The Official Website for The Nemechek Protocol™ Medical Consultation and Treatment Services

Excess Stomach Acid Mimics Hunger

Excess Stomach Acid Mimics Hunger
February 3, 2011 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Introduction

It is not uncommon for individuals to occasionally feel hungry, weak and shaky or develop a ‘sour stomach’ between meals.  Many will interpret this as a sign they need more nutrients because their symptoms seem to improve after they eat a little food.  These symptoms can be so intense that it wakes them from their sleep.

Watch Dr. N’s CoffeeTalk on Heartburn

In spite of the fact these symptoms can improve with food, they have little to do with our biological need for nutrients or energy.  What you are about to learn is that these symptoms are due to an abnormal buildup of stomach acid due to poor functioning of your stomach and intestinal tract.

How Does the Intestinal Tract Normally Function

Throughout the day we constantly produce stomach acid.  We produce even more when we eat a meal.  Stomach acid is required to assist in digesting food, killing potentially harmful bacterial and is also helpful in activating various digestive enzymes.

Think of your intestinal tract as a conveyor belt that constantly pushes our intestinal contents forward throughout the day.  Our esophagus pushes food into the stomach, the stomach pushes stomach acid and partially digested food into the small intestine, the small intestine absorbs ours nutrients and pushes the non-absorbable material (fiber) into the colon and the colon pushes material to the rectum.

This conveyor belt action of the intestinal tract is primarily under the control of the neurological network referred to as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  The ANS is responsible for the contractions that empty the stomach and propel food along its course through the small and large intestines.

Take ANS Quiz 00001

The conveyor belt action of the intestinal tract works 24 hours per day emptying the stomachs contents and passing it further along the way.  When we eat food, the stomach is stimulated to produce even greater amounts of stomach acid and to empty even faster.  This is an extremely important point because slowed emptying of the stomach triggers the single most common mimic of hunger, an excessive accumulation of stomach acid known as dyspepsia.

What’s the Difference Between Dyspepsia and Heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid.  The valve between the esophagus and the stomach is designed to allow food and liquid to pass downward from the esophagus into the stomach as well as to prevent the backwash of acid into the esophagus.

Occasionally, the valve relaxes and allows stomach acid to reflux backwards into the esophagus.  The acid stimulates nerve endings in the esophagus and causes the symptoms commonly referred to as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  GERD can be associated with a burning sensation in the chest, belching, a bitter taste in our mouth, coughing and wheezing.  Strangely, sometimes the refluxing acid will not cause any pain (referred to as silent reflux) and can cause exacerbation of asthma after eating and trigger recurrent sinus and middle ear infections.

Dyspepsia is a term reserved for the symptoms we might think of as a sour stomach, slight nausea or an upset stomach.  These symptoms don’t result from acid splashing back into the esophagus as in heartburn.  The symptoms of dyspepsia are from an abnormal accumulation of acid in the stomach.  The acid accumulates because it is not being emptied normally, not because our stomach is producing too much.

To review, the symptoms of GERD are from stomach acid splashing backwards into the esophagus and dyspepsia is from too much acid accumulating in the stomach.

Excess Stomach Acid Mimics Hunger

We often confuse dyspepsia with hunger because you may feel shaky, slightly nauseated or weak and eating food makes the symptoms disappear.  They go away because food stimulates the stomach to empty.  The food therefore causes the excess acid to be emptied into the small intestine and your symptoms resolve.

The same symptoms will also go away if you take an antacid such as Tums since they are truly the result from excess stomach acid.  But since they go away after you eat food, you draw the reasonable conclusion the symptoms were due to low levels of blood sugar or some other nutrient.   Consequently, you believe your symptoms are a sign of hunger or “low blood sugar”.  So the next time you feel similar symptoms, you’ll eat food again and the symptoms go away again.  After a while it becomes almost second nature.

But why doesn’t the stomach work properly to empty the stomach acid in the first place?   To understand why this happens, you’ll need to understand the autonomic nervous system.

Your Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system is the portion of our brain that coordinates how our organs (heart, circulation, lungs, intestines, bladder, kidneys and liver) function, how intensely we react emotionally, how our hormones are regulated and how our immune system functions. Understanding if the autonomic system is functioning correctly is often the key to many medical puzzles.

ANS

The ANS is often referred to as the “automatic” nervous system in that its functions are not under voluntary control. And with such a major influence over the body, an imbalance in autonomic function is quite frequently a component of many chronic symptoms or illnesses.

Take ANS Quiz 00001

Your autonomic nervous system may not always work correctly.  A poorly functioning autonomic nervous system can be from damage to the nerves themselves, medications and even from an imbalance of intestinal bacteria called SIBO, small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

Damage to the autonomic nervous system can occur from physical traumas such as concussions, traumatic brain injuries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stroke, infections or brain surgery.  We now know autonomic damage can also occur from intensely negative emotional traumas.

The best understood example is known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, the phenomenon otherwise known as “dying of a broken heart”.  Intensely negative traumas such as death of a loved one, molestation or rape, fear, divorce, great financial loss all can damage the autonomic nervous system.

In addition to trauma, excessive consumption of nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids (found in soy oil and other vegetable oils) or carbohydrates can lead to damage through a process known as overnutrition. Additional damage can occur through the “leaky gut” damage of bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, toxin exposure (chronic alcoholism, heavy metal exposure, pollutants).

Any of these conditions can subtly affect your autonomic nervous system causing your stomach not to empty correctly giving you a sense of elevated hunger that is relieved by eating.

Heartburn and the Autonomic Nervous System

As discussed above, the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is a neurological network connecting your brain, spinal column and nerves to every organ in your body.  This connectivity allows the ANS helps regulate and coordinate the function of all your body’s organs.

The intestinal tract is primarily under the control of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS.  The parasympathetic branch is primarily responsible for the contractions that empty the stomach and propel food along its course through the small and large intestines.

The ANS is particularly involved with the control and flow of the acid within our stomachs.  The stomach is constantly producing acid throughout the day and acid production is increased when we eat. When we swallow food, it passes through the esophagus down into the stomach.  There is a valve between the esophagus and the stomach meant to prevent acid from splashing backwards into the esophagus when the stomach begins contracting in its effort to begin digesting our food.

While the stomach is contracting, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach needs to remain tightly closed otherwise the acid can splash backwards and cause the symptoms of burning, belching and bitter taste we associated with heartburn or GERD.

Scientific studies show that dysfunction of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS is the cause of poor esophagus-stomach valve function.  Throughout your life you’ve heard multiple medical explanations for heartburn such as hiatal hernia, acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol and being overweight.  These reasons have either been proven incorrect (e.g., hiatal hernia), contribute to excessive acid production (e.g., large meals) or have been discovered to contribute to the poor functioning of the autonomic nervous system (e.g., alcohol, caffeine).

Gut Bacteria and Heartburn

Your intestinal bacteria should be concentrated in the lower colon with very few bacteria in the upper small intestine where most nutrients are digested and absorbed.  For every 1 bacteria in the upper small intestine there is 100 million bacteria in the lower colon!

Unfortunately, some of these colon bacteria will find their way up into the upper small intestine (a conditional called SIBO) and can trigger heartburn.  This form of heartburn is often triggered by a particular type of food.  Common examples are spicy food, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers and certain fruit or nuts.  Some estimates are that SIBO may affect 50-75% of the U.S. population.

SIBO Button

If someone has abnormal bacteria in the upper intestine that are activated by nutrients found in spices, the active bacteria are capable of sending a signal up the vagus nerve ( a major nerve of the autonomic nervous system) and tell the brain to slow down the intestinal track and not to empty the stomach.  This happens with any kind of nutrient the bacteria are activated by.

If the stomach isn’t emptying while you are eating, the food contents and accompanying digestive enzymes and acids overfill.  This will make you very bloated and cause the reflux of the overfilled stomach contents into the esophagus giving you heartburn.  The slowing of the intestinal tract is also responsible for your intestinal cramping, constipation and if the overgrowth is bad enough, you developed diarrhea with particular foods.

Obesity, Insulin Resistance and Carbohydrates

The increasing rate of obesity in the United States is associated with a growing incidence of insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance is the metabolic disturbance that causes a wide variety of medical problems such as type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, abnormal cholesterol, heart disease and strokes, Sleep Apnea, many forms of cancer and Polycystic Ovarian Disease.

Insulin resistance was originally thought to be consequence of obesity but its cause seems to be more complicated than simply being overweight.  Accumulating evidence suggests that insulin resistance is more the consequence of the type of foods we ate in excess while becoming overweight or obese than simply eating too many calories. More specifically, insulin resistance is caused mainly by the excess of carbohydrate consumption in our diet and not to simply being overweight.

If carbohydrates are the primary cause of insulin resistance then why does weight loss improve insulin resistance as well as the bloating, heartburn, bloating or a nagging sense of persistent hunger?

The reason weight loss helps with these conditions is because people significantly reduce their carbohydrate intake when reducing their calorie intake when losing weight.   In a recent study that showed significant improvement in insulin resistance because of weight loss, the study participants had decreased their carbohydrate intake by about 100-150 grams per day.  That’s a reduction of the average American’s carbohydrate intake by 1/3 to 1/2.

I have many patients who have successfully treated their symptoms from excess acid accumulation by simply reducing their carbohydrate intake.  Most didn’t lose a significant amount of weight but still had significant improvement in their symptoms with carbohydrate reduction alone.  Many were able to stop taking the antacids they had previously been prescribed.

Countless studies demonstrate the ability of weight loss to reverse diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and the risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.  Again, what these countless studies were seeing was not the sole beneficial effects of weight reduction per say but also the beneficial effects of reduced carbohydrate intake associated with the decreased caloric intake that is necessary for weight loss.

When viewed in this respect, it’s easy to understand why some individuals at a normal weight who eat relatively high proportion of carbohydrates still can develop dyspepsia as well as disorders related to insulin resistance such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

Remember, it’s not really their weight that makes the difference; it’s the proportion of carbohydrates they eat, their age (we become more sensitive as we get older) and genetic differences in their sensitivity to the toxic nature of excessive carbohydrates.

How Do Carbohydrates Harm Our Autonomic Nervous System?

Excessive dietary carbohydrates can lead to an increase in metabolic inflammation in the brain through a process known as overnutrition.  A variety of studies are demonstrating that metabolic inflammation can directly impair the functionality of the autonomic nervous system.

The negative autonomic impact of excessive carbohydrates helps explain why carbohydrate reduction improves many physical symptoms of autonomic dysfunction such as urinary frequency, heartburn, bloating and lightheadedness. Many researchers now believe that the high levels of carbohydrates in the typical American diet are in excess of a threshold that our modern brains can tolerate.

Another example of a food item that can cause toxic effects when consumed in excess is alcohol.   Many studies have shown that drink 1-2 alcoholic beverages such as wine per day is seemingly harmless to our health.  But it’s common known that drinking 1-2 bottles of wine per day more than likely leads to poor brain health, damage to the liver known as cirrhosis as well as damage to our heart muscle (a condition known as cardiomyopathy).

Also, people falsely believe they needn’t worry about eating too many carbohydrates if they exercise regularly.  They will simply “burn them off”.  The toxicity of excessive carbohydrates is not due to the excessive calories they may provide but more due to the toxic effect.

You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet

Thinking that exercise can rid one of the toxic effects of carbohydrates is similar to an alcoholic thinking that drinking a bottle of vodka is harmless since they will exercise enough to burn off the calories in the vodka.  Exercising more may burn off more calories but will not affect the potential toxic nature of either alcohol or carbohydrates.

The amount of carbohydrates in the American diet over has crossed a toxicity threshold in many individuals.  The toxic of excessive carbohydrate consumption is resulting not only in the diseases associated with insulin resistance but is also damaging our autonomic nervous system.

Remember, the autonomic nervous system controls the function of every organ in your body.  And when the autonomic system is damaged and not functioning properly, we experience symptoms such as bloating, heart burn, lightheadedness, fatigue, excessive sweating, flushing of our skin, constipation as well as urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence.

Reduce your carbohydrate intake and you can eliminate these symptoms.

How Many Carbohydrates Should We Eat?

To answer this question we need to look at the evolution of our Stone Age ancestors and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed.  Scientific evidence suggests that our primitive ancestors ate a diet that consisted predominantly of animal tissue (protein and fat) and plants known as browsing foliage (dark green leafy plants).

During the Stone Age, carbohydrates were very uncommon in the wild and consisted of occasional roots, wild fruit or honey. Overall, the availability of carbohydrates was uncommon.  Other than being on a tropical island, when was the last time you saw some fruit such as an apple or orange when walking in the woods?  These foods do not grow commonly in the wild.  They are cultivated plants that became more readily available after the agricultural revolution.

Many Americans consume more carbohydrates per day than our Stone Age ancestors consumed in a year.  The amounts of carbohydrates available for human consumption didn’t begin to increase until the agricultural revolution (5,000 -10,000 years ago) when man learned to grow grains such as wheat, barley and millet.  The domestication of livestock and the consumption of livestock milk became an additional source of carbohydrates (milk sugars) as well.

But 10,000 years is a very small span of time from an evolutionary perspective.  Although there may have been a few beneficial evolutionary mutation associated with protection from infectious diseases in the last 10,000 years, science has failed to demonstrate any adaptive genetic mutations that might have changed with the subsequent marked increase in carbohydrates in the human diet.

To put the evolutionary time span into perspective, if the entire span of human evolution is represented by a 100-yard football field, the last 10,000 years would encompass only the final ¼ inch of the entire 100-yard field.  As you can see, 10,000 years is not a significant amount of time compared to the millions of years required for human evolution.

The point of this is to help you understand that we were designed through evolution to adapt to eating predominantly animal tissue (protein and fat) and low amounts of carbohydrates.  We did not develop the metabolic ability to handle such large quantities of carbohydrates in our diet and our bodies are suffering because of it.

To put it another way, the average American consumes more carbohydrates in a day than our Stone Age ancestors consumed in a year.  It’s the excessive amount of carbohydrates in our diet that are having a toxic effect on our nervous system.

Carbohydrate Reduction and the Theory of Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is a relatively new scientific concept that our neurological tissues (brains, spine and nerves) has some ability to recover function from at least mild levels of insult or damage.  Neuroplasticity means ‘nervous tissue’ that has the ability to ‘regain its function’ after being altered just as plastic regains it shape after being bent.

After a stroke, patients have the ability to regain some neurological function.  After a nerve or the spinal column is damaged by an injury, remarkable degrees of recovery have been known to occur.  The recovery in these cases may not be complete in severe cases but can often be complete with mild injuries to the nervous system.

After the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is damaged, it too shows a remarkable ability to recover from the toxic effects of excessive carbohydrates.  I have many patients who have completely recovered from the neurological damage that causes heartburn, erectile dysfunction, lightheadedness and urinary disturbances after reducing their carbohydrate intake.

One exception to neuroplasticity of the ANS is in patients with long standing type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.  In this circumstance, the nerves have been severely damaged by the toxic effects of excessively high blood sugar and insulin levels as well as the damaging effects of inflammation associated with insulin resistance.  Fortunately, most patients who have worked at controlling their diabetes still have a good chance of reversing the their ANS dysfunction.

How Many Carbohydrates Are Too Much?

What should you reduce your total daily carbohydrate intake to?  The average American diet now consists of 50-60% of calories from carbohydrates.   Scientific studies suggest that you can greatly improve health if you reduce your carbohydrate intake to approximately 20-25% of your total daily caloric intake.  This is equal to about 100-125 grams of carbohydrates per day for women and 125-150 grams per day for men.

First start by reducing the larger amounts of carbohydrates from your diet; start with the frequent servings of potatoes, rice and pasta and the sugar containing drinks.  Replace these with more protein and low carbohydrate vegetables.

After a week or 2, count the grams of the remaining carbohydrates in your daily diets for a few days.  You will quickly realize the high amount of carbohydrates you had been consuming on a regular basis.

Reducing your carbohydrate intake to 20-25% of your total caloric intake has a dramatic improvement in the diseases arising from insulin resistance as well as improving your neurological functioning.  Your triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels improve, your blood pressure will be greatly reduced and your blood sugar levels will normalize as your body’s response to insulin to improves.

Carbohydrate reduction has been calculated to have 6-8 times greater power of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (strokes and heart attacks) than do the statin medications that are commonly prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol levels.  Why treat these conditions with potentially toxic medications when you can prevent and even reverse these conditions by simply reducing your carbohydrate intake.

Summary

If you’re experiencing persistent hunger between meals, occasional nausea or episodes that feel like low blood sugar, eliminate these symptoms by simply reducing the carbohydrates in your diet.  You’ll notice a significant improvement in only a few weeks.

And if you have learned something useful from this article, I urge you to pass it on to 1 or 2 of your friends and encourage them to not only improve their lightheadedness and fatigue but their overall health as well.
Subscribe to Dr. N’s Health Thru Nutrition Blog

234
Leave a Reply

avatar

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Dibakar Dhar
Dibakar Dhar

I have so many personal problem like not satisfied with my job, i Have completed my 35 years still i am single. I feel alone. what i wish for my life still nothing happened. so i am so said about this. also i have so financial problem. family problem. my father is a drunker and quarrel at home since my childhood. So i have many physical problem like fear frequently stomach , disorder. like dizziness, bloating, gas, frequently empty stomach, stress, sadness, day by day increase my stomach, berating changing. how i am overcome from this problem.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Dibakar,

It sounds as if you are feeling overwhelmed and saddened by your present circumstance, and an imbalance of intestinal bacteria can make greatly worsen how you feel.

You need to begin supplementing with a special fiber called inulin (1/2-1 tsp twice daily mixed in food or drink). This helps rebalance bacteria within your intestines and will help reduce your anxiety, bloating, diarrhea, etc.

Please contact me again and let me know how you are progressing.

Dr. N

ManiMumbai
ManiMumbai

Thank you Dr. Written in easy to understand, infer and implement.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

You’re welcome.

Teresa Craig
Teresa Craig

I have had these symptoms for the last 3 days, they are more so in the day, and I get bouts of them regularly through out the day. I did have this complaint once before and my doctor gave me some medication for it, he thought the reason I was having trouble with the amount of medication I need to take, so I started taking this medication I cant remember what it was called but it began with the letter O. This seemed to help. Now it’s came back and this time I’ve researched it, hence reading your article, but… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

You can have MS as well as autonomic dysfunction. Take the brain quiz in the left column and see how you score. You can even shareit with your neurologist.

If you have severeal elements on the test you may want to consider coming out for an autonomic evaluation. We can often make most of the symptoms you are experiencing go away without long term prescription medications.

Dr. N

Melissa Alexander
Melissa Alexander

Dear Dr. I have spent 7 days in severe pain, sharps pains in my upper abdomen, and shoulder blade on the right side, gas pains as well and a an extremely hungry stomach, to spite being full.I am Type 2 diabetic. Please Help!!

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

If its been going on for 7 days I think you need to be evaluated by a physician soon.

Dr. N

Janine Bullen
Janine Bullen

Dear Doctor My husband found this article describing pretty much my symptoms I have suffering with for the past year or so! It all started when I after I had a bad bout of Bronchitis which turned into whooping cough, which then prolapsed a disc in my back! I had to wait six months for a back operation! Whilst recovering from this, I then discovered I had gallstones after severe stomach pains resulting in three emergency visits to hospital. Six months after my back operation I had my gallbladder removed! At this time I was hungry all the time, in… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

You can very well have autonomic dysfunction complicated by SIBO

Sarah robertson
Sarah robertson

Can’t thank you enough. Currently lying in a bath at 2am in Scotland having major chest pains and also pains which feel like hunger pangs. The pain is incredible. Been getting it on and off for over a year (I’m 37). Recently had scans which revealed mild hiatus hernia and was put on PPI tablets. Doesn’t work. Your article is the only thing which finally connects the dots. I have polycistic ovarian syndrome, varicose veins, constant constipation or diarrhea. My husband jokes about how much I need to pee. I recently lost 4 stone after having my second child. Want… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

I have many clients overseas who I’ve been able to successfully help via Skype. I’ll tell you what you need to do and start. If needed we can ship a vagal nerve stimulator to you. As painful as everything seems, all that you are feeling is fully reversible. Make sure your physicians have fully evaluated you for cardiac issues as emotional trauma can trigger a heart condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a form of broken heart syndrome. If you are possible interested, look at the fee schedule on my other web site and send me an e-mail. Do. Not. Give. Up.… Read more »

T
T

I stumbled across your website because I was looking up information on a stomach problem that just started for me. Though I have long had stomach issues that have gone undiagnosed by specialists, in the last month or so I seem to have developed something strange. When I go for normal times between meals (not being hungry), I will suddenly get abdominal pain so severe that I will double over. It’s agony. It seems to calm down, though, by eating just a bite or two of food. I discovered this just by experimenting with it, but it’s not going away,… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa

Hello Dr, this article shed so much light on my situation, I started chemo therapy a week ago and have had relentless and very painful hunger pains ever since, nothing I eat satisfies the hunger and I feel nauseous and shaky even if I do eat to try and satisfy it. Is there anything I can do to avoid this or will this be the norm for my duration of chemo therapy? I’m normally very fit and have a good diet however this issue has made me veer from my normal diet due to desperation to stop the ‘hunger’. Thanks… Read more »

Katie
Katie

I am 20 year old female. About 2 years ago I laid in bed for almost a week sick to my stomach. I get this strong hunger pain that will not go away even if I eat. It only happens like once a month. I’ve had several blood works, ultrasound of gallbladder, and upper gi. Everything is normal. What could be causing this? It’s around the same month every time and only lasts a couple days.

Sara
Sara

Hi Doctor N!
I’m 8 weeks pregnant through IVF.
Right away i began feeling very nauseaus and had almost no appetite.
For the last week or so I’ve been experiencing intense constant hunger which ultimately leads me to being more nauseous though i’m trying me best to eat. At this point i feel like i’m eating even more than i used to but i’m still always hungry even right after a meal.
please help me i’m going crazy!
Thank you very much!

Judy Kent
Judy Kent

I have Crohns and feel hungry all the time. I found your article very interesting. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on my kind of situation. I also have an ileostomy.

Joanne
Joanne

Question # 1) If I eat certain foods it makes me bloat and burp. With the bloating comes strong hunger. If I can burp off the gas the hunger resolves . I once met a lady who had the same symptoms and when she had stomach valve surgery the symptoms resolved and she lost a lot of weight. Do my symptoms seem like SIBO or some other issue? Question # 2) If bacteria overgrowth is the issue why are probiotics, which travel through the small intestines recommended. Could they make the bacteria overgrowth worse.

sonia
sonia

hello dr.
i am 30 and feel hungry all the time , even after meal. I feel week and my body feel shaky. I am stressed . my iron laver is low 10 only. I am having Palafer iron capsule one a day. I don’t eat egg meat or fish. can you suggest me some thing pls.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

SIBO often prevents the absorption of iron, and you need to take the brain quiz – you might also have autonomic dysfunction.

Kim
Kim

Hello i am Kim and for a few yrs i had these symptoms of feeling hungry and habing too much acid. Recently things got worse as I have acid constantly in the back of my throat and in my mouth, burning pains at the top of my stomach, belching and nausea. Had manometry, gastric emptying scan, egd, dialation.. still no real diagnosis. It seems to me i have way too much acid in my stomach and my bowels dont move normally. I was told my lower sphincter isnt opening and letting food go into my stomach right away, but eventually… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Sounds complicated. Maybe we should set up a Skype consultation.

Check out info on Skype consults at DrBuckeye.com

Bong Kim
Bong Kim

Doc , you hit the nail on the head. I have exactly what you describe in your article Excess Stomach Acid Mimics Hunger. I will soon beginn following your advice .For the mean time, is there anything that can be done to alleviate these
“mimicked hunger pains” besides 10 slices of bread?
thanks a mil.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Look into control SIBO, maybe start with some inulin fiber supplementation.

Lindsey
Lindsey

Hello doctor…for the past couple weeks I’ve been having some eating issues. …I’ll eat but then with in a few hours like 1 or 2 maybe 3 …my stomach seems hungry again and wants more food…I dont always feel to great right before I eat…and I get a bit nauseous before or after I eat ..I’m trying to ggain weight…but it’s making it so hard for me to even want to eat 🙁

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Sounds like you should get evaluated by a gastroenterologists.

Dr. N

Dawn
Dawn

Hi i am currentlyhaving burning in my stomach with hunger painsand sharp pains all night .wake up gassy with hunher pains.been diagnosed with gerd and gastritis .need some relief…what should i do

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Make sure you get evaluated by a gastroenterologist first. After that you may consider trying some of the recommendations I list in my articles.

Dr. N

Gee
Gee

I m having gastric recently losing weight recently . Endoscopy show I have mild erosion in my stomach currently prescription with pantropazole to heal for two week. Ultra scan and blood show all normal.However, for the last few days, my stomach feeling so uncomfortable and no appetite to eat. But I still force myself to eat. Otherwise, my hand will be shaky and body feel weak. After eating, I feels better. Is that any other medical conditions that I should be worry about.? Please help. Thanks in advance

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

If food makes your weakness and shaking feel better, it is because 1.) you have some autonomic issues and cannot regulate blood pressure correctly to your brain (salt, carbs and fluid can improve BP to brain) or 2.) Your stomach is not emptying stomach acid correctly and the accumulated acid makes you feel a little weak, and maybe nauseated. Foods stimulate the stomach to empty. This is often from autonomic issues and or SIBO

Good luck.

Dr. N

Gee
Gee

Thanks Dr N for your kind advise. I m currently having vitashine 22 organic powder (contains prebiotic inulin and fos and probiotic) once daily see if it can improve my current condition. Would it be a good idea to increase my salt intake & carb in my diet for this case? thanks

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

See how the inulin works first and then add the salt if you need more help

Dr. N

chuks chibueze
chuks chibueze

Thank you Doctor N now I know what is wrong in my system..I really appreciate..

ree
ree

I have mild gerd and small hiatal hernia but no ulcers. Even with 20mg omeprazole twice a day i suffer from constant hunger pains which also causes fatigue. I will shortly be having manometry test. What do you suggest i can do about the hunger pains?

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Try reducing the carbs and treating SIBO. See my other posts on this

Mrs C
Mrs C

Hello Dr., I have been experiencing very bad hunger pains. It’s not an ongoing matter. Just today actually. I always have a bagel when I get to work. But today I was having hunger pains so badly, that I had to stop, on the way to work, to get something to eat. The pain lessened but was still there. Then, after arriving at work, I ate my bagel and the pain eventually completely left. Then about 20 minutes before my lunch, they returned. I have eaten, but the pain keeps coming back. Would you have any suggestions as to what… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Many many things could cause this but many will resolve in a few days and are generally harmless.

If this continues beyond a week or intensifies, see you physician for further evaluation.

Linds
Linds

Wondering if you can help me. I felt like this a year ago and then got some dexillant and have felt better up until a few weeks ago. I wake up feeling nauseated before I even get out of bed. Although I don’t feel like eating I do anyway. It is hard to force myself to eat (I don’t have much of an appetite) but after a while I do feel better. This happens throughout the day. Sometimes I experience sweating and anxiety. Bloodwork shows that I am healthy.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Morning nausea such as yours in often due to damage of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. If the parasympathetics are damaged, many people cannot correctly empty their stomachs through the night and wake with a stomach overflowing with stomach acid.

Take the autonomic brain quiz in the left column of the blog to see where you stand.

Dr. N

Jennifer palomata
Jennifer palomata

Where i can buy inulin fiber here in phillipines.and how much

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

I’m uncertain where but I would suggest by a online nutrition merchant.

alana
alana

Thank You! I have been wondering if my constant hunger has to do with my GERD . I even had an endoscopy done to look at the stomach burning. I am on and off Omeprazole and wondered why certain foods gave me such bad symtoms but when I ate and ate and ate I would have no symptoms at all. Thank you!

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Your on and off GERD with certain foods is from SIBO

Shauna
Shauna

Thank you doctor…this article was very helpful.

Stacey
Stacey

I have had this problem for years. I eat then a few hours later I will feel hungry but nauseous at the same time. I don’t have anything with carbohydrates in my diet. I don’t know what else it can be.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Consider looking at my post about SIBO.

stan
stan

Dear Doctor About 5 months ago, went through a period of excessive and prolonged anxiety. I am 44, fit and I believe I eat well. Minimal alcohol, no smoking and exercise. However, I suffer from health anxiety which can get the better of me. I initially woke with extreme hunger pains at night. These night episodes have since subsided but ever since I have that uncomfortable feeling in the stomach with intermittent hunger pains. There is that “just not right feeling” in the stomach which is more bothersome than pain. Bloods clear, endoscopy clear, H Pylori negative, CT scan of… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Your anxiety and stomach sensation may be coming from bacterial overgrowth of the small intestinal tract (SIBO).

It’s diagnosed with a breath test and treated with Xifaxan. You may want to talk with your gastroenterologist about this.

If the breath test is negative, it might be from underlying autonomic dysfunction which is what I specialize in diagnosing and repairing.

Dr. N

emmy
emmy

Very helpful article… I’m 25 yrs old and patient of celiac disease….last year this was diagnosed by test befor that 4,5 years I experienced nausea badly..vomiting…loose motion..muscles fatigue..headache
But from 1 year large intake of carbs added in my diet..off n on I feel so much hunger after eating meal..i wake up in the midnight because of hunger ..sweaty shaky and shivering body..i have to eat something at that time…this is very painful ..wt would u recommend

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Emmy,

70-80% of all individuals with Celiac also have SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). The overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can become so great it can even cause sweats, chills and fevers at times.

You need to have someone test you (it’s a methane/hydrogen breath test) for SIBO. If positive, ask for treatment with Rifaximin (known as Xifaxan in the U.S.).

Dr. N

emmy
emmy

Thank you doctor
Plz tell me which thing I have to add in my diet(I use gluten-free) what else should be??
Because from few months I feel pain in my joints and difficulty while coming down stairs.
My weight also increases after this gluten free …is this because of more carbohydrates???
Plz tell me healthy diet that resolve my weakness and nausea..diarhhea

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Trying to reduce carbs can help or adding a prebiotic fiber called inulin.

But with the joint pain, nausea and diarrhea you should have an evaluation by your primary and even possibly a gastroenterologist to tule out some more serious causes first.

Dr. N

Amanda
Amanda

I was just recently hospitalized with my first kidney stones. I have multiple and am working on passing them but then my stomach issues started to occur. I’m not entirely sure if that’s normal or has any correlation but it is an intense burning/uncomfortable/empty feeling right below my sternum and it’s WORSE than my kidney pain. I cannot find any comfort. I went a full day without any prescriptions to see if that was the cause and it was still very present. PLEASE help!

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Because your pain is so bad, I think the best first step for you is to contact your primary care physician or seek care in an emergency room. Epigastric pain as severe as yours could be a sign of a serious condition. – Dr. N

Lisa
Lisa

I have been dealing with digestive issues for 2 years and it came on all of a sudden. I have dyspepsia, nausea, bloating with abdominal distention, weight gain, headaches. My GI dr put me on protonix and it has improved some but not 100%. I still believe there is an underlying cause. I’ve had everything check and tested and they have not found anything that could be causing this. Any recommendations?

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Sudden onset that is not found by routine testing is autonomic dysfunction from a physical/emotional trauma or even childbirth (often the 2nd or 3rd). Alternatively, triggering or worsening of underlying SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) by antibiotics, vaccine, other intestinal infection (food poisoning, giardia).

Good luck – Dr. N

Amy
Amy

FINALLY, an answer to my question of why I am starving 24/7 if I eat carbs. I went on a low carb diet and stayed on it for about a year. Just recently, vacation and a slip in habits have increased my carb intake and I feel terrible! I cannot eat enough to keep the hunger at bay and the pains are incredible and almost double me over in pain. Well, your article seals it for me. Back to the low carb lifestyle and I will strive more carefully to stay that way. My body just does NOT tolerate carbs… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Good luck.

Markh
Markh

I had gastric flu end of March, since then I have had regular abdomen pain, not localised to one area, the pain seems to be from excess gas. I often feel hungry but that could be down to worry. I have regular and normal bowel movements. I’ve been taking Bimuno for 2 weeks and had probiotic drinks and yogurts, and it hasn’t made much difference and been keeping a food diary but as I eat a varied diet hard to tell what the cause is, one common issue was after eating dried garlic, very small amount it made me very… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Not exactly certain what gastric flu is but if you were ill with fever, chills and now have intestinal symptoms (& probiotics don’t help) you need to consider that you may of been infected with a bacteria such as salmonella, e. coli etc and still may be infected.

Mrs doreen hatton
Mrs doreen hatton

I often feel hungary shortly after eating a meal ..l start feeling sickly and shaky.l would like to know the cause for this

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

That is often a sign of low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension). You may first want to see your primary care doctor or a a cardiologist. You could be over-treated with blood pressure meds, have anemia or a kidney disorder.

Once you get checked out, read through my answers on the other posts and I’m sure you’ll find some helpful tips

Dr. N

Jose
Jose

This is unbelievable best information i gave seen in the last 2 years. I am constantly hungry eating an hr or 2 aftee eating. I am constantly waking up in the middle of the night to eat also. If i don’t eat i get shaky sweaty and headaches. I really thought i had diabetes but when i get checked everything seems normal. I always carry a gatorade because i feel safe with the quick carb just in case i get another episode. I have gained over 40 lbs in the last 2 years. Its usually en empty feeling like if… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

A first test is to take some potent antacid like Nexium for a week or 2 just to see if the hunger improves (This is a diagnostic test, I don’t consider it the best treatment). If it does, then you know the retention of acid is the culprit for the hunger. Retention of acid is because your nervous system is not emptying the acid you make, not that your stomach is making too much acid. Both result in too much acidic contents in the stomach. This can often be due to bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine otherwise known as… Read more »

Ankit
Ankit

Hi Docter,

From past one two weeks, I having a stomach pain soon after my breakfast and even I eat I still feel hungry at times. Pain comes and goes but it is there. In the night stomach pain is not there. It starts daily in the morning after breakfast and it keeps going and coming because of that I am not able to sit on the chair at times.

My doctor has given me PAM tablets to eat before breakfast but it is not helping?

Please advise me?

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

If this sensation occurs mainly when upright (sitting or standing) but not when lying flat it is often from orthostatic hypotension. The brain is causing these symptoms you feel in the stomach because of inadequate delivery of blood and oxygen due to gravitational forces when upright.

saul
saul

Very interesting article. You mention low blood pressure to the brain and how salt and processed carbs help that.

Is there a solution to the issue rather than having to rely on salt and processed carbs to boost the pressure?

Thanks.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Yes, repairing the autonomics will solve the symptoms.

See more info on this at autonomicrecovery.com

Stacy
Stacy

Dr. N, I ran across your article early this morning, after I was experiencing severe hunger pains which woke me from my sleep. This makes the second time that this has woken me from a dead sleep, however, I usually experience hunger pains generally after I wake up. It usually is passes very quickly but I find I have to sit down because it makes me feel nauseated and at times makes me want to double over with abdominal cramps. Typically I feel better after I have eaten. But there are days when I feel hungry and when I do… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Your symptoms are from from one or both of 2 things – autonomic dysfunction or SIBO. Try supplementing your own diet with 1/2-1 tsp of powdered inulin per day – this is a prebiotic fiber and might give you some relief from SIBO. Diagnosing and treating autonomic dysfunction is much more difficult. There are very few autonomic specialists in the country and even fewer you can make an appointment to see. this is why so many people fly in to see us for treatment. We do their first visit in the Phoenix area and the majority can be cared for… Read more »

Alabi
Alabi

Thanks for your educative article.am a Nigerian,how do i get insulin fibre.can ur explanation also cure stomach ulcer

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

The most advise I can give to to order it online.

Dr. N

princess
princess

Dr pls where can I get this inulin fibre in nigeria?also can this fibre supplement reduce my excessive hunger.I av reduce my cabhydrate intake but this excessive hunger s still givin me a lot of problem

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

You’ll have to ask around about sources of inulin where you live.

princess
princess

I’m in nigeria I always feel d hunger pang even an hour after eatin I’m currently on omeprazole cap but I’m still feeling hungry at all time wat can I do, is driving me crazy goin to a year

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Try increasing your salt intake with your meals

Cbunny
Cbunny

Thank you. This was very helpful & easy to understand.

Rosie Harpas
Rosie Harpas

I am 62 with digestive issues for last 16 years. Had 16 major operations as well as chemo 19 years ago. Doctors prescribe acimax but does not seem to be working. Symptoms worse by the day. Pain nausea and hunger pains. Will try low carb. Anything else. Please help.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

You need to get a GI specialist to test you for SIBO. If positive, treatment with Xifaxan can greatly improve your symptoms.

You exposure to chemotherapy can also greatly increase your metabolic inflammation. Aside from treating SIBO, consider shifting your omega6-omega-3 balance as I discuss in one of my more recent posts.

Dr. N

Rosie Harpas
Rosie Harpas

Thanks so much. I have completely changed my diet and will dwas you suggested.

Shubham
Shubham

Sir,from last 12 day I was having less potty ND some gas in my stomach but day before yesterday I had loose motions without any reason after that I’m having gas, loose motions/less potty(normal) ND some tightness in my neck ND a bitter taste in my mouth ND also I’m loosing my weight 500gm daily ND (summer here around 42 degree as I from india) Plzz sir I really need your help plzz tell me what happened too me ND what should I do now ???????

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Find someone who can help with with your intestinal bacteria

Pankaj Sharma
Pankaj Sharma

This article is very useful for us and solved my hunger problem.

Pretty
Pretty

Thank you Dr for this article, I feel this symptoms but how can I cut down on my carbs when almost all the food in Nigeria is comprises of carbs, how will I do it since I’m a nursing mother and baby suck always, I need to be refilling, pls advice

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Pretty

See if you can find some inulin fiber. This helps reverse an imbalance in intestinal bacteria called SIBO and may help your symptoms a great deal.

About 1/2 – 1 tsp per day mixed into hot or cold food/liquid is very helpful.

Dr. N

Marie
Marie

Thank you for this article;I have been trying to find out for years what is wrong with me and ways to cure/manage it as it is seriously impairing my functioning and making my life a misery. I sometimes wake up with it,like today and feel drained and toxic all day,making simple tasks feel like climbing the North face of the Eiger. I am aware that I have had a lot of serious problems in my life and suffer Depression and I think perhaps Clinical Anxiety as well. The Mental Health service here in Ireland is in crisis and very poor… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Marie,

See if you can find some inulin fiber. This helps reverse an imbalance in intestinal bacteria called SIBO and may help your symptoms a great deal.

About 1/2 – 1 tsp per day mixed into hot or cold food/liquid is very helpful.

Dr. N

Sandra
Sandra

I am 32 and pregnant with my third child. I know I have installed symptoms and get really hungry right after eating, these symptoms I have had before pregnancy. I also have had stomach ulcers several times when I was in my early 20s. My question is are the solutions you listed in the article above and medications all safe for pregnancy?
I have already been reducing fatty foods and excessive carbohydrates from my diet and have seen some improvement. Thank you for your article.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Moderate changes in diet and supplementation are generally safe during pregnancy but run anything you plan to try past your managing physician.

Dr. N

Laura
Laura

I have had ongoing symptoms of what seems would be a ulcer. I have had 3 upper gi endoscopes over the last 5 years and they come up with nothing that explains my symptoms. One dr said hiatal hernia plus gerd… One said no hernia or gerd just “dyspepsia”. Every middle of the night/early morning I wake up with a gnawing, burning sensation right in the middle of my diaphragm. I drink ice cold water to soothe it but the pain will often persist until morning and is not always resolved with breakfast. I do not want to live with… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Laura,

You may have a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). This can cause many of your symptoms, is not detected with endoscopy, and can be reversed with a short course of Rifaximin.

Good luck

Dr. N

Terry Ware
Terry Ware

Dr. N, So glad to have found your page. My illness began 9 months ago with vomiting twice and remaining nauseated. I can’t drive my bus anymore due to fatigue, dizziness, and constant left abdominal pain. I have had plenty of EUS scans and colon scans, all negative. Before the illness set in I was taking mega weight gain powders, which backed me up alot and carb powders. I gained 20 lbs of mass I wanted in 2 weeks, but I think I messed my system up bad. Help if you can because my gastrointestinal doctor is clueless. Also water… Read more »

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Sounds like you have SIBO. See if someone can test you for this. Many GI docs treat this with Xifaxan

Asma saud
Asma saud

I am feeling extreme hunger even having diet properly. I took my food after 2hour i have my food digested n my upper stomach is empty if i dnt have food on that time my body start to shiver. I checked on same time my bp n sugar level is ok but i feel much weakness even i cant walk because of shiverneas. Even if i did any work after having food then feel hunger at once. But even me eating more but having less stole kindly help me how i can solve this isaue.

Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek
Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean Nemechek

Marie,

See if you can find some inulin fiber. This helps reverse an imbalance in intestinal bacteria called SIBO and may help your symptoms a great deal.

About 1/2 – 1 tsp per day mixed into hot or cold food/liquid is very helpful.

Dr. N