How to Relieve Gas Naturally
Learn natural treatments that banish stomach bloat and end excessive gas
Whether you've just started experiencing a gas problem or you've been dealing with excessive gas and stomach bloat for years, it’s time to put an end to the uncomfortable—and often embarrassing—symptoms. Following are the natural treatments I recommend for how to relieve gas and stop the belching, bloating, and flatulence for good.
Excess intestinal gas is most often due to inadequate protein digestion. Protein takes a lot of hydrochloric acid from the stomach to be broken down. If there isn't enough stomach acid to break down the protein completely, it has a tendency to ferment and putrefy. When this occurs, you will have stomach bloat and excessive gas after eating, fullness, heartburn, and sometimes vomiting.
Here are three easy ways to help ensure proper protein digestion and get rid of gas and bloating problems:
- Eat protein foods at the beginning of a meal. Unlike Europeans, Americans eat salad before a meal. You should always eat salads along with or after protein foods, but never before. The carbohydrates in salads require no hydrochloric acid, but the stomach dumps all the hydrochloric acid in to begin with. Then, when the protein food (meat, fish, beans, cheese, etc.) needs acid, there is none left.
- If changing the order of your meal isn’t enough to stop your excessive gas, you may need to take some hydrochloric acid. I always recommend betaine hydrochloride, which you can get at health food stores. One really important point to remember is to take one or two tablets after you eat, not before or during your meal. You want your stomach to produce and secrete as much acid as it can before adding the additional acid.
- In addition to hydrochloric acid, there are dozens of digestive enzymes on the market that can help re-acidify your intestinal tract and improve your overall digestive capabilities, while helping rid you of excessive gas. A good product will include enzymes to help you digest the three main types of nutrients: proteases (for proteins), lipases (for fats), and amylases (for carbohydrates).
Another main reason some foods cause intestinal gas is your body's inability to digest certain complex sugar compounds (humans don't produce the necessary alpha glactosidase enzyme necessary to digest these complex sugars called oligosaccharides). When these undigested compounds reach the intestines, they begin to ferment and release gas. Beano can help correct this problem, as it contains an enzyme that helps breakdown these complex sugars before they reach the intestines and perform their unsociable deeds. By adding a few drops of Beano to your first bite of food, Beano helps prevent gas formation.
The enzyme in Beano is taken from the food grade mold Aspergillus niger. This may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, especially those sensitive to molds (or mold derived products like penicillin). Persons who have the hereditary condition called galactosemia (the inability to convert galactose to glucose) should also avoid Beano.
Balance Your Bacteria
When the wrong bacteria take over in your colon, they can produce foul smelling waste products and gas. If you want to stop your excessive gas and stomach bloat—as well as achieve optimal health—it's imperative to have a robust and healthy colonization of "good" probiotic bacteria in your bowels. And a great, all-natural way to help grow friendly intestinal bacteria is to include more cultured and fermented foods in your diet.
Naturally fermented, "live" foods have been around since the beginning of humankind. Fermented vegetables, fermented milk products (clabber, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk), kefir, fermented soy products (natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, fermented tofu), and even naturally fermented, unpasteurized beers are some of the most complete probiotics available. My favorite fermented food (besides unpasteurized beer, of course) is homemade sauerkraut. I keep a fresh batch going almost constantly, and some already made in the fridge at all times. It provides one of the widest varieties of probiotic bacteria that are known to protect against all kinds of digestive problems including excessive gas and stomach bloat.
During those times when you're not home or don't have access to homemade sauerkraut or other fermented foods, I recommend the use of a commercial probiotic supplement. Look for one that can maintain viability without refrigeration, available in health food stores and online.
More Dr. Williams Advice on Excessive Gas and Stomach Bloat
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For more than 25 years, Dr. David Williams has traveled the world researching alternative therapies for our most common health problems—therapies that are inexpensive and easy to use, and therapies that treat the root cause of a problem rather than just its symptoms. More About Dr. Williams
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