Got a gassy gut? Frequent farting and flatulence isn't just embarrassing, it's also unhealthy. Prompt action is necessary. Passing gas is an important warning sign your body has weak digestion, metabolism, and compromised immunity. Gas is considered a disease in Ayurveda. A solution to your gas problems is one of the most important steps you can take to restore your health & vitality.
Although it may seem like everything you eat creates gas, or like your belly blows up like a balloon for unexplained reasons, resolving gas has been the cornerstone of health in Ayurveda for 5,000 years. Ayurveda offers a comprehensive perspective on steps you can take to restore happiness and cheerfulness to your tummy.
Breaking the Ice
Talking about farts can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Given the importance of digestive health in Ayurveda, we've got to break the ice somehow. Let's start with some fart facts:
A farting application on the iPhone raked in $10K first day
Have you ever heard of a fartiste? Farting was the profession of Joseph Pugol ("Le Petomane"). Pugol was able to pass gas at will and at varying pitch, thereby playing tunes for sold-out shows at the Moulin Rouge of 'Paris'. Today, his torch is carried on by Mr Methane.
A fart tax was passed in New Zealand for farmers owning cows, to offset environmental costs of bovine methane production. In California, several electric companies have created systems to capture methane gasses released from cows.
World's longest fart recorded 2 minutes and 42 seconds!
Despite the fart jokes, we're aiming for farts that smell like roses. We believe only Ayurveda can make it possible.
Hippocrates - "Passing gas is necessary to well-being."
Emperor Claudius - "all Roman citizens shall be allowed to pass gas whenever necessary."
All things equal, the amount of gas increases with age. The average person releases 1-3 pints of gas a day. Passes gas about 14 times a day. Up to 20-25 times is considered normal. Ayurveda believes those statistics could be lower.
The Significance of Gas to Your Health
Gas is formed when food ferments, i.e. rots, in the digestive tract. This happens when your body is too weak to digest and absorb nutrients from your food quickly enough. The small intestine is 22ft and the colon is 5ft long. Imagine there is a race in your gut between your intestines and the normal bacteria living in your gut. If you win the race, digest your food before the bacteria, and eliminate it, you nourish your body and have very little gas. If bacteria win the race, you'll have lots of gas, bloating and malabsorption.
When bacteria ferment the food in your gut, they not only produce gas, they also excrete other toxins, i.e. bacteria poop and piss. Your small intestine can start to resemble a raw sewage dump site. These toxins are poisonous and irritate the lining of the digestive tract. Some of the poison is absorbed into the blood, where it aggravates the liver and kidneys. If your liver can't process the poison, your body will purge it through the kidneys, skin, and breath, creating excess urine, bad breath, and acne. Toxic blood weakens all of your organs. That's why it is vitally important to address chronic gas conditions as quickly as possible.
The effects of gas on the nervous system and joints deserves special attention. Neurons are very sensitive to changes in blood chemistry. When the blood is poisoned, a person often feel scattered, ungrounded, nervous and anxious. Chronic gas can lead to poor decisions. Discomfort in the abdomen makes a person hyper and impulsive. They may lose their 'common sense' or 'street smarts'. Since joints have such poor circulation, any chronic toxic buildup tends to accumulate in the joint space leading to arthritic conditions. Since the immune system may be busy fighting gut bacteria, the immune system may become over stimulated or weak, depending on the constitution.
What causes gas, from a western medical perspective?
Swallowing air (aerophagia) - Mostly passed as burping or belching. Chewing gum, eating rapidly makes worse, smoking, loose dentures. rapid drinking, chewing gum, use of tobacco products, sucking on hard candy, drinking carbonated beverages, loose dentures, and hyperventilation.
Fermentation - The normal breakdown of certain undigested foods by harmless bacteria naturally present in the colon. Between 30 to 150 grams food remains undigested food each day, depending on diet and constitution. Malabsorption due to enzyme deficiencies, pancreatic insufficiency, etc can increase the amount of undigested food. The bacteria in your lower small intestines and colon feed on this undigested food.
Carbohydrates, Fats & Proteins
Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates are the most likely to cause gas. Fats and proteins tend to cause little gas only. Sorbitol and fructose are common offenders. Sorbitol is a sugar-alcohol that can be naturally found in some fruits. Blackberries and raspberries have a high sorbitol content, as do apples, apricots, pears, nectarines and plums. Lychees, cherries and avocado also contain small amounts of sorbitol. Short-chain ferment-able carbohydrate, also called FODMAPs.
Fiber & Yeasted Products
Soluble fiber produces more gas than insoluble fiber. Since some bacteria digest the hydrogen that others produce, the amount of gas you release is affected by the balance of your gut flora. Heavily yeasted products & probiotics may increase fermentation in the gut, as well as foods high in inulin and polysaccharides that feed bacteria in your gut.
Peristalsis - Peristalsis refers to the rhythmic contractions that propel food through your intestines. When functioning properly, peristalsis helps you release gas as well. When peristalsis is uncoordinated or weak, it can trap food & air inside your gut. Food stagnation of the gut causes more gas. Gas stagnation causes bloating.
High-altitude flight / outer space - Low atmospheric pressure makes gas more problematic.
Other digestive disorders, including IBS, IBD, Diverticuli.
What is intestinal gas made of?
Abdominal gas is composed of oxygen; nitrogen; hydrogen; carbon dioxide; and methane. The oxygen and nitrogen come from the air. The other gases come from bacterial fermentation. The unpleasant odor of flatulence comes from bacteria that release skatole, indole, and sulfur. Intestinal gas may be flammable if the concentration of hydrogen and methane is too high, however only 1/3 of people produce methane. The noises of gas are produced by vibration of your anal sphincter, and occasionally closed buttocks.
Western Treatment of Abdominal Gas
Digestive enzymes, Lactaid, Beano
Anti-microbials and anti-biotics
Surfactants help dissolve gas into liquids and stool
Bismuth subgallate to reduce odor
Ayurveda Perspectives on What Causes Gas
Intestinal gas is generally considered to be a condition of weak digestion, fundamentally a Vata disorder in samana vayu, one of the five subtypes of Vata dosha. Many Vata people experience abdominal gas after cold and difficult to digest foods like beans or cabbage. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain and bloating, particularly in the cecum located in the lower right side of the pelvic bowl. Pitta people often have abdominal bloating after eating spicy or oily foods. Bloating is primarily in the small intestine around the belly button along with sharp pain above the belly button. Kapha people may become gassy from gooey foods like bread and cheese. They experience heavy, sluggish stomach.
There are many types of imbalances that could lead to gas. The primary types are:
Augment your diet with these specially chosen ingredients below which may be useful for 'Gas, irregular digestion'.
Individual results vary depending the cause of your imbalance and by constitution.
Please research the ingredients below to find which are most helpful for you, and check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for medical care.
Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA HEAL 'GAS, IRREGULAR DIGESTION'?
AVOID DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS THAT AGGRAVATE THESE EFFECTS
According to Ayurveda, one or more of the following
and biocharacteristics may aggravate 'Gas, irregular digestion'.
If you have an excess of one of these doshas or biocharacteristics below, Ayurveda recommends reducing foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate them.
Click on the biocharacteristic to learn what foods and
lifestyle habits should be reduced.
Symptoms Tell A Story
The first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms.
Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances.
Symptoms show you where your body is weakened.
Ultimately, all disease has a root in tissues too weak to defend itself.
Ayurveda describes these patterns of weakness using doshas & biocharacteristics.
If you notice a biocharacteristic or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms,
it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
FAVOR DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL EFFECTS
Everything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using biocharacteristics (gunas).
Biocharacteristics are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body.
Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism.
Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism.
For 'Gas, irregular digestion', you should select foods with the following biocharacteristics.
Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance.
FOODS TO FAVOR
CONDITION IN YOUR BODY
ABOUT EASY BIOCHARACTERISTIC
Easy refers to anything easy to digest, or digests quickly.
Literally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
An agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
GAS, IRREGULAR DIGESTION IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 1 - AFFECTING DIGESTION
If you have symptoms in this category, your body is sending you a warning sign.
Since digestion is so metabolically intensive and sensitive to stress and emotions, the earliest warning signs of imbalance usually appear in the digestive tract first.
You may have gas and bloating, for example, or acid reflux.
Ayurveda recommends paying careful, close attention to warning signs.
They indicate that an imbalance is starting to accumulate.
Correct these warning signs before they accumulate further and weaken your body's resistance.
This is usually accomplished by removing diet and lifestyle habits that aggravate your imbalanced doshas and biocharacteristics.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITS
The following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Gas, irregular digestion'.
See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type.
Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
Biocharacteristics of the 47,247 People Reporting Gas, irregular digestion
On average the biocharacteristics
of people reporting Gas, irregular digestion were less aggravated than 83% of other symptoms.
From the 47,247 people who reported Gas, irregular digestion in this research study of 74,671 individuals,
average deviation in biocharacteristic levels were the following:
Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic,
systemic approach, instead of focusing only on the disorder in question. Ayurveda
shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them
using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't
take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you.
Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an
exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?
Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type,
which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths).
It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders.
Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder.
It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of biocharaceristics (gunas).
For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc.
This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalanced biocharacteristics.
By eating an optimal diet that balances your biocharacteristics, your whole body is strengthened
and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease
are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies -
such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance
To get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body
type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so
by taking this quiz, you’ll get the best results.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
My gas seems to come up at the change of seasons. It is not low in my abdomen but sitting high near my solar plexus. I do not fart. I have good poop. Yet I burp constantly and the gas pains radiate up into my chest. I am Pitta Kapha and live in a hot climate so I can't use Ajwain or Hing right now because they are heating. I do use fennel, cardamon and lemon.