Dyspepsia and Indigestion


Most digestive problems can originate in the stomach, the small intestine or both. Indigestion termed dyspepsia carries a long list of symptoms ranging from abdominal pain, allergic reactions, belching and bloating, a burning sensation after eating, alternating constipation and diarrhea, chronic fatigue, gas galore, insomnia, cravings, skin problems, vomiting or heartburn.

Sheez! Now how do we fix it? For starters, try not to chew with your mouth open or while talking. Slow down when eating or drinking. If possible, chew each bite of food ten to fifteen times before swallowing as the first step in digestion is to ‘masticate’ your food. Yes, like a cow, chewing sets up a chain effect, calling digestive acids and enzymes to the forefront, hence assisting in breaking down your food.

Next, try not to drink liquids with your meals. This can dilute both your hydrochloric acid (HCL) and your enzymes. Lastly, attempt to sip, not gulp, liquids as air can become trapped and thereby increase bloating.

There is a small litany of foods known to increase dyspepsia. These foods tend to be the most beloved by most folks most of the time. Here goes (don’t shoot the messenger!): alcohol, caffeine (yes, coffee), greasy, spicy, or fried foods, and lastly, high carb or high sugar foods. All of the above aforementioned foods literally rob your body of not only enzymes (the key to awesome digestion) but also precious vitamins and minerals.

Beyond these you may have malabsorption issues, an overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria and not enough of the good bacteria. Perhaps you have a sluggish gallbladder due to years of no fat/ low fat or low dietary fiber intake – time to do a gall bladder cleanse:

At bedtime: 4 oz. Apple Juice
4 oz. Olive Oil

In the morning: 4 oz. Olive Oil
4 oz. Apple Juice

One hour later, and every hour until midday, drink:
4 oz. Apple Juice
4 oz. Distilled Water

Midday: 4 oz. Tomato Juice
4 oz. Corn Oil

Every hour after that until bedtime:
4 oz. Apple Juice
4 oz. Distilled Water

A peptic ulcer could also be the culprit or liver congestion (not enough exercise perhaps?).

Funky things can grow in a GI tract that is compromised – consider parasites or candida. If one has years of prescription medication abuse, chemical exposure or high alcohol consumption, then you have unwittingly helped to create your own gaseous monster.

To assess if you have ample HCL, take this simple at home test:

Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice when bloated. If your indigestion goes away you need more HCL. If your symptoms get worse, your HCL is too excessive. Dairy-free probiotics in powder will help to lower excess HCL.

If you burp like crazy or cannot stop creating gas you may be low in bicarbonate. Take ½ tsp of baking soda with ¼ cup water at room temperature. If your burping or gas goes away, keep taking the aforementioned dose as needed.

Last but most importantly, take proteolytic enzymes regularly. Find the highest dose you can. A product that contains protease, amylase, cellulose, and lipase is a must. If it also contains pancreatin this is a bonus.


About Deborah Arneson

Deborah Arneson holds a B.S. in Food Science, a M.S. in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed clinical nutritionist. A veteran in her field, she specializes in solving hormonal imbalances: increasing energy, focus, moods, eliminating anxiety, constipation and sleep problems though one on one nutrition counseling and Ayurvedic practices.