Reducing Intestinal Gas

December 17, 2010 • Healthy Living

Intestinal gas is an uncomfortable and embarrassing health concern for many people. It can be very painful and may be associated with a variety of health conditions. If you have associated bowel changes such as diarrhea or constipation, please see your naturopathic physician or medical doctor for further advice.

Intestinal gas occurs for two reasons. The first is when air is actually swallowed or when bacteria in the large intestine produce gas. The first occurs when talking during eating or drinking carbonated beverages. The second is a more complex problem and can occur for several different reasons.

Gas produced by the bacteria in the large intestine occurs when there is an imbalance in the types of bacteria present (i.e. the balance between good and bad bacteria) and when food is passing through to the bowel undigested ready for the bacteria to process and produce gas. So to address intestine gas you must address both the digestive processes higher up as well as the ecology of the bowel.

To help you digest your food more effectively:

  • Try not to hurry or rush, and do not talk while chewing or swallowing. Try to thoroughly chew your food. Saliva helps trigger the production of other digestive substances, this process happens while you chew.
  • Drink one cup of ginger tea 5–10 minutes before lunch and dinner. Gentian or other bitter herbs will also help get your digestive processes going.
  • Do not drink water with your meals. This can dilute the digestive juices (acid and enzymes) and decrease the amount of digestion that can take place resulting in more undigested food passing into the bowel.
  • Relax for a few minutes after each meal.
  • Take a digestive enzyme and/or betaine HCL just before your meal.
  • Do not eat fruit with your meals.

To help restore your bowel ecology:

Probiotics will help balance the bacteria in your intestines. An imbalance in this area is a significant contributor to intestinal gas. Take a probiotic that contains a minimum of 10 billion bacteria and has a variety of bacteria present. Bio-K is a liquid form that has high levels of bacteria.

Other tips to help combat intestinal gas:

  • Be aware of those foods that increase gas for you.
  • Common gas forming foods include cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, red and green peppers, onions, beans, legumes. Chew and swallow ¼ tsp. of fennel seeds after your meal.
  • Other teas which may also help decrease gas are chamomile, fennel, peppermint.