5 Steps to be Bloat Free for Good
You know the feeling. Stomach pain, gas and your belly filling up like a balloon about to pop. It’s uncomfortable, makes your clothes too tight and can really affect your activity level and enjoyment of the day.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 10 to 15 percent of the adult population in the US suffers from IBS symptoms like gas, bloating and gut pain that moves. Gas and bloating are the most common symptoms seen by gastroenterologists and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians.
What causes Bloating?
Bloating occurs when gas or air gets trapped in your abdomen. But how does it get there? Is it really because you’re gulping down air, … you chew gum too exuberantly, or you talk while you eat? Not at all.
Something else is producing all that gas, and it won’t respond to peppermint tea or simply drinking more water. What’s really going on inside is an imbalance in your microbiome. That’s right, the 100 trillion tiny creatures living in and on every surface of your body. The only way to be bloat free for good is to understand more about them and correct the imbalance thats giving you so much grief. Healing Leaky Gut (Microbiome 101)
Cellular Respiration and the Bloat
To create large amounts of gas or CO2 (the same stuff that makes you burp after drinking a soda) you have to have a fairly large population of anaerobic microorganisms that ferment your sugars instead of metabolizing them as plants and animals do …with oxygen. When these gas producing microbiota overgrow in the gut, they take the simple sugars you digest and convert them to 1/16th the amount of energy possible and instead provide you with lots of gas, and either lactic acid or alcohol to boot, which are the primary bi-products of their metabolism.
Here’s a diagram illustrating the different outcomes of cellular respiration depending on the presence of fermentation factors like candida yeast, mold and fungus in the tissues.
Basics of cell respiration
Cell Respiration Releases Energy from the food we eat:
During the process of aerobic respiration (left side of pyramid), oxygen and food (glucose, fatty acids and proteins) combine and are broken down to obtain energy. By this process, one molecule of glucose produces as many as 36 units of energy (ATP) with a little Carbon Dioxide and Water left over, which we exhale while breathing.
By contrast, anaerobic respiration (right side of pyramid – what yeast, mold and fungus do best) converts the same food molecule into only 2 units of energy (ATP) with some Ethanol (an alcohol-like neurotoxin in humans) and Carbon Dioxide (the gas responsible for all that bloating). This is known as alcoholic fermentation.
So basically, if you feed your overgrown fermenter simple sugars, they give you very little energy, lots of alcohol and some gas & bloating for good measure.
Notice that Anaerobic respiration produces far less energy – only 2 energy units compared with 36 units in aerobic respiration – which is why people who experience chronic bloating also feel so tired all the time. They aren’t getting the energy they deserve from their food!
Once you have an overgrowth of these fermenters going on, any sugars you eat, including natural sugars found in fruit, carrots and even bell peppers will produce this bloated feeling, drain your energy, and fuel a sensation of brainfog due to the increased alcohol in your system.
What sets you up for Bloating?
So, how did this imbalance happen? What set you up for this misery in the first place? Many cultural norms in western civilization set us up for gut linked illness by making our internal environment more conducive to these unfriendly microorganisms. These include:
1) Compromised immunity
2) Use of broad spectrum antibiotics
3) High sugar diet
4) Hormones (real or synthetic)
5) Stress (running on adrenalin)
6) Alcoholism in your family tree
7) Use of steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nSAIDs)
8) Runs in families by association, not genetics.
For more about these risk factors, see . What causes a Leaky Gut, 8 Risk Factors to Know
For men, women and children, bloating begins occurring just a week or two after a surgery, infection or illness treated with antibiotic or after a major stress event in life. But for women, the monthly menstrual cycle and every childbirth present additional opportunities for imbalance to run high. PMS and Baby blues are phenomenon experienced by the female sex because of the way fluctuating hormones (real or synthetic) feed the anaerobic organisms in the body.
Recommendations to Beat the Bloat
So what to do about it? Here are some steps you can take to unplug the bloat, clear your brain of the fog and begin securing all the potential energy your food has to offer.
- Proper nutritional support..
- Normalize the bowel.
- Remove pathogens
- Heal the permeable membranes which normally nurture friendly flora, primarily the GI tract, but others too.
- Restore friendly flora.
Perhaps you’ve tried taking a Probiotic supplement of friendly flora, but it didn’t do much good to beat your bloating. Until you clear a place for friendly bacteria to set up house and implant in the mucousal linings of the body, you won’t see any noticeable results in your bloating. This step has to come after removing pathogens like overgrown yeast, mold and fungus.
For special considerations on removing pathogens during pregnancy or lactation, see Is Yeast Treatment Safe During Pregnancy or Lactation?
5 Steps to be Bloat Free for Good