digestion

Sleep Positions to Improve Digestion

  The Mayo Clinic advises that you should refrain from eating at least two hours before you head to bed. If you do eat during this time period, it should be light fare only. Eating before bed can cause problems during sleep and prevent you from resting comfortably. If you eat fatty or spicy foods, you may experience heartburn that causes you to stay awake. If you do eat before heading to bed, choose a sleeping position that helps prevent heartburn and other sleeping interruptions.   Elevate Your Head If you suffer from heartburn, The Mayo Clinic recommends that you elevate your head by 6 to 9 inches. You can do so by inserting a wedge between your box spring and mattress, or by using pillows to prop up your head during sleep. This position uses gravity to decrease the pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. It prevents stomach acid from flowing into your esophagus, which is the primary cause of this condition.

Alcohol Can Slow Down Digestion

People can be reassured that while alcohol may slow down digestion after a rich calorific meal, enjoyed by many during the Christmas season, it will not cause indigestion symptoms such as heartburn, belching and bloating, finds research in the Christmas issue published in the British Medical Journal. In order to determine the effects of alcohol on the digestive system when rich meals are consumed, investigators at the University Hospital of Zurich, led by Dr Mark Fox now at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, studied 20 individuals who either drank wine or black tea with cheese fondue followed by cherry liqueur or water as a digestive after the famous Swiss dish. Fox and colleagues say that while they concentrated on fondue the results of their research “can be generalised to address the wider issue of alcohol’s effects on digestion and digestive comfort after any large, rich meal of the kind we all enjoy over the festive season.” Twenty healthy volunteers (14 male and six female) aged between 23 and 58 took part in the study. None of the participants had a history of alcohol misuse or stomach disease. They had an average body mass index (BMI) of 23.6 and none were taking prescription medicine. The participants were tested on two days at least one week apart. Half of the group drank white wine with their fondue and the other half drank black tea. This was followed by a cherry liqueur digestive (schnapps) or water 90 minutes later. The research team used established scientific breath tests to assess the effects of alcohol consumption on the digestive system. The results show that the process of digestion was much slower in the group that drank alcohol with their fondue. However the results also […]

Probiotics and Lowered Diarrhea Risk

Antibiotics can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract, and one of the most common and dangerous results is infection with C. difficile, bacteria that can cause diarrhea, colitis and even death. Now a review of studies has found that probiotics — beneficial microorganisms introduced into the gut — can reduce the risk. Researchers, writing online this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, pooled data from 20 randomized controlled trials that compared a course of probiotics with a placebo or no treatment on the incidence of C. difficile-associated diarrhea. The studies used several types of the probiotics Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus, and the doses varied. Compared with placebo or no treatment, higher and lower doses of these probiotics were more effective in preventing diarrhea in both adults and children. Ingesting more than one species at a time produced an even greater benefit. Over all, the researchers found, probiotics reduced the risk of C. difficile-associated diarrhea by 66 percent. Preventing C. difficile-associated diarrhea in this population, he continued, might require more than hand-washing and surface-cleaning. To learn more, please click here.