Metabolic Inflammatory Conditions
Where does it all start? This important question can determine the success or failure of medical treatments so we better get it right. Actually there are several starting places to chronic illness but the one I want to talk about here starts in the stomach, which starts screaming at us with a host of GERD symptoms when things start going wrong in our lives.
One of the most important points for doctors and patients to realize is that GERD is a deficiency disease meaning it is not caused by excess acid it is caused by deficient acid. When the stomach does not produce enough acid the food sits in the stomach and repeats back up to the esophageal sphincter. It is, as they call it an excess acid condition only because it is an acid mix, just not high enough to create proper digestion, but high enough to burn tissues that it is exposed long enough to.
Hydrochloric acid, referred to as HCl, is produced in the stomach by the parietal cells that lie deep in the stomach walls. The truth is, we wouldn’t be able to digest at all without it.
Stress and dietary deficiencies drive HCL deficiencies yielding not only local acid upset and thus GERD but also systemic inflammation. What happens in the face of HCL deficiencies is undigested proteins and a rotting mix of food collects, first in the stomach, which then gets released into the intestines. Undigested food, and very often with undigested gluten (from fast yeasted breads) and for many, with all types, will putrefy creating perfect conditions for gut inflammation and infection.
Over the past 25 years, the incidence of esophageal cancer (of the adenocarcinoma type) has increased 350%, faster than any other malignancy in the western world. One study showed that esophageal adenocarcinoma cases are increasing 5% to 10% each year in developed countries. Another study showed that the rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma increased eight-fold over a 20-year period in Denmark. The two common forms of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
This is really bad news. These higher rates are related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a mirror of our terrible eating habits as well as a host of life stress events.
At least 10 percent of Americans have episodes of heartburn every day, and 44 percent have symptoms at least once a month, according to conservative statistics. In fact the NY times stated in 2010:
As many as four in 10 Americans have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and many depend on P.P.I.’s like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium to reduce stomach acid. These are the third highest-selling class of drugs in the United States, after antipsychotics and statins, with more than 100 million prescriptions and $13.9 billion in sales in 2010, in addition to over-the-counter sales.
Cancer Begins With?
We know some basic things about why cancer starts. We know it is initiated under low-oxygen conditions. We know that it is initiated also by trauma and inflammation. We know with low-oxygen conditions and inflammation we have infectious agents running around out of control. Evidence supports the emerging hypothesis that metabolic syndrome may be associated with the risk of many common cancers but we really do not need “evidence.” If we know how to think rationally we know that diabetes, which starts with metabolic syndrome, leads a person more easily to the gates of cancer. The earliest inflammations hold the potential to create the conditions that eventually lead to cancer. That is worth saying and reading again and again and this is not only true for the stomach it is also true for the mouth when the gums become inflamed.
So we have low O2, low CO2, low pH (acidity) and low cellular energy; we have infection hordes fighting for their claim of the territory. Mix in some inflammation, heavy-metals and chemical contamination and nutritional deficiency (along with some genetic disruption) and we have the recipe for CANCER—a beast that is eating the human race alive starting with the elderly but now increasingly working its way down to the young and very young where death should not be lurking.
A new MIT study offers a comprehensive look at chemical and genetic changes that occur as inflammation progresses to cancer. One of the biggest risk factors for liver, colon or stomach cancer is chronic inflammation of those organs, often caused by viral or bacterial infections. Orthodox cancer treatments do not treat inflammation, thus they do not really treat cancer.
Cancer is a Late Stage Inflammation and Infection
The precursor to cancer is inflammation. Cancer is a disease of inflammation. Until recently it wasn’t well known that inflammation was the culprit responsible for many chronic diseases. However, many physicians now recognize that inflammation is a precursor to diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This is important information because early detection of inflammation helps prevent negative health conditions and cancer from developing.
Dr. Jonathan Wright says that to improve digestion and end heartburn we should increase stomach acid, not decrease it. It seems that ninety percent of the patients that Dr. Wright tested in his digestion clinic had too little stomach acid, not too much. Dr. Wright prescribes for his patients’ hydrochloric acid pills. One can look for betaine hydrochloride, which is hydrochloric acid in their local health food store as well as pepsin, papaine, bromelian, and pancreatic enzymes, which are what Wright prescribes for his patients. Personally I use pure HCL and it does wonders!
Proper stomach acid production is vital to unlocking perfect digestion. The digestive process downstream from the stomach is controlled chiefly by pH changes. When the food (chyme) in your stomach reaches a pH of about 2-4, the valve at the bottom of the stomach (pyloric sphincter) starts to slowly release the stomach contents into the duodenum. If the pH is wrong from the beginning, everything down-stream from the small intestine to the large intestine will likely be compromised. Think of it like this: chewing your food is the first crucial step to perfect digestion and stomach acid is the next most important. Always remember and tell your kids: YOUR STOMACH HAS NO TEETH SO CHEW YOUR FOOD!
So what does stomach acid do? It helps neutralize harmful microorganisms that are in contaminated food. It acts as a trigger for the other crucial players in digestion: pancreatic juices, hormones and bile. It activates extremely powerful digestive enzymes that break down protein structures so our body can utilize them in their most basic building block form: amino acids. It ionizes minerals which are vital for our health.
Symptoms of low stomach acid:
- Extreme fullness after meals
- Heartburn/burning sensation
- Gas, flatulence after meals
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Aging due to malabsorption
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Skin problems
- Weak nails
- Eating too much, too quickly
- Excess alcohol
- H. pylori infection
- Hiatal hernia
- Zinc deficiency (required for HCl production)
- Low stomach acid
- Relaxation of esophageal sphincter
Hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid, is a commonly overlooked problem that is typically linked to other diseases like stomach cancer, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re having symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating or nausea after eating, then it’s very likely that you have a stomach acid issue. People diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues, especially inflammatory bowel diseases of Celiac Disease or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are at a higher risk of having stomach acid problems. It makes sense to concentrate on the fact that we would expect a deficiency disease when it comes to HCL not an excess. Again the most important point to remember is that the burning feeling is food sitting too long in the stomach causing a burning feeling and eventual inflammation in the esophagus. Yes there is acid present but its low acid meaning not high enough to get the food released at the bottom of the stomach.
Stomach acid is also a crucial part of the immune system. The acid barrier of the stomach during normal states of health easily and quickly kills bacteria and other bugs that enter the body. It also prevents bacteria from the intestines from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.
Appropriate stomach acid levels are crucial for our immune system and for adequate nutrient status both of which support total health.
How does stomach acid become low? It takes an enormous amount of energy to generate these acidic compounds. Consider this: the pH of our bodies is around 7, yet the pH of our stomach ideally is between 1-2 for optimal digestion and digestive function.
As we get older, we have decreased acid output simply because these cells are not as efficient as they were. We don’t have the energetic currency to produce enough acid to keep the lower esophageal sphincter closed. If we throw in food sensitivities, bacterial overgrowth, H. pylori, stress, and a damaged gut, we have the perfect storm for reflux to develop.
Bicarbonate and Stomach Acid Issues
The effect of an alkali in the stomach will vary according to the nature of the stomach contents at the time of administration. In the resting period (after food is digested) sodium bicarbonate merely dissolves mucus and is absorbed as bicarbonate into the blood, to increase its alkalinity directly.
In the digestive period it reduces the secretion of gastric juice, neutralizes a portion of the hydrochloric acid, liberates the carminative carbon dioxide gas, and is absorbed as sodium chloride.
In cases of fermentation or ‘sour stomach’ it may neutralize the organic acids and so result in the opening of a spasmodically closed pylorus (the opening between the stomach and the small intestine); while at the same time it acts to overcome flatulency (accumulation of gas in the stomach and bowels). The time of administration must, therefore, be chosen with a definite purpose. Usually for hyperchlorhydria (excess of acid) one hour or two hours after meals will be the period of harmful excess of acid.
A dose at bedtime tends to check the early morning acidity, or a dose on arising cleans the stomach of acid and mucus before breakfast. Whenever taking a bicarbonate solution internally, the soda should be dissolved in cold water.
People believe that sodium bicarbonate reduces stomach acids and for this reason think that this is not a good idea since stomach acid is crucial for good digestion. The stomach is protected by the epithelial cells, which produce and secrete a bicarbonate-rich solution that coats the mucosa. Bicarbonate is alkaline, a base, and neutralizes the acid secreted by the parietal cells, producing water in the process. This continuous supply of bicarbonate is the main way that our stomach protects itself from auto digestion (the stomach digesting itself) and the overall acidic environment. If one feels that they are deficient in stomach acid one should supplement with hydrochloric acid.
The mucus membrane of the human stomach has 30 million glands which produce gastric juice containing not only acids, but also bicarbonate. The flow of bicarbonate in the stomach amounts from 400 µmol per hour (24.4 mg/h) for a basal output to 1,200 µmol per hour (73.2 mg/h) for a maximal output. Thus at least half a gram of bicarbonate is secreted daily in our stomach. This rate of gastric bicarbonate secretion is 2-10% of the maximum rate of acid secretion. In the stomach, bicarbonate participates in a mucus-bicarbonate barrier regarded as the first line of the protective and repair mechanisms. On neutralization by acid, carbon dioxide is produced from bicarbonate.
Ulcers, once thought caused by excess stomach acid, are actually often the result of the H. pylori bacteria, which eats away the stomach lining, making it vulnerable to stomach acid and ulcers.
Quick at-home way to see if you have low Stomach Acid
Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. Drink the baking soda solution. Time how long it takes you to belch. Time up to five minutes. If you have not belched within five minutes stop timing. In theory, if your stomach is producing adequate amounts of stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid (but don’t confuse these burps with small little burps from swallowing air when drinking the solution). Any belching after 3 minutes indicates a low acid level.
Because the time frames can vary person-to-person, as well as how they drink the solution, this test is only a good indicator that you might want to do more testing to determine your stomach acid. Overall all there are a lot of variables. I would recommend performing the test 3 consecutive mornings to find an average. By doing this, you’re looking for more of a pattern than a onetime test of “yes” or “no”. Also, to increase accuracy of the test, you must do it as soon as you wake up in the morning before putting anything in your mouth.
This test works by drinking baking soda and creating a chemical reaction in your stomach between the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and hydrochloric acid (HCL). The result is carbon dioxide gas that causes burping. Ingesting baking soda is an old school natural home remedy for upset stomachs.
Personal Testimony of Dr. Sircus
After sixty years of eating what I pleased of any quantity desired I had a bad attack of GERD. I will spare the entire story but it certainly has brought me to my knees more than several times and it certainly has forced me to change a lifetime of eating habits, up and down for a year using many healing agents for what turned into a general inflammation of my lower esophagus.
These past weeks I have finally seemed to strike on the right protocol for me and that includes my liquid selenium, as much magnesium intake as I can manage, magnesium transdermally ., most recently a lot of CBD (the kind of medical marijuana that does not get you high and is totally legal because it has no THC), HCL capsules taken at the beginning of meals, and Bioresonance therapy with Deta Elis equipment out of Russia. Also I was using the Breathslim breathing device, also out of Russia, and I needed that not only for increasing my oxygen delivery to my cells but also for deep relaxation and de-stressing.
I am giving Bioresonance therapy a big nod for my struggles seemed to really begin to clear when I started that. I love the concept and the digital delivery of frequencies that address 3,000 different conditions. There are that many programs that can be uploaded into their treatment devices. A new way of practicing medicine has been born in Russia. Rife was the first with Bioresonance therapy but the Russians have taken it to an entirely new level, which the president of Russia is known to be using and enjoying as well.
The CBD seems to directly put the fires of inflammation out and have been using high dosages. Medical marijuana is a lifesaver and very soon people will wake up to the increasing need for it because of the increasing radiation and other toxic chemical exposures. It is rapidly being legalized as society and medicine comes to its senses and recognizes its enormous and essential medicinal value.
For more in-depth study of the connection between cancer of the esophagus and gastrointestinal issues read this case study from my colleague Dr. George Georgiou.
I will, as my next step, get into a new oxygen system called Live Oxygen that will pump into the cells unheard of levels of oxygen for wound and inflammation repair.
 Metabolic syndrome and risk of cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis; Esposito K, et al; Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov;35(11):2402-11. doi: 10.2337/dc12-0336; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23093685
 A. Mangerich, C. G. Knutson, N. M. Parry, S. Muthupalani, W. Ye, E. Prestwich, L. Cui, J. L. McFaline, M. Mobley, Z. Ge, K. Taghizadeh, J. S. Wishnok, G. N. Wogan, J. G. Fox, S. R. Tannenbaum, P. C. Dedon. PNAS Plus: Infection-induced colitis in mice causes dynamic and tissue-specific changes in stress response and DNA damage leading to colon cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207829109
Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P)
Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine