Lifestyle choices with Heartburn

Heartburn, one of the most commonly reported symptoms in the US, can be helped by looking at one's lifestyle choices.  The relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the reason the majority of people are experiencing reflux.  The job of the LES is to insure that stomach contents do not move up the esophagus.  The underlying cause of LES relaxation is not known.  We do know that many factors contribute, such as:

  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Increased intake of saturated fat
  • Increased intake of alcohol
  • Eating large portions at one meal
  • Eating late at night
  • Hurried eating which creates a lack of complete chewing
  • Food that is void of nutrients

Naturopathic medicine does a great job at addressing the underlying behaviors which lead to reflux.  


Probiotics and Our Children's Health

Probiotics are one of my favorite things to talk about.  "Why?"  

Probiotics are extremely important for a healthy digestive tract, assimilation and absorption of specific nutrients, keeping infections at bay and maintaining a healthy immune system.  Research into the role of probiotics have shown some interesting results.  The World Health Organization recognizes the importance of probioics in the role of a healthy body as reflected in this statement, "Live microorganisms which, when given in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." 

It is speculated that most of the growing sites for the Lactobacillus species in the human gastrointestinal tract are established in utero and within the first two years of life.  Within those first two years many things can disrupt the proper colonization including formula feeding, maternal diet affecting breast milk, digestive health, food introduction and antibiotic use.  It is estimated that after several courses of antibiotics before the age of two, the normal flora may be severely compromised, resulting in an increased risk for common childhood illnesses. 

One can begin cultivating a healthy digestive tract in children by supplementing either the mother in breast fed babies or in children's formulas or food.  It is always important to choose a good quality probiotic that has in it what it claims on the label.  So be careful to do your homework on the brand and talk to someone knowledgeable about dosage.