestion, the acid also plays the role of an antiseptic. The acid kills pathogens found in the food you eat. When there is inadequate acid, there is bacteria overgrowth in the gut. The more bacteria, the more acid is produced to fight the pathogens.
When you are prescribed to take a proton inhibitor like nexium (a drug that stops acid production), two things happen: The food you eat is not digested, the pathogens multiply because of absence of acid.
To counter the pathogens, you are then prescribed with an antibiotic therapy mostly known us pyroli kit. The good news is, the Kit kills the pathogens, the bad news is antibiotics also kill the microbes (good bacteria).
From your medication, you have solved the acid problem and the pathogen problem. But then something else is not solved? which is ?/? Food digestion.
When you eat food, and stays in the stomach for long without being digested, it starts to decompose. The decaying food produces gas. The gas leads to bloating, which opens up the sphincter leading the gas, semi digested food to go up the food pipe. it therefore becomes a circus, you take more anti acids, more antibiotics and the problem persists..
How to Solve the Ulcers and Acid problem Forever
Step 1. Kill all pathogens – with the help of a physician doctor, get tested for bacteria infection, yeast and other parasites like amoeba. When positive.. the doctor should give you treatment for broad spectrum antibacterial, antifungal and anti amoeba. Depending on how severe the problem is the doctor may prescribe other medicine. If possible ask the doctor to give you some other antacid other than a proton pump inhibitor (nexium and the likes). On a serious note, whereas all medicine have side effects ‘proton pump inhibitors’ have long term side effects that affect your kidney function, easy to get a bone fracture and lupus. Literally, stay away from “proton pump inhibitors” like the plague
Step 2. Restore your gut microbes – For every cell in your body, there are 9 bacteria cells in your gut. hence the saying, we are 10% human and 90% bacteria. It’s the high time to take care of your 90%. Remember when you take antibiotics they kill microbes as well. The doctor can prescribe some “flora restoration” drug. essentially its a liquid drug loaded with billions of bacteria. The only downside is pharmaceutical “gut flora” drugs have only one kind of good bacteria. It’s best to get good bacteria from fermented products like: Ferment milk and porridge.
Step 3. Feed Your Microbes with a good diet – your good bacteria need to be fed with a suitable diet. one of the best foods is natural resistant starch. which can be found in sweet potatoes, plantain(matoke), arrow-roots and cassava. Whole farm foods are also key in maintaining a balanced ecosystem in your gut. When was the last time you ate nuts (not peanuts an advanced form of bean), I mean healthy nuts like cashewnuts, macadamia, walnuts. Have you eaten some Avocado or coconut recently? Avoid straining your gut with overly processed food (if it comes in a pack it’s mostly junk, if its from a farmers market its mostly fresh). That’s a simple rule to stay away from junk food.
IMPORTANT: We cannot overlook the importance of microbes in aiding digestion and fighting pathogens. That’s why diet-conscious individuals who have incorporated kefir milk in their diet, visit the doctor less often.