When we are under any kind of stress, the digestive system produces excess stomach acid, which may overheat the system and imbalance the mucus lining of the stomach wall. This can result in weakened digestion and a hot and irritated stomach and/or upper intestinal lining. The acid can also creep up into the esophagus, causing occasional heartburn.*
Combining Amalaki, Guduchi, and other traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Cool Digest is designed to kindle digestive fire while cooling and balancing the mucosa of the stomach wall and boosting bile flow. For a system that is experiencing excess heat, Cool Digest may also provide support.*
Suggested Use: Take 1 capsules before meals, or as directed by your health care professional.
Bottle Contains: 90 vegetarian capsules, 450 mg each
Ingredients: Organic Avipattikar Churna (Indian Jalap Root, Clove Bud, Indian Cassia Leaf, Cardamom Seed, Vidanga Fruit, Cyperus Root, Amla Fruit, Belleric Myrobalan Fruit, Chebulic Myrobalan, Long Pepper Fruit, Black Pepper Fruit, Ginger Root), Organic Phyllanthus emblica (Amla Fruit), Organic Tinaspora cordifolia (Indian Tinospora Stem), Asafetida Resin (with Fenugreek Seed)
(Go to Ayurvedic Herbal Makeup)
Does not contain: Yeast, gluten, corn, soy, milk, fish, animal products, binders, fillers, preservatives or artificial coloring
Kosher Certified: No animal derivatives
Could the cause of today’s increased prevalence of gastrointestinal distress be fast food, eating too quickly and processed foods? Or is it just stress and an unsustainable pace that is causing this?
Possible Causes of Too Much Acid
It is believed that excess spicy or processed foods, as well as citrus fruits, rich foods, and fried foods can all contribute to the excess production of stomach acid. Additionally, day-to-day stress can trigger the release of excess cortisol, a stress hormone, which stimulates the release of stomach acid. (1)
Conventional Causes of Occasional Heartburn
- Eating excess processed foods
- Eating while stressed
- Overeating at night
- Eating excess heavy and rich foods
An Ayurvedic Take
What seems to be missing in the conventional discussion is an inquiry into why the stomach acid doesn’t leave the stomach. According to Ayurveda, the digestive organs work in harmony with each other, and if one organ isn’t working, we look to the next organ either up or downstream from it. In the case of stomach acid imbalance, there are some very obvious players we must look at.
The liver and gallbladder make a significant amount of bile that buffers acid when it leaves the stomach. The pancreas makes digestive enzymes that also buffer stomach acids. (3) If the liver, gallbladder or pancreas is not producing adequate bile or enzymes, the stomach will simply not release the acid into the small intestine. The stomach triggers the release of the digestive acids only when enough buffers are present in the small intestine, ready to neutralize the acids. Instead, the stomach acids will build up in the stomach, causing irritation.
Lack of bile flow will cause irritation in the stomach, and the stomach will decrease the production of acid in an attempt to protect the stomach lining. An easy way to think of it is that the stomach simply matches the lack of bile and digestive enzymes available in the small intestine with a commensurate lack of stomach acid. In other words, low bile flow = low acid production.
Lack of Bile?
If your occasional heartburn is caused by insufficient bile flow from the liver or gallbladder, it will usually kick in at night, or 30-60 minutes after a meal. This happens because it takes some time for the stomach acid to build up and/or spill small amounts of acid into a small intestine that has produced inadequate amounts of bile to buffer it.
This type of discomfort is caused by eating heavy, rich, fatty or fried foods; more so than spicy foods. This is because bile is responsible for the breakdown of fats. If there is inadequate bile flow, the fatty meal will sit in the stomach undigested, causing burping or nausea.
What if it Burns Right Away?
Interestingly, occasional heartburn incidents aren’t always caused by too much acid, but also by too little acid. That’s right! Gastric discomfort can be caused by not enough acid production in the stomach. If there is too little stomach acid produced, the food and the stomach acid (even though there is less of it) will linger in the stomach and delay the emptying. The longer the food sits in the stomach, the higher the risk of irritation to the stomach. (2)
If you feel uncomfortable right away after eating acidic or spicy foods, this is usually due to too little acid. When the stomach begins to turn off the production of stomach acid, it is typically due to excess acid, too little bile to buffer it, or irritation of the stomach lining. When the stomach begins to turn off the production of acid, the stomach lining becomes very sensitive to almost any foods, but even worse with acidic foods.
Important Note: While most of us will suffer from occasional heartburn at some point in our lives, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician if any of the following are true:
- Your heartburn feels more severe or painful than normal
- You have a persistent cough that won’t go away
- Your heartburn occurs several times a week for more than two weeks
- You’ve been taking OTC medications for occasional heartburn for an extended time
- You develop a difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)