“Nearly every day, a new patient tells me about use of different supplements, alkaline water, apple cider vinegar or other interesting ways to deal with their digestive problems,” says Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute, in Commack. “Some have hurt themselves considerably as a result. Many have burned or ulcerated their esophagus from acidic vinegars. Others have suppressed the normal stomach acids with alkaline products, causing nutrient deficiencies to the degree of bone loss. They are all looking for an easy panacea magic pill that will eliminate all that ails them.”
There are many types of digestive problems, explains Pollack. And there are many types of each digestive problem. “Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are different names for symptoms that can arise all from the same or from very different reasons.” Within the tiny area just under the center of our ribcage, where many experience their digestive symptoms, lies the confluence of four different digestive organs all within about 2 inches. Any discomfort here or even several inches in any direction from this epigastric point, may be caused by any one of these four important digestive organs: the stomach, pancreas, gall bladder (biliary system) or small intestines. Any of the four may produce acid reflux, GERD, heartburn, and even bloating, gas, or loose or hard stools.
“Depending which organ is having the dysfunction, the treatment may be vastly different; and relief is not the same as a cure,” says Pollack. “For example, alkaline water provides a basic pH to the stomach, so it can relieve symptoms of heartburn and reflux. But the stomach is supposed to be acidic, and thus this treatment hampers digestion significantly, leading to poor protein digestion. Protein is important for healing, hormone production, strength, energy and many important functions of the body. Apple cider vinegar can actually be a good aid in mild gall bladder issues, but only if mild and only if prepared appropriately—a minimum of 50 percent diluted.
Besides the more obvious problems and potential remediation strategies of the digestive tract, many digestive problems have their roots in hormone imbalance and/or emotional issues, like anxiety or depression, explains Pollack. If that is the case, the treatment strategy must be focused on those areas or there will be very little benefit.
“Despite the reasons, or even the actual problem at hand, the majority of digestive problems cause a breakdown of the lining of the digestive tract allowing foreign compounds, including undigested food, to cross into the bloodstream, causing the source of all our chronic ills—inflammation,” says Pollack. “Some call this set of events leaky-gut syndrome, being that compounds are leaking through a damaged system into the blood and lymphatic systems.”
According to Pollack, chronic systemic inflammation is known to cause most diseases, including cardiovascular illness, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and arthritis. “Digestive problems may often be at the root of these problems, and it is rare that they are correlated together. If you suspect you have a digestive problem that is not improving, please have an experienced holistic digestive specialist check for the specific causes of your health concerns, as there may be excellent natural treatments that may eliminate these problems along with many more.”
Source: Dr. David Pollack. Location: Pollack Wellness Institute (formerly Creating Wellness Center) is located at 66 Commack Rd., Commack. For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit CreatingWellnessLI.com. See ads on pages XX and XX.