From the many letters we receive from HSI members each week, it is clear that indigestion – also referred to as dyspepsia, heartburn and acid reflux – is a widely shared concern. But hopefully this shouldn’t be the case for much longer, as a natural indigestion remedy that Japanese doctors have been prescribing for years has just been launched here in the UK for the very first time. It’s scientifically proven to restore balance to the body’s digestive system, instead of fighting against it like antacids do.
This action is proving to be extremely important as according to a widely accepted medical theory (aptly named the Balance Theory), peptic ulcers are caused by an imbalance between offensive and defensive factors in the stomach. Although these two factors may seem to be in competition, they actually work hand in hand.
For example, your stomach is lined with a layer of mucous membrane called the stomach mucosa. This is the main defensive factor of the digestive system: the thick layer of mucous membrane protects the lining of your stomach from the acids of digestion. When food enters your stomach, the mucosa begins secreting ‘gastric juice’ – which contains the major offensive factors. In effect, each depends on the other.
Gastric juice is composed of many substances: hydrochloric acid (also referred to as gastric acid), which breaks down protein and calcium; pepsinogen, a precursor to pepsin, an acidic enzyme that helps break down proteins; intrinsic factor, a protein polysaccharide compound that binds to vitamin B12; gastrin, a group of peptide hormones which control pH; and mucus.
Antacids can promote a vicious cycle of digestive problems
Under ideal conditions, the offensive and the defensive factors stay in balance. But when things go out of kilter then a change in the production or function of any one of these many components can start a problematic cascade of events. Add in external factors like alcohol, aspirin, and other drugs that eat away at the stomach’s mucous lining, and you’re left with a burning pain in your gut.
At first glance, antacids may seem like a good idea: the acid is burning your stomach lining, so you feel you should suppress the acid. But in reality, antacids make the problem worse. They specifically work to suppress the production of hydrochloric acid, or gastric acid. But gastric acid is not a bad thing; it plays many vital roles in digestion. It kills bacteria in food, helps release nutrients from foods, and contributes to the process of breaking down proteins.
Plus, in some cases, antacids cause the stomach to produce more gastric acid. Here’s what happens: The antacids neutralise the acid that’s already there, the body perceives the change in pH and responds by producing more acid. Even when the antacid is no longer in your system, the stomach cells are still working overtime, making more acid than your stomach needs. The scale is out of balance, and you’ve got indigestion again.
Chronic indigestion can lead to further health problems in the long term
Over the years, regular bouts of indigestion can do a lot more than make you uncomfortable. When the stomach lining is repeatedly exposed to gastric acid, peptic ulcers can develop. When excess acid leaks up out of the stomach and into the oesophagus, the tissues of the oesophagus can ulcerate as well – which can ultimately lead to oesophageal cancer.
Overall, poor digestion takes a heavy toll on your body: incomplete breakdown of proteins puts a burden on your liver and kidneys, the healthy effects of unabsorbed nutrients are wasted, and unchallenged bacteria can wreak havoc. Clearly, medicine has been focusing on the wrong side of the scale. Instead of trying to suppress the offensive factors – and neutralise gastric acid – why not try strengthening the defensive factors?
That’s exactly the approach doctors in Japan have been taking – and it works.
Amino acid blend reverses damage
The Japanese approach combines the healing power of two super-antioxidants, zinc and L-carnosine – now available in a product called Nature’s Lining. Zinc, an essential trace mineral, is known to promote wound healing by boosting tissue cell production. But when taken alone, zinc doesn’t adhere well in the stomach. Combining it with L-carnosine, an important amino acid complex, helps the zinc ‘stick’ to the stomach lining longer, allowing both nutrients to impart maximum benefits. Plus, L-carnosine is known to protect, rejuvenate, and extend the life of cells.
Both animal and human studies have shown that the combination of zinc and L-carnosine can protect the stomach from developing ulcers and can even help heal existing ulcers.1,2,3
For example, in a study of 44 gastric ulcer patients, eight weeks of twice-daily administration of 75mg of zinc-carnosine produced ‘significant to moderate improvement’ in more than 80 per cent of the participants. When the patients’ ulcers were examined by endoscopy after eight weeks, nearly 60 per cent were healed. Nearly 90 per cent of the patients and doctors involved rated zinc-carnosine ‘extremely useful’ or ‘useful’ – and absolutely no side effects were reported.4
What to take for best results
The recommended dosage for Nature’s Lining is one tablet taken two times a day. Some people have reported almost immediate relief from their indigestion when taking Nature’s Lining, but for many, a full eight-week course is recommended for optimal results.
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1. Cho CH, Luk CT, Ogle CW ‘The membrane-stabilizing action of zinc carnosine (Z-103) in stress-induced gastric ulceration in rats’ Life Sci 1991;49(23):PL189-194
2. Yoshikawa T, Naito Y et al ‘Effect of zinc-carnosine chelate compound (Z-103), a novel antioxidant, on acute gastric mucosal injury’ Free Radic Res Commun 1991;14(4):289-296
3. Arakawa T, Satoh H et al ‘Effects of zinc L-carnosine on gastric mucosal and cell damage caused by ethanol in rats’ Dig Dis Sci 1990 May;35(5):559-566
4. Hayakawa A, Inoue M et al ‘Clinical Evaluation of Z-103 on gastric ulcer’ Jpn Pharmacol Ther 1992 Jan;20(1):1-18