I was fifteen years old when I was diagnosed with an ulcer and prescribed a liquid antacid. Fast forward a couple decades, numerous antacid prescriptions and countless stomachaches later, I have learned that antacids were my worst enemy.
Now, for those of you that picked up that antacids are not the primary treatment for ulcers (an antibiotic is now prescribed to treat the H. Pylori that causes many ulcers and antacids are used to treat the acidity to heal the stomach lining), you're right. I have been given antibiotics as well, yet my stomach issues persisted. I know I'm a sensitive soul, so I - and practically everyone around me - chalked up my stomach issues to having a "nervous stomach." Ahh, there's nothing more validating than that. Stomach pain coupled with judgement.
Not much time passed before I started playing with my diet. I have been a vegan, vegetarian, balanced my carbs and protein, tried the Zone diet, tested my metabolic type, tried low-carb, Paleo, practiced food combining, took enzymes, did FODMAPS, and a few other things. My stomach problems still continued. I even relented and went to a "real" doctor, had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and then tried a few medications that made things worse.
I've learned a few things that work and definitely A LOT of things that make things WORSE. I will coniniue to post and share what has worked for me. For now, I want to share one big solution that has not been widely publicized. In fact, its nemesis - ANTACIDS - are the go-to cure for everyone. Remember, nemesis means enemy. Its opposite. Can you believe that many of us actually have too little stomach acid??
I tested myself by taking some HCl tablets (Hydrochloric Acid - I used one 650mg HCL with Pepsin) after I was sick and bloated one day. I began feeling relief within 15 minutes. I was stunned. Grateful. What I learned is that our stomach acid actually declines as we age and one of the major precursors to natural HCl in our body is iodine. It also helps regulate our thyroid. (Which regulates our homormones! More posts on that to come!)
Once upon a time, iodine was supplemented in some of our foods, like bread, and was then abandoned. There has been a resurgence in the past few years as studies point out connections between health decline and iodine deficiency - and now some bread manufacturers are supplementing with iodine again. Still, bread (later posts will discuss the challenges of wheat and gluten) is not best source for iodine. Neither is iodized salt (for obvious sodium reasons and iodized table salt is the most depleted source of salt, so a healthier pink himalyan salt would be a better choice).
The best way to supplement your diet with iodine is through kelp or kelp iodine drops. If you're past your 20's, you could really benefit. If you are past 40, you will be in awe how this simple supplement can improve your digestion.