It is estimated that approximately 60 million Americans suffer from indigestion, which can be a symptom of a disorder in the stomach or intestines, or a disorder itself. Common symptoms associated with indigestion include abdominal pain, belching, bloated feeling, burning sensation after eating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, rumbling noises in the abdomen, vomiting and heartburn.
Indigestion is often the result of hydrochloric (HCl) acid, which the stomach uses to digest food, backs up into the esophagus, irritating sensitive tissues. Eventually, the esophagus can become scarred, and if acids get into the lungs, asthma-like symptoms may occur.
Eating Habits Cause Indigestion
Swallowing air (by chewing with the mouth open, talking while eating, or gulping down food) can cause indigestion. Drinking liquids with meals can cause indigestion because it dilutes the enzymes needed for digestion. Certain foods and beverages can be irritating to the digestive tract, including alcohol, caffeine, vinegar, and greasy, spicy or refined foods.
Intestinal obstruction, lack of friendly bacteria, malabsorption, peptic ulcers, and disorders of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas can also cause or contribute to indigestion, as can food allergies and intolerances.
Hydrochloric Acid Self-Test
Hydrochloric (HCl) Acid, produced by glands in the stomach, is necessary for the digestion of many foods. HCl levels naturally decline with age, increasing the risk of indigestion. You can determine if HCl levels are too low by swallowing a tablespoon of either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice at the time indigestion occurs. If this makes indigestion go away, then more stomach acid is needed. Alternatively, if indigestion worsens, then there is an excess of acid.
Natural Heartburn Relief
Some people report heartburn relief by taking one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in half a glass of water with meals. Another remedy is drinking raw potato juice, diluted with 2 to 3 parts warm water, first thing in the morning, before lunch and before bedtime. Some find relief by taking activated charcoal or baking soda and water. Others report relief in minutes by eating a banana, raw oat flakes, or a stalk of celery. The herbs ginger, sarsaparilla or thyme may also bring relief.
Elevate the head of the bed, and don’t overeat, eat while upset or eat within three hours of bedtime.
Anti-Aging Manual: The Encyclopedia of Natural Health, 3rd ed.; Joseph B. Marion; 2005.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.; 2000.