MindBody Fitness

Stomach Acid and Digestive Health: Busting the Myth

⁃ Sterilizes the gut which helps with reducing the microbial load.

⁃ Activates peptin ( an enzyme needed to breakdown protein)

⁃ Activates intrinsic factor needed for B12, zinc and trace mineral absorption.

⁃ Helps close the esophogeal sphincter ( acid reflux – lack of stomach acid) and help open the pyloric sphincter to allow food to leave stomach and get into intestine for digestion.
⁃ Needed to prevent undigested particles from getting through the intestinal wall ( leaky gut – leading to inflammation and autoimmune disease).
⁃ Low stomach acid is a real problem.

Symptoms of Low Acid

⁃ Burping and belching

⁃ Acid reflux ( GERD)

⁃ Gas

⁃ Poor breathing and arrhythmia issues

⁃ Thyroid and skin problems

What’s helps:

⁃ Address dysbiosis

⁃ Take Betaine HCL

⁃ Probiotics

⁃ Digestive enzymes

⁃ Reduce sugar and processed foods

⁃ Aim for 1.5 – 2.2 ph of stomach acid.
Baking Soda Test

⁃ empty stomach in morning

⁃ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 4 oz of water

⁃ You should burp within 3 minutes.

⁃ If it’s 3-5 minutes indicates low stomach acid if greater than that indicates very low stomach acid

⁃ Do this 3 days in a row and measure the average over 3 days.
More clinical measures ( blood work metabolic panel )
⁃ Chloride 100-106

⁃ < 100 indicates low stomach acid

⁃ Urea, ammonia and nitrogen levels higher ( BUN)

⁃ Protein levels should be 6.9-7.4

⁃ High nitrogen can lead to high ammonia which can become a neurotoxin

Results of Low Stomach Acid:

⁃ high ammonia ( use L-glutamine )

⁃ Leaky gut

⁃ More inflammation

⁃ High nitrogen

⁃ Poor amino acid absorption no protein digestion.

Prevalence of Low Stomach Acid:

⁃ seen by clinicians in 75-80% of patients.

⁃ Autoimmune disease

⁃ Digestive complaints

⁃ Neurodegenerative disorders

⁃ PPI use raises risk of Alzheimer’s – big impact on B12 levels.

Other things you can do:

⁃ Add probiotics

⁃ Eat slower and time your meals so your not rushed eating / digesting.

Lifestyle Changes:

⁃ Proper hydration throughout day.

⁃ Not during meals ( otherwise dilutes stomach acid)

⁃ Bone broth ( high in minerals and add sea salt)

⁃ Slowing down digestive processes.

⁃ Kefir

⁃ Ginger root or ginger tea great for stomach acid production before meals !

Digestive Aids:
⁃ Lemon water

⁃ Apple cider vinegar

⁃ Peppermint

⁃ Oregano, basil, rosemary

⁃ Deep breathing before meals ( activates parasympathetic nervous and helps activate salivary and digestive enzymes before you eat )

⁃ Never eat when stressed and angry ( leads to sub optimal digestion )

How Much Water ?

⁃ 2 liters between meals

⁃ Limited water at meals

⁃ 1/2 your body weight in oz

⁃ Great for detox

⁃ Reduces digestive stress and leads to constipation

HCL Betaine

⁃ start with one capsule during or after meal

⁃ Can add until you have a reaction ( mild indigestion)

⁃ Goal is to get your body to produce its own stomach acid.

⁃ Take it until you notice indigestion!
Effects of HCL
⁃ Improve mineral and protein absorption.

⁃ Reduce inflammation.

⁃ Stimulate parasympathetic state.

Other aids to help with digestion:

Aloe Vera juice

Fermented juice and veggies

Slippery elm

Lactobacillus planterum
⁃ key bacteria

⁃ resilient form

⁃ highly adaptive

⁃ found in kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut

⁃ unique in that it has high adhesive qualities

⁃ great for absorption and detoxification.

⁃ very low in western cultures ( due to highly processed foods)

Benefits of Lactobacillus planterum:
⁃ nutrient absorption

⁃ produces butyrate ( good fuel source for gut )

⁃ eats toxins

⁃ produces nutrients ( B vitamins, enzymes, butyrate etc )

⁃ Add lactobacillus acidophilus and bifido bacterium as well

Fighting Adipose Tissue and Cellulite

Metabolic Death Foods  ⁃ sugar ( fruit juice ). Ex: Naked or Odwalla

– Canola , vegetable oil, hydrogenated oils ( cellular inflammation) these are GMO’s which kill probiotics in the gut

⁃ Conventional dairy ( loaded with drugs, hormones and antibiotics) – replace with coconut milk or goat yogurt

⁃ Wheat ( gluten, phytic acid which are enzyme blockers, amylopectin cause blood sugar spikes)

⁃ Artificial sweeteners ( Splenda kills off probiotics in gut ) found in diet sodas, protein powders – replace with stevia

⁃ Watch out with peanuts – high in omega 6 oils and mycotoxins  which trigger candida and leaky gut
Foods to Add

⁃ chia and flax seeds increase energy and metabolic function also high in fiber and omega 3’s and plant based protein

⁃ green leafy vegetables- high chlorophyll, magnesium and Vit K

⁃ Cruciferous veggies – reduces estrogen key to fat loss. ( broccoli and cabbage)

⁃ Root vegetables ( beets and carrots )

⁃ Berries ( resveratrol and flavonoids)

⁃ Coconut oil and milk ( medium chain fatty acids easily processed into energy). Helps body to burn fat and less sugars.

⁃ Grass fed beef and dairy, wild caught salmon.
Metabolic Key – need protein, healthy fat and fiber.
Causes of cellulite:

⁃ lack of circulation

⁃ Weak collagen structure

⁃ Fluid retention


⁃ increase potassium ( avocado, green leafy veg, kiwi, yogurt, figs)

⁃ Essential fatty acids ( wild salmon, flax and chia seeds)

⁃ Bone broth or collagen protein powder

⁃ Herbals ( parsley or cilantro)

⁃ High intensity exercise
Fat Burning Supplements:

⁃ Whey protein or collagen protein l

⁃ Probiotics ( all health begins in gut and helps balance hormones, detoxification)

⁃ Macy’s green tea ( high in chlorophyll)

⁃ Adaptogenic herbs ( grapefruit essential oil and Rhodeola rosea )


⁃ need only 3 x / week at 20-30 min

⁃ High intensity is best ( long endurance actually elevates cortisol)

⁃ 40 sec training / 20 sec rest. ( Interval training – best for long term fat burning)

⁃ Raises HGH and works on ghrelin and leptin hormones, works on glucose tolerance and increases insulin receptor sensitivity.

The Truth About Sweeteners

Over the course of many years  the role of sugar in our diets has been a hot topic of debate. Much research has been done and much has been published on the effects of sugar on the human body. In the effort to reduce sugar and calories in the diet in hopes of combating obesity, diabetes, hypertension and  heart disease, many have and are turning to sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners.

The widespread use of artificial sweeteners found in both drinks and foods can have a profound effect on your gut’s microbiota. They in fact may cause certain gut bacteria to induce glucose intolerance and metabolic disease, which are strongly associated with promoting inflammation based diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

According to the research,  artificial sweeteners, once promoted as aiding in preventing diabetes and weight loss, can disrupt the composition and function of the body’s gut microorganisms and thus triggering metabolic changes.  Despite being “sugar -free” they have a powerful effect on the body’s ability to utilize glucose.  Glucose intolerance is the initial step that leads to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes ( adult-onset).

Gut microbes are essential and must be in the right balance for optimal health. Plentiful and thriving microbiome supplies us with critical nutrients, helping us fight off toxic pathogens, keeping our immune system in balance and helps modulate our weight and metabolic function by releasing energy and calories from the food we consume.

The researchers believe that certain bacteria in the gut of those individuals that develop glucose intolerance reacted to the chemical sweeteners by secreting substances that create an inflammatory response analogous to  a sugar overload, which directly impacts the body’s ability to breakdown and utilize the sugar.

Take away: Do not use sugar substitutes. Stay away from Splenda, Equal, Sweet’N Low, Agave Nectar, Xylitol, and Erythritol.

Ok to use in small amounts are Stevia and Raw Honey.

One Note on Agave – Once touted as a healthy  natural alternative has a high level of fructose.  High amounts fructose can elevate your cholesterol, increase glycosylated hemoglobin ( a precursor to Type 2 diabetes), elevate your  blood pressure, lead to insulin resistance and has been implicated in memory loss. Depending on how it is processed the amount of fructose in agave can be as high as the levels found in  high fructose corn syrup!

Sugar’s Impact on the Mircobiome

⁃ Gut health has a huge impact on your metabolic function and emotional state.

⁃ Must look at candida or SIBO ( small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

⁃ Bad diet and stress biggest factors driving gut flora diversity and balance.

⁃ Sugar, artificial sweeteners drives and feeds the pathogenic bacteria.
Artificial Sweeteners:
⁃ Increases risk of diabetes by elevating glucose intolerance.

⁃ Drives neurotoxicity and neuroexcitatory activity

⁃ Feeds bad bacteria.

⁃ Calorie disregulation – calories might be low but impact is greater !

⁃ Exposure drives preference ( the more you eat the more you crave!).

⁃ Be careful with fruit – many are high in sugar ( fructose) – Still feeds pathogenic bacteria.

⁃ Sugar is not satiating ( doesn’t trigger satiety ) and actually triggers more fat storage. It impacts satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin).

⁃ Fruit :  worst offenders are fruit juiceand dried fruit.

⁃ Aim for 1-2 pieces / day ( apples, berries preferred ).

Healthy Microbiome Foods
These foods are also good for brain health and promote  anti-aging properties.
⁃ Fiber (detoxifying, satisfying)

⁃ Legumes

⁃ Fermented foods

⁃ Kefir

⁃ Ginger
Craving and Exposure

⁃ Exposure = preference

⁃ Kefir, Kimchi or sauerkraut juice ( sour overrides sweet cravings)

⁃ These take away sweet tooth !
Fermented Foods

⁃ Sauerkraut and kimchi

⁃ Turn off hunger

⁃ Increase satiety
How We View Sugar
⁃ Glycemic index is erroneous because fructose doesn’t drive up blood sugar, making fructose low on the glycemic index!

⁃ We need to look at the impact of sugar. Sugar hides in many products.

⁃ All carbs breakdown to sugar!!

⁃ Sugar directly affects blood glucose and insulin and drives glucose intolerance and insulin resistance over time.

⁃ Often lowfat products are high in sugar.

⁃ not a health food.

⁃ only metabolized by liver and doesn’t raise blood sugar!

⁃ It doesn’t trigger satiety signals.

⁃ It creates a fatty liver and elevated triglycerides.

⁃ It creates gut permeability.

⁃ Big trigger for inflammation and many forms of cancer.

⁃ Triggers glycation: sugar in bloodstream binds to a protein creating a harmful substance called AEG’s  ( which can promote aging ).

⁃ Feeds good bacteria.

⁃ Decrease transit time, slows stomach emptying.

⁃ Feel full longer.

⁃ Absorb toxins for secretion.
Fiber Supplementation

⁃ Start with real food.

⁃ Aim for 50 grams / day.

⁃ Increase water intake between meals.

⁃ Can make a fiber / protein shake

⁃ Soluble and insoluble fiber

⁃ Spinach and avocado

⁃ Chia or flax seeds

⁃ Berries

⁃ Coconut or almond milk
Increasing Fiber 

⁃ Digestive symptoms go away

⁃ Aim for 50 g/ day.

⁃ Avocado

⁃ Nuts and seeds

⁃ Hummus

⁃ Almond ricotta cheese (Kite Hill)
Satiety Trifecta ( eat together )

⁃ Fat

⁃ Protein

⁃ Fiber
Good Sources of Sugar
⁃ Stevia

⁃ Vanilla ( elevates serotonin)

⁃ Cinnamon (balances blood sugar)

⁃ Berries
Overall Recommendations 

⁃ Eat more vegetables and fiber and less fruit and sugar.

⁃ Sleep 8-9 hrs.

⁃ Drink pure spring water.

⁃ Optimise Vitamin D.

⁃ Lower your sugar impact

⁃ Eliminate food intolerance.

⁃ Add more fiber at each meal.

⁃ Help the gut microbiome !

Food Cravings and Your Microbiome

Microbial cells in the body outnumber our own cells 10-1. By definition this makes us literally more microbial than human in our makeup. Research has shown that that our gut bacteria or microbiome have a profound and direct affect on our moods, anxiety, memory, metabolic function and food cravings. In an article published in the journal Bioessays – ” Is Eating Behavior Manipulated by the Gastrointestinal Microbiota?: Evolutionary Pressures and Potential Mechanisms” explored the real possibility that our bacteria ” may be running the show – controlling our thoughts and behaviors in order to ensure their survival.”

As I discussed in previous blogs it is clear that our gut and digestive system might not only be a ” second brain,” it might have a powerful influence on our behaviors.

An excerpt from Dr. Robynne Chutkan from her new book The Microbiome Solution

We often blame our food cravings on our lack of willpower. It turns out that our microbes have something to do with it. When sugar-loving species gain a foothold in our gut, we may find ourselves craving and eating more sweets. What we think of as just a wicked sweet tooth may actually represent specific communities of bacteria directing us to behave in a way that ensures their survival, despite its negative effects on our health. Gut bacteria are able to influence our food choices by releasing molecules that affect our brain, including hormones like serotonin that affect mood and make us feel good after eating certain foods. They can even change the properties of taste receptors so that particular flavor are more or less satisfying to our palate.”

She goes on to write: ” There’s intense competition for space within the digestive tract, so microbes are under a lot of selective pressure to procure the right food to enhance their survival – or suppress their competitors’.”

Dr. Maley, one of the authors of the Bioessays artcle writes: ” From the microbial’s perspective, what we eat is a matter of life and death.”

Dr. Chutkan suggests – ” This may explain why most of us struggle and feel powerless to resist certain kinds of foods – we may not actually be the ones making the decision!”

This phenomen seems to be correlated directly with processed sugars and carbohydrates. Reduce these foods and you can reduce the  species of bacterial pathogens that thrive on them and create havoc on our gut!