Welcome to the Website of
Dr. David Graham
GI Symptoms: GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Heartburn, Ulcers, Bloating, Gas,
Constipation, Diarrhea, IBS, Crohns Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
This is a large category of symptoms and conditions, so I will highlight the most common issues people face
as digestive complaints.
Beginning after you swallow, your food enters a very acid environment in the stomach. The main symptom
associated with this organ involves heartburn, or GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is not really a
disease, more a dysfunction of the valve that is supposed to be a one way access from the esophagus to the
stomach. It is often treated by a variety of antacids or acid blockers, which seems illogical to me to neutralize
acid in the only location acid is ideal for functioning. But the problem must be resolved since reflux can
damage the esophagus and lead to erosions and/or cancer. One cause of reflux is a hiatal hernia, which is a
slippage of the stomach through the valve, so it is no longer a one way access. Often, a gentle tractioning of
the stomach downward during deep breathing can pull the slipped portion of the stomach back to the other
side of the valve, resetting the normal muscular function of the valve. This is often dramatic in its resolution of
the symptoms when it is appropriately applied.
Another issue that will produce reflux is a too alkaline stomach, meaning acid production is low. This will slow
the digestive process, resulting in a delayed emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine. This
situation requires that you acidify the stomach to increase transit time and take the stress off the valve. High
acid content is required for breakdown and assimilation of many nutrients including protein and calcium,
which, again, leads to the question of why would we ever neutralize acid in the stomach. In fact, long term use
of some antacids has been implicated as a cause or risk factor for future osteoporosis (weak bones).
Calcium, protein and other critical nutrients depend on a strong acid in the stomach for digestion and
absorption, so it makes logical sense that blocking or neutralizing acid would affect the repair and growth of
bone and other tissues.
As food moves into the small intestine, the gall bladder and liver work to neutralize the acid content by
releasing bile, which also helps with the digestive process. The pancreas also releases digestive enzymes
that are acid neutralizers. If the liver and pancreas are “stressed” by eating bad fats such as trans fats, or
refined carbohydrates such as sugar, it can affect the release of these neutralizers and digestion suffers.
Often the results are indigestion, bloating, and gas. If you are going to take a digestive aid, it is critical to
know whether it would be helpful to use these natural acid neutralizers, such as digestive enzymes or to use
an acidifier, such as betaine hydrochloride. The wrong one could make things worse.
Another common condition of the stomach and duodenum is ulcers. Ulcers are caused by stress, NSAIDs,
and bacteria called H Pylori. Stress causes a slowdown of GI function and repair so is often a underlying
contributor. NSAIDs such as aspirin are responsible for over 16,000 deaths per year as a result of damage to
the GI tract and bleeding. That is over 40 deaths a day in the US from taking a (harmless?) aspirin. That’s
more than all AIDS deaths in this country. Makes you think twice about aspirin therapy, doesn’t it??
H. Pylori infections are associated with a large percentage of ulcers. GI complaints often involve some
infective organism; whether, that is a parasite in the colon or H.Pylori in the stomach. We can refer to any
infection as a dysbiosis: an imbalance in friendly versus unfriendly bacteria or other organisms. This general
condition of dysbiosis is implicated in inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohns, and Ulcerative Colitis, as
well as constipation and diarrhea, gas, bloating, and any other symptom associated with digestion and
Jeffrey Bland, PhD, has outlined a natural course of care for these digestive complaints, called the 4R
approach. It involves
Removing infective organisms;
Repairing the GI lining, often using proteins and fats;
Replacing digestive enzymes and acids to give your digestion a “help” initially; and
Reinnoculating the gut with friendly bacteria to completely reset the digestive and repair function.
He has formulated natural products that can assist in this process, distributed through a nutritional and herbal
manufacturing company (Metagenics). They can only be purchased with the supervision of a trained health
IF YOU HAVE GI SYMPTOMS OR TAKE ACID BLOCKERS…Consider discovering the CAUSE of your
problems and getting on the road to better health and freedom from medication.
183 Bartlett St., Suite 120; Asheville, NC 28801
For Appointments Call: (828) 253-5844