Bile Deficiency Stomach Acids Can Cause Heartburn by Dr. Lynn August
Six Causes of Heartburn #4: Bile Deficiency Stomach Acids by Dr. Lynn August
One of the primary roles of bile is the digestion of fat. Bile acts as a detergent. It breaks down fat into small particles which enzymes can then digest in preparation for their absorption. People often report symptoms caused by eating fat when there is insufficient bile. The most common symptom from insufficient bile is heartburn.
Bile is made in the liver cells, and then collected in ducts that interpenetrate the liver for storage in the gall bladder. After a meal is eaten, bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of fats.
In the process of digesting fat bile performs another important function, that of neutralizing stomach acid. Bile contains bile salts. These salts are alkaline. The alkaline bile salts neutralize the acid contents of the stomach as they move from the stomach into the small intestine. Stomach acid that has not been neutralized is likely to cause heartburn.
There are three primary explanations for insufficient bile. Bile is made from cholesterol. If cholesterol is low bile production will likely also be low. Secondly, production of bile is compromised by liver congestion. The liver “packages” already-used-hormones, bilirubin (the breakdown product from the normal rapid turnover of hemoglobin), foreign chemicals (drugs, environmental exposures, etc.), and virtually everything else that the body needs to eliminate. If either the liver is lacking the nutrients required to accomplish the packaging – or the liver simply has too much packaging to accomplish – liver congestion ensues. Likewise, excesses of cholesterol will ‘thicken’ the bile and impede bile flow, contributing to liver congestion.
The third explanation for insufficient bile is poor condition and/or function of the bile ducts and gallbladder. The ducts and gallbladder are susceptible to infection and inflammation, distension and spasm, gravel, stones and more … as the nutrient quality of the diet (soil) continues to deteriorate and as the exposure to toxins continues to escalate.
What to do? Yes, increase nutrient intake with unprocessed fresh (local, seasonal) foods. And yes, decrease toxin ‘ingestion’ from air, water and food to the extent possible. Get acupuncture and neural therapy if available. Supply the liver with its three essential nutrients: hydration (see the :: No. One Cause of Heartburn, Dehydration :: ); protein – including adequate protein ingestion, digestion and conversion of dietary protein to body tissue protein, here specifically to liver enzymes; and REST.
Betaine is the most significant single nutrient for the liver. The food with the highest concentration of betaine is beet greens. Betaine enhances the packaging of toxins by the liver while simultaneously increasing the bile flow. Betaine is widely available in the supplement Betaine HCl. A superior source of betaine is the Standard Process supplement A-F Betafood. Besides being a rich source of betaine from beet leaf juice and beets, A-F Betafood supplies vitamin A from beef kidney, a source of vitamin A that decreases cholesterol by facilitating its elimination. Moreover, A-F Betafood offers a rich supply of fatty acids, also from bovine organs and glands, fatty acids that markedly enhance liver function.
Dr. Lynne August, of Greenfield NH, is the founder and director of Health Equations. She received her Medical Degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1973. She combined conventional and holistic medicines in private practice for ten years and soon after, founded Health Equations. For almost thirty years, Dr. August has been researching significant influences on health… diet, soil, water, agriculture, food processing and environmental exposures. The inspiration in Lynne’s clinical practice and research comes largely from her experience as a Clinical Researcher at the Institute of Applied Biology in New York. There, Dr. August assisted Scientific Director Emanuel Revici M.D. in research on non-toxic therapeutic lipids. She also draws upon her training and practice in Ayurveda. Prior to her work at the Institute of Applied Biology, Lynne served on the board of the American Holistic Medical Association, researched hyperinsulinism and diabetes and served as the staff physician at a multi-disciplinary research center for children with developmental needs. Dr. August has been widely published. She lectures at physician seminars throughout North America and Europe and hosts seminars for clinical health professionals.