Minimizing Flatulence-Gas Control
Many things cause flatulence (bowel gas).
Certain chemical processes in the colon produce various gases as byproducts of normal bowel function. Some, such as carbon dioxide, are odorless, while others, such as hydrogen sulfide, are very odorous. Bowel gas is of little consequence in a healthy colon. That isnt true however in a diseased or dysfunctional colon.
Excessive bowel gas is an indication of bowel disturbance and can be very serious in its consequences. For example, when there is a bowel stricture of fecal obstruction as in constipation, the gaseous products may become trapped. Trapped bowel gases can result in extreme pressure, which can manifest as distention and/or pain. When there are diverticulas or ballooning of the bowel, trapped waste accumulates. These conditions often cause putrefactive fermentation, which results in considerable gas, discomfort, and reabsorption of toxins into the body, followed by autointoxication.
Once a bowel has diverticulas, it will never be entirely free of gas. Because diverticulas are so very common in America bowels, there are few people who can say they have no bowel gas whatsoever. Getting the gas out completely is almost an impossibility, not only because of the prevalence of diverticular disease, but because diet and lifestyle seldom can be modified to the extent necessary to accomplish this task. I do think, however, with proper attention to diet, gas can be reduced so that it will cause little disturbance, distress, or social embarrassment.
Reducing gas in the bowel nearly always means making a change in the diet. If you suffer from gas problems, find out whether any specific foods are a cause. Eliminate these foods from your diet, or consume them in limited quantities along with foods that are not gas producing.
Some foods can cause a lot of gas in some people and little or none in others. Consuming too much starch or protein tends to cause a lot of gas. The proteins usually consumed by persons in the United States include red meat, fish, fowl, and diary products. Although I feel that these animal proteins are not necessarily troublesome if consumed in moderate amounts, they may present serious gas problems for some persons. This is especially true when, for various reasons, protein digestion is incomplete.
When undigested proteins find their way into the colon, they provide nourishment for undesirable bacteria, helping them to multiply. These undesirable bacteria are responsible for the breakdown or organic compounds by way of a putrefactive process. This process is undesirable specifically because the bacteria produce metabolic wastes that are toxic, disease producing, and gas producing. Some of the waste materials they produce are injurious to bodily tissues. These organisms were not intended to inhabit the human bowel in significant numbers. Bacteria that are beneficial and, indeed, necessary for good health cannot live in a bowel that is dirty, gaseous, toxic, constipated, and overrun with organisms of the unfriendly sort.
Beans and other legumes are roughly half protein and half starch. They tend to cause a lot of gas because of certain indigestible sugars in the starch. These sugars (stachyose, verbascose, and raffinose) arrive intact in the lower intestine, where the bacteria digest them, releasing the byproducts of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and sometimes methane. Other foods that are naturally gas-forming include the sulfur foods such as broccoli, cabbage, and onions. The sulfur foods seem to cause more gas problems when cooked than when raw. If it is necessary to cook sulfur vegetables, cook them in covered, stainless-steel waterless cookware over very low heat only until they are tender yet firm, not soggy.
It is found that consuming nuts, especially peanuts, and too much roughage can also cause a lot of gas. Dried fruit eaten directly from the bag can cause gas problems. Dried fruit can be rehydrated by being boiled and soaked overnight. The next morning, the fruit will approximate fresh fruit and not cause gas problems.
Although we are told that eating raw foods is desirable, we are not often told that doing so without having gas problems requires a healthy bowel with a fairly rapid transit time. Although raw foods do promote a more rapid bowel transit time, persons with a chronically sluggish colon may not be wise to consume them in great quantities. Raw foods, as well as live foods (foods that have not had their enzymes destroyed by heat of cooking), can produce a lot of gas in sluggish, slow-moving bowel. More raw foods may be consumed as bowel function improves and should be slowly introduced over a period of time to allow the body to make adjustments.
To eliminate extreme gas conditions, we should first consider the foods we eat. When spoiled food is eaten, it continues to spoil in the small intestine, and then in the large intestine (colon). This process of putrefaction produces gas. Animal proteins- especially ground-up meats such as those found in hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and some cold cuts- putrefy easily in the warmth of the digestive tract. This is because each cell in meat has a sac of enzymes called lysozymes whose purpose is to chemically break down and digest the cell. When meat is ground, the sac ruptures and the enzymes flood the cell, acting as a kind of built-in self destruct apparatus. This is why ground meat always spoils quicker than meat that is left intact. So, when you consume ground meat, you have a head start in the putrefaction process.
Another reason meat, fish, and poultry can cause gas in some persons is that these foods are deficient in fiber and thus not moved along well by peristalsis, resulting in increased transit time. When transit time is slowed, foods have more time to putrefy, a process accelerated by the 98.6 F (Fahrenheit) temperature of the body.
It is this break-down (putrefaction) process that results in gas.
Fairly rapid transit time and no worries about gas are as desirable for the bowel as they are for public transportation. Therefore, if animal proteins are eaten, a sufficient quantity of high-fiber foods must be consumed along with them to help decrease transit time and rid the colon of waste products before putrefaction can become a gas-producing problem. Although this is especially true of animal proteins, it also holds true for vegetable proteins and, to a lesser degree, all foods.
We should also be aware of the role of liquids. Drinking a quantity of liquids with meals can cause gas. On the other hand, soup, broth, juice or water taken between meals can cut down on the amount of bowel gas.
Be aware of the air you swallow, too. Many people gulp air when they eat, especially when they eat too fast. Whipped foods contain a lot of air and become the cause of gas troubles.
Some medications, prescription and over-the-counter, can interfere with bowel activity. Some stimulants, and laxatives must be included in this category. Antihistamines, antibiotics, and sulfa drugs are great contributors to gastrointestinal problems, including gas, as they destroy the friendly bacteria in the intestine. Drug residues can settle in the tissues of the bowel wall and continue to cause problems.
Bowel gas can be a problem for persons who lack sufficient digestive enzymes to properly process food into a state in which it can be absorbed. As we age, the bodys production of enzymes in the saliva, hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and additional digestive enzymes from the pancreas is reduced. Certain diseases, blockages, and dysfunctional states may also diminish the availability of these enzymes and acids. In these cases, ingested foods will proceed through the small intestine to the lower bowel along with a large quantity of partially digested food. This partially digested food will then putrefy and produce gas. It may be helpful in this case to take, with meals, a digestive-enzyme supplement or, in some cases, a hydrochloric-acid supplement.
Our colons were intended by nature to function as smoothly flowing sewer systems in order to promptly flush digestive wastes from the body. Instead, they have become stagnant cesspools, the physiological equivalent to a festering pile of uncollected garbage or a broken toilet that continues to be used for defecation.
People who suffer from bowel gas will find that mint tea or an extract of mint is a greatgas-driver. Wild yam extract is also wonderful. For an irritated bowel, Dr. Jensen recommends flaxseed tea. Flaxseed tea, with a teaspoon of Chlorophyll assists in relieving the irritated conditions in the bowel that can produce a lot of gas and disturbance. Rice barley gruel can also help with gas disturbances, as do apples, which are very high in organic sodium and potassium, and feed the bowel wall with these necessary minerals. A deficiency of these minerals causes the bowel walls to weaken, which results in the intestinal contents not being acted upon or propelled along with the proper intensity. This weakening may even help produce diverticula. Also, sluggishness increases transit time, allowing more gas-producing fermentation to occur.
As mentioned digestive aids, pancreatic enzymes, hydrochloric-acid-tablets, and friendly bacteria supplements all help the bowel to eliminate gas. Dont forget that avoiding gas-producing foods and foods that destroy friendly bacteria also help.
Jos-hua Medicine man