As a part of digestion, your stomach secretes acids and enzymes that help to break down food and promote absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Although the acids are highly corrosive, your stomach’s walls are coated with a sticky mucus that neutralizes the acids to prevent them from causing damage.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a healthy stomach lining. Ulcers, leaky gut syndrome, general inflammation, and other common stomach issues can plague the lining, which can contribute to digestive issues and prevent proper absorption of nutrients, leading to potential nutrition deficiencies. Damaged stomach lining also allows harmful microbes to invade your stomach and intestines, leading to infections and illness. The good news is that you can repair your stomach lining and reinvigorate your digestive health. Read on to learn more.
Symptoms of a Damaged Stomach Lining
Most people referring to a damaged stomach lining talk about it in conjunction with gastritis, which is characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis appears in both acute and chronic forms, while the less common erosive gastritis can lead to ulcers and bleeding in the stomach lining.
Gastritis can be caused by bacterial infection and general weaknesses in your stomach lining. Symptoms for this condition (and most other related stomach lining conditions) include:
- Gas and bloating
More serious symptoms may include black, tarry stools and vomiting blood.
Leaky gut syndrome is a related condition that affects the lining of the intestine. Leaky gut is characterized by cracks or holes in the lining, which allow partially digested food, bacteria, and toxins to penetrate the tissues and enter your bloodstream. This can result in inflammation and changes to your natural gut bacteria, which can contribute to many of the same digestive problems above and may play a role in the development of certain chronic diseases.
Healing Your Stomach Lining
Research shows that many diseases have their roots in the malfunctioning of the gastrointestinal tract, and gut-irritating substances are a significant part of the problem. Prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause inflammation and damage the mucosal (endothelial) lining of the gastrointestinal tract allow pathogenic microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, to enter the body and lay the foundation for disease. People often mistakenly believe that their prescription and OTC medications don’t come with side effects and may end up doing more harm than good.
Thankfully, you can heal your stomach lining with some natural supplements that are easy to digest and filled with nutrients.
Bovine colostrum is a fluid produced by cows in the few days immediately after giving birth, before the appearance of real milk. Colostrum is a rich source of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats, along with vitamins, minerals, and antibodies. Colostrum can have up to 100 times the antibody levels of regular cow’s milk.
Bovine colostrum with liposomal delivery is an essential daily nutrient for healing and maintaining the delicate tight junctions that form the gut lining and prevent harmful bacteria from entering your body. It’s the only natural substance clinically proven to heal and prevent leaky gut caused by anti-inflammatory drugs. Liposomal delivery (LD) is critical to protecting the bioactive components in colostrum for maximum effect in both the stomach and small intestine. The natural growth factors and hormones help to repair damaged cells and maintain tight junction integrity while feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Colostrum also contains proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs), which modulate inflammation and stimulate the immune system to destroy pathogenic microbes. Immunomodulators, including antibodies, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and lysozyme, help to eliminate and neutralize harmful bacteria in the stomach and small intestine.
Probiotics refer to the good bacteria that live within your gut. They help to break down food, absorb nutrients, and balance out the harmful bacteria. Some studies suggest that probiotics may even contribute to your immune functions. Imbalances in probiotics are often associated with damage to the gut and stomach lining and general digestive problems. Probiotic-rich foods and supplements can help to replenish the good bacteria in your gut and promote healing. Some probiotics you should incorporate into your diet include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: acidophilus is a beneficial bacterium that exists naturally in the intestines and vagina. It is typically used as a probiotic to treat gastrointestinal infections due to an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria as well as vaginal yeast infections. L. acidophilus supplementation can help prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics, and restoration of L. acidophilus colonies following a course of antibiotics is helpful for encouraging robust gut health.
- Bifidobacterium lactis: lactis is a multi-purpose beneficial bacterium that inhabits the gut, and it assists with digestion and fights damage to the G.I. lining caused by pathogenic bacteria. Benefits include decreasing G.I. inflammation, preventing diarrhea, and relieving constipation when taken regularly; the anti-constipation benefit allows colostrum’s growth factors to reach the intestinal wall more easily. B. lactis belongs to the genus Bifidobacterium and is commonly added to yogurt and other dairy products.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: rhamnosus assists in the prevention of pathogen-induced diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and nosocomial diarrhea. L. rhamnosus may lessen anxiety and ease depression, symptoms that may be caused by concurrent medications. Evidence suggests that L. rhamnosus’ existence in the microbiome is only transient and thus, exogenous supplementation is necessary.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: As a member of genus Bifidobacterium, bifidum is one of the most common probiotic bacteria found in the human body. As an exogenous probiotic, supplementation may reduce the risk of acute diarrhea and E. coli infections.
- Bifidobacterium longum: longum is one of the thirty-two species belonging to the genus Bifidobacterium. It is one of the initial colonizers of a newborn’s G.I. tract, and although not a significant bacterium in the adult G.I. tract, its ability to produce lactic acid helps prevent the growth of pathogenic gut microbes.
Along with these supplements, you can make some simple changes in your lifestyle to help heal your stomach lining. Diet tends to be the biggest contributor to gut damage. The standard American diet, which is high in sugar and saturated fats and low in dietary fiber, has been shown to drive inflammation. Try to avoid foods that are processed or contain added sugars and if inflammation continues try the leaky gut diet.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics may also contribute to stomach issues. Consult with your doctor and ask if you may be able to switch to an alternate medication while your stomach is healing.
With the right supplements and diet, you should be much closer to healing your stomach lining and supporting proper digestive health.