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Food Hangovers

Food Hangovers
July 4, 2014 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Food_Hangover_squareDo you get “Food Hangovers”?  Does food like pizza give you heartburn or make you feel bloated and tired after meals?

Maybe you feel nauseous the next morning, have diarrhea/constipation, or your bladder isn’t working right and you have to urinate frequently during the day or you have to go during the night.

Hangovers aren’t just for drinkers.   Many people now get Food Hangovers that last a few hours or a few days.  Adults can no longer eat favorite foods without feeling sick, and the kids are experiencing food intolerances and intestinal distress at magnified rates.

Heartburn, nausea, bloating, headaches, and fatigue after meals can be symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and/or damage to your autonomic nervous system (ANS).  The ANS is the communications network your brain uses to control your blood pressure and digestive systems.

Take ANS Quiz 00001

When you have bacterial overgrowth, bacteria that should only live at the end of your intestinal tract have migrated into your colon.  Once in the colon they send signals through the ANS to your brain that can slow down your digestion (heartburn), make you feel anxious or depressed, or manipulate how your body responds to foods.   Damage to the ANS can even make your brain crave carbohydrates and sugar.

Most of us get our intestinal bacteria from our mothers at birth.  Intestinal bacteria are greatly influenced by our environment and food. Antibiotics, anesthesia, childbirth, and intestinal infections may alter our healthy blends.  Certain types of trauma (physical or emotional) may also alter our bacterial blend through damage to the autonomic nervous system.

Nutritional problems like excessive omega-6 fatty acid (processed foods and soybean oil), omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies (fish oil), or consuming more calories than we need (Overnutrition) may also negatively alter our blends.

Widespread disruptions started decades ago and has ignited an epidemic of metabolic inflammation.  Bacterial disruptions that started in kids who grew up during the 80’s or 90’s is now being passed down to their own kids, making today’s young adults sick and their babies even sicker.  Metabolic inflammation needs to be identified and stopped because it is the cellular process that causes most of our modern diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer).

The first step in getting well is to trace your symptoms back to either altered intestinal blends or to your nervous system.   There is no easy SIBO test but you might try taking the prebiotic fiber “Inulin” which temporarily eases SIBO symptoms.  If taking inulin helps any of your symptoms, then you know those symptoms are actually bacterial problems.   But if inulin does not erase all of your symptoms, then you know there are mechanical problems with your nervous system.

The second step in getting well is for your doctor to determine if you need to reset your intestinal bacteria (not done by antacids), or if you need an evaluation of your nervous system.  An ANS test will tell you if short-term medication to stabilize your brain function is necessary.

Your Food Hangover is very real, and very important.  Your body is telling you that something is wrong.  Once you realize your “picky eater” kid with tummy aches and headaches might be getting these Food Hangovers too, you’ll understand that getting to the source of these symptoms is the key to disease prevention for your family.

©  2014.  Dr. Patrick Nemechek.  All Rights Reserved.   Phone 623-208-4226

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