What Is Gas and Bloating?
Gas is a normal part of the digestive process, but excess gas can cause bloating, discomfort and embarrassment. Excess gas in the gut is usually due to food not being digested or absorbed properly. As the food rots and ferments, it gives off a lot of gas. Often, the undigested food passes into the colon, where it feeds the unhealthy bacteria and other pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms, producing even more gas and bloating.
Digestive diseases and bowel problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, constipation and bowel obstruction are common causes of flatulence, gas and bloating. An inadequate water intake can also cause stomach bloating, as water is necessary to digestion. Changes in hormone levels can also cause pre-menstrual bloating in women.
Natural Remedy For Gas and Bloating
The cornerstone treatment to relieve gas and bloating is probiotic supplementation and many people need digestive enzymes as well. Sometimes, high dose probiotics alone can resolve gas pain in as little as a week. However, depending on the state of your gut flora and whether or not you have intestinal inflammation or ulceration present, it can take considerably longer. In the meantime, watch this video on a Colonic Massage technique to learn how to move the gas around and out and minimize the pain and bloating:
Improving the bacterial flora in your gut will ultimately relieve gas and bloating, since it the suppresses or eliminates “bad bacteria” (a major cause of gas) and improves the digestion and absorption of nutrients – resulting in little or no undigested food rotting or fermenting in the gastrointestinal tract. Certain strains of “good bacteria” help produce digestive enzymes, peptides, amino acids and B vitamins for use by your body. They also inhibit or eliminate unhealthy bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms like yeast, fungus and parasites.
Currently, I only recommend Natren brand probiotics, as they are the only company I know of that meets the basic standards for probiotic quality and efficacy. You need to take the full spectrum of probiotics (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, and L. bulgaricus) in powder or capsule form.
If you tend towards diarrhea, then take the powder form only (Megadophilus, Bifido Factor and Digesta-Lac). If your bowel movements are normal or tend towards constipation, then you can take the capsules (Healthy Trinity), if you prefer. Take 1 capsule once a day, or mix ½ to 1 tsp. of each powder in 8 ounces of room temperature spring or filtered water (no tap water) and take 2 to 3 times per day on an empty stomach until your gas symptoms subside.
Then take 1 capsule once every other day (or 1 tsp. of the powders once before bed) on an empty stomach (15 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food) for the following three months. Then, take as needed – let your digestion, bloating and gas, and bowel movements be your guide. See the section on Probiotic Supplementation in Chapter 2 of my book Listen To Your Gut for more information and details, or sign up for my free Probiotics eBook on the top left side of this page.
NOTE: Be sure to get my Free eBook: What You Need To Know About Probiotics by signing up in the green box below.
Diet and Gas
Food allergies, gas-producing foods, lactose intolerance and some drugs and nutritional supplements can also cause bloating. Follow the Minimize Gas and Bloating Diet in Chapter 3 of Listen To Your Gut to reduce or eliminate trigger foods until your intestine is healed enough, and your bacterial flora healthy enough, to digest and absorb these foods properly.
Digestive enzymes or products like Beano merely treat the symptom and not the underlying malfunction. There is concern that taking digestive enzymes may actually encourage the body to not produce its own enzymes, or suppress natural enzyme production over time. So it is a good idea to use digestive enzymes only for short periods and to get natural digestive enzymes through eating more raw foods and fermented foods, while improving your digestion via probiotics.
Walking and other forms of exercise can aid digestion and relieve excess gas. Follow the treatment summary below to relieve gas symptoms while waiting for the probiotics to improve your gut flora and eliminate the digestive problems that are the most common cause of gas.
Traditionally humans have always eaten a LOT of fermented foods – which contain live enzymes and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). However, with the advent of refrigeration, we no longer needed to ferment foods in order to preserve them. So in our modern diets very few people consume fermented foods on a regular basis.
If you are not getting live enzymes from your food (as suggested above), you may notice an improvement in your digestion (less gas and bloating) by taking digestive enzyme supplements whenever you eat. I searched for a long time before I found a digestive enzyme supplement whose microfiltration process ensured that it was not contaminated with mold spores (see products on left hand side). You see most (if not all) digestive enzymes are cultered on Aspergillus Oryzae. However, when tested, 80% of these supplements had not effectively filtered out the aspergillus spores and the enzymes were contaminated with them.
Use digestive enzymes for as long as you need to, but try to get fluent in fermenting your own foods – making yogurt, kefir, fermented veggies, etc. to get your enzymes from your diet.
Pregnancy/Breastfeeding/Babies: I have used Natren probiotics while pregnant and breastfeeding. I have also given them periodically to my kids as babies (give babies ONLY Life Start – B. infantis – probiotic) and toddlers. If you have a baby with gas pains, you will find my DVD, Baby Fart Aerobics: And Other Natural Treatments for Colicky Babies invaluable to relieve gas and bloating. Avoid giving babies any cow’s milk products.
GAS AND BLOATING SYMPTOM TREATMENT SUMMARY
- Take the full spectrum of Natren brand probiotics (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, L. bulgaricus) in powder or capsule form. If you tend towards diarrhea, then take the powder form only. If your bowel movements are normal or tend towards constipation, then you can take the capsules, if you prefer. Take 1 capsule once per day, or, mix ½ to 1 tsp. of each powder in 8 ounces of room temperature spring or filtered water (no tap water) and take 2 to 3 times per day on an empty stomach, until gas/bloating subsides. Then take 1 capsule once every other day, or, 1 tsp. of each powder once before bed, on an empty stomach (15 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food) for the next three months following.
- Perform Colonic Massage to move gas around and out of the colon.
- Walk and/or exercise.