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Ind1g0

For Any Of You With Leaky Gut Or Poor Digestion

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Basically, I'm making this post so that some of you guys with digestion issues that don't seem to be getting cleared up on paleo/fodmaps/leaky gut healing etc. can have another alternative to add to your current regimen.

My own journey: I am currently 22 years old. Have always had problems with digestion- even in infancy in the form of colic. I have tested negative for most of the (major) food allergies like dairy, gluten, eggs and peanuts. My diet is impeccable. I exercise. But I still have persistant itchy, cystic moderate acne. I am sensitive to the slightest bit of sugar, whether natural (in the form of fruit or honey) or not. At the age of 13- I was also diagnosed with high bilirubin (which they said was genetic, psh), and high cholesterol. Very bizarre.

To find out the source of all my problems, I've done quite a bit of research and done a ridiculous amount of trial and error through various dieting, lifestyle changes, supplementation, topicals, etc. I've also convinced myself over the years that I have a variety of different allergies which I tried to help with elimination dieting, the most recent being fructose (which does aggravate me), but I'm pretty sure now that I don't have an allergy at all. I am sensitive, in truth, to ALL foods and I'm trying to figure out why. Benzoyl peroxide cleared me up- but I knew the internal problem was still alive and well.

I came across the threat here about leaky gut, which I had known I've struggled with for a while. Things about me that could have caused this are: I was not breastfed, I was on a few rounds of antibiotics as a kid, I consumed a high amount of NSAIDS (ibuprofen) for horrible cramping, and my diet when I was younger consisted mostly of refined carbs, processed foods and sugar. I also have experienced an extreme amount of stress and anxiety since very early on in life, which can also contribute to leaky gut.

So, I tried probiotics in addition to my already paleo diet. Symptoms did not clear up. I did some more research. I eventually came across FODMAPS, which I also tried, to no avail, and I felt like I was starving because I could barely eat anything with the paleo and FODMAP combo. Recently though, I came across a diet called "GAPS."

Basically, GAPS stands for "gut and psychology syndrome diet." The protocol is almost identical to paleo and also recommends adding in the supplements used for leaky gut. BUT, there is one major difference: the recommendation to avoid most supplements (vitamins, etc), and the strict recommendation of Betaine HCL with Pepsin before every single meal.

So, in addition to a very high quality probiotic, strict dieting of absolutely no sugar or grain, and cod liver oil (for vitamin A and D, as well as essential fatty acids), which are all MUST HAVES on the GAPS diet, you must have this Betaine HCL with Pepsin, which I was not using. The premise behind this, is that many of us with leaky gut actually have low stomach acid.

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So what does stomach acid do?

HCl's important functions include:

  • Breaking down proteins into the essential amino acids and nutrients your body needs in order to stay healthy.

  • Stimulating your pancreas and small intestines to produce the digestive enzymes and bile necessary to further breakdown the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you eat.

  • Preventing disease by killing pathogenic bacteria and yeast normally present in food.

    And if your stomach acid is low? What happens then?

    • You become protein malnourished. When your stomach acid is low, you are not able to digest protein.

      • The improper digestion of protein creates toxins in your intestines that can set the stage for illness and disease.

      • Improper digestion of protein also creates acidic blood, since protein is by nature acidic.

      [*]You become mineral deficient. As your blood becomes more acidic, it will look for minerals from anywhere in your body, in order to get your blood to its more ideal alkaline state. Acidic blood robs your body of minerals, even taking minerals from your bones (which is important to know if you want to prevent osteoporosis).

    Okay, that's bad enough, but then what?

    [*]You could eat plenty of protein and still be protein malnourished. This raises cortisol levels (stress or death hormone), thereby raising your blood glucose (blood sugar levels). Elevated cortisol adversely affects your behavior and temperment. (OKAY, SO THIS EXPLAINS WHY I AM SENSITIVE TO EVEN NATURAL SUGARS IN FRUIT AND HONEY, AS WELL AS WHY I'M EXTREMELY ANXIOUS AND GET ANGERED SO QUICKLY. IT ALSO EXPLAINS MY HORMONAL IMBALANCES, BECAUSE WHEN YOUR BLOOD SUGAR AND CORTISOL LEVELS ARE HIGH IT WILL AFFECT OTHER HORMONE LEVELS BECAUSE THE BODY IS A SYNCHRONISTIC MACHINE).

    [*]Eventually, your adrenals become depleted (adrenal fatigue) and DHEA, the youth hormone, is suppressed, leading to premature aging.

    Low DHEA and high cortisol affect your brain and behavior, but that's not all. The vicious cycle of low stomach acid affects your inner ecosystem too. Low stomach acid can lead to more bad guys (pathogenic bacteria, candida and viruses) than good guys (healthy microflora), thus lowering your immunity.

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    So all of this research has me pretty convinced that my problem, and the problem with many of you guys who have tried all possible digestive and nutritional remedies and haven't found refuge, is low stomach acid.

    But- then I started thinking- if I was diagnosed with high bilirubin and high cholesterol, wouldn't that mean my liver and such is producing TOO much acid? Apparently not, because while bilirubin is indeed made of bile (the digestive fluid) and cholesterol, the purpose of bilirubin is to help the liver break down substances, soooo:

    Elevated bilirubin levels can be a result of increased breakdown of red blood cells, which is called hemolysis, or an incapability of the liver to remove the substance properly.

    I'm assuming now, that my high bilirubin and high cholesterol is a result of my liver not being able to remove certain substances efficiently, because in the place where much of the enzymatic breakdown is supposed to occur, the stomach, there is not enough stomach acid and therefore much of the food is undigested and toxic. To explain it again, when you have low stomach acid, the natural digestive enzymes won't function properly and none of your food gets digested, so when certain bits get to the liver, the liver gets overloaded and treats certain "unbroken-down-things" as toxins.

    And now that I know my liver is overloaded (I never could figure out why since I completely avoid common toxins, I exercise, sleep and eat very well) due to low stomach acid, I have an explanation for my hormonal imbalances. The liver also deals with hormone levels. It is our master organ, you know. If it's overloaded with other duties, it's not going to be the best at helping create hormonal balance on top of it.

    So, my advice to you guys, whether you have high bilirubin or not, try to find a betaine HCL acid with pepsin supplement (without fillers) and take it at each meal. This will help MORE than digestive enzymes, because when there is enough stomach acid, digestive enzymes will (usually) naturally regulate themselves.

    Anyways- I'm pretty sure I'm onto something here and I just wanted to share the wealth/hear your thoughts, even though this is a long post, I hope someone has some extra info to lend.

    -INDIGO

Edited by Ind1g0
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I hope it works for you! I think a lot of us have low stomach acid. The problem is, I've also read that taking those supplements can weaken your natural ability to make stomach acid even more. What do you think of that theory?

Rather than taking a supplement, I'm interested in ways of naturally increasing stomach acid. How can we heal this issue so that it doesn't come back? Taking a supplement can't possibly be the answer, unless it's incurable...

I found this list:

Other strategies to support stomach health:

  1. 16 oz of room temperature (mineralized) water with 2 teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar upon waking.

  2. Stress management such as breath work, yin yoga, or meditation.

  3. Test pH levels in the urine and saliva. Ideal pH is between 6.8-7.2.

  4. HCL supplements or digestive enzymes (to be used temporarily), or the use of Trikatu with meals (helps with B12 absorption and to offset gluten and dairy intolerances).

  5. Increase dietary antioxidants (especially turmeric!).

  6. Chew your food!

  7. Drink ginger tea. This will aid in digestion and reduce bloating. Ginger is considered a digestive tonic in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and stimulates the bodies own HCL production.

  8. Increase consumption of garlic. Allium, a substance that occurs naturally in garlic, helps prevent ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori (h. pylori) bacteria.

  9. Decrease consumption of coffee, tea, tobacco, sugar, alcohol, spices from hot peppers/hot sauce, and fried foods - all deplete HCL and thin the gut lining.

  10. Give your body time to digest. Try to go to bed before 10pm when digestion becomes active again.

http://thewholejourney.com/stomach-acid-balance

I think most of us would have massive improvements in our health in so many ways if we could stop being stressed all the time. That's the biggest thing I am working on at the moment: emotional health.

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I hope it works for you! I think a lot of us have low stomach acid. The problem is, I've also read that taking those supplements can weaken your natural ability to make stomach acid even more. What do you think of that theory?

Rather than taking a supplement, I'm interested in ways of naturally increasing stomach acid. How can we heal this issue so that it doesn't come back? Taking a supplement can't possibly be the answer, unless it's incurable...

I found this list:

Other strategies to support stomach health:


  1. 16 oz of room temperature (mineralized) water with 2 teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar upon waking.

  2. Stress management such as breath work, yin yoga, or meditation.

  3. Test pH levels in the urine and saliva. Ideal pH is between 6.8-7.2.

  4. HCL supplements or digestive enzymes (to be used temporarily), or the use of Trikatu with meals (helps with B12 absorption and to offset gluten and dairy intolerances).

  5. Increase dietary antioxidants (especially turmeric!).

  6. Chew your food!

  7. Drink ginger tea. This will aid in digestion and reduce bloating. Ginger is considered a digestive tonic in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and stimulates the bodies own HCL production.

  8. Increase consumption of garlic. Allium, a substance that occurs naturally in garlic, helps prevent ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori (h. pylori) bacteria.

  9. Decrease consumption of coffee, tea, tobacco, sugar, alcohol, spices from hot peppers/hot sauce, and fried foods - all deplete HCL and thin the gut lining.

  10. Give your body time to digest. Try to go to bed before 10pm when digestion becomes active again.

http://thewholejourney.com/stomach-acid-balance

I think most of us would have massive improvements in our health in so many ways if we could stop being stressed all the time. That's the biggest thing I am working on at the moment: emotional health.

Salt and black pepper are two more things from my good things lst.

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Yes- I'm only planning on supplementing with Hcl for a bit- until I can adequately figure out how to increase my own stomach acid production. Good advice guys- and all those recommendations are helpful.

But about the salt and pepper- what about it is good for digestion? I've never heard that one before

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DaftFrost- I think you might have responded to the wrong article? I would never advocate milk and the post has nothing to do with body building :/

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I've heard of people being able to wean off HCl supplements after some time... so I don't think they reduce your own production of stomach acid. I have been supplementing with HCl for years, but I have been able to reduce my dose over time. I've had to address the things that were contributing to my lack of stomach acid production -- yeast and bacterial overgrowth, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, poor adrenal function.

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Excellent summary, only few personal experience points left to add to heal leaky gut

1. Alcohol is #1 contributor to leaky gut to me, to really see effect need to go to zero for a month

2. coffee , wheat/gluten, milk, eggs follow

3. get sufficient vitamin D, preferrably through your skin rather than oral supplement, it is important for repair of mucosal barrier

4. do an occasional fasting

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I've heard of people being able to wean off HCl supplements after some time... so I don't think they reduce your own production of stomach acid. I have been supplementing with HCl for years, but I have been able to reduce my dose over time. I've had to address the things that were contributing to my lack of stomach acid production -- yeast and bacterial overgrowth, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, poor adrenal function.

Hi there! Yes- so I've started to take hcl. Have you noticed any changed in your digestion when taking it? Also, why do you feel you had to wean yourself off? Is there a dependence that occurs because if so I'm not aware but I'd love to know! Also, how did you know you had yeast issues and how did you fix them?

Excellent summary, only few personal experience points left to add to heal leaky gut

1. Alcohol is #1 contributor to leaky gut to me, to really see effect need to go to zero for a month

2. coffee , wheat/gluten, milk, eggs follow

3. get sufficient vitamin D, preferrably through your skin rather than oral supplement, it is important for repair of mucosal barrier

4. do an occasional fasting

Nice tips, thanks! So, when you mentioned eggs, did you mean they they irritated or helped you? Also, when you say fasting, what exactly do you mean? For the past 2 days, I drink liquid nutrition until dinner when I eat a full healthy meal. Is that fasting?

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I've heard of people being able to wean off HCl supplements after some time... so I don't think they reduce your own production of stomach acid. I have been supplementing with HCl for years, but I have been able to reduce my dose over time. I've had to address the things that were contributing to my lack of stomach acid production -- yeast and bacterial overgrowth, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, poor adrenal function.

Hi there! Yes- so I've started to take hcl. Have you noticed any changed in your digestion when taking it? Also, why do you feel you had to wean yourself off? Is there a dependence that occurs because if so I'm not aware but I'd love to know! Also, how did you know you had yeast issues and how did you fix them?

Excellent summary, only few personal experience points left to add to heal leaky gut

1. Alcohol is #1 contributor to leaky gut to me, to really see effect need to go to zero for a month

2. coffee , wheat/gluten, milk, eggs follow

3. get sufficient vitamin D, preferrably through your skin rather than oral supplement, it is important for repair of mucosal barrier

4. do an occasional fasting

Nice tips, thanks! So, when you mentioned eggs, did you mean they they irritated or helped you? Also, when you say fasting, what exactly do you mean? For the past 2 days, I drink liquid nutrition until dinner when I eat a full healthy meal. Is that fasting?

Eggs are problematic as the whites contain lysosyme which breaks down intestinal wall.

Fasting: I do a mix of

A. intermittent fasting as per leangains.com (basically skipping breakfast)

B. occasional full day fast.

For the fast to count you need to eat zero calories for at least 12 hours. Good news: sleeping counts.

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Thanks! I also read recently about "food combining." It seems to have helped me a lot. Basically, the premise is, that it takes a different PH in the stomach to digest proteins vs. carbohydrates, and therefore, they should never be eaten together, because the gastric juices will neutralize eachother and make digestion of the two foods impossible. In addition, fruit should never be eaten with any other food, because it will sit in the stomach and rot, causing lots of gastric discomfort. I have found this to be really helpful for me!!!

In addition- I would recommend having sea salt with the food. It stimulates bile. I also recommend taking apple cider vinegar with MEATS ONLY! (because of the food combining principle). I was getting the worst indigestion when I'd follow apple cider vinegar with a sweet potato, thinking I was doing something good. Now I Know why!!!

I no longer recommend HCL, Js327. I went out and bought it, and I do think I wasted my money. I definitely think it would help, because of what it does, but I thought twice and I decided that betaine hcl is just too close to my own stomach's acid. I have read that if you go off betaine hcl after taking it for a long time, your stomach has to learn to produce its own, because it senses there is already acid in the stomach and lowers its production. The body is very smart. I don't want to screw with anything bioidentical like that. I would rather just learn how to increase and make most efficient my OWN stomach acid production and digestion.

So, all the info at the top of this thread is definitely still relevant. I do definitely think that poor digestion is the major cause of acne...and I think stomach acid plays a major role. I do think the way we eat in the SAD diet has a harmful effect on the stomach acid and overall digestion. I no longer recommend betaine HCL but I DO recommend looking into ways to stimulate your own juices or realize why they aren't working optimally!

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