Do you struggle with intestinal gas and bloating? If the answer is “yes”, then read on. Learn about some of the most common causes of gas and bloating, top foods that contribute to gas and bloating, as well as what to do about it.
A recent study of 20,000 people showed that between 30-40% of them had experienced abdominal gas and bloating at least once in the previous three months. It is a very common issue many others like you have had to deal with. Intestinal gas and bloating can be physically uncomfortable. It can also cause physical distress and be embarrassing and awkward in social situations. If you’re able to hold flatulence and gas in, it causes more abdominal distention. If you’re brave enough to release it in a public environment, it can be an embarrassing phenomenon and cause emotional stress. Overall, it’s not a very nice situation.
Causes of bloating
There are a number of causes for intestinal gas and bloating. It can be due to:
- Low stomach acid
- Poor output of digestive enzymes from the pancreas and liver
- Overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeast
- Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome
- Emotional distress like anxiety.
- Food allergies
One of the most common causes of intestinal gas and bloating is actually food allergies. About 30-40% of individuals suffer from food allergies. Food allergies can be identified and avoided, and there are a number of ways to do this. There are blood tests and digestive tests you can do. The gold standard is something called “The Food Allergy Elimination Challenge Diet”. This is where you systematically eliminate foods from your diet for a minimum of four days (though 5-10 days is recommended). Then, one-by-one you slowly reintroduce each food to “challenge” your system and see which of those foods may cause gas and bloating.
The most common food allergies include wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, as well as certain types of fruits and vegetables.
Any simple sugars can cause gas and bloating problems too. Simple sugars get into the digestive tract and can undergo fermentation. Fermentation is a process where yeast and bacteria in the intestine produce gas, and that gas translates into intestinal gas and bloating.
Dairy is a common food that causes gas and bloating. The sugar, lactose, is responsible for this. Some individuals lack the enzyme, lactase, which digests lactose, and when you do not digest that sugar it goes on down into the intestines and causes the fermentation process. Gluten-containing foods is another very common causative factor of gas and bloating.
Many individuals find that eliminating dairy and gluten foods is an enormous first step into reducing intestinal gas and bloating.
Researchers have shown that individuals who avoid dietary FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) foods see a considerable reduction in the amount of intestinal gas and bloating. FODMAPs are actually short-chain carbohydrates that are osmotically active and fermentable. That means that when they’re in the intestines they alter the exchange of fluid within the intestines, and they cause the fermentation process which exacerbates gas and bloating. A common example of a disaccharide would be lactose, that sugar that’s found in dairy products. A common example of fructose would be honey and fruits. A common example of polyols would be sorbitol, which is found in many types of chewing gum, and also stone fruits such as apricots, plums, peaches, pears. An example of fructans, which is part of the dietary FODMAPs, include wheat, the allium family of vegetables, asparagus, and foods that are high in chicory. An example of high galactan foods would be beans and legumes and cabbage. Eliminating foods on the dietary FODMAPs list may be a clue into reducing your gas and bloating.
Herbal products have been taken for centuries to help with intestinal distress, intestinal gas, and bloating. The most common ones include peppermint, fennel, caraway, chamomile, lemon balm, and ginger. Also, consider taking a high-dose probiotic to help restore healthy flora in your gut. At Zenith Labs there is a very potent probiotic called Probiotic T50, which contains 50 billion organisms of very high quality. If you’re looking for a good probiotic, that is one you should definitely check out.
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