Saturday, September 28, 2013

GERD? Low Carb

The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Over my many years of using a low-carb diet to treat patients with various disorders, I noticed that almost all who happened to have GERD found their symptoms resolved. I never started out treating GERD with a low-carb diet, but the huge numbers of patients finding relief told me that somehow carb restriction was helping. They would ask why their GERD went away, and I would have to confess that I didn't really know. I thought and thought about a possible biochemical or physiological mechanism that would explain why a low-carb diet almost always got rid of GERD, but I could never come up with a reasonable explanation. So, I just told patients who had GERD that if they ate low-carb, their GERD would probably go away. But I also told them I didn't know why.

Then a few years ago I ran into a microbiologist named Norm Robillard who had a theory on the cause of GERD that explained the results I had been seeing and made perfect physiological sense.
GERD: Treat it with a low- or high-carb diet

The short version of Dr. Eades' description:
High carb diets, especially those with high fiber, enable bacteria to grow where they shouldn't, in the small intestine.  These carbs can also be fermented, which produces mucho gaseoso, which yields SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).  This gas back pressurizes the GI tract, in effect driving gas into the esophagus.

The really bad part of this deal is that the current Rx for this problem is to keep eating that high fiber diet (because everyone knows fiber is GREAT for you, although I don't know why they know that) and suppress acid production with the various pills that do that sort of thing.  Well, when you reduce the acid levels in a bacterially overgrown gut, you get more bacteria, and not the ones you want to have.  So the acid reducing pills only work for a while, and then things are worse than when you started taking them.

Dr. Eades continues:
You can find more information about Dr. Robillard's work on GERD and IBS in his books Fast Tract Digestion: Heartburn and Fast Tract Digestion: IBS both of which contain pages of tables showing the FP of numerous foods.

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