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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."


I find I like to write on a diversity of topics when I have useful information that is not generally known. This is one of those topics: There is an effective way of reducing flatulence.

Before continuing, I want to mention that I have no medical training. So begin by consulting your doctor first and before making any changes.

From my experience, flatulence is caused by two independent factors: 1) Eating food that your body cannot completely digest: Bacteria in your large intestine then break down this undigested material producing gas. 2) Excessive harmful bacteria in your digestive tract. These pathogenic bacteria cause gas as well as illness. I'll deal with each issue separately.

First, foods that your body cannot completely digest. These foods vary with individuals. In my case, I avoid milk and milk products (Including yogurt). Other foods that give me gas include processed meats (Examples: bologna, ham, salami, beef jerky), dried fruit, and soy milk.

Some people find using a lactase enzyme (e.g. Lactaid) for lactose intolerance helps. Or using an alpha galactosidase enzyme (e.g. Beano). Neither of these work for me. So I simply avoid the foods I can't eat.

Finding out what you can't eat will take some time. You just eliminate a few foods at a time and see what happens. Don't eliminate all fiber from your diet; you don't want to become constipated.

I should also note that your body will adapt to some foods after a period of time. This can take a long time (up to 6 months) if you're eating a large amount of the food in question. So, if you're making a change in your diet, take this into consideration.

A couple of examples: 1) It took a long time before I was able to eat frozen banana sorbet without gas. Now, this is not a problem. 2) Beans stopped giving me gas, after a much shorter period of time, once I began eating them on a daily basis.

In regard to degassing beans: I do soak them overnight and then also discard the boiling water once after cooking for about an hour. It is also necessary to fully cook the beans. The beans should be cooked until you can squash a bean between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Second: There is a second cause of flatulence: Excessive quantities of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract also produce gas. There are both beneficial and harmful bacteria in your digestive tract. You want more of the first and less of the second. How do you accomplish this? Keep reading.

First, stop drinking soft drinks. I know what you're thinking: Drinking soft drinks reduces gas. And drinking soft drinks also make you feel better when you are sick. That's true! But the reason they work is because the carbonated water impedes the growth of all bacteria, good and bad. Once you've drank the soft drink, the bad bacteria soon gain the advantage and you're back to having gas no matter what else you do right.

Occasionally drinking a soft drink, when you're sick, shouldn't cause a problem.

Second, don't drink lemonade. Lemon juice is a powerful antibiotic and destroys beneficial and harmful bacteria alike. As with soft drinks, harmful bacteria soon gain the advantage.

I do use lemon juice to preserve frozen bananas, which I use for smoothies—this doesn't cause a problem.

Third, always eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Improving your health will help. Also, in my experience, a plant-based diet greatly reduces flatulence.

Fourth, be careful about what and where you eat: Don't unnecessarily introduce harmful bacteria to your digestive tract. One example: I stopped buying organic lettuce, which is often contaminated. This has made a major difference in my life. It's better for me to eat cooked green leafy vegetables. I also avoid accepting free food samples.

Fifth, consider taking a probiotic supplement. I do. It helps. "Probiotics are safe for most people, but you may need to avoid them if you're pregnant or nursing, have a serious acute or chronic illness; or have weakened immunity. Check with your doctor."1

The best way to find out what works is to see what works for other people. You can find out by clicking on this link. Amazon allows customers to rate the products they purchase.

Start with a healthy diet, abstinence from soft drinks and avoid lemon juice. Try a daily probiotic supplement. You can always eliminate the probiotic supplement later if it is unnecessary. Then, see what foods need to be eliminated. Some additional suggestions follow.

Recognize that drugs—including prescription medications—may also cause digestive problems, including gas. Tums is one example. Some herbal supplements, laxatives and other products purchased at health food stores may also cause gas.

Avoid products that may be damaging to your health (Examples: Simethicone, Activated Charcoal).

Avoid eating foods that are getting close to being spoiled. What you are doing is ingesting large amounts of harmful bacteria.

Do whatever is necessary to reduce your anger and stress. Make full use of the articles published on this site.

Once you've figured out what foods you need to avoid—and are eating a healthy primarily plant-based diet—the flatulence should largely disappear. Except occasionally when you get sick. At least this has been my experience.

In the meantime, you may still have excessive gas at times: This is because there will be times when harmful bacteria exist in your digestive tract in excessive amounts. There is a remedy for this problem: You can take a natural antibiotic during these times. There are two that I know of: 1) Garlic. 2) Jalapeno pepper. Just take a couple cloves of raw garlic, mince it and swallow it with water. Or do the same thing with a somewhat lesser amount of raw Jalapeno pepper. You will be amazed at how fast your gas disappears.

You would use garlic one day—as often as needed—and then use Jalapeno pepper the second day in the same way. On the third day you would again use garlic. If you use the same remedy two days in a row, the bacteria will adapt and you will get no results.

One caution: Jalapeno pepper will burn your mouth a lot—at least for the first few years that you do this. After a few years, your body will adjust and the burning will diminish and then go away. In the meantime, you can get temporary relief by repeatedly washing out your mouth with milk.

I'd avoid drinking the milk. Drinking milk, when you are sick, will only make you more sick. Thus, this will cause gas even if you're not lactose intolerant.

I think you now have everything you need to effectively deal with this issue. But again, always check with your doctor and pharmacist first before making any changes.

Finally, if the above suggestions are insufficient, there is a United States Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter treatment for flatulence and other problems related to bowel odors. It's called Devrom. Check out their website.

Disclaimer: Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

1 Consumer Reports, November 2011, Page 12.


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