Feeling a Bit Bloated

by Henri Roca, MD, Integrative Functional Medicine Specialist

If you happen to be one of the millions of Americans who experience gas and bloating, then read on.

Gas and bloating most often happen after eating. That’s the clue. It has to do with how the food you eat is being digested by the bacteria in your stomach. In that simple sentence lie the possible different causes:

  • Your food choices
  • Your stomach acid levels
  • Your digestive enzyme levels
  • Your gastrointestinal bacteria balance
  • Your gastrointestinal transit time (which is intimately related to your stress level)

Gas and bloating seem to be such simple symptoms. Yet, this represents a gastrointestinal world out of balance. Each of the above possibilities can be evaluated utilizing a combination of stool tests and radiologic tracking tests. But here are a few simple suggestions to help you figure out what may be going on. It will certainly help me, as your doctor, to help you.

Try taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before meals. If that works, then it’s your stomach acid.

Try taking digestive enzymes, like Similase, before each meal. If that works, then it’s your digestive enzymes.

Try removing all grains. If that works, then it could be a bacterial imbalance which may require either supplementation with probiotics, like Probiotic Max, or prebiotics or bacterial suppression, like Tanalbit, or eradication with supplements or antibiotics.

Try eating corn or taking a capsule of activated charcoal. If the amount of time it takes you to see the residual in your stool is greater than 8 hours, then your food is spending too much time in your intestinal track. If that is the case, the problem could be stress/anxiety/worry/excessive business or a neurological issue. Remember that for the gut to work correctly, the mind and body need to be relaxed. Excessive stress or exercise turns the gut off and makes it flow more slowly.