I was on vacation, plus way too many hours at work. I felt badly that I did not get a chance to check my personal email, or this board, for the last 2 weeks. I was very curious to see what happened, and whether your GERD is caused by a reduction of stomach enzymes.
Re:"As we age and stomach acid is diminished we start to have issues with GERD."
Millions of people take Nexium, Prilosec, etc, to reduce stomach acid and prevent heartburn. Could you clarify whether there is a contradiction between this observation, and your statement? I am equating heartburn with GERD. In your experience, is that valid?
Re: "Some compound the problem by taking digestive enzymes which can result in the body shutting down its natural production."
Are you concerned that taking Beano as an experiment, to see if Beano prevents your GERD, will reduce your natural stomach enzymes?
That certainly was not my experience. I became severely lactose intolerant at the age of 32. I certainly never took lactase enzyme (Dairy Ease, Lactaid, etc) while I was becoming lactose intolerant, because I did not know I was becoming lactose intolerant. All I knew was that I was having frequent and severe stomach aches and painful cramps and diarrhea, for no apparent reason at all. I was eating dairy products daily, as I had for my entire life. I finally made the connection that dairy products were causing my problems.
A few months later, a friend mentioned I could try Dairy Ease. The recommended dose is 2 or 3 pills. 2 pills did nothing for me. But if I took 4 pills, with the first bite of dairy, I could eat all the dairy I wanted for 5 to 10 minutes, with no problems. If I was at a dinner, where small servings arrived with time in between, that would require 4 pills for each serving. So, I would stockpile the food, so I could take one batch of pills, and then gobble all the food.
Like most of us on this board, I did not want to be dependent upon pills. For the next 28 years, I took the lactase enzyme pills zero, once or twice a week, when I wanted to eat cheese, deserts, etc. I have never heard of a lactose intolerant person even sensitive to white bread with whey, like I was.
Getting back to your point about taking digestive enzymes shutting down natural production, I became severely lactose intolerant while never taking enzymes, and my lactose intolerance reversed, while taking those enzymes zero, once or twice a week. I don't think there was any connection, in my case.
My interest in seeing if Beano prevents your GERD, is not to suggest that you take Beano for the rest of your life. If Beano helps you, I could share what my educated best guess is, as to why my lactase production came back, to my great surprise.
I think all of Dr. Robillard's considerations are true, but are incomplete, because the proposed mechanism ignores the action of the stomach. The stomach should digest all the carbs. If carbs are digested in the stomach and do not go into the small intestine, then, regardless of the fermentation potential, there is no gas or GERD. This explains why most people do not have issues with a high carb diet, but some do. I propose that those people have less stomach enzymes which digest the carbs. I attended the Pritikin Longevity Center several times, and nobody I was aware of complained of GERD.
By the way, remember when Heretic insisted that the Pritikin diet was effective because it was actually a low carb diet, because most of the carbs were not absorbed? I answered that the fermentation in the intestine, "making beer", would be awful.
Let me try to illustrate my point. I agree that fermentation potential is a valuable concept, but it is incomplete without an understanding of the stomach's contribution to digesting carbs. The variability of stomach enzymes explains why most people are not lactose intolerant, but some are. So, what does Dr. Robillard say the fermentation potential of lactose is? I will assert that the fermentation potential of lactose is about infinite, because, if the stomach does not digest the lactose, any trace of lactose going into the small intestine, is extremely uncomfortable. If you have lactase in your stomach, then the fermentation potential of lactose is near zero. Again, the easy way to diagnose lactose intolerance, as opposed to an allergy or something else, is whether Dairy Ease or similar lactase pill will temporarily cure it. (For those reading, Dairy Ease works if you take it with the first bite of dairy. Then you can eat dairy for about 5 or 10 minutes. Dairy Ease will do nothing to help, if you ate the dairy previously, and are now suffering stomach ache, diarrhea, etc.)
I am very pleasantly surprised that, after 28 years of very severe lactose intolerance, it has completely gone away. I believe I know what happened to reverse it, but of course I could be wrong. I am curious to know if my experience can be helpful to you, if your issues is lack of a stomach enzyme. Thus the Beano experiment.
I can eat one cup of beans, perhaps 2 (but significantly gassy with 2 cups of beans). My wife likes beans, so we can make music together. But I can eat unlimited oatmeal, brown rice, broccoli, shredded wheat, etc. I did notice heartburn with Kashi cereal, grape nuts sometimes.
"Fermentation potential" does not quite describe the problem. Any one of these carbs, if they get past the stomach and into the small intestine, including potatoes, will cause terrible distress. In that respect, every carb has the maximum "fermentation potential". The problem for lactose intolerance, is that the stomach lacks lactase, and does not digest lactose. What would be very valuable to understand is, is your problem the lack of the proper stomach enzymes to digest the carbs.
For diagnostic purposes, could you test whether Beano allows you eat carbs without GERD? I would try 4 pills, since you have a severe case, if Beano is helpful. Take all 4 Beano pills with the first bite of carbs, and then eat carbs for the next 5, maybe 10 minutes. After that, you'll need another batch of pills, I believe. That is, if Beano helps you.
I hope you don't mind answering these questions. My experience with this is unique, and may be helpful. I accidentally fell upon completely reversing severe lactose intolerance of 28 years duration.
If Beano prevents the GERD, that proves that the problem is a missing stomach enzyme. That's important knowledge. So, if it is a missing stomach enzyme, possibly my further experience may be helpful. After 28 years of being extremely sensitive lactose intolerant, I am no longer lactose intolerant, at all, to my amazement.
Let me know if Beano helps.
When did you become sensitive to carbs, or when did you start getting GERD? Just a guess, it was not all your life.
Excellent! Some illumination on the (very important) GERD issue. Thanks for the excellent link from Dr. Eades and Robillard.
My experience with lactose intolerance allows me to expand upon the ideas of Dr. Eades and Robillard.
The stomach's job is to digest the carbohydrates. If the carbohydrates get past the stomach, into the small and large intestine, then the bacteria there cause fermentation, resulting in a variety of symptoms that vary person to person. These symptoms may be gas, GERD, stomach ache, chest pain, cramps, and/or diarhhea.
Re: jc said "...but I can eat tons of potatoes(they are fast digesting and don't have time to ferment)."
So, my clarification goes like this: The potatoes are fast digesting in the stomach. If the potatoes reached the small intestine without being digested in the stomach, they would ferment plenty fast and give you many many problems.
Lactose intolerance was my problem for 28 years, when I was the most sensitive lactose intolerant I have ever known. If I had any small amount of lactose (milk, cheese, ice cream, ice milk, etc etc, even a slice of bread with whey), I had stomach ache, and probably painful diarhhea 20 minutes after eating, and perhaps 24 hours later again. I was missing the stomach enzyme lactase, which digests lactose. So, lactose, milk sugar, which is a carbohydrate, would go through the stomach without being digested, and go into the small intestine, where the bacteria there would FERMENT the lactose. This created lactic acid and other nasty stuff, which irritated the small intestine plenty, and the small intestine would move that stuff through, in a hurry. When the stool came out, it smelled awful, like fresh cut grass fermented in a black plastic bag, in the sunlight. The smell reminded me of what I imagined cow vomit would smell like.
How can someone know for sure whether they have lactose intolerance? Quite simply, take lactase pills with your first bite of dairy (Lactaid, Dairy Ease, Wallmart Equate Dairy Digestive Supplement). I took 4 pills, and then I could eat all the dairy I wanted, for about 5, maybe 10 minutes. No problem at all. 2 pills did nothing. The pills and the dairy had to mix in the stomach. If I ate Dairy and then had the pills 5 minutes later, I had problems, because some of the dairy would pass through the stomach to the small intestine, ahead of the pills, causing fermentation. If the pills work, and you can eat dairy for 5 minutes without discomfort, then you have lactose intolerance. If the pills do not make any difference, you do not have lactose intolerance. This is an important distinction to make, because there could be allergies, leaky gut syndrome, food sensitivities, etc, which are different issues.
Dolores and I have expressed surprise that a low carb diet cures GERD. I was surprised to read that Dr. Eades observes this in his practice. For many people, fatty food, coffee and alcohol all promote stomach acid and heartburn, which we are equating with GERD. But, jc, you have clearly established that the carbs do cause your GERD.
jc said "when I went on Heretics low carb diet I noticed my digestive problems went away completely." ".so I have to limit beans to one cup a day and brown rice to a half cup a day.....no bread or whole wheat or oatmeal"
There are many stomach enzymes, each addressing a certain food group. As we get older, our stomach enzymes levels may decrease, and each person may decrease different enzymes. As an example, different people find different foods gassy. Some beans, some broccoli, some dairy, etc etc. I found interesting info at http://www.beanogas.com/ Beano contains one enzyme.
I hope you are able to figure out your GERD. Of course, we are all hoping to be able to make a helpful suggestion. So please be patient with us.
If I eat nuts by themselves, they can cause heartburn. It is better to eat them with food, preferably veggies.
I hate to be a downer, but Google barrett's esophagus. My sister-in-law just died of esophageal cancer. I learned a lot.
If you cannot fix it by figuring out what in the diet is causing it, or maybe a hiatal hernia, the best course might be to use Nexium or similar. My wife just had an endoscopy. The procedure is no problem.
Re: "However Heretics arguments are more convincing to me especially when combined with my own personal experience.Another thing that convinces me is the large number of posters I communicate with either directly or by PMs that have had nothing but failure with the McDougall WOE."
So, what floats your boat?
You are familiar with the positions we have posted in the past. I was interested to what what influences you most. When you think of the low carb vs plant based debate, what do you think of first and most convincingly?
Maybe with this guidance, I can offer a viewpoint that might be more interesting to you, for your consideration.
Or maybe I'll change my viewpoint, and be convinced that Heretic was right after all ! In reality, while it would take me a while to make such a tidal shift, I do wish to follow the best diet, rather than be defensive for my present beliefs.
Re: ".I think psychological factors and beliefs are far more important in how well and how long we live....which is not to say diet is irrelevant...its just not the main factor."
I remember Bear Cub posting that he though the love and companionship we felt during a meal, was more important than what we ate. I posted that he was scaring me, and he replied that he was following the diet. 2 weeks later, very sorry to say, he had a heart attack. Subsequently he follows the diet much more carefully, and he is fine. I want to be helpful. I wish everyone the best of health. I hope Heretic has a long and healthful life, and that his diet works wonderfully for him.
I agree that there are many other factors in our health, including psychological factors. But I believe that I have to follow the diet carefully to be very healthy. The best information we can find about results when many people take the diet, suggest that the plant based diet is best (Pritikin, Esselstyn).
There are more and more studies on the amazing value of phytochemicals and antioxidants from veggies, fruit, nuts & seeds and beans. The food works, even in some double blind randomized studies. Supplements do not work nearly as well as food.
I believe I feel best if I get 2 cups of green smoothie each morning, with flaxseed, sunflower seeds, romaine, spinach, kale, and fruit. Broccoli in the smoothies, makes my ankles itch. I eat broccoli in salads, etc, but not raw, blended. Do not ask me why, LOL.
I am more and more convinced that Fuhrman is right, to minimize calories, and maximize nutrients.
I am also more and more convinced that Fuhrman is right that NO DIET IS PERFECT FOR EVERYONE. For example, jc has troubles with GERD when attempting to be perfect on "the diet". It can be quite challenging to find the solution.
GERD might be due to too much volume, too much liquid, sensitivity to some specific food, coffee, alcohol, hiatal hernia, fat, protein, and who knows.
When the lactose intolerance was cured, I was eating 0 to 6 oz meat, fish or poultry, total per week. That did not change. I can't think of any other changes, beyond curing D deficiency and Fuhrman diet (more veggies, nuts & seeds, and beans) 16 months earlier, and eating fewer meals 4 months earlier.
My lactose cure was 16 months after curing my vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency might be applicable to digestive issues. Dr. Fuhrman had a patient who was vomiting after each meal. He could only keep down a weak swill of oatmeal in water. He was on a healthy low fat vegan diet, but was getting quite skinny. He'd previously seen 3 gastro-enterologists. They gave him 3 different diagnoses, prescribing surgery to cut some nerve, or to take some drug with possible permanent brain damage as a side effect, or something else. Dr. Fuhrman tested him for a wide range of deficiencies. It turned out that he was severely deficient of vitamin D. He took no supplements, but was careful to get some sun. (This reminds me of myself, when I was D deficient, except I did take a supplement with 200 IU of D). Anyway, the man was cured of vomiting in a month, after taking D supplements.
Eating fewer meals, cutting from 6 meals to 2 or 3, might help the stomach produce more digestive enzymes. I spend much more time drawing from my reserves, rather than eating and digesting continuously.
Well, sorry to drag on so long about myself.
Have you read the book "Eating and Fasting for Health" Fuhrman? It's good information.
Re: "EG,The cause of my GERD is too much fermentation caused by my reaction to a lot of carbs and fiber."
Thanks very much. In the spirit of brainstorming ideas that might or might not help, may I offer some of my observations, in case they may be useful?
I burp a lot. My father did too, and he was definitely not on anything near a plant based diet. It was more sugar and meat diet. I am making the assumption that fermentation makes gas, which contributes to gas, burping and GERD. Perhaps a measure that reduces gas might reduce GERD.
Once I went to a "Sweet Tomatoes" restaurant, where they offer a large salad bar, I filled my plate with a huge salad, and realized that I had very few calories, so I added a couple of cups of red and black beans. I gobbled it all down, and added a baked potato and some muffins for desert. I had diarrhea for 24 hours, and lost 5 pounds in 24 hours, simply by clearing out my entire digestive tract. Good gosh, what the heck happened!!!
I finally figured it out. Beans are gassy for me, especially red and black beans. (Broccoli is gassy for some people, but not for me. It depends on which stomach digestive enzymes are getting low, as we age.) Gas is created when the stomach is incomplete, in doing it's part in digesting beans or other carbs, and the food goes to the small intestine. The bacteria in the small intestine have a wild time, making gas and irritating compounds, because they get stuff the stomach should have taken care of. When I ate a large amount of beans, along with a large quantity of salad which pushed the beans through the stomach quickly, the beans were hardly touched by the stomach. The beans were not chewed well, making it worse. Of course, the major problem is the stomach makes less of some enzyme that is critical for bean digestion, as I have aged. (When I was a kid, I didn't get the jokes about beans making gas. Beans weren't gassy then.)
So, what to do about it? This unhappy incident showed me some helpful measures.
Figure out which foods are gassy, or contribute to GERD. Try to give the stomach as much time as possible, to digest these foods. So, chew these foods very well. Try to put these foods into a smaller meal, and not eat more stuff for 30 minutes, to give the stomach more time.
Just for diagnostic purposes, does Beano help? If Beano helps, that is strong support for the idea that some stomach enzyme is low, which is a natural affect of aging.
OK, here is another idea that you will hear NO PLACE ELSE. You are hugely PRIVILEGED to get this information.
For 28 years, I was the most sensitive lactose intolerant that I have ever met. For 28 years, I was so lactose sensitive, that if I ate a slice of white bread with whey, I had a stomach ache, and 2 slices gave me painful diarrhea 20 minutes later, and again a day later. Any pastry, ice cream, cheese, etc, was impossible. If I took 4 lactaid pills, I could eat all the dairy I wanted, for the next 10 minutes. If I ate the dairy and then the pills 2 minutes later, it was very bad, because some of the dairy got ahead of the pills. The pills and the dairy had to mix in the stomach.
Today I am not lactose intolerant at all. I can eat a desert with evaporated milk, which would have been extremely painful previously. I have not carried my lactase pills for 5 years. I have wondered and wondered how my lactose intolerance could go away, and my belief is here described.
I cured my vitamin D deficiency by taking 3000 IU of vitamin D daily. My blood vitamin D increased from 16 to 35. This is also the time I started Fuhrman. A year after curing the vitamin D deficiency, I realized that Fuhrman was recommending 2 or 3 meals a day, and not the 6 meals that Pritikin recommended. 4 months after that, I noticed a few times that eating bread at a restaurant did not give me mild problems. Then I experimented and soon figured out that I was no longer lactose intolerant..