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All people occasionally suffer from the discomfort of intestinal gas - it is not unusual and usually not harmful. The average person passes gas approximately 13 times a day.

All people occasionally suffer from the discomfort of intestinal gas - it is not unusual and usually not harmful. The average person passes gas approximately 13 times a day. This daily flatulence amounts to between one pint and a half-gallon of gas per day.

In Healthy Digestion the Natural Way(Wiley & Sons, 2000), D. Lindsay Berkson suggests the following guidelines for determining the cause of gas:

  • Gas within one to one and one-half hours after eating - overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine
  • Increased belching after eating fatty foods and a sharp pain in upper right shoulder and/or abdomen and spreading to the back - gallbladder disease.
  • Abdominal flatulence with foul-smelling stool and possibly unexplained weight loss - malabsorption syndrome, parasites, dysbiosis, or pancreatic tumor.
  • Increased gas when bending over and lying down - reflux of contents from the stomach to the esophagus.

Excessive gas can also be a sign of some more serious gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as pancreatic insufficiency or excess candida. Pancreatic insufficiency is the poor production of pancreatic juice (used to break down carbohydrates). Candida is the overgrowth of yeast in the intestines. Excessive exposure to mercury in fluorescent lights, some hair dyes, cosmetics, and silver tooth fillings may also cause excessive gas.

Here are a few ways to help prevent excessive gas. These can easily be done at home.

  • Drink fluids before meals, not during.
  • Have five or six small meals a day rather than three large ones.
  • Take hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes with meals.
  • Exercise regularly to help stimulate the passage of gas through the GI tract.
  • Eat fresh whole foods and cultured foods.
  • Avoid spicy or fried foods.
  • Soak beans for four hours before cooking with ginger or with kombu (a sea vegetable).
  • Take ginger, fennel, anise, or peppermint to aid digestion.

By practising these at-home preventive methods, you can reduce your risk of excessive gas.

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