Bloated Belly? Gassy? Use These 5 Herbs to Help Flatten Your Belly
At The Hearty Soul, we like to support honest companies that provide excellent products. This sponsored post was brought to you by Atrantil, a digestive supplement providing relief from bloating, abdominal discomfort and change in bowel habits.
Have you ever finished a great meal and then had an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach just minutes later? Do you always find yourself belching or burping, needing to pass gas or generally feeling bloated throughout the day?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be suffering from Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO for short.
Stomach Bloating and SIBO
So what is SIBO? Well, like the name says, it is an overgrowth of bacteria. It’s normal to have some bacteria moving through your small intestine, however having too much can ferment food that is travelling through and cause gas and stomach bloating.
Mild cases of SIBO causes stomach bloating only after eating, but moderate cases may develop constipation, diarrhea or the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. People suffering from severe SIBO may have malabsorption and become anemic, develop chronic diarrhea, and experience unintentional weight loss .
Causes Of SIBO
There are several different reasons why an overgrowth of bacteria occurs; the list below is an excellent starting point for discussion with your integrative healthcare practitioner.
Low Stomach Acid – this not only helps you digest food, but it also acts as a disinfectant and can prevent harmful bacteria from making their way into your gut.
Antacids – unfortunately millions of Americans are at risk for getting SIBO because they are taking antacids, and acid blocking drugs known as proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium and Prilosec. While it does relieve heartburn, you’re left with two side-effects: 1) a weakened ability to digest food; 2) less resistance to pathogens and therefore an altered gut microbiome.
Previous surgeries in abdominal area – Whenever someone undergoes surgery, the healing process can often result in small formations of adhesions which are healing scars. Sometimes these adhesions affect how well the bowels normally function.
High stress – Regardless if it is a one time stressful event or long term daily stressful living, high stress can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to keep your small bowel healthy.
Slow Transit Time, Low Enzyme Production – Other people develop SIBO because they have slow transit time (the time it takes to move food along) in the GI tract and/or reduced enzyme production in the stomach and small intestine. As a result their food can’t digest quickly enough and it is left sitting in the small intestine. This is the perfect opportunity for bacteria to feed on and ferment the undigested food.
Environmental factors – consuming meats that have antibiotic residues, and washing our hands with antibiotic soaps alters the terrain of our guts and also promotes overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Conventional SIBO Treatments
Currently, the conventional treatment for SIBO is the use of antibiotics. While the antibiotics that are used are good at killing bad bacteria, they are indiscriminate. They can also destroy good bacteria that reside in your gut. This leaves your gut microbiome at risk of another imbalance, and potentially, the SIBO may return .
Treating SIBO Naturally
Luckily, there are multiple ways to treat SIBO naturally . The first step is to work with a practitioner to ensure you have adequate stomach acid and sufficient enzyme production; they will likely provide you with betaine hydrochloride supplements and digestive enzymes to ensure that a foundation for optimal digestion is in place.
In addition to the supplements above, there are some excellent herbs that can be used on a regular basis to prevent or relieve that uncomfortable bloated feeling.
Benefits: A lesser-known herb with amazing benefits, Quebracho comes from the hardwood tree in South America The flavonoids in quebracho are effective against archaebacteria, or, bacteria that cause the production of methane gas .
How to use it: Using quebracho on it’s own depends on certain factors, like the person’s age, health, and pre-existing conditions . You can use quebracho’s benefits safely however, in some supplements such as Atrantil where the flavonoids will soak up hydrogen and create an unfriendly environment for the archaebacteria.
Benefits: Garlic supplements are a source of prebiotics that helps boost good bacteria levels, while also working against unwanted yeasts in the gut that cause stomach bloating .
How to use it: Try one 200 mg capsule three times a day, or you can also add a clove to your meals each day. Keep in mind however, that the supplement will have a much more concentrated dose and will therefore be stronger than raw garlic.
Benefits: It’s known as the great stomach-soother for a reason. It is part of the group of herbs known as carminative herbs that soothe the digestive tract. Ginger is especially effective, it calms down intestinal activity while also expelling gas from the digestive tract .
How to use it: A great way to use ginger is by using some of the actual root and making a ginger tea, just add hot water, some lemon, and honey to taste. You can also take it in supplement form. A daily dose of 1g (divided throughout the day) is usually taken to increase intestinal motility 
Benefits: Horse chestnut contains saponin/flavonoid, a natural antibacterial that reduces methane (gas) production. When used in combination with another herb that has the ability to weaken archaebacteria (such as Quebracho) it is then able to bind to the reductase enzyme that stops methane production .
How to use it: Horse chestnut is not recommended to be taken in its raw form as it contains aesculin, a compound that is poisonous if consumed in teas or remedies made with raw or unprocessed seeds, leaves, bark or flowers. Horse chestnut is best taken in supplement form, usually in extracts containing 16 to 20 percent aescin . Atrantil harnesses the power of horse chestnut, in combination with its two other botanicals to fight uncomfortable stomach bloating.
Benefits: Peppermint is great for relieving stomach bloating because of its muscle relaxing properties . Keep in mind that peppermint alone will only work to alleviate symptoms.
How to use it: You can make a delicious tea using fresh peppermint leaves, or you could use supplements . A regular peppermint capsule would require a dosage of 1,200 mg in an enteric-coated capsule. You can also find peppermint in combination with other herbs such as Atrantil, a 3-part supplement that, along with two other herbs, works to treat the cause of the bloating and not just the symptoms .
3-Step Action Plan
Visit a practitioner to confirm if you have SIBO. Some of these symptoms are similar to GERD or acid reflux so being sure SIBO is the cause of your discomfort is step one. The hydrogen breath test is a non-invasive test that measures hydrogen and methane gas levels in the body 
Ensure optimal digestion (HCL and enzymes). It’s important to not keep creating an environment where there is potential for bacteria overgrowth. Conduct a stomach acid test to assess if supplementation is required. You can also make the following changes to ensure proper stomach acid levels: eating smaller meals 5-6 times a day, drinking enough water (away from meals), and cutting back on animal meat, along with eating a variety of raw foods that contain live enzymes to aid digestion.
Start using 1-3 of these herbs on a regular basis in the raw form or tea. Or one of the easiest ways is a supplement that combines all these herbs. Our recommendation is Atrantil: it perfectly combines peppermint, quebracho, and horse chestnut into one supplement that only needs to be taken once daily to eliminate stomach bloating for good.
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(5) Learn How Atrantil Works to Achieve Bloating Relief. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from https://atrantil.com/how-atrantil-works/
(6) Uzoma, K. (2015, January 28). Does Ginger Treat Bloating? Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/522902-does-ginger-treat-bloating/
(7) Archaebacteria. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/microbes-algae-and-fungi/moneran-and-protistan/archaebacteria
(8) Peppermint Uses, Benefits & Dosage – Drugs.com Herbal Database. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/npp/peppermint.html
(9) (2017, April 29). Ginger – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects. Retrieved August 01, 2017, from https://examine.com/supplements/ginger/
(10) QUEBRACHO: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-386-quebracho.aspx?activeingredientid=386&activeingredientname=quebracho
(11) Horse Chestnut. (2017, February 23). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/horse-chestnut/
(12) Testing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.siboinfo.com/testing1.html
(13) Abdominal Adhesions. (2013, September 01). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/abdominal-adhesions
(14) (n.d.). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/research/action/immune.aspx
Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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