How To Deal With Poor Digestion by Dr. Asa Andrew

Welton From Texas Writes: 

I have recently been diagnosed with acid reflux by my doctor and have been taking the medications as suggested. I still seem to be having some issues from time to time. Why is this happening and what can I do to help my situation from getting worse?

Dear Welton,

Digestive issues impact many on a regular basis. There are many factors on why this happens. We are only as healthy as the foods we eat, digest, absorb, assimilate, and eliminate. That being said, we must make sure that our digestive system is in the highest working order to increase our ability to utilize the foods that we eat each day. 

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when our stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid in order to break down our foods effectively. Many would argue that acid reflux is having too much stomach acid, which sometimes that is the case, however, many times it is the lack thereof. As we age, our body loses its ability to produce as much hydrochloric acid (HCL) due to a highly processed diet, high levels of stress, and poor lifestyle habits. We can practice some daily anti-inflammatory routines that can help support a healthier digestive system, especially when it comes to breaking down the foods that we are eating. Lets look at some basic principles that will help your body produce the right amount of HCL and support improving digestion as a whole. Of course, if your doctor has you on a medication, follow their directives. Here are some healthy steps for when your digestion is struggling.

1.Avoid Fluid At Meals
I know this seems awkward. I mean drinking with meals and friends is normal, right? When you go to a restaurant, what do they ask you first? What would you like to drink? When we drink with our meals it dilutes our natural HCL in our stomach. If you are already struggling in this area, then it will only make it harder for your digestive system to work properly. Make a goal to drink mostly before the meal, and only sip during.

2.Eat Whole Foods
Apples are better for you than apple pastries, right? …Right? We want to eat foods in the way they were originally designed to help our body break foods down effectively. Natural whole foods will process digest better than processed foods due to containing more natural enzymes that support the digestive process. 

3.Consider Apple Cider Vinegar
The ultimate grandma remedy. Apple cider vinegar has been used for many different ailments. It is highly beneficial in supporting the body’s digestive system for increasing the HCL that that we need to break down the proteins necessary for optimal digestion. 

4.Eat More Bacteria
Well, the good kind. Good-bacteria, or “pro” biotics, will help the body digest and assimilate your nutrients at a much higher rate. You can increase your foods such as kimchi or fermented dairy such as plain raw yogurt or kefir. If you go with a probiotic supplement, I highly recommend Theralac. The quality matters and the difference is in the manufacturing. Aim for at least 2 billion organisms per capsule.

5.Avoid Gluten
There are different theories about this protein found in most grains products such as breads, pastas, cereals, and crackers. Much of science today tells us that if you don’t have celiac disease (the inability to tolerate gluten), then you should be ok. Many people are not intolerant, such as having celiac, but may have sensitivity. If you suffer with any form of digestive condition, such as acid reflux, you may benefit from avoiding gluten-based foods for about 8 weeks. You may not have to avoid them forever, but at least 80% of time may be a good idea. 



Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.