Peptic Ulcers are ulcers of the stomach and small intestines. One out of ten Americans will suffer from a Peptic Ulcer during their lifetime. Peptic Ulcers cause an estimated 1 million hospitalizations and 6500 deaths per year. In the United States, annual health care costs of peptic ulcer disease have been estimated at nearly $6 billion: $3 billion in hospitalization costs, $2 billion in physician office visits, and $1 billion in decreased productivity and days lost from work. (Sonnenberg A, Everhart JE. Health impact of peptic ulcer in the United States. Am J Gastroenterol 1997;92:614-620.)
The most common ulcers symptoms associated with an ulcer is gnawing or burning pain in the stomach. An estimated 30 million Americans experience these symptoms every day. Sometimes this pain feels like it is coming from the heart, hence the term “heartburn.” The pain often occurs between meals when the stomach is empty or may awaken you early in the morning. It may last from minutes to hours and may be relieved by eating food or taking antacids. A full list of ulcers symptoms includes:
1. Burning Pain
2. Gnawing Pain
3. Abdominal Distress
6. Loss of Appetite
Advanced or severe ulcers may cause perforation and bleeding which may lead to anemia. If bleeding is heavy, blood may cause distension of the abdomen or appear in vomit or bowel movements and may appear dark red or black. Severe blood loss can be life threatening.
Stress is the Underlying Cause Ulcers
Ulcers are caused by an excessive production of stomach acid which is released by the sympathetic nervous system in response to stress and the overgrowth of a bacterium known as Helicobacter Pylori infection (H Pylori) that thrives in stomach acid. This sympathetic fight or flight mechanism is designed to quickly get you out of harm’s way. However, in our rushed, hurried, pressured, over-committed, confrontational, fast paced life-style of the 21 century, the sympathetic nervous system is on high alert almost constantly. This causes the frequent and excessive release of stomach acid that eventually causes erosion of the mucous layer of the stomach or small intestines. If not treated, acid indigestion leads to an Ulcer that can eventually cause a perforation and or life threatening bleeding if not treated.
When stomach acid pushes up into the esophagus of the throat it is called Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD for short. GERD may cause bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus. Some people also develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which is severe damage to the lining of the esophagus. This condition may be a precursor to esophageal cancer according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Helicobacter Pylori Takes Advantage of the Situation
It is reported that 90-95% of individuals with intestinal ulcers, and 60-70% of individuals with stomach ulcers, also have a significant overgrowth of H. Pylori (Isselbacher KJ (ed) et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 13th ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1994, p 1 364.). This bacterium requires a highly concentrated acid solution to survive and gladly takes advantage of the situation. This combination of the overproduction of stomach acid and H. Pylori gives the mucous layer a one-two punch, which disrupts and erodes the mucus membrane layer. Clinical testing now shows that 9 out of 10 people with peptic ulcers have H. Pylori.
Testing the Underlying Cause
To get at the underlying cause of your ulcer, you should test your parasympathetic stress hormones. Advanced lab testing can now measure your stress neurohormones from a urine sample. Once you know your Stress neurohormone level you can supplement the appropriate nutritional building needed to calm your nervous system. This will reduce the excessive stimulation of your stomach acid. Additionally, you will need to repair the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines.
To determine whether or not you have H.Pylori as an additional contributing cause of your Ulcer, you should get a blood test to look for Antibodies to H.Pylori. If the test is positive you should treat this bacteria in addition to treating the nervous system.
Drugs Used to Treat Ulcers
Over the counter antacids, such as magnesium hydroxide (Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia®), calcium carbonate (Tums®), and the combination magnesium-aluminum hydroxide (Mylanta®, Maalox®), help relieve the symptoms associated with peptic ulcers but do not cure the disease and are all associated with significant side effects including more indigestion because they block stomach acid needed for digestion.
Likewise, the histamine (H2) blocking drugs, such as Cimetadine (Tagamet®), Ranitidine (Zantac®), and Famotidine (Pepcid®), as well as the proton pump inhibitors omeprazole (Prilosec®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), pantoprazole (Protonix®), and rabeprazole (Aciphex®) block stomach acid but do not cure the problem and are associated with even more side effects including the following:
4. liver damage
5. allergic reactions
7. breast enlargement in men
8. hair loss
12. mental confusion
In addition to antacids, drug therapy now focuses on the elimination of H. pylori infection by the prescription of antibiotics such as amoxicillin (Amoxil®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), metronidazole (Flagyl®), and tetracycline (Sumycin®), in combination with the latest acid blocking drugs.
Dietary Causes of Ulcers
Sugar has been found to increase stomach acidity and may initiate or aggravate ulcer symptoms. People with ulcers have been reported to eat more sugar than people without ulcers, this link may only occur in those with a genetic tendency toward ulcer formation and hence may be averted by the avoidance of sugar consumption.
Caffeine seems to stimulate acid secretion in the stomach, which can aggravate the pain of an existing ulcer. However, the stimulation of stomach acid cannot be attributed solely to caffeine.
Smoking increases the chances of getting an ulcer, slows the healing process of existing ulcers, and contributes to ulcer recurrence.
Salt is an irritant to stomach and intestinal lining and higher intakes of salt have been linked to higher risk of stomach ulcer.
Lifestyle Causes of Ulcers
Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including Ibuprofen, Naprosin and Celebrex, alcohol, coffee (including decaf coffee), as well as tea can aggravate or interfere with the healing of peptic ulcers. Smoking is also known to slow ulcer healing. If you have symptoms of an ulcer you should avoid use of these substances.
Reducing stress may stop excessive acid production. Emotional stress has been shown to significantly increase acid production in the stomach. During the air raids of London in World War II, British physicians observed an increase of more than 50% in the incidence of ruptured peptic ulcers. More recently, an increased incidence of bleeding stomach ulcers was seen in survivors of the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in Japan. If you have heartburn, GERD, or ulcerative symptoms you should ask your doctor to test the level of your calming Neurohormones, including Serotonin and GABA. By raising these Neurohormones you can calm your sympathetic nervous system and thereby reduce the overproduction of stomach acid.
Nutritional and Herbal Relief
High Fiber Diet
Whole Wheat flour contains high amounts of L-Tryptophan, the essential amino acid required for your body to make Serotonin, the Stress Calming Neurohormone. White flour breads and pasta, etc., contain 50% less L-Tryptophan than Whole Wheat flour. Millions of Americans are on a Low-Carb or No-Carb diet, which is contributing to an increasing incidence of anxiety, depression and ulcers. This fad diet is robbing the body of the nutritional building blocks it needs to make enough Serotonin to calm the sympathetic nervous system and stop the overproduction of stomach acid.
Eating a high fiber diet also slows the release of acid from the stomach into the intestines, which may help prevent duodenal ulcers. One controlled clinical study showed that when people with recently healed duodenal ulcers were put on a long-term (six-month), high-fiber diet, the rate of ulcer recurrence was dramatically reduced.
Kava (Piper methisticum) is an amazing anti-stress herb from the Polynesian islands. It has been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety that can cause the increased stomach acid that leads to Ulcers. In a double-blind clinical trial, individuals taking a Kava extract for stress and anxiety showed a significant reduction in symptoms, including acid indigestion, upset stomach, nervousness, heart palpitations, chest pains, headache and dizziness, without any reported side-effects.
Deglycchirizinated Licorice (DGL) is a special form of Licorice root from which the glycyrrhetinic acid has been reduced to prevent the potential for potassium loss that can occur with high doses of other forms Licorice root.
DGL enhances the quality and the quantity of the protective substances that line the intestinal tract, increases the life span of the intestinal cells and improves blood flow to the intestinal lining. Several head-to-head comparisons have shown that DGL is more effective in the treatment of gastric and intestinal ulcers than Tagament, Zantac, or antiacids and has far fewer relapses. It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of canker sores.
Aloe vera inhibits the excessive release of Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) by interfering with the binding of histamine that can stimulate too much acid production. Aloe also slows down gastric emptying and could consequently lead to improved digestion. Regular Aloe vera consumption has been shown to improve protein digestion and assimilation and decrease bacterial putrefaction.
Quercetin possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity by directly inhibiting the manufacture and release of histamine that can cause excessive HCl production, as well as other allergic and inflammatory chemicals. It also exerts a potent antioxidant action and possesses vitamin C sparing activity.
Mastic Gum is a natural oleoresin produced from Pistacia lentiscus, a small tree found in Mediterranean countries. It has been used for centuries to effectively treat digestive disorders. Research indicates that oral supplementation of Mastic gum can stop H. pylori infection which contributes to rapid healing of the mucosal membranes and reduces the rate of recurrences.
A double-blind clinical trial on thirty-eight patients with symptomatic and endoscopically proven duodenal ulcer, compared the effects of Mastic Gum to placebo. One group of patients received 1 gram of Mastic Gum daily for a period of two weeks, while the other group of patients received a daily dose of 1 gram of lactose. Symptomatic relief was experienced by 80 percent of the patients taking Mastic Gum, compared to 50 percent of the patients on placebo. Furthermore, healing of ulcers (confirmed via endoscopy) occurred in 70 percent of the patients versus 22 percent of patients on placebo. The differences between treatments were highly significant (P less than 0.01). Mastic was well tolerated and did not produce side effects.
Acid Indigestion, Heartburn, GERD and Ulcers are all caused by excessive or prolonged stress on the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn stimulates the release of large amounts acid into the stomach. The excess acid is the perfect environment for the growth of the H. Pylori, which intensifies the erosive damage to the mucous membranes.
If you have Acid Indigestion, Heartburn, GERD or other symptoms of an Ulcer, Dr. Hansen says “don’t do drugs.” The drugs block your stomach acid, which you need to digest your food and assimilate the vitamins and minerals they contain. Heartburn and Ulcer drugs do not fix the problem and can cause significant side-effects, including nausea, constipation, and diarrhea, liver damage, allergic reactions, headaches, breast enlargement in men, hair loss, osteoporosis, dizziness, depression, insomnia, and impotence.
Effective Treatment Means Getting at the Underlying Cause of the Disease
To effectively treat the underlying cause of Ulcers – the sympathetic nervous system – you need to test and treat your stress neurohormones. You can’t always stop stress but you can supplement the nutritional building blocks that your body needs to handle stress and calm your nervous system. This will reduce the over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and hence reduce the excessive stimulation of stomach acid.
Since the prolonged production of stomach acid produces the perfect breeding solution for H. Pylori you should ask your doctor to test your blood for antibodies to this bacterium as well. If you have it, you should treat it with Mastic Gum.
The Doctor’s Rx
The natural treatment that Dr. Hansen recommends works by supporting and calming the sympathetic nervous system and by repairing the damaged mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines. Dr. Hansen recommends Tranquil Clarity, containing Kava, to calm the nervous system and Pepteal, containing a combination of Licorice root, Aloe vera, and the bioflavonoid Quercitin) to stop the pain of heartburn, GERD and Ulcers by repairing and building the damaged mucous membranes.
For safe and effective relief of the symptoms of Acid Indigestion, Heartburn, GERD, and Ulcers you can trust nature to provide the answers.
> Learn more about Tranquil Clarity and Pepteal
Sponsored by the Hansen Clinic