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Natural Medicine Q&A
Ask Dr. P
by Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Natural Medicine Specialist

Did you enjoy the sun & warm days we had last month? No, you say? Allergies giving you trouble? It doesn’t have to be that way. You too can enjoy the outdoors. Having had suffered from allergies since childhood, I know how irritating & incapacitating they can be. I also know how natural medicine can give you results, so you can get outdoors and enjoy the day. Don’t you deserve it?

I want to thank each of you who have helped me inform others about my new Bastyr University-endorsed teaching clinic. For those who haven’t heard, it’s my vision to assure everyone can afford to get the professional help needed to use natural medicine safely and effectively. I also wanted to assure that we could meet growing demand of more patients without compromising on quality or reducing your visit time like other clinics often do. It has been a great success, which I expect to expand as more of you take advantage. As promised, this month’s topic answers: why digestion is the key to your health. Enjoy!

Q: Dr. P, I have bloating and burping after some meals, and my doctor suggested I take an acid blocker is there a natural alternative? Frank

Frank, it’s critical to address bloating and burping after meals with something other than an acid blocker if you want to protect your long-term health. Bloating & burping are rarely a problem of excess stomach acid. They are more often caused by bad digestion creating excess gas in your stomach and small intestine. Low stomach acid, low pancreatic enzymes, poor secretion of bile from your liver, having “bugs” yeast overgrowth, or eating foods to which you are sensitive can all cause bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Even though many of us ignore digestive problems, it’s never a good idea. That little bit of digestive upset, over time, can lead to serious, sometimes fatal health problems. Really, it makes perfect sense: if your digestion is bad, nutrients from your food aren’t made available for absorption. If nutrients aren’t available, your body, and every system in it slowly starves. This leads to chronic disease, early aging, and a list of health problems probably longer than this column! I estimate about 90% of all disease to have nutritional links or to be preventable when optimizing nutrition & digestion. The first steps Frank, are to chew your food well, take time to eat, and consider sipping some lemon water before and during the meal. If that’s not enough, then you need an evaluation to get things figured out. Remember, there are always alternatives.

Q: Dr. P, my doctor told me that antacids are a good source of calcium, and I should have 3 a day. Is that enough? Betty

Unlikely. Betty, although many doctors are recommending antacids as good sources of calcium, that idea is not supported. Antacids should be used only if a person has excess stomach acid, or heartburn. They are often incorrectly recommended for every type of stomach upset. Regular use of antacids neutralizes stomach acid, which stops digestion, which stops nutrient availability, which means slow starvation for your body. It really bothers me to see adults and seniors who have been told to get their calcium from antacids when the most common problem in seniors is malnutrition due to poor digestion from a lack of stomach acid! Likewise, calcium (from food, pills or otherwise,) is best absorbed in an acid stomach environment. Since antacids neutralize stomach acid, the calcium from them is poorly absorbed. Many foods, especially green leafy vegetables & almonds are rich calcium sources, and contain other minerals necessary for you to stay healthy. Remember, digestion is the system that every other system in your body relies. Optimal digestion really is the key to health! Have a great month!

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.




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