Digestive Problems

| Modified: Dec 12, 2016
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Digestion and the Digestive System

The digestive system is solely responsible for processing all that goes into and out of the body. Comprised of the oral cavity, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestines and large intestines, the digestive works together to convert food into energy as well as the fundamental nutrients needed to feed and fuel the body. With so many organs working together and often processing less than ideal food, the digestive system is susceptible to a number of digestive issues and disorders.

Ranging from mild to severe, digestive issues are many. Common digestive issues include bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal or stomach pain, and cramps. Several digestive conditions are common maladies as well. These conditions include heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. Additional symptoms associated with digestive issues include slow digestion, incomplete release of nutrients into the body, lack of energy and excessive gas.

While the causes of digestive disorders vary, a number of common contributing factors have been identified. Poor diet, lack of exercise, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies are all considered to be causative factors in relation to digestive disorders. Additionally, stress is a large factor playing a role in the onset and progression of several digestive disorders.

Natural Digestion Remedies

In general, bitter foods and herbs are considered one of the best remedies for stimulating digestion and treating digestive issues. More specific treatment options include aloe vera, organic coconut oil and apple cider vinegar – all capable of decreasing bloating, gas and indigestion. Additional options include brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses, chamomile and espinozilla tea and conjugated linoleic acid. Dietary changes are also effective and often necessary for treating digestive issues. Avoiding dairy, gluten, and sugar as well as processed foods often relieves most digestive issues. Chewing appropriately and eating slowly also offers the digestive system the optimal conditions for proper digestion.

Adequate Chewing of Food

Posted by Matt (Millbrook, Ny) on 12/28/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Adequate Chewing of Food

During a battle with candidiasis, I learned just how important it is to REALLY chew up your food.

"Human saliva is composed of 98% water, while the other 2% consists of other compounds such as electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes." - Wikipedia

Digestion begins in the mouth. This is very important. Since I put proper chewing into practice, I found that I eat much less, and that I've become more lean and have more energy! Also my stomach is flatter, either from eating less, or from not being blocked up anymore. It's a very simple practice that everyone can improve upon. If you think you already chew enough, chew more! Perhaps this could have it's own remedy page...?

Replied by Ashley
Buffalo, Ny
5 out of 5 stars

VERY true! Chewing 40 times instead of the average 15 times can help aid you in weight loss by up to 12% fewer calories and absolutely does fill you up faster. Twelve may not seem like much, but when you realize this is incredibly easy and the least you could do if you're interested in losing weight, it's really a shame if you don't!

Replied by Lak
North Brunswick, Nj

Hi Connie,

Thank you for the feed back. I have got tested for gall bladder stones 2 years back which is negative. My gastro. ordered blood work for enzymes etc and it is all fine. My b-complex values are very low and suggested to take them.

The issue is if I take lime or ACV Or Ginger helps with my bloating but it Increases my acid production and gives Me burning Pain in the stomach. I am unable to continue taking that. Acupunture helped me in 2008. I have to Get Food intolerance Testing done. But the doctor has to agree. Hope that some routine helps me maintain this problem.


Aloe Vera

Posted by Lak (North Brunswick, Nj) on 01/13/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I have bloating, gas and indigestion and little bit of acidity For the past 4 months on and off. The moment I take first bite of food it makes me bloat. In the night it makes me stuck in the chest and unable to burp. Stomach issues started from 2008 but never this bad.

I have tried Extra virgin organic coconut oil and it made by bloating worse. I had to quit taking it. I have found relief from fresh Aloe vera. ACV does not suit me because it gives me burning sensation in the stomach. I dont have any ulcer and my endoscopy, colonoscopy came normal in 2009. But endoscopy in 2008 revealed a little bit of inflammation in the stomach and tried aciphex and lot of medications for short time. Recent blood work for celiac antibodies is also negative. I am also trying lime juice 2 times before meals in water which helps with the bloating by relieving lot of gas. But in the early morning stomach churns and gets burning in the rib cage. Nothing is helping except the aloe vera.

My question is on taking Aloe vera continuosly. Is it safe to take for long period time considering the mayo clinic warning


I request someone to kindly reply to this because aloe is the only one which gives me relief from My problem.


Replied by Connie
Slc, Ut
5 out of 5 stars

Hello Lak; Aloe Vera is very soothing and helpful for inflammations and lesions. It provides mucilage, salicylic acid, saponins(soap-like antiseptics), vitamins and minerals. In raw fresh form, it also provides enzymes that aid digestion. Any substance taken in too high amounts for too long can produce side effects and toxicity. When there is a high need for one substance that does not allay the problems; it means that it is time for another approach. The symptoms you describe could be from several combined causes. The food sits in the stomach undigested too long, and becomes irritating to the lining, enzymes are not being secreted to break up fats, and bile is not flowing properly to help metabolize fats.

I suggest B-complex, sublingual methylcobalamin(B-12), for production of stomach acid and enzymes. Digestive enzymes, such as pancreatin, contain lipase for breaking up fats. Foods such as beets and artichokes help thin bile. Herbs such as turmeric, dandelion, milk thistle also help. The herbal combination, Triphala is a mild laxative that is liver/gallbladder stimulative.

Your symptoms could indicate gallstones:check the ailments section here for gallstones and consider magnesium supplementation as well as a liver/gallbladder flush. Scroll down the page in the gallstone section to where Tom from SK has posted some links to sites that have specific directions for this. I recently tried Hulda Clark's method with powerful results; but I caution that the amounts of Epsom Salts suggested may need to be lowered for some people, because of their size, (if smaller), conditions of kidney or disturbed electrolytes, or low blood sugar. Otherwise, It brought me great relief from many "stones" that resembled clumps of a very saturated fat in nature. I hope this helps you feel better, Connie

Replied by Mel
Kobe, Japan

To lak : I would recommend being tested for and researching helicobacter pylori. I have the same symptoms, and can relate especially to feeling full and bloated, for something as simple as a glass of water. One helpful site (other than earth clinic) is amyking.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/im-so-happy-i-have-h-pylori good luck

Replied by Lak
North Brunswick, Nj

Hi Mel,

Thank you for your reply. My gastro tested during 2008 and 2009 and did not find anything in the biopsy. But this time, I have to test yet for H-Pylori through stool test. I hope something helps me with my issues. Lemon juice helps me to some extent.



Replied by Connie
Slc, Ut

Hello Lak; It seems possible that you have a situation that many of us may have, myself included. The stomach lining is troubled, and the stomach acid is low. For 3 months now, I have been adding the equivalent of a box of "knox" gelatin to my soup once daily. I was greatly encouraged by reading Ken's post that he had healed his knee damage with this practice, but that it took 1 year. I am having good results as of now, but I will continue to have gelatin daily for as many months as it takes to heal my small hiatal hernia.

Gelatin is not a complete protein, but it is high in proline and glycine, from which we form collagen that strengthens our tissues. If anyone objects to the animal nature of gelatin, they could try an amino acid supplement, and possibly add extra proline and glycine to it. Some supplements are bound with HCL, so care must be taken along with them. Foods and herbs with mucilage are also soothing to the stomach. Marshmallow root, Slippery Elm, and fresh Aloe Vera leaves are my favorites. Maybe this can help. Connie

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Katkinz01 (England) on 12/20/2014
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

Hi, been taking apple cider vinegar for terrible digestive problems for 1 week and I think it is helping, only thing in the past 2 days I've experienced burning, sore skin. Could it possibly be the ACV? I'm hoping not, I've been taking 1 teaspoon in a glass of warm water before each meal 3x a day.

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Katkinz01, try much less, less times a day and/or after meals instead of before.

Posted by Alberto (Panama, Republic Of Panama) on 11/01/2010

I have enzyme deficiency and cannot digest properly sweets, milk or anything similar without bloating. Also, i'm prone for gas, and HBP, and have passed kidney stones very painfully. Would ACV be a good choice to help with all these ??

Posted by Kim (Suwanee, Ga) on 03/25/2010


I've been taking a doctor prescribed digestive enzyme for a malabsorption issue. Recently I added Hydrochloric acid to my regimen to help with low stomach acid. It seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle and I've finally gotten relief from my digestive issues. Had been hearing about the wonders of ACV and wondered if it's compatible with the HCI and the enzymes. My understanding is that the ACV neutralizes and makes the body more alkaline. The HCI provides additional stomach acid for my stomach to process food, supplements, etc. Am I cancelling the effects by taking the medicine and ACV? The list of health improvements after taking ACV is very impressive. I'd love to partake, but only if it doesn't interfere with my current regimen. Would appreciate feedback, thoughts, etc.


Avoid Soybean Oil

Posted by Hippocrates (Odin, Missouri, U.s.a.) on 04/28/2012 9 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Hello all, I for years thought I had a bad/sluggish gall bladder. I even tried the oil/lemon flush. It got so bad I went and had an ultrasound done, it was perfectly clean on the screen. The ultrasound tech even said there was no small sand/sludge in there. So I then had nuclear dye shot into me and then something to make my gall bladder pump, they said it was working normally. So I then soon after had an endoscope, small hiatal hernia, but nothing else.

So I got noticing, when I eat, sometimes I can eat whatever, and after an hour or a few, everything digests, but if I go to the bathroom and make myself vomit, it is PURE OIL. So I got thinking that it wasnt the food so much, but something in the oils, and that my body must not like it, an allergy. So as I experimented, I got noticing that everytime I eat something that contains SOYBEAN OIL, my body doesnt like it, will digest the food around it, but leave the oil! Any of the fast "food" meats generally have it, as does anything with a batter on it at these places, or fried (fries). So does mayonaise, salad dressings, cheese dips, and even ice cream and soda (brominated "vegetable" oil)! "Vegetable oil" is usually a code word for "soy or has soy in the blend of cheap oils we use". It is a rotation crop grown after corn, and is dirt cheap and therefore they use it as a "filler" for lots of foods!

If I stay away from soy/soybean oil (vegetable oil), my body does pretty well. ALSO, if you have a hiatal hernia, stay away from carbonated drinks! On an empty stomach, this causes me problems alone, but mixed with food, causes bloating in the stomach that pushes everything around and makes life bad.

So, if you have stomach problems, watch what you eat and look for SOY and see if there is a connection that you can avoid

P.S. On the nights when I have sushi and nothing else, my stomach does great. The only thing in it is rice, crab, avacado, and cream cheese. I think that there might be something soothing/healing in the rice, but am currently not sure what mechanism it might be. If I eat rice with a "something helper" or out at a mexican place and both have tons of soy in it, it has little effect to negate the soy. So look towards a diet with rice possibly if you dont have a problem with it. Also, cheeses and sugars can cause me indigestion, so look at these as being removed if you want to make things better.

Replied by Fay
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Hi.... I didn't catch the name of the person that was giving advice on Soybean Oil but wanted to thank him/her. Every little bit of info that is experienced and blogged about is so helpful for me. I have recently just stopped sugar, yeast and gluten. It has helped my tummy problems alot with bloating etc. I still have some work to do but I do have Crohns/Colitis which is what I am dealing with. I still have bloat but I am beginning to understand the old saying: "You Are What You Eat". I have abused food for many years and had a hunch that sugar etc. Was causing alot of problems. I never thought I could do it but my stomach looked bigger then a 9 month pregnant lady and it was very painful. So far so good...Fay

Betaine HCL

Posted by Nelda (SD, USA) on 12/16/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Wow, wow, wow! It is always exciting to have something work well for an ailment, especially when you didn't think it would. :)

I have used apple cider vinegar for years and it was so great for heartburn and gall bladder attacks.

In recent months though, my digestion has seemed worse, even with ACV. Everything I was eating seemed to be bothering me, even foods that had never bothered me before, and foods that I didn't think should bother anyone. I was having frequent gall bladder pain and a ridiculous amount of burping.

I have read about Betaine HCL with Pepsin here on EC. I knew it was something I should try, especially reading that digestion can slow down as you get older. I ordered some and took it with skepticism. I started to take one capsule with lunch and one with dinner. I don't take one with breakfast since I tend to eat a light breakfast. To my great shock and delight, foods are no longer bothering me and burping is greatly reduced!

Bone Marrow

Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile, Tn) on 03/22/2016
5 out of 5 stars

HI U OLE PATOOTS DOIN,,,,,,,,,, went to our Anti Aging Doctor to learn of our health status. She always phases my Tractor Driver and chastise's me. I am fair to middlen, but in addition to all my other heath problems, I now have a gut problem. I can't get too far from the potty.

She put me on a bone food product that can only be ordered by a physician. It is made from the bone marrow of cattle. She says she is having great success with folks with all kinds of bowel problems. She is even treating other MD's that have given up on Big Pharma.

I have only been on it for two days and can see a difference. She says it will take a week or two. I did a little research and learned that lots of countries for centuries have cooked bone soup to help digestion. Why do we not heed what has been passed down from our ancestors? Guess they did not wear a white frock, huh?

Would like to hear what others say about cooking bones for your health. Think it will be an interesting thread.


Replied by Iowama

Thanks for this, ORH! I have been making and drinking bone broth made from free ranged chicken bones for several years. I haven't put much effort into locating a good source of beef bones, but now I will do that. My broth cooks for 4 days, usually, and contains cartlege, marrow, and the dissolved bone, as well as vegetables that I add for flavor. Good stuff, and I never thought of it's role in gut health, although mine seems in good shape. It sure helps knock out any dab of joint pain that shows up.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.

HI U IOWA-MA,,,,,,,,,,,,, how did you get into this cooking project, and why do you cook the bones for 4 days? Got a feeling that this is something passed down by yo kin. There has to be a reason. Think hard and let us all know. Never heard of this topic on EC before. Got a feeling these waste bones can cure lots of ailments. Ain't that sumpin?

Your Buddy,,,,,,, ====ORH======

Replied by Deb

I read many yrs ago bone broth was good for arthritis, helps the joints. I use to make my own, now it's hard to find grass fed cows & free range chickens. You don't want GMO fed or antibiotics. If you have organic turkey, boil it too after finishing the turkey. Makes the best soup. Taste great & good for you!

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

For those who cannot do bone broth for whatever reason, a bit (even 1/2 teaspoon) of gelatin does help. I've written before how it can be taken.

Replied by Earthling

Hey U ORH,

I've seen bone broth mentioned here on EC several times over the years. It's what prompted me to look into it and experiment with different recipes.

I've included a link to one of them. This one is for chicken bone broth, but you can substitute with any bones you like. The longer you cook it, the better.


Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.

HI U EARTHLING,,,,,,, just got off the phone with the local processing plant trying to get grass feed cow bones. The owner said that bone broth is now quite the thing these days. The trick is to avoid GMO fed cattle. I have helped her with her arthritis and she will be on the look out for bones from grass fed cows.

Maybe folks are now thinking more about their health. Let's hope so. Thanks for your URL.


Replied by Namaw

You may find it easier to get chicken bones than cow (or any animal). I've read that you should 'roast' the bones first, get them browned on the grill or in the oven, then put them in the stock pot to simmer. Also said to add a splash of vinegar. The first time I did that, I was shocked at how much fat came out of the bones. Anyway, the broth was delicious. Bear in mind that fresh broth doesn't keep very long-it's the stuff they use to make agar that grows bacteria in labs. If you must keep it, put it in the freezer. This is what I made when DH got out of the hospital and was so weak--had him drink it often. For the elderly it's especially good, gets those trace elements. I don't know that it's a cure, but it sure can't hurt!

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.

HI U NAMAW,,,,,,,,,,,,, wife, Tractor Driver, is baking a hen for Easter and will use these bones as you say. All this bone nutrition stuff is new to me, but it has hit home with lots of the folks on EC. Where have I been for the last 79 years?

You say you from Bama and I assume you talking Alabama. Was in the military at Redstone in Huntsville in '61 and worked in Selma in the paper industry in the 80's. Two daughters went to Auburn, so I'm on your side.



Hello ORH, I am glad you are talking broth! It was my mother in law who taught me how to put together a good broth. She was a well to do woman, but very thrifty, as is often the case. I would like to share the recipe: Put the carcas and bones of a chicken in a medium or large pot. It does not matter if some bits of meat are still on them. To the pot add a quartered onion, 2 quartered carrots, 3 ribs of celery, a quarter bell pepper, 2 TBSP each of thyme and rosemary. Then I fill the pot with filtered water and add 2 TBSP cider vinegar. I have found the best pot for this job is the newer crock pot with clamps to hold the lid down, and that is because it holds in the vinegar odor, which can be too strong for my husband. Day 1; simmer all day and cut off at night. It can be left sitting on the counter and no, it won't make you sick. Next morning, replace evaporated water, simmer all day and cut off again at bed time. On day 3, add water again and simmer. At day's end, taste for salt and pepper. I then use my large wooden spatula to push down on the bones until they break up easily. Stir it all up well and go to bed. The 4th day of simmering gets more bone cooked into the broth. Toward the end of the day, I strain it all into two pitchers. I then pour it into canning jars and freeze them with the lids loose. The next day, the jars are frozen solid and I tighten the lids. These vegetables and seasonings are just my suggestion. Really, I just add what I think will taste good. I use it a lot in cooking, and not just for soup. There's nothing like a warm mug full on damp days. I wish I could say this broth alone cured my arthritis pain, but truthfully, I had to quit eating wheat flour and granulated sugar. I don't know why, but the sugar in fruit doesn't make us ache at all, so our deserts are just a plate of mixed fruit; as we learned to do when we visited Turkey. There's a book around here somewhere by Sally Fallon and it's called "Nourishing Traditions". As I recall it, Miss Fallon believed our grandparents were better nourished than we are today because they were too thrifty to waste organs and bones. Best wishes to you.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.

HI U IOWAMA,,,,,,,,,,, guess you hit a nerve, because my Tractor Driver said to copy your recipe. Wow, I hope you take that as a compliment.

I am just a new boy on the block as far as bone broth is concerned, and you experienced cooks are teaching me and others how to straighten out our bowels.

I (we) thank you.


Replied by Namaw

I'm just outside of Redstone. Love it here in the south. Roll Tide! (Even tho granddaughter wants to be a vet and will have to go to Auburn for that! )

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn
5 out of 5 stars

HI U IOWAMA,,,,,,,,,, my tractor driver just finished your recipe for bone broth. Wow, she ended up with 8 jars of this wonderful stuff.

You right, it is full of fat. At my stage in life, I relish what good it does for me. All know that this is a new trek for me. Seems that lots of EC wemmin folks have been down this trail before.

I thank you for your counsel. Lord knows I need it.


Replied by Iowama

Hello ORH,

It is funny to see your tractor driver has a jar collection so similar to mine. It's sad to remember how I used to work with my mother to fill the freezers with perfect plastic boxes. What you are teaching new gardeners is important. You are taking the time to teach how gardening really works, as nurseries are packed with a confusing array of unnecessaries, and I say that as a retiree of that industry.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile , Tn

HI U IOWAMA,,,,,,,,, yep, we save all our jars that have a seal in the cap. They are far bettern canning jar lids. We have olive jars that we have resealed and used for at least 10 years.

I thank you for your compliment, but sometimes I think I'm preaching to the choir. My dooms day projection is not what folks want to hear. If all my kin and friends show up when the ship hits the sand, then some are going to sleep on pallets. Know you have been down this trail. Told all to bring a hoe.

That was a great time when we went to my Mississippi PawPaw's back in the early 40's. There would be three families there and the men went to the fields before daylight to pick vegetables. They brought them in by the tub full and all the men and kids shelled them on the front porch. The wemmins canned them over a hot wood stove. It was an all day affair. Heard many a tall tale while shelling butter beans and the like.

Betcha, you did the same thing in Iowa.

Yo gardening buddy, =====ORH=======

Replied by St
5 out of 5 stars

Bone broth is the latest craze and purists will probably scoff at buying it but I tried making it and it just didn't work out for me. I buy it powdered and I think it helps me a lot. I have never been able to digest anything. It comes out just like it goes in. (Sorry) Bone broth is definitely helpful. Also some gut health supplements.

Brewer's Yeast, Blackstrap Molasses

Posted by Shelley (Ft Collins, Colorado) on 02/07/2010

I have a problem consuming alcohol all together. If I drink more than a couple of beers I am sick to my stomach. I was told to try a mixture of 2T of brewer's yeast and 2T of blackstrap molasses in a shot of water everyday to balance out the bacteria in my digestive track and it works.

Replied by Matt
Millbrook, Ny

Many people, myself including, have reported adverse effects after drinking wine. Most commonly I hear from others is headaches. I have heard that sulphites, present in most, if not all wines, are likely responsible. What I really think might to blame though is Molybdenum deficiency. I found this page helpful:


It says on that page "that if your copper level is too high this can drive molybdenum levels down."

I assume that most of us in the U.S. are using copper pipes in our plumbing for our drinking water, so perhaps it's possible that contributes toward a Molybdenum deficiency?

Chamomile and Espinozilla Tea

Posted by Richard (Winston-salem, Nc) on 07/01/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I´m actually in Mexico right now, enjoying the effects of a tea made from chamomille and espinozilla. I have very sensitive digestion, so our trip here was not to be looked forward to because of the endless fiestas with spicy food. We actually arrived here at midnight not having stopped to eat. Anyone with bad digestion knows not to eat after a certain time (like 6 or 7 pm). My wonderful mother-in-law had this tea waiting for me and after two glasses, I ate like a hungry pig. And then, miracle of miracles, I slept like a baby. This tea has miraculous properties of healing for the digestive system. And the master ingredient is the espinozilla. But there´s no way to obtain this herb in the states so I´ll be checking to see if they can FEDEX it from Mexico. Or if anyone else knows where to find this herb in the states, I´d be much obliged.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

Posted by Prioris (Fl) on 11/14/2013

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is not mentioned much as a digestive aid but more as a weight loss thing but I found a few other people who have noticed the same thing. CLA helps with digestion of food for some reason.


As an aside, I think many people who take CLA for weight loss don't realize how it works so they think it failed even if it is working. They run to their weight scale to ascertain the results. Success is lower weight. That is a big MISTAKE because they will be gaining weight due to gain in muscle mass.

Replied by Diane
Orlando, Fl
5 out of 5 stars

I also use CLA to help with digestion. If I take 1 -2 capsules after dinner or when I have lots of gas, the CLA takes care of the gas & flattens my stomach. Digestive enzymes worked for me for years, but now CLA seems to work better. I don't know what is in CLA that benefits digestion, but whatever it is, I'm grateful it does! I found this website looking to see if anyone else had discovered that CLA helps with digestion. This is the only website I've found that even mentions it.

Coconut Oil

Posted by Veesue (Sheridan Wy) on 06/19/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Hello VCO & activated charcoal users. I just wanted to submit my experience. I have a long history of having a too slow digestive system. The whole process randomly seems to just stop...and then all the follow-up symptoms/problems start to happen, which is a miserable condition that effects mood, work, and life in general. This goes on for weeks and weeks. I have tried many things, including activated charcoal capsules. Charcoal seems to be the only thing that helped the middle-of-the-nigh horrible stomach aches, but then the slow/sluggish digestion really did not improve. I found out only recently that activated charcoal exacerbates that particular problem. So, I went on to try something else.

I have used VCO a little in the past, but never consistently. Well, lately I have, by taking 1-3 teaspoons via mixed in with herb tea at night. This tastes good and works great me for getting things moving along, and I have had no adverse effects at all. IMO only...taking 3 to 5 tablespoons seems like a lot to take, especially just starting out. Maybe start with a much smaller dosage to prevent negative side-effects. Also, I have personally experienced die-off also by taking other detoxing agents, so I know that it is a realistic and genuine condition to have. - Cheers to everyone bettering their lives through natural means and positive attitudes.

Dietary Changes

Posted by Jem (Aberdeen) on 11/30/2012

Hi all, My problem is one of digestion/gut trouble but before I realized this I have been suffering for a longtime (10 years) with back/knee pain and very tight muscles and I dont sleep well due to the bad back. Joint pain in my neck, fingers, elbow and shoulder has also increased progressively.

It was only after a friend mentioned that all the trouble with my back could be due to my diet that I looked into it further since doctors and consultants that I had been previously referred to were unfortunately unable to help me.

The general signs of problems with my digestion are that I do get bloated sometimes. Flatulence is also another problem and I do almost always see undigested matter in stools. Sometimes food comes back up after eating but depends (on what I eat most probably).

I decided to have an allergy test done which also gave readings of which minerals I was deficient in which turned up the following results.

Im strongly allergic to milk (cow goat), cheese, butter, yoghurt, lactose, beef, lamb, pork, capsicum, tomato, strawberry, orange, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, lemonade, sugar.

I'm also allergic to wheat but it was secondary as opposed to the above that I am primarily allergic to.

The vitamin/mineral deficiencies were: Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 (I found this strange because I regularly take a vitamin B complex, for nerve issues, that contains all of these).

Deficiency was also seen in Vitamin H(Biotin), Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin P, Vitamin K, Potassium, Magnesium, Silicon, Zinc, Chromium.

In fatty acids I was lacking GLA, EPA and Alpha Linolenic Acid and the Amino Acid test section showed I was lacking Gluthathione.

The prognosis on my the Digestive side marked I was suffering from Intestinal Gas (Excess), LactoBacillus Deficiency and Leaky Gut.

The Endocrine System Test marked I had Pancreatic Insufficiency.

Basically the course of treatment I was prescribed would be to get a load of good bacteria down me and to start alkalizing my blood as I appeared to be a classic case of too much acid. I have been eating a little bit of kefir from a local store which seems to be ok with me as opposed to cold mik and cold cheese which makes my stomach upset. However when I drink warm milk or warm cheese (cheese on toast), the symptoms with my stomach aren't as bad as with cold forms. I've also been trying ACV BS and this really does seem to make me warm and 'energised'. I tried this to get more acid production in my stomach as I thought I may be lacking in this but the iodine mineral test showed I was not deficient in this however I have started to incorporate a 1teaspoon of himalayan salts in a glass of water, a day, just in case as sometimes I do feel like my food comes back up; its not like the commonly thought of indigestion or acid reflux but I think its more like the food just sitting there and fermenting. However the pancreatic insufficiency was positive so perhaps im lacking those enzymes along with some bicarbonates. I tried calcium for bones but the test showed my levels of calcium (and vitamin D) are ok. But then again its mainly joint pain I get so more likely to be cartilage damage which I was taking glucosomine for, but didn't really help.

The problems with my muscular pain could all be driven by my gut trouble now as I have come to understand; when digestion, or parts of it, is compromised for whatever reason the body takes energy from 'good areas' to supply the damaged parts of the body. This ends up depleting the good areas of energy as energy is diverted to the dysfunctional areas.

My diet is mixed to be honest I mean I do eat good but also have some bad foods too (although I hardly ever eat fast or junk food but more of freezer/frozen food unfortunately which im cutting down on) but i've started to wean myself of things like wheat and dairy and I've started incorporating things like apples, kale and more fish.

I was prescribed some probiotics and various tablets/powders but I dont really want to go down this route as they're all synthetic, man made and and I'd rather go the natural route with herbs and simple but natural remedies.

I have read much of the suggested remedies on here including Ted's and others but I am unsure how to proceed although I have an idea about what I could start of with (Lemon juice BS looks a good start and I've started this) but in light of my prognosis above can anyone pinpoint what may be my specific issues if they've had similar, what did you try, and any ideas on what I could start doing and taking. Thanks

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Jem, I had really bad issues with my digestion and pain which coursed through my legs and joints. It was here on EC that I would try many different remedies such as ACV, baking soda, oil pulling, etc. Each worked somewhat but nothing really made a big difference.

Then I decided to try the mini beet protocol and started to notice changes which led me to researching green juices and then the raw food diet. It was all an amazing journey in which I saw people turn their health completely around through eating this way. So, for 3 months I did a raw food diet. Within about 3 days all pain ceased. (Although I persisted with my bad hips but that was another issue, I realized later. ) I'm not saying to go to this extreme but I am saying diet has so much to do with it.

I also had issues with my digestion which Traditional Chinese medicine helped with and also the Body Ecology Diet which had so many sound ideas. You might want to google it because not only have I used it but, I've suggested it to several friends who have been helped by it. Probiotics through fermented foods/ drinks are the ideal way to get all the good bacteria into the body and heal the gut, digestion and many, many more issues. Anyway, their website has such good information and great recipes. I have the book because it's easier for me to reference.

Today, I eat based in BED but also, Weston Price protocol, drink green vegetable juices every morning and take Chinese herbs and have restored my health. Hope this info helps. Lisa

Replied by Jem

Hi Lisa, thanks for the suggestion which I will look into. Have not looked at BED website much although I do look at Dr Mercola's site, what do you think of this? Regarding the TCM part I did try some sessions of acupunture and herbs for kidneys mainly but since then I have read that I need to target all the organs and in a specific order.

I was initially told to try a herb for kidney essence and also another that targeted 'heat in the body' as I still suffer from cases of acne on my face, back and also behind the ears (even though I am 34! ). I also occasionally get eczema on my fingers around the finger nail area. These herbs didn't work for me probably due to what was mentioned above.

The herbs that you tried, what are their names and were they intended to target a specific organ, and anything else that you got from TCM that helped with your digestion?

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Jem, Yes, I like Dr. Mercola's site as well. He always has very valuable information. Actually, he and Donna Gates, who created BED are very good friends and he admires her work as she does his. I hope you look at her site, you will learn a lot.

As for TCM, I would encourage you to try it again but give it a chance. Your TCM Dr. will work on the organs in order of importance or what is most urgent. They will know what order to work in. And you don't necessarily need to target all the organs. In Chinese medicine, the organs are also related to one another. So working on one will affect the related organs.

Your acne and eczema are an indication of too much internal heat so that would be addressed as well. I had that same issue but mine would manifest as rashes all the time. I finally was relieved of them through TCM. It's been almost two years since I've had a rash- an all time record for me!

As for my own herbs for digestion, I couldn't tell you what exactly they were because they were a formula which my TCM Dr. put together for me. I also take betaine hcl with every meal which I learned about here on EC. That was about two years ago now and that made a huge difference for me as well. I also make sure I eat fermented veggies on a regular basis. (Usually daily)

I am in very good health now and take Chinese herbs to stay this way and create even more robust health. I use a formula which has adaptogens in it. They are wild reishi, wild ginseng, wild rhodiola, pure cordyceps, wild schizandra, goji, snow lotus and he shou wu. I feel amazing from this.

Hope this info helps you. Lisa

Replied by Anon

Hi, Sounds like if you cut out all the list of things you are intolerant too you will start to feel better within a few days, probably the milk was stopping the absorption of all the vitamins. Obviously , this will be a challenge but it will be worth it. Why don't you concentrate on this as a start because that seems to be your main issue. Until you cut out the milk for example taking Bsm would be a waste of money as you probably wouldn't absorb the minerals anyway! Why don't you keep a food diary then you can log your achievements.

Replied by Jem

I just wondered what water you both used (distilled/mineral/reverse osmosis.. ?) Also have you tried any of the fulvic acid based products such as wujinsan or other and if so has it had a positive effect you feel?

I am thinking about getting fulvic acid the only problem is sourcing a water source that is not chlorinated and shelling out for a decent distiller is expensive not to mention the upkeep towards it.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Jem, I have used fulvic acid but now what I take is shilajit. They're very similar it's just that shilajit is specifically from Himalaya and Caucasus mountains. The fulvic acid will work just fine.

As for the water I drink, we get filtered water from a very sophisticated filtering system. This system is expensive but for me, it's an investment in health. Long ago, I bought a distiller and would make water every night. Those aren't that expensive and they work well- at least mine did. As long as you take the fulvic acid, the distilled water would work.

Now, as for noticing a difference, well, I do so many things and feel great that I couldn't tell you if those are making a big difference. Honestly, the biggest difference was after my original detox and then my maintenance. I feel very good with what I do to maintain my health now which I shared with you in my first post. Hope this helps. Lisa

Replied by Jem

Thanks Lisa, yes I agree investment in your health is well worth it, for the water.

I have been looking at the sodium thiosulphate recipes for dechlorination and will probably use that initially. It works well for chlorine and should do something to reduce chloramines as well.

On the shilajit, do you get that within the USA or do you order it internationally, from India or other?

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Jem, I use sodium thiosulfate which I ordered online. Did you learn about it here on EC? When I first started using it, within minutes of taking it my nose would run as if I'd turned on a faucet! It was crazy! It happened about the first 3 times and then not much difference when I'd take it after that. Now I only use it about every 3 weeks. Much more often in the beginning.

As for water purifying systems, the one we get our water from is called Pure Water Systems. The BEV- 300 is the one which goes under the sink. It's an amazing system which removes chlorine and organic contaminants. It also removes over 99.5% of salts, heavy metals and radioactive substances and 99.9% of pesticides, herbicides, bacterias, cysts and viruses. I had the chance to speak to the man who created these and an interesting thing that happened for him was when the nuclear meltdown in Japan occurred he was overwhelmed with orders from there for his system.

The shilajit I use I get from here in the U. S. but of course it is real shilajit. I will give you the link to my favorites and you will links to the two places I get it from.


I hope all this helps. Best to you and keep me posted on your progress. Lisa

Replied by Jem

Thanks so much for the details Lisa.

I have not yet tried the STS in water yet but as to the running nose, all I can think of is perhaps a slight allergic reaction to sulphates perhaps. I'm still getting a list together of stuff I'll be ordering soon so I'll let you know what reaction I get to the STs. But I'm gonna add some potassium (bicarbonate) to the mixture just to balance out the sodium as I think those two are anatogonistic pairs.

Although the BEV-300 water purifier system really looks you'll never have to bother with STS again :)

Replied by Dan

Hi, I'm confused about your comment here. ACV is acidic. At least I know Organic Unpasturized ACV is acidic. B___'s for instance has a pH level of 5. Been working well for my low acidic belly.

Dietary Suggestions

Posted by Meme (Abington, MA) on 01/31/2009
5 out of 5 stars

try eating a bowl of raisin bran every morning usually takes a day or two to get things moving but if you eat it every morning you will continue to be regular!!

Posted by Robin (Rocky Ridge, Ohio) on 01/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Here are some general suggestions to improve digestion.

For indigestion or heart burn, take Betaine (sp?) HCL or a couple teaspoons apple cider vinegar in a glass of water right before, during or right after a meal. The stomach needs to be acidic to start the digestion process and if there isn't enough acid the stomach sphincter will not close which results in heartburn or the sitting of food in the stomach for longer periods of time.

Digestive enzymes also help digest the foods we eat. The foods are lacking in natural enzymes because the food has been cooked or irradiated, destroying the enzymes. The enzymes act to extract the nutrients we need so they can be absorbed by our bodies. Digestive enzymes also help break down the gunk that builds up in our digestive track which creates poor health.

A colon cleansing system, like ____. This cleanses the built up gunk in our digestive track that also creates leaky gut syndrome, houses yeast/candida and parasites, and holds toxins and undigested food particles, prevents us from achieving a complete evacuation of fecal matter, contributes to polyps, and all manner of diseases and illnesses. Just like the drain pipes to our kitchen sink, they get smaller and clogged and cannot do the job they are meant to do. This cleanse also detoxes the liver, a very important organ involved in digestion. This is also helpful to someone who feels overfull high up in the stomach area after a meal, those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and constipation. I've tried a couple cleanses and this one does what it says.

Fiber is another necessary ingredient in a healthy digestive track. It gently scrubs out our insides and provides bulk and emollients to expedite the removal of waste matter.

Eat organic foods as much as possible. There are no chemical substances used in their production adding to our toxin overload.

Eat as many raw veggies as possible, their natural enzymes are needed for digestion and nutrition. Try to start every meal with a large salad.

Avoid sugars, processed man made foods including all dairy and foods made with white flours.

Eating an alkaline diet, which means no meats, no dairy, few grains and few fruits. Not only will a diet like this help with digestion, many ailments and illnesses can be reversed with this kind of eating plan. The dairy products in the stores now are altered and contain no enzymes for digestion. The result is the milk products forming a thick glue-like substance in our digestive tracks which collect undigested foods, host parasites and hold toxins in our bodies. After all, Elmer's Glue is made from milk...think about it.

Blessings and good luck!

Replied by Rich
Boca Raton, Fl

Milk has an acidic ph. However, it is kind of a super-food. It contains: Sulfur, Lactoferrin-B, iodine, H202, Lactose (necessary for creating Lactic Acid), and Lysine(necessary for Collagen). (5 things that kill candida). Pasteurized milk destoys good bacteria, 20% of the iodine, and H202. However, it prevents Salmonella and other bad bacterias as well. You can always add these back.

I've been experimenting with "Super Milk", or adding extra vitamins to my milk. 2000mg Sodium Ascorbate (powder), 1000 mg Lysine (powder), 8 drops liquid Kelp, a sprinkle of Turmeric. Note: the Ascorbate raises the ph of the milk. You can't really taste the additives (the turmeric much more than the others). Turmeric improves liver function.
Apparently milk in the winter time has less iodine than in the summer.
There are many ways to skin a cat. I have no problem with the rest of the recommendations. As for the Betaine HCL, this is a nice bacteriocide... if you need it, then it can be miraculous. Sometimes people trying to avoid salt (NaCl), need this supplement (for Chloride). As for the Pro-biotics, these kill candida by creating acids, and are somewhat slow acting. I think you can get a quicker response from mega-Garlic (Sulfur). However, this is an argument of Good vs. Better.

As for the meat, meat is acid forming, and if you have a ph problem, it will give you indigestion and other problems. Theoretically, you can kill your Candida with mega-Garlic, and reduce your bacteria count with sodium Ascorbate, and then you can eat meat again without the indigestion problems. However, I am a firm believer in the alkaline diet, and Robin has it right.

Replied by Jantien
London, UK
5 out of 5 stars

Just a quick note in response to Robin; the cause for indigestion could be either too much or too little acid in the stomach. Here's an indication on how to differentiate: if you feel better after eating food, you probably have too much acid in your stomach. In that case it would be beneficial to alkalize your system (i.e. by taking ACV, which is alkaline, not acidic). If you feel worse after eating, you probably produce too little acid. Do not take ACV in that case, but HCl. Digestive enzymes are always beneficial.

Replied by Robin
Near Toledo, Ohio

Organic raw milk is a super food, but pasteurization and homogenization destroy all the health benefits of the nutrients found in it and kill the enzymes our bodies need to digest it along with the things added after the fact, plus the pus that is found in much of it due to the new farming procedures which are allowed, therefore making milk an inferior, chemically, man made product now found at the grocers. As it it now, it is an acidic food, not sure about the raw milk. Not to mention that man is the only animal found on the planet that drinks another mammals infant milk after weaning, an unnatural practice.

Apple cider vinegar is acidic going in which will trigger the stomach sphincter to close, eliminating the burning and indigestion from backing up the esophagus making it a good choice if too little acid is the case. As the body processed the ACV, there is some disagreement on whether it turns into an alkalizing substance for the body like lemon/lime juice, or remains acidic in the body until it is eliminated. I've read it both ways in my research.

Replied by Gabrielle
Pottsville, PA

RE: Robin's post... people with diverticular disease should NOT use the tea which comes with ___ program as it has Senna in it and is not safe. I know this because I've used it and wound up in the hospital with peritonitis! Also, most fruit is exactly what we DO need for healthy digestion/colons - the majority IS alkalizing.

Replied by Kim
Suwanee, Ga

The Betaine HCL has been a terrific addition to my doctor prescribed enzymes. I've had malabsorption issues for years with an exhausting list of symptoms. The first thing I noticed the most was the weight loss. I lost a pant size just from eliminating water weight. The swelling in my hands, feet and face are reduced. My digestion is more "normal". I've followed most of the above suggestions but feel the HCL was an important addition. It was irritating to hear from doctors that I should "stay away from cheesecake" and to purchase a costly gym membership. Can't wait to see my new doctor's face when I walk in 2 sizes smaller, (yes, the pants are already loose), and hopefully other less obvious health improvements, i.e. lower cholesterol and better iron levels.

Do want to caution anyone taking this to proceed slowly with this supplement. It's not by any means a weight loss supplement. If I hadn't been eating well and exercising, I doubt it would have done much more than give me heartburn. :)

I've posted this question elsewhere on the site, but wanted to ask again: Would taking the Betaine HCL and the apple cider vinegar cancel each other out? Is it a bad idea or just overkill? I've read about the benefits of ACV but don't want to undo the results I've already achieved.