Eas­ing tummy trou­bles

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

IT all started as mild gas­tri­tis when she was in col­lege, years ago. Sh­eryn would of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence pain in her up­per ab­domen and dis­com­fort from trapped gas. Ty­ing it to ir­reg­u­lar meals and stress, she found re­lieve with antacids.

Now at 36, Sh­eryn finds her gas­tric pains and ab­dom­i­nal dis­com­fort prob­lems have es­ca­lated. She has even de­vel­oped re­flux symp­toms, like food re­gur­gi­ta­tion. Antacids do not seem to help any­more. Dur­ing a re­cent check-up, Sh­eryn was di­ag­nosed with gas­troe­sophageal re­flux dis­ease (GERD) and has been put on acid-block­ing pills.

Pro­ton-pump in­hibitors (PPIs) or acid block­ers are the lead­ing drug ther­apy for up­per gas­troin­testi­nal dis­or­ders. It works by re­duc­ing gas­tric acid pro­duc­tion to en­able the di­ges­tive tract lin­ing a chance to heal. Al­though it cer­tainly helps to re­lieve symp­toms, it dis­rupts the nor­mal di­ges­tive and pro­tec­tive func­tions of the stom­ach.

When acid in the stom­ach is blocked, food will not be di­gested nor­mally as the process re­quires a spe­cific pH to oc­cur. In ad­di­tion, viruses and bac­te­ria can in­vade eas­ily, where they would nor­mally be stopped. Food also stays in the stom­ach for longer pe­ri­ods as the pH is not right for the food to en­ter into the in­testines. As a re­sult, the pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ences gas and tummy dis­com­fort as food in the stom­ach is in­com­pletely di­gested and be­gins to fer­ment. This causes the gas­tri­tis pa­tient to feel tired and sapped of en­ergy as nu­tri­ents from food is not ab­sorbed, hence fail­ing to be con­verted into en­ergy. Gas­tri­tis is de­fined as the in­flam­ma­tion of the stom­ach lin­ing, which causes it to be weak­ened or dam­aged. When gas­tri­tis goes unchecked, stom­ach ul­cers (painful open wounds) can de­velop over time. Stom­ach ul­cers are dif­fi­cult to heal as it lies in a pool of acid. Left un­re­solved, it can lead to bleed­ing com­pli­ca­tions.

Cur­rent guide­lines rec­om­mend that PPIs be used for only four to six weeks, af­ter which it should be stopped. In re­al­ity, long term and of­ten life­time use is be­com­ing the norm. This has caused ad­verse ef­fects and long-term harm to health due to the pro­found acid sup­pres­sion ac­tion of the drugs. pop­u­la­tion. In line with con­ven­tional treat­ment meth­ods, at­ten­tion has turned to ev­i­dence-based nat­u­ral ther­a­peu­tics in the bat­tle against gas­troin­testi­nal dis­or­ders. One in par­tic­u­lar is a pine conifer green nee­dle ex­tract known as Bio­ef­fec­tive A.

N.N. Petrov In­sti­tute of On­col­ogy in St Peters­burg’s chief of can­cer chemo­pre­ven­tion Prof Vladimir Bes­palov led a study, which looked at treat­ments to im­prove pre-can­cer­ous con­di­tions of the stom­ach (at­rophic gas­tri­tis). In this re­search, Bio­ef­fec­tive A was ad­min­is­tered to pa­tients with at­rophic gas­tri­tis and com­pared to a con­trol group. About 50% of pa­tients from each group were also found to be in­fected with H.py­lori.

Pa­tients in the group treated with Bio­ef­fec­tive A at a dose of 320mg taken three times a day, ex­pe­ri­enced: a re­gres­sion of GERD symp­toms such as gas­tri­tis, acid re­flux, gas and bowel dis­or­ders (90%); im­proved stom­ach func­tion­al­ity in 60% of pa­tients; a re­duc­tion in pre-can­cer­ous le­sions in 46% of pa­tients; and H.py­lori erad­i­ca­tion in 60% of pa­tients.

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