Betaine HCL: What's the deal? Does it increase stomach acidity? Does it help GERD? Improve digestion?

Now and then I get an email asking about using Betaine HCL to heal from GERD. I first heard about this supplement through Robb Wolf's podcast. By the time I heard of it, I already did not have GERD. I bought a bottle to use as a digestive enzyme after large meals like Thanksgiving, but it didn't do very much for me and I kind of forgot about it. 

GERD Brainstorming

It's funny because GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is one of the main reasons I changed my diet, but I don't blog about it much. I guess it's because I don't have it anymore. Neither do my sister or father. I think my case was the toughest because I had been on the evil proton pump inhibitors the longest. It probably took  me six months to really feel better.

The Omega-6 GERD Connection

 While I was doing research on variations in gastric acidity, I came across an interesting paper: Diet, reflux and the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus in Africa. It's interesting that a lot of conventional dietary advice on digestion is based on studies done in Africa that found that African agrarian cultures eating low-fat high-fiber diets had low rates of common Western digestive issues like hemorrhoids and colon cancer.

Beating IBS

 Mark Sisson posted a link to a sad essay called IBS Is Why I'm Still Single. Every day I'm able to eat and live normally, I am so grateful. You see, most of my life I had painful stomach problems. When I was four I remember crying in the bathroom.

Reader Questions: Terrible bread, meetup organizers, ulcers

And now for some reader questions:

Q: Dru from Idaho asks "Is this paleo?" sending along this attached picture:

A: No. You got Dim Sum and got a bunch of bread? Dude, where are the writhing sea creatures drenched in various rich possibly-alcoholic sauces? Do they even have Dim Sum in Idaho anyway? 

Fresh Week: Fresh Diet to Heal Intestinal Permeability Issues

Some people wondered about the chemical-free part of Sarah's diet. Of course all foods are made up of chemicals, but Sarah means added isolated chemicals. Her recipes featured flavors from fresh herbs and fruit rather than from dried spices or oils.

My Father's Paleo Experience

 Two years back I started sending my dad a paleo article or two every once in awhile. My dad was really into exercise, but despite exercising every day he was having a tough time with his weight. It's no wonder. Growing up I remember he would take us out to the infamous Cici's All You Can Eat Pizza where well...we would eat amounts of sugar and junk that I shudder to look back on.  

GERD and fructooligosaccharides

Another consideration for GERD via Whole Health Sourcefermentable carbs, specifically fructooligosaccharides (FOS) might make it worse. It makes sense- colonic fermentation seems to play a huge role in digestive disorders. A low fermentative diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, has long been used for inflammatory bowl disease.