How Autonomic Dysfunction and SIBO Cause Heartburn and GERD
Listen to Dr. Nemechek discuss how autonomic dysfunction is the cause of common heartburn. Heartburn does not originate from the over-production of acid, …
Hi, this is Dr. Nemechek, this is another
one of our video blogs and I would like
to discuss about heartburn. Very, very
common. I mean really becoming almost
epidemic in the population, and it's
often viewed as a problem that people
make too much stomach acid. Well, actually
it looks like, when you analyze the
amount of acid that a person with
heartburn makes in 24 hours, it's about
the same as a person who doesn't have
heartburn. So really, in fact, the symptoms
of heartburn (which are relieved with an
antacid) are actually not because you
make too much acid it's because you
can't empty the acid you make.
Now I use a analogy that this is similar to why
you call the plumber when the kitchen
sinks overflowing. You know, you
talk to him on the phone, he says he'll
be there in an hour and he says, "turn the
water off, just don't run the water"
and that helps a little bit – that's like
taking a little Prilosec. But it's really
not the problem, the problem isn't that
this faucet puts too much water in the
sink; the problem is the sink doesn't
empty, and that's the same thing with
heartburn. It's not that you make too
much acid, it's that your nervous system
cannot empty the acid you're making in
your stomach. And then further as that gets
magnified, the little valve between the
stomach and the esophagus – which is
controlled by your nervous system –
doesn't work as well, and through the
normal kind of grinding motion of the
stomach, the dang stuff squirts backwards
up the esophagus, now you have
heartburn and what's called GERD – or
gastroesophageal reflux disease, okay. And
both of these get better with, or I
should say feel better, with an antacid
but really the problem is mainly
with your autonomic nervous system. Again
the autonomic nervous system you can
think of it kind of like the automatic
nervous system. It controls everything
that you can't really consciously
so blood pressure, your organ
function, a large part of your immune
system, many of your hormones and in this
case, your intestinal tract in your
stomach. Now I like to think of the
intestinal tract as a intestinal
conveyor belt that kind of pushes
everything along and it has its own
little symptoms for each little segment
when it doesn't work right.
And a typical problem with intestinal motility – now your autonomics, you've got the
sympathetic and parasympathetic branches and
they should be fairly equal –
and what happens is you have an imbalance. You
have a relatively high amount of
sympathetic input versus a lower
parasympathetic input. The typical
problem here is that the
parasympathetics are weakened.
That's really kind of where the problem comes
from to give you that. And when you have
this imbalance the intestinal conveyor
belt doesn't work right. So what happens?
Well, some people it starts up here in the
throat, they get this tightness like their
collar is too tight or something, like
they're choking but they don't actually
choke when they swallow or drink but it
feels like they might, and that's called Globus.
Then you can have trouble
actually with motility, the passage of
stuff through the esophagus, and people
get sticking or cramping there.
The stomach portion as we're talking about,
you won't empty acid correctly.
The stomach just doesn't work right.
Sometimes you won't empty food correctly.
And it's so bad and people might vomit
up undigested food hours later okay, and
that, in its most severe form, is called
gastroparesis. If you have slow motility
through the entire small intestine, that
gives you the cramping of IBS, could give
you bloating and gas, and then poor forward
motility in the colon is constipation.
Yep. Constipation is a brain problem
believe it or not, okay. So now heartburn…
how can we deal with this? Well, there's a
variety of things that feed into this
problem that can cause the symptoms, and a main thing is –
it's divided into two main problems – one is the bacteria themself in
the intestinal tract, can communicate
with the brain and trigger heartburn,
and then injury, kind of chronic injury
dysfunction to the brain itself.
So now let's talk about the bacteria. There's a
condition called bacterial overgrowth
where the bacteria in the colon are now
living up in the small intestine.
These are normally very different groups of
bacteria. In my books I talk about the
bacteria in the small
intestine are "birds", the ones in the colon
are "fish" and for every one "bird" by the
stomach, you have a hundred million "fish"
at the end of the colon. So you have very
different bacteria, a huge differential.
And what happens, and this is a term I
don't like, called SIBO (small intestinal
bacterial overgrowth) is where basically
the "fish" bacteria are living up with the
"birds" and now you have about a hundred
thousand times the bacteria up there.
And so this is the sequence where somebody
says some particular food, so maybe
tomatoes, or spices, or lettuce, or bananas,
or orange juice, or chocolate, or coffee,
it can be almost anything, but this like
one food gives me heartburn. And that is
a very clear picture that you have
bacterial overgrowth. And when you fix
that condition – so in kids you would use
inulin fiber and in adults we use the
antibiotic Rifaximin – when you fix
that problem, within a week or two people
can suddenly have tomatoes and spices
alright, and they don't get heartburn.
They don't have that digestive problem.
Now, so the bacteria can be part of this.
But I'll have many patients where
that will happen, they can now eat
tomatoes and spices but they still have
heartburn left over. So like part of it
went away but not the whole thing,
and what they have is they have BOTH
problems, all right. So the autonomics and
this relative imbalance of sympathetic
it's a brain problem okay, and this is
where kind of the magic of The Nemechek
Protocol™ has been helpful in getting
your brain to restore functionality to
get that to empty. So The Nemechek
Protocol™ basically is a reduction of
inflammation in the brain, well through
the whole body but we're targeting the
brain and the nervous system, and when we
reduce that enough the nervous system is
able to repair itself and regain
functionality and voila! a lot of people
their heartburn goes away. So the
components of The Nemechek Protocol™ are
basically a really high concentration
DHA fish oil, olive oil (which blocks
toxicity from vegetable oils), fixing the
gut bacteria, and then for older folks –
say over you know 40-45 – we generally need
a vagus nerve stimulator to get the
brain to fully function right. And when
you add those things together all sorts
of symptoms go away including heartburn,
IBS, cramping, and even your constipation, okay.
So that's all for today, this is Dr. Nemechek. Thank you for listening.
I hope that you found this video useful.