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That Burning Sensation in Your Stomach Explained

June 12, 2011

We’ve all had that feeling: the fire right between the ribs where the entrance to the stomach is, and if we haven’t felt it ourselves we’ve seen enough TV commercials to know what to expect when we do. Antacid companies have made their fortunes by our recognition of acid indigestion. We all know what to do to drive away the symptoms; we reach for an antacid or lately an acid blocker. The commercials even show us the cause of our distress and it is invariably something we have eaten, usually some sinful spicy food we have thoroughly enjoyed and mixed with other sinful foods and perhaps some drinks.
This burning feeling in our upper stomach may indeed be caused by food, but it is probably not the most likely culprit. That spicy hot feeling rising in your throat is spicy and hot simply because that is what your stomach has inside it when you have your reaction to the real cause of your acid reflux, something so bland that we sometimes eat it to calm down our troubled tummy in the mistaken belief that it will cure our problem.
Besides the acid there may be other symptoms that the heavy antacid user may be experiencing including:

• An itchy skin rash on the extremities, neck, buttocks, scalp and trunk.
• Insulin dependent diabetes (type 1 or juvenile diabetes)
• Recurrent and painful mouth ulcers
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis)
• Systemic lupus

Fully advanced symptoms of the above conditions may be found if the problem has not been attended to for an prolonged period and in advanced cases the symptoms may also include anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps and bloating, irritability. Other related conditions are Osteoporosis and Depression.
Persistent stomach acid may only be the tip of the iceberg, the first warning sign of a condition called Celiac Disease.

The Canadian Celiac Association describes Celiac Disease as:
Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.
Although statistics are not readily available, it is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease.
A wide range of symptoms may be present. Symptoms may appear together or singularly in children or adults. In general, the symptoms of untreated celiac disease indicate the presence of malabsorption due to the damaged small intestine.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, barley. In the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.
At present there is no cure, but celiac disease is readily treated by following the gluten-free diet.

They describe Celiac Disease as an autoimmune disorder that has a genetic component, and one in 133 people are known to be affected. An unknown number of others are not diagnosed yet or could be experiencing low-level symptoms of this disorder, a gluten sensitivity and not outright intolerance; and this is where the sales of antacids come in. Of course, if the advertisers ever told us that antacids do nothing of value, and in the case of the aluminum based pills may actually harm us, and that we could relieve our pain simply by not eating all the popular mass-produced foods then they would be doing themselves out of a job. Don’t look to the media for your salvation.
Even though man has ground and eaten flour since the Stone Age, gluten was not always so prevalent in our foods. It has become popular since Roman times because of its ability to stick the other ingredients of leavened breads together. (It also sticks the food in your intestine together, inhibiting the passage, causing bloating and gas.) Selective breeding since then has increased the gluten content in the various strains of wheat until we have modern Red wheat which is half gluten. As leavened bread became popular worldwide it was introduced to populations that had not been predisposed to gluten digestion. The peptides present in gluten were chemically similar to certain viruses and the bodies of these former hunter-gatherers started to mount an immune defense against the new food. Because the immune system did not find an invasion of bacteria or viruses the attac migrated to the body’s own organs, most often the small intestine where the gluten is broken down. In ancient times infectious diarrhea was rampant among babies and accounted for a high percentage of infant mortality. The hunter-gatherers were being selected for extinction by their own body’s reaction to bread, the staff of life. [Why So Many Intolerant To Gluten ? – by Luigi Greco, D.C.H., M.Sc.(MCH), M.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Naples 06/30/1995 ]
As more and more of our food was prepared by machines the adhesive properties of gluten became even more prized since less food fell off of the conveyor belts. Gluten is now added as an ingredient in foods that normally do not contain it, often included in the label as “natural flavorings”.

Also look for and avoid ingredients such as those listed by Gluten-Free Kiwi:
• Starch (1400’s range in additives). Many of them are wheat based
• HVP – Hydrolised Vegetable Protein
• HPP – Hydrolised Plant Protein
• Maltodextrin – some are derived from wheat
• Malt extract
• Vinegar – is it malt vinegar?
• Soy sauce – is it wheat based?
• Caramel colour can be a problem for some people.

If you are sensitive but not intolerent to gluten then you can just cut down on foods containing gluten and avoid a complete gluten-free diet. Just don’t blame those yummy spices.

Very informative article on the toxic effects of wheat gluten from Dr. Mercola:

Eating wheat may not be beneficial to your health. Among many other reasons, each grain contains about one microgram of Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA). Even in small quantities, WGA can have profoundly adverse effects. It may be pro-inflammatory, immunotoxic, cardiotoxic … and neurotoxic.

One Comment leave one →
  1. SeaBo permalink
    June 13, 2011 3:31 am

    Excellent coverage and most informative.

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