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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Flatulence Gets Top Billing

Passing gas wasn’t always taboo.

In the late 19th and early part of the 20th century, a Frenchman named Joseph Pujol achieved fame under the stage name “Le Petomane” – French for “The Great Farter”.

Le Petomane was capable of inhaling air or water into his colon, which he would use to fuel all manner of flatulent performances.

He astounded audiences for decades with his impressive physical skills, imitating musical instruments, farm animals, bird songs, and popular whistling melodies.

Today it is doctors who are astounded by amazingly gassy performances of patients suffering with chronic gassiness.

Last year American consumers downed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of prescription and over-the-counter antacids and antigas products. But did it help? In nearly all cases, people are treating symptoms, not curing underlying conditions.

I have to believe that real cures for chronic gassiness are out there. But the global pharmaceutical industry doesn't make money by curing diseases, and eliminating the markets those diseases represent. They make money by treating symptoms.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Does 65 Million Year Old Doo-Doo Smell?

Hot on the heels of my post about cow manure contributing to global warming, I learn that scientists have discovered dino “business” that’s 65 million years old.

How did that stuff manage to stay around so long, considering that human and animal waste is biodegradable? You have to wonder.

Even more interesting, the fossilized dino dung contains evidence of grasses, indicating that these particular dinos were, in part, grazers – just like cows.

Which only goes to prove the old maxim, “you are what you eat.” The problem, though, is that many foods dubbed as “healthy” cause millions of Americans cramping, bloating, and gas.

And if you suffer with diabetes, IBS, IBD, and a host of other conditions, so-called healthy foods can be a constant, yet unrecognized source of uncontrollable gas.

There are ways to identify the foods that are the source of your uncontrollable gas. And there are solutions that can help alleviate constant farting, in the form of prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements.

But these solutions are not without serious issues. I’ll get into some of these solutions, their issues, and ways to isolate the foods that are causing your uncontrollable gas in future posts.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Belching Contributes to Global Warming

You might have heard that methane generated from cow manure is responsible for some degree of air pollution, and contributes to global warming.

It turns out that it isn't cow flop that’s causing the problem, but rather, it's cow belches.

That's according to a study that found less than half the air pollution attributable to cows comes from their excretions. About sixty percent comes from “cow burps”.

I'm not surprised, seeing as cows have stomachs with four compartments, compared to the single-compartment stomach in humans.

The reason is the food they eat (it’s not just grass). It’s hard to chew, and tough to digest. Cows swallow food without chewing much. They store their unchewed meals in their first two stomachs: the rumen and the reticulum.

Later, while at rest, cows belch up parts of their unchewed meals, which is called “cud” (hence the term “chewing their cud”). This time around the cows chew the food well, swallow it, and send it to their third and fourth stomachs: the omasum and abomasum.

That’s where it’s digested. Some of it becomes milk. The rest becomes air pollution.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Last Taboo

Yesterday I wrote that a fart by any other name would still smell as gross. That got me thinking about the last taboo: openly talking about farts and farting in a serious manner in mixed company.

Discussions about farts are either off-limits, or relegated to humor and comedy. But uncontrollable gas is a serious problem that effects millions of Americans who never crack open a can of beans.

Indeed, the list of conditions that can cause uncontrollable gas is long, and many of these conditions are serious. Some are obvious (such as IBS), while others might surprise you.

Over 30% of Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as “IBS” – and most sufferers are women. How ironic that an act usually associated with smart-aleck boys and immature men (farting) is, in the case of IBS, afflicting ladies.

Other conditions include HIV/AIDS, malabsorptive syndromes, pancreatitis, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Celiac disease, and diabetes.

Many prescription and non-prescription medications, as well as dietary supplements, also cause uncontrollable gas. What sad about this is that people are often taking these medications and supplements to treat serious conditions. As a result, they endure the additional suffering and embarrassment of uncontrollable gas.

Gas-inducing meds include antibiotics (penicillin and its derivatives), antiviral medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, protein supplements, narcotic pain medications, drugs that treat diarrhea (Imodium, Kaopectate, Lomotil), fiber and bulk-producing supplements (such as Fiberall, Metamucil, Citrucel, FiberCon), and iron supplements.

Farting isn't always funny. Especially when it affects you, and you can't control it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shakespearean Ponderings

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."
--From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

And that which we call a fart, by any other word, would smell as, er, gross.

People who suffer from uncontrollable gas also smell gross. The problem is, most people – and certainly those who are not family members (such as coworkers) – won’t tell someone they have an odor problem.

They might think you don’t bathe. I’ve been in offices where people joke about “Len” or “Karen” having “frumunda cheese”, meaning they have odors emanating “from under” their arm pits or other bodily folds.

The truth is, Len or Karen might actually have uncontrollable gas, usually as a result of their diet. The Lens and Karens of the world simply don’t realize their all-day gassy leaking creates an aroma that clings to them.

They don’t smell it, because they’re used to it. But the reality is, others do smell it, others talk about it behind their back, and others are too embarrassed to do the right thing and tell them about it.

That’s why I created my Gassy Greeting Cards. They’re a safe, completely anonymous way to tell people they have a gas problem, and should do something about it.

What can be done? Lots of things; some obvious, others not so obvious. I’ll be touching on some effective gas-fighting techniques in future posts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Vitamins Help Prevent Colon Cancer

You may want to think twice about skipping that multivitamin. A new report shows that vitamins C, B-6 and folate have a protective effect against the development and/or worsening of risk factors that lead to colorectal tumors in smokers. Likewise, beta-carotene has a similar effect on nonsmokers.

In general, good quality nutrition, combined with informed dietary supplementation, is known to reduce risk factors of disease development, especially for most cancers. A healthy regimen lowers the incidence of digestive maladies that a habitual diet of refined, processed, calorie-rich, and nutrient-deficient food causes.

To counterbalance this, you should try to find supplemental products to bolster the health and functional competence of the GI tract-a tactic crucial for restoring optimum immune and metabolic function.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Can’t Buy Me Health

I recently came across a study suggesting that chronic diseases account for 70% of all U.S. deaths, as opposed to a century ago when infectious diseases were the #1 killer. But what really struck me is that here we are, the most medicated country in the world, yet we remain the most chronically diseased.

In essence, we're fooling ourselves into living a symptom-free illusion by medicating ourselves to death. And in doing so, we're not really correcting the underlying causes, especially when it comes to digestion issues.

Anti-inflammatory drugs do not cure anything-they only relieve the immediate symptom and don't prevent destruction of the GI tract. Even the MSM is starting to pick up on this underreported fact.

So what's the solution? For starters, a healthy diet and lifestyle that provides the building blocks and components needed to allow the body to rebuild, repair, restore, and rejuvenate its healthy functionality. Then, get to the real root of the problem, instead of wishing it will simply go away.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Does Your GI Tract Have a Genetic Code?

Have you ever experienced a sour stomach (or worse) while dealing with something particularly stressful? Turns out there's a reason for that-and it lies in your genes. Indeed, the way you process thoughts can now be used as an indicator for potential GI disorders.

That's according to a new study, which solidifies the notion that your genes and what you eat can influence your thoughts and cravings. But this isn't an open invitation to scarf down unhealthy foods in the name of genetics.

Instead, it should be a wake-up call to end the vicious cycle of thinking bad thoughts, eating bad food, suffering through bad bowel movements, creating a bad GI environment, which makes you crave bad comfort foods.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Cycle of Maladies

Let’s face the facts: as a culture we're overfed and undernourished. We eat calorie-rich, nutrient-depleted, fatty, and refined processed foods, then wonder why our digestive systems are always in distress. The truth is, we've gotten away from the natural design of how we’re supposed to eat, and our bodies are paying the price.

Because we’re not getting the nutrient-rich abundant foods we need to thrive, we're eroding the core of our internal health structure. Your digestion and immune system are intimately related; so when you deprive your body of essential nutrients, the GI tract has nothing to absorb or utilize, and your immune system bears the burden.

It’s like a dog chasing its tail. Until it realizes that futile nature of the cycle, it’ll keep going after the unreachable.