28 Oct

Detoxing Pathways to be Prepared before Starting Weight Loss

toxic chemicals

Weight loss releases the toxins locked in your body. Before starting a weight loss program, it is important to open up your detoxing channels.

Body stores harmful chemicals and heavy metals in the space between cells (extra cellular matrix) and inside the cells, including fat cells. Losing weight releases the toxic muck from the fat cells and the extra-cellular matrix. Your liver must break these toxins down, convert them into harmless forms and send them out of the body through intestine, kidneys and skin.

This flow chart shows the weight-loss related detoxing process:

Detoxing Pathways

Your Personal Toxic Load

The more toxins you expect to handle during weight loss, the more mindful you should be about opening your detoxing channels “before” you start the weight loss program:

  • The faster you lose weight (e.g. bariatric surgery, fasting, VLCD), the more toxins your body will have to handle.
  • The older you are, more will be the accumulated toxins.
  • Also, if you live in a large city, eat processed food, exposed to toxins at work (which could be as benign as the carpet and furniture in your office), your toxic load is likely to be higher.

When the amount of toxins released by the body during weight loss is more than what the detoxing channels can handle, the toxins will get reabsorbed in to the body (lesser evil) or damage the organs involved in detox. The damages remain undetectable for years, if not decades. So, hardly anyone is even aware of this.

Opening up the Detoxing Pathways

Use the flowchart (above) as a guideline. Start with the components at the bottom of the flowchart and work upward.

Opening up the Skin

Anything the encourages perspiration is going to open up your skin. Here are two options available to you:

  • Sauna. If you can access a far infrared sauna, it is better.
  • Exercise

Of course, you should also drink plenty of water.

Supporting the Urinary Pathway

Take the following supplements to ensure the health of your kidneys while detoxifying:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Evacuating the Large Intestines

Liver breaks down the toxins released into the blood stream, push them into the intestine through bile ducts. The toxins reach the intestine, mixed with the bile. At the intestine, you will have to ensure the toxins move out of the body as quickly as possible.

Supplement with Binding Agents

Supplement yourself with food grade

  • Bentonite clay
  • Charcoal and

These are known to bind the toxins using different mechanism and move them through the gut. With bentonite clay, if you over do the dosage, you will end up with constipation.

Improve Gut Lumen and Reduce Gut Poroticy

Supplementing with the following improve the quality of your intestinal wall

  • Prebiotic foods (fiber, fermented food, etc.)
  • Probiotics (prescription strength)
  • Glutathione
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B5

Administer Daily Enema

Daily colon cleanse with plain water enema vacates the contents of the colon, with metabolized toxins in it, faster. If you are new to self-administering enema, get help from someone in the know. Also:

  • Make sure that you use pure water (boiled and cooled, at room temperature). Your body doesn’t have any protection against pathogens that may be present in enema fluid.
  • Anything that goes into colon gets absorbed into the body. So, be careful to avoid stuff in the enema fluid that will add to your toxic load.

Don’t Eat these

While you are under detox program, take care not to eat the following:

  • Don’t eat celentra as it makes you reabsorb mercury into your body

Supporting the Liver

When the toxins from your tissues get demobilized, they reach the liver. In the liver, the toxins are broken down and flushed out. This happens in a 2 step process. You will have to support both the detox phases.

Supporting the Phase-2 Liver Detox

Phase-1 detox process breaks down the toxins to highly reactive chemicals. Phase-2 takes them and converts (conjugates) into less harmful molecules and gets them ready to be flushed out. So, before the Phase-1 activity starts, it is important to ensure that your Phase-2 detox is ship shape.

Supporting the Phase-2 detaox is super-important. Consider this: Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy should detox the drugs in their liver. Cancer studies show that many chemo patients who do not receive sufficient Phase-2 support end up developing more secondary cancer!

You will need the following to support your Phase-2 detoxification:

  • Minerals
    • Zinc
    • Selenium
    • Magnesium
  • Amino acid replacement, especially sulfur-containing amino acids
  • Flavonoids
    • Ellagic acid
    • Green tea catechins
  • Glucosinolates
    • Cruciferous vegetables
    • Onions
    • Garlic
  • Monoterpenes
    • Citrus peel
    • Cherries
  • Silymarin (milk thistle)
  • ALA
  • NAC
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • Glycine
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Malic acid
  • Calcium D-glucarate

It is a big list and you don’t need everything in it. Regarding what to take and how much to take, seek help from an expert/physician who is in the know.

Supporting the Phase-1 Liver Detox

This is where the entire detoxing starts. To support the Phase-1 detoxification, you will need the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin Bs
    • Riboflavin (B-2)
    • Pyridoxine (B-6)
    • Methyl B-12
    • Niacin (B-3)
    • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
  • Branched chain amino acids
  • Glutathione
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
  • Carotenoids
    • Beta-carotene
    • Lycopene
    • Lutein
  •  Bioflavonoids
    • Beets
    • Berries
    • Grapes (anthocyanadins)
    • Pomegranate
    • Strawberries
    • Raspberries
  • Walnuts (ellagic acid)
  • Omega 3 fish oils
  • Green tea catechins (polyphenols)
  • Fruit and vegetable skin (quercetin)

Again, this is  a big list. You don’t have to eat everything. Take help from an expert who is in the know.

Overall Health Status

Phase-1 and Phase-2 detoxing are metabolically expensive processes. So, before they start, it is important to ensure that the patient is healthy enough to handle them.

Detoxing Other Tissues

While losing weight, large amount of toxins from extra cellular matrix and fat cells move out. Since you are preparing your detox pathways to handle the toxins, why not use this opportunity to mobilize rest of the toxins out of the body too?

Detoxing the Lymphatic System

Lymph nodes act as a reservoir of biological toxins. To make the lymph nodes to release the storage of its toxins, you will have to do one of the following:

  • Exercise
  • Lymphatic massage
  • Ayurvedic massage
  • Dry-brush massage
  • Far Infrared Sauna

None of them is guaranteed to produce complete results. So, you will have to stack them up.

Chealation: Mobilizing Remaining Toxins out of Tissue

Chealation is as process wherein the heavy metal toxins are bounded with chealating agents (like EDTA) and flushed out of the body. This can be used to remove toxins from non-fat tissues. The most popular method of chealation is to administer the chealating agent intravenously.

Chealation also flushes out useful minerals from the body. So, anyone who goes on chealation must adequately supplement with helpful minerals.

Related Links

Proper detoxing is also important for patient with chronic diseases including

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Cardio Vascular Diseases
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Autoimmune diseases and more.

Of course, the specifics of detoxing protocol is tweaked based on the disease being handled.

Feedback?

Do you have a feedback or need additional information? Please leave a comment.

26 Oct

Best Cancer Prevention Science can Offer (2017)

Preventing cancer from growing

Breakthrough understandings of cancer that have come about over the last few years have substantially improved the survival of cancer patients. Many people are already out-living their cancer. Using these latest understandings, here are a few things you can do to escape cancer.

TLDR: It is harmless when it is tiny. And you can keep it that way.

Tim Ferris, the author of 4 NYT best sellers (starting with 4 Hour Work Week), by the time we are 40, we have a 40% chance of having a micro cancer growth in our body. By the time we are 70, that probability increases to 100% (here). If you are insulin resistant (most over-weight/obese, all pre-diabetic/diabetic), that probability increases.

Fortunately, all adult cancers take anywhere between 5 to 40 years to grow and break out. While cancer is dormant, you can do several things to stop the cells from multiplying and growing. As long as you are able to keep the cancer cells from growing and breaking out, even if you already have microscopic cancers in your body, you don’t have to worry about it at all.

Other than stunting their growth, you can also do a few things to stop the cancer cells from forming or kill some of the cancer cells that have already formed.

Cancer and Anti-Cancer

Each cell in our body has thousands of tiny objects floating inside them called mitochondria. Mitochondria does the respiration in the cells. Meaning, they taken in oxygen, use it to burn the energy molecules from the food we eat and produce energy. This energy is used by the cells to sustain themselves (this post).

Mitochondria also seem to have a say on the integrity of our genes. When the mitochondria are damaged, the DNA material in our genes gets wrongly coded. To make things worse, damaged mitochondria also prevent the DNA damaged cells from programmed cell death. When the mitochondria is damaged, cells with damaged DNA flourish. One or more of these cells turn into cancer.

So, protect the mitochondria from getting damaged is important.

Environmental pollution can damage your mitochondria

» Eat organic/grass-fed, no GMO (until proven otherwise), keep off food additives and pollutants

Heavy metals and toxins can damage your mitochondria

» No hair die (cadmium), no tuna (mercury), no mercury amalgam, avoid plastics (innumerable toxins) as much as possible...

Poor blood circulation can damage your mitochondria by reducing the supply of oxygen

» Exercise, stay lean. Get hyperbaric oxygen administration once in a while

Cell are stuffed with too much of energy packets (glucose/fat)

» Ensure insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR = 1); keeping body fat percentage to around 16% will get you there

Free radicals, which are byproducts of regular metabolic activities, can damage the mitochondria

» Use good quality anti-oxidants, eat non-starchy, multi-colored, fresh vegetables, drink black coffee

Nutritional inadequacy can damage the mitochondria/DNA

» Ensure optimal nutritional profile (needs medical supervision). Particularly
- Argenine
- Coenzyme Q10
- Curcumin
- Fiber
- Glutathione/NAC
- Indol 3 carbinol
- Melatonin
- Omega 3
- Quercetin
- Resveratrol
- Selenium
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E
- Zinc

Chronic infections can damage your DNA

» Identify and treat chronic infections (needs medical supervision)

Cells with damaged mitochondria cannot energize themselves through oxygenation (i.e. aerobic route). These cells resort to using an ancient pathway to produce energy by fermenting glucose (mostly) and glutamine (an amino acid). Excess sugar in the blood feeds the cancer cells.

» Keep fasting blood sugar between 83mg/dL and 87mg/dL. That way, you won't have too much of blood sugar to feed your cancer cells, if any.

Keeping the blood sugar absolutely low for a few days kills many cancer cells.

» Once an year, for a week, go on water fast or calorie restricted ketogenic diet. Keeping the blood sugar between 50mg/dL and 65mg/dL for a week will kills most cancer cells (needs medical supervision)

If you do something else during this period to further weaken the cancer, it has added effects.

» High dose intravenous Vitamin C and high dose oral pancreatic enzymes both are known to destroy cancer cells (needs medical supervision)

Cancer hijacks body’s wound healing mechanism to grow and spread. For a healthy person, this is not a problem. However, for someone who is suffering from chronic inflammation (due to, for example, autoimmune diseases), this is a major issue.

» Keep the inflammation status of the body low by getting rid of autoimmune diseases and infections (needs medical supervision)

Most autoimmune diseases start in the gut, mainly due to poor balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut.

» Maintain gut microbiome balance (start here)

Cancer cells grows rapidly, though they are inefficient users of nutrition. So, cancer needs lots of blood supply to support their growth. Cancer does this by making new blood capillary to grow in its vicinity. This process is called angiogenisis. Without angiogenisis, cancer chokes and dies.

» To stop angiogenisis, drink three cups of green tea every day (soak the tea leaves for 8-10 minutes in hot water; drink within an hour).

When some of the hormones (particularly, the sex hormones) are not in the youthful levels, they can promote cancer growth.

» Balance your hormones. Ratio between the hormones is more important than the absolute numbers (needs medical supervision).

Many food items, including some vegetables and certain ways of food preparation are known carcinogens.

» Avoid carcinogenic food items. Eat cancer preventive foods.

Many food items are known to be cancer preventive. They contain anti-cancer nutrients, rich in antioxidants, etc.

» Eat anti-cancer foods wherever possible
- virgin cold-pressed olive oil without over-heating it
- turmeric with black pepper
- ginger
- garlic
- onion
- calciferous vegetables
- broccoli sprouts (excellent)
- colored non-starchy vegetables
- tomatoes (cooked in olive oil)
- soy
- mushrooms
- cooking herbs and spices
- berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries)
- stone fruits (plums, peaches)
- citrus fruits (oranges, lemon)
- pomegranate
- dark chocolate
- beetroot

Lastly, we have no clear evidence about mobile phones causing cancer. Though, many tentative evidences have been emerging from all over the world.

» But just to be safe, keep your mobile phone at about 3ft from your body (use a Bluetooth hands free device (v 4.1 or later) to speak into), particularly when you are in fast moving  vehicle or when the signal strength is poor.

Be wise. Wherever I suggested that you need medical supervision, get one. Diet, nutrition and hormones be managed within an optimal window. And the optimum varies from person to person. If you DIY these things, they may blow up and make things worse. What is “worser” is that when things go wrong, it may be so subtle that you may not even realize it.

Related Posts

Questions, suggestions? Leave a comment below.

 

24 Oct

Beginning of the End of Cancer

living after cancer

In the last post, I wrote about the beginning of the end of type-2 diabetes. Here is something even more sensational:

Science is beginning to understand cancer and…it is turning out to be a pussy!

Let me explain.

TLDR: calorie restricted ketogenic diet is a powerful anti-cancer tool

 

Cancer is not a genetic disease

First, some cell physiology. Let me use a hen’s egg as analogy to explain structure of the cells in your body:

  • Each cell has a membrane holding its contents (like an egg’s shell).
  • Everything inside the cell membrane is called the cytoplasm (like the white of the egg).
  • The liquid component of cytoplasm is cytosol.
  • Many pieces of cellular machinery float around in the cytosol.
  • The largest of the flotilla is called the nucleus of the cell (like the yellow of the egg).
  • The nucleus of the cell contains our genetic material (DNA, etc.).
Note: Cells come in many shapes, not just in an egg or a box shapes.

Here is a simplified block diagram of a cell.

Animal cell (block diagram)

You were told that cancer starts when our genes undergo damages (mutations), right? Well, that turns out to be wrong.

Take two cells, one normal and another cancerous, and interchange their nucliei:

normal and cancer cells

If cancer were a result of gene mutations, the cell that ends up with damaged nucleus should become cancerous, right? Surprise, surprise, the opposite happens!

cancer cell with normal nucleus

When you put the nucleus of a cancerous cell into a normal cytoplasm, the cell behaves normally. Whereas, when you put an undamaged nucleus into the cytoplasm of a cancer cell, it becomes cancerous. So…

something cytoplasm causes cancer; not the damages to the DNA!

For decades, the cancer treatment strategies were designed to go after the gene mutations. Looks like the culprit is sitting in the cytoplasm all along. No wonder cancer remained untreatable!

 

Cancer is a metabolic disease

Remember we mentioned earlier that many cellular machinery float in the cytosol? Among them are tiny structures (or organelles (ogranum = tool, organelle = tiny tool (no, not that))) called mitochondria (singular: mitochondrium).

mitochondria

Mitochondria are the power plants of the cells. Each cell has thousands of mitochondria. In a process called aerobic (using air, or oxygen) energy production, mitochondria generate energy for the cells to use.

Trivia: You get all your mitochondria from your mother. Sperms carry mitochondria in their tail. When a sperm enters an egg, the tail with mitochondria is left behind.

Billions of years ago, mitochondria were free roaming “animals” like bacteria. Then, the eukaryotic cells (which, we are made up of) captured the mitochondria and made bonded labors out of them. Eukaryotic cells feed and house mitochondria. In return, mitochondria produce fast and ample energy for the eukaryote using oxygen.

Before enslaving the mitochondria, eukaryotic cells used to produce energy through the slower process of fermenting glucose. This energy pathway doesn’t use oxygen. It is called an anaerobic (i.e. without air) pathway or glycolytic pathway.

Note: Cells can also anaerobically extract energy by fermenting an amino acid called glutamine. But we can ignore it for the time being.

When the mitochondria in a cell become damaged, they cannot produce energy using the aerobic pathway anymore. So, the cell start to fully depend on the ancient and slower fermentation route. Unfortunately, many of the gene mutations that are responsible for up regulating the fermentation pathways also play a part in:

  1. Mutation of cell DNA
  2. Evading programmed cell death (all our cells are programmed to commit suicide under certain circumstances), so damaged/mutated cells continues to live
  3. Encourage growth of new blood vessels (without sprouting new blood vessels, cancer cells cannot grow into a tumor larger than 0.2mm to 2mm)

So, DNA mutates, evade self-destruct program, encourages new blood vessels to bring it extra energy, resulting in a runaway cell multiplication. The cluster of such cells become a cancerous tumor.

Note: I have over simplified the mechanism of cancer here. But it works for our purpose.

 

Sensible Cancer Treatment Strategy

When our genes start mutating without oversight (since mitochondrial damage destroys many control systems in the cell), the mutations happen in thousands of ways. Attacking the genetic mutation in a cancer cell is like fighting the Hydra of Lerna. New mutations keep popping up faster than you can kill the old ones.

Fortunately, once you understand that cancer is a metabolic disease, a simpler and more elegant solution becomes available. We know that cancers seem to start with poor aerobic energy production, and that cancer cells rely on glucose as the primary source of energy! So…

if you keep the blood glucose levels in the range of 50-65mg/dL, cancer cells start dying out of hunger.

When the blood glucose goes this low, normal cells with functioning mitochondria can live on by producing energy through alternative means.

To keep the blood sugar levels continuously low, one must eat a lot of healthy fats (about 80% by calorie intake) and very little of proteins (15%) and carbs (5%). This type of diet is called a ketogenic diet.

 

Wait, there is more

Including the mitochondrial dysfunction, there are a total of 14 vulnerabilities in cancer’s armor:

  1. Help improve the gene reproductive integrity
  2. Fix the expression of the damaged DNA
  3. Inhibit abnormal signal transduction
  4. Inhibit abnormal transcription activity
  5. Normalize cell membrane potential
  6. Normalize mitochondrial function
  7. Encourage normal cell to cell communication
  8. Inhibit abnormal blood supply to cancer cells
  9. Inhibit spreading of cancer cells to distant parts of the body
  10. Support the immune system
  11. Maintain cellular detox mechanism
  12. Normalize cell suicide mechanisms
  13. Maintain gut function
  14. Normalize the cancer cells

We have seen how to exploit one of these 14 vulnerabilities, namely mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction is perhaps the worst vulnerability the cancer cells suffer. But to beat cancer, you will have to attack every one of the 14 vulnerabilities.

Funny and incredible as it may sound, despite the billions we have been spending on drug discovery, we have no drugs to fight against any one of these 14 vulnerabilities. Nothing. Nada.

Fortunately there are robust, evidence based (yes, evidence based) diet and nutrition regimen that you can implement to support us with each of these 14 battles. If you go to war with cancer on all these 14 fronts, then…

cancer becomes just another chronic disease to be managed over long term. Like, say, diabetes!

Also, because these interventions are made up of diet and nutrition, they are non-toxic. Nutritional interventions even revitalize a cancer patient and make them stronger.

With nutritional management…

even the patients with the most aggressive form of cancer can live 2 to 5 more years than predicted.

If you buy few more years with nutritional therapy, new medical breakthrough may come along, adding more years. Also…

if you attack an easy-cancer using diet and nutrition, many patients may end up outliving their cancer!

 

How can I help?

Implementing a comprehensive anti-cancer protocol is super-cumbersome. If someone you know needs help with managing their disease, please get in touch with me either by leaving a comment (or sending me a message form the contact page, if you are concerned about privacy).

I will connect you with my friends who specialize in this area of medicine.

 

24 Jul

Beginning of the End of Type-2 Diabetes

The current protocol for treating Type-2 Diabetes is out dated on so many counts, it must be outlawed. Today, we have sufficient scientific understanding to reliably reverse diabetes.

Consider these:

  1. Onset of Type-2 diabetes can be predicted many years in advance. Some of these predictive methods are inexpensive.
  2. If you have Type-2 diabetes, insulin resistance in your body causes blood sugar levels to spike. Conventional treatment protocol tries to reduce the blood sugar spike (symptom). Very little is done about treating the insulin resistance (cause).
  3. A drug called Metformin is commonly used to reduce insulin resistance (but only by a small margin). It is toxic to your mitochondria. If you are diabetic, your mitochondria are already damaged.
  4. Most diabetic drugs whip up your already weak pancreas to produce more insulin. In the process, they destroy whatever insulin production capacity you have left behind.
  5. Insulin injections top up the insulin level in the blood, making the body even more insulin resistant.
  6. The 40 minute brisk walk that doctor ordered you is not good enough. Your diabetes needs something much more rigorous.
  7. Tracking Body Mass Index (BMI) is useless, particularly if you are a thin Type-2 diabetic. Instead, track percentage body fat (PBF).
  8. Diabetes seem to originate in your gut. But no one works on your gut to fix your diabetes.
  9. Many thin diabetics probably have Diabetes Type 1.5. Not Diabetes Type 2.
  10. Many micronutrients help in reducing your insulin resistance. Standard diabetes protocols rarely include a microneutrient treatment.
  11. Of all the conventional Type-2 diabetes protocol, this is the deadliest: Feeding you with high-carb-low-fat diet for a disease that was caused by consumption of carbohydrate.
  12. There is a surgery that can reliably reverse diabetes in many of you. For reasons that continue to baffle me, almost no one outside the medical community is aware of it.
  13. If you have diabetes, the earlier you get control of it the better. If you are going to be waiting for your doctor to tell you these things, you will run out of time.
  14. There are thing you can do to reverse at least some of the damages caused by diabetes to your body.

In a series of articles to follow, I am going to discuss these points in detail, and support my presentation with references.

As of 2017, we don’t fully understand insulin resistance. We don’t even know what causes it. But there is a torrent of new knowledge that can help us get control of it. Once you do that, you can keep your blood sugar levels at near normal levels and stop diabetes from killing you slowly. If you put a break on diabetes for a few years, new science will come along and help you reverse it for good.

19 Apr

Acid-Blockers Overkill

Acid-Reflux

The current treatment protocol for chronic acid-reflux is a crime. To understand why, you will have to first understand how this disease works.

All posts in this series

Introduction Agents of Dysbiosis

Digestion 101

digestive-tractThe food you swallow travels through a vertical tube called esophagus. Esophagus takes the food into your stomach, where the stomach adds some acid and grinds the food. The acid helps to break down the food and extract nutrients.

After sufficient churning and grinding, the stomach pushes the food into small intestine. As the food travels down the small intestine, more digestion happens. After the food travels some distance in the small intestine, it is mixed with bile which comes from liver (and gall bladder). Bile emulsifies the fat we eat, like soap emulsifies oil, and helps us digest it. Since the bile is alkaline, it neutralizes the acid from the stomach.

In the small intestine, the food is also mixed with various digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas and nutrition extraction happens. After the small intestine is finished digesting the food, the food is moved into our large intestine.

Up until recently, we used to believe that large intestine is largely a waste-bin, holding the digested food till it is excreted. Now we know better. Bacteria living in the large intestine breaks down and eats up our left overs like the fiber that we eat. After the bacteria has done their job, even more energy energy is released (about 30% more) for us to extract from the food.

After the energy extraction, the remaining stuff, with whole lots of stomach bacteria, are stored to be excreted out of the body.

Diaphragm 101

Between our chest and the abdomen, there is a horizontal plane of muscle called the diaphragm. Lungs, heart and esophagus (food pipe) sit above the diaphragm. Stomach, intestines, gall bladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, urinary tract, etc., sit below the diaphragm.

Diaphragm makes our breathing possible. When we we breath in, the diaphragm moves downward, increasing the volume of our chest cavity. This increases the volume of the lungs, creating a negative pressure inside. Air flows into the lungs to fill it up, creating our in-breathing. When we breath out, the diaphragm moves up, squeezing the lungs and pushing the air out.

Acid Reflux 101

We just saw that the esophagus passes through the diaphragm to reach the stomach. Some of the diaphragm muscle fibers wrap around the esophagus and act like a pinch cock. When you swallow food, the pinch cock opens and allows the food to go down in to the stomach. During other times, it remains closed so that the acidic contents of the stomach don’t escape into the esophagus.

LES-valveThis pinch cock is called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter valve (or LES valve). When it doesn’t work well, acidic content of the stomach flows back into the esophagus. We call this an acid reflux.

Since the esophagus doesn’t have the protective inner lining like stomach, if the acidic stomach contents flow back into the esophagus, the inner surface of the esophagus gets hurt. If the hurt continues for a long time, we are talking years, it might turn into esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in many parts of the world, including India.

So, there is a sort of compulsion to reduce the damages of long standing acid reflux.

Acid Reflux 201

At times, there is surplus of pressure in/on the stomach which pries open even a normal-strength LES valve and pushes the food back into the esophagus. This is another mechanism through which you might end up getting an acid reflux disease.

Here is the list of all the things that can make the contents of the stomach to flow back into the esophagus:

  1. Weakness in the diaphragmatic muscle fibers make it difficult to keep the LES valve shut
  2. There is a hole in the diaphragm (a hiatus hernia), which makes the LES valve weak
  3. There is too much of food or/and water in the stomach that some of it escapes back into the esophagus
  4. A faulty digestive system and it produces too much of gas and the pressure from the gas pushes open the LES valve
  5. Too much of fat in the stomach (called the visceral fat) leaves too little space for the stomach, squeezing its contents out
  6. Tight clothes like corset put a squeeze on the stomach
  7. Certain food, like fat and caffeine, dilate the LES valve, making it easy for the acidic contents of the stomach to flow back into the esophagus

Let’s see what we can do fix each possible causes of acid reflux.

  1. Weak diaphragmatic muscles: You can strengthen them with breathing exercises. Talk to an yoga teacher.
  2. Hole in the diaphragm (hiatus hernia): Get a surgeon to fix it
  3. Full stomach: Don’t lie down.
  4. Gas in digestive system: This may be caused by the drugs you are taking to reduce your acid reflux symptoms. More about it later.
  5. Too much visceral fat: Lose weight
  6. Tight clothes: Don’t
  7. Some foods dilate the LES valve: Avoid them

Other than these, all backward stretching yoga postures stretch the esophagus. It is believed that with the increased length of esophagus, the lateral pressure on the esophagus increases, shutting it more effectively.

Did you notice that none of the above fixes involve reducing the stomach acid?

Stomach Acid 101

Stomach acid is there for two good reasons:

  • Stomach acid breaks down the food in the stomach, helping us extract protein and other important nutrients. Without sufficient stomach acid, we tend to become malnutritioned.
  • Stomach acid kills most of the pathogens that invade us through the food we eat. Without sufficient stomach acid, we become more susceptible to infections.

Stomach acid is actually a good thing.

SIBO 101

Stomach acid keeps the bacterial content of the stomach acid in check. With weakened stomach acid, there is an over-growth of bacteria in the small intestine. We call this a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.

Note: SIBO has many causes. Reduced stomach acid is just one of them.

SIBO has many nasty effects. They include:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Depression

SIBO is also very difficult to treat with antibiotics, with very high rate of recurrence. When a recurrence happens, the symptoms are worse.

Let’s look into on only one ill effect of SIBO: Bloating. The bloating occurs because of improper digestion, particularly food fermentation in the small intestine. The gas generated in the process, which causes the bloating, also causes belching.

When the gas from the small intestine travels to the mouth (assuming that the olfactory senses don’t object to it), it opens up a valve positioned between the small intestine and the stomach (called the pyloric valve) and our friend, the LES valve.

Opening the LES valve, we already saw, causes acid reflux. So, when the stomach acid remains sufficiently low for a long time, we are talking months, SIBO to set in. Once SIBO comes to play, it contributes to acid reflux.

If you already have acid reflux, SIBO makes it worse.

Bile Reflux 101

When the contents of the small intestine open up the pyloric valve and travel into the stomach, some times they carries bile from the small intestine into the stomach.

Again, there are other reasons for a bile reflux. SIBO is just one of them.

When the bile, which is alkaline, enters the stomach, it neutralizes some of the stomach acid, making the problem worse.

Acid Reflux Protocol 101

Now that you have your fundamentals, let me take you to the meat of this post: If you have acid reflux and go to a doctor, what do they do? They give you acid-blockers! So that when the stomach contents flow back, your esophagus isn’t burnt the way it used to be. Let me paraphrase that:

Acid-blockers don’t stop the reflux. It simply stops the acid.

Acid blockers, when taken for a long period of time, give you malnutrition, start SIBO and make the acid reflux symptoms worse. Acid blockers turn evil when the treatment runs into months and years.

Pepsin 101

Here is something that no one probably told you about:

If you have acid reflux, the real damage to the esophagus is done by the pepsin that comes from the stomach!

Pepsin is a molecule that is used by the stomach to digest the protein we eat. But pepsin becomes active only in the presence of acid. When you have a reflux, along with the rest of the food contents and acid, even pepsin rises into the esophagus. When the reflux subsides, some of the pepsin hangs around on the walls of the stomach and lies dormant.

Since you now already have pepsin on the esophageal walls, if you happen to eat acidic food or drink acidic drinks, the acid in your food wakes up the pepsin and it starts to digesting your esophagus. Acid reflux is more about pepsin eating into your esophagus and less about the acid burn.

Let me repeat it:

Acid reflux is more about pepsin eating into your esophagus and less about the acid burn.

To reduce the reactivation of pepsin, you have to be careful not to eat or drink acidic foot.

pH 101

When it comes eating less acidic food, how much is too much?

The acidity of substance is measured on a pH scale. pH “0” is very acidic (battery acid). pH 14 is very alkaline (drain cleaner). Lastly, pH is a log scale. “pH 0” is…

  • 10 times more acidic than pH 1
  • 100 times more acidic than pH 2
  • 1,000 times more acidic than pH 3
  • 10,000 times more acidic than pH 4
  • 100,000 times more acidic than pH 5
  • 1,000,000 times more acidic than pH 6

Now that you understand the pH scale, here is something you are never going to forget:

  • Water is pH 7.0 (neutral)
  • Milk is about pH 6.8 (coconut and soy milk are round about similar value), almost as good as water
  • Coffee is about 5.5, a share more acidic than water
  • Coke and Pepsi are pH 2.5
  • The stomach acid is pH 2

Coke and Pepsi are almost as acidic as the stomach acid. So are many packaged drinks that we use every day.

If you drink acidic drinks or eat acidic food after you have had a reflux, the residual pepsin lingering in your esophagus will get reactivated and start gnawing into the esophageal tissue.

High pH Diet 101

If you are suffering from acid reflux, high the pH of the food you eat lesser you activate the pepsin clinging on to your esophagus.

If you have acid reflux, start eating food that has higher pH value than 5. Do this for two weeks and then stick to pH 4+ food for rest of you life.

With this, about 1/3rd of the people with acid reflux can wean themselves off acid-blocking medication. What more, to keep the pH as high as possible, you will end up eating large quantities of high fiber vegetables, which are excellent for your gut microbiome. So, when you are on high pH diet, you can effectively rule out SIBO.

About 1/3rd of the people with acid reflux can manage with high pH diet and medical intervention. However, the rest 1/3rd typically need surgical correction of their LES valve.

Plug: Food Clinic   has been advising patients on high pH Indian cuisine for controlling their acid reflux.

Criminology 101

I started this post with the sensational claim that current standard protocol for “treating” acid reflux disease is a crime. Now that you have the complete picture, are in a better position to understand why:

  • About 1/3rd  of acid reflux patients can manage their disease with high pH diet. But with the exception of just one organization (Food Clinic) in this country, no one else is even talking about it.
  • About 1/3rd  of acid reflux patients cannot be cured without a surgery. But most of the chronic acid reflux patients don’t even know that there is permanent fix for their problem in the form of a quick surgery.
  • Many patients are not educated about the damage they are doing to themselves by taking acid blocking drugs on the long run.
  • Very few acid reflux patients  have even heard of SIBO, that it has probably been started by their acid blocking drug, that it is going to be difficult to get rid of it using conventional treatment (i.e. antibiotics) and that it is making their acid reflux worse.

Whoever perpetuates this broken system, in my humble opinion, is committing a crime.

Dysbiosis 101

We already saw that prolonged usage of acid blocking drugs damages the gut bacteria balance, resulting in Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Often, these patients are put on antibiotics to get rid of their SIBO. If these things mess up the microbiome so the person starts have symptoms of autoimmune diseases like IBS, allergies, etc., they are also put on steroids to lower the immune response.

This is a deadly cocktail designed for disastrous dysbiosis.

Unless someone wakes up to this and starts to work on re-balancing the gut microbiome, this patient will never become healthy again. Ever.

All posts in this series

Introduction Agents of Dysbiosis