Category Archives: Herbs

Take a pass on Beano for gas

Before you pop another Beano® with a meal containing beans, vegetables or grains, it’s important to know the popular over-the-counter flatulence fighter is simply a digestive enzyme supplement.

And Beano is a low-potency and expensive one at that.

In fact, the main ingredient in Beano is alpha-galactosidase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down complex sugars found in legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.

These sugars are difficult for the body to digest and usually ferment in the colon, producing gas.

The problem with Beano is it contains only 150 GalU of alpha-galactosidase per tablet. These non-vegetarian tablets have a wheat filler, which contains gluten. It can cost $12 to $15 for 100 tablets, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A better solution is a 100 percent vegetarian, gluten-free digestive enzyme supplement that contains alpha-galactosidase and several other enzymes to support thorough digestion.

One capsule of Nutri-Essence™ Gas Ease™ has 600 GalU of alpha-galactosidase plus nine additional digestive enzymes.* These other essential enzymes include amylase, for digesting carbohydrates; lipase, for fats; and protease, for protein.

A 2007 study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences found alpha-galactosidase cut down flatulence after meals containing beans, the Times reports. The digestive enzyme was found to cut average episodes of gas down from 16 on placebo to the following:

  • 10 episodes on 300 GalU
  • Five episodes on 1,200 GalU

Digestive problems such as flatulence, bloating and reflux might be best addressed with a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement that also contains soothing herbs for the digestive tract. An enzyme product, such as Beano, which contains one type of digestive enzyme, might not offer adequate digestive support.

*Note: Nutri-Essence™ Gas Ease™ is made with Malt Diastase, which is grown on barley but does not contain any gluten or gliadin. However, it may contain amino acids chains that can cause a reaction in individuals that are highly sensitive to these amino acids.

Beano® is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline.


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GERD cause might be immune reaction, not excessive acid production

Researchers have revealed popular acid-lowering treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) possibly do nothing to stop the condition’s true cause.

A team from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found GERD might be caused by immune-system-induced inflammation rather than stomach acid, Reuters reports.

In the study, researchers found stomach acid and bile took weeks to erode the esophagus. This made little sense, as acid usually causes immediate damage to tissue such as the skin.

Upon further examination, the team revealed esophagus cells sent out inflammatory signals in reaction to bile salts, according to Reuters. This seems to negate the belief that GERD is a direct result of acid invading the esophagus.

Antacids and acid-suppressing drugs have been used for years to treat GERD. Unfortunately, these medications come with several dangerous side effects.

Until researchers are able to determine the root cause of GERD, it might make sense to avoid drugs such as Prilosec and Nexium. An alternative that supports the digestive process is a digestive enzyme supplement with soothing herbs such as DGL, marshmallow root and aloe vera.

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Don’t take Plavix with acid reducers

The Food and Drug Administration warns that acid-reflux drugs Prilosec and Nexium should not be taken with blood-thinner Plavix.

Plavix’s label cautions against the use of the heartburn drugs, as Prilosec and Nexium make the blood-thinning medication half as effective, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Other drugs that should not be taken with Plavix include Tagamet, Intelence, Felbatol, Diflucan, Nizoral, Luvox, Ticlid and Prozac.

The Times reports on a study from Mount Sinai Medical Center in which Prilosec and Protonix were found to be dangerous following balloon angioplasty. In a five-year follow-up, patients taking Prilosec and Protonix were 72 percent and 54 percent more likely to die, respectively, than patients not on heartburn drugs.

A possible alternative to antacids and acid-reducing drugs are digestive enzyme supplements combined with herbal ingredients, including aloe, DGL and marshmallow, which might help soothe an irritated digestive tract.

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Filed under Enzyme supplements, Enzymes, Health and wellness, Herbs