Stressor Spotlight: Stomach

 

Our digestive system is a critical component of the body, helping us to break down our food into usable, life-sustaining nutrients that fuel us to carry out our everyday functions. The stomach is an important component of that system, and it plays key roles that aid in the digestive process.

 

Unfortunately, many people experience stomach ailments that can range from mildly uncomfortable to very debilitating. These issues are quite common; for example, 20% of people in the US have acid reflux (or GERD), and one in ten people will experience a stomach ulcer at some point in their lives.1 2

 

Let’s take a look at what the stomach is, how it functions in the body, and what we can do to support our stomach health and avoid these types of health concerns.

 

Stomach structure

 

The stomach is part of the digestive system, a bodily system whose job it is to turn the food we eat into the nutrients we need to survive.

 

Our stomach is attached to our esophagus (the food pipe) on one end and our small bowel on the other. Food enters our body through the mouth. After we chew our food, it passes through the esophagus and then enters the stomach. The stomach then plays its role in digestion before passing the food onwards towards the intestines.

 

The stomach itself is a J-shaped organ that is similar to a bag that stretches and moves to churn the food it holds. It is made up of 5 layers of cells that allow it to play out it’s unique functions.3

 

Stomach function

 

The stomach helps us to digest our food. As part of the digestive system, the stomach’s main roles are to:

 

  • Hold food and act as a reservoir.
  • Release acid and enzymes and mix them with our food.
  • Move food through the digestive tract towards the intestines.4

The stomach acts like a container to hold your food. It is able to stretch and increase in volume so that it can accommodate the amount of food that you consume each day.4 5

 

woman holding circle of vegetables over stomach - healthy diet concept

 

When food enters the stomach, the stomach releases acid and enzymes, and the stomach muscles also jump into action and create a rhythmic, rippling motion that stirs up the contents. This allows our food to get well mixed with our digestive juices and begins the process of breaking it down.3 6

 

The acid and enzymes produced by the stomach are important to support digestion. Stomach acid creates an acidic environment in the stomach that helps to kill off invading pathogens that may be present in our food, thus protecting us against infection. And the enzymes, especially one called pepsin, help by beginning to break down proteins in our food.4 6

 

The stomach generally processes food in about two to four hours, after which it moves the partially-digested food into the intestines where digestion continues.3 6

 

Common stomach issues

 

The stomach plays many important roles in moving food through our digestive tract and aiding in the digestion process. If any of these roles are disrupted for any reason, then problems can occur.

 

Some examples of common stomach concerns include:

 

  • Gastroparesis – A partial paralysis of the stomach where you can’t empty food from the stomach normally.
  • Dyspepsia – Indigestion causing the stomach to feel unsettled, full, or painful.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Also called acid reflux, a condition that occurs when stomach acid accidentally enters the esophagus from the stomach and irritates the food pipe.
  • Gastritis or gastroenteritis – Conditions involving inflammation of the stomach and/or small bowel.
  • Ulcers – A painful condition that is caused by stomach acid eroding your stomach lining. 1 2 6 7 8 9

Many times, stomach issues are related to an infection. One of the most common infections that affects the stomach is called H. pylori. 9

 

Symptoms of stomach problems

 

If you have a disorder or condition affecting your stomach function, you may notice a wide range of signs and symptoms. Some common symptoms of stomach concerns include:

 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Feelings of fullness
  • Indigestion

Energetic relationships

 

stomach energetic vectors chart

 

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the stomach is not only responsible for digesting your food, but for digesting your emotions as well.10 This is why when you’re worried or anxious, you feel it in your stomach. Another emotion that is closely connected to the stomach is pensiveness, or despondency (low spirits). Thus, this emotion may manifest as a problem in the stomach. And conversely, a physical problem with the stomach may cause a person to feel despondent.

 

In addition to these emotional energetic relationships, of course, are physical ones. These include the stomach meridian, which is paired with the spleen meridian, as well as the thyroid gland. The stomach organ is also connected with the following vertebrae and teeth:

 

  • Cervical vertebrae 1 & 4
  • Thoracic vertebrae 1 & 5-8
  • Molars 1 & 2 on top teeth
  • Premolars 1 & 2 on bottom teeth

Because of these energetic relationships, it’s important to look at stomach health in the context of these areas by observing how a problem with one may be related to another.

 

Other areas to pay attention to when looking at the stomach are the mouth and muscles. Weak and tired muscles may indicate an issue with the stomach or spleen, while problems in the mouth like bleeding gums could also stem from a stomach problem.10

 

How your lifestyle impacts your stomach health

 

girls eating watermelon

 

Many of the things that can cause stomach problems include lifestyle factors. For example, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy foods, taking medications like NSAIDs, smoking, and other factors can all be irritating to the stomach and may result in health issues.6

 

Here are some lifestyle tips that can support a healthy, happy stomach:

 

  1. Manage stress – Stress can upset the digestive process, slowing it down and causing symptoms. It can also make things like stomach ulcers worse, so it is important to keep your stress levels under control if you have any stomach issues.
  2. Quit smoking – Smoking can cause acid reflux, as it can weaken the muscles that control the seal between the esophagus and the stomach. Smoking is also a risk factor for stomach cancer.
  3. Drink only in moderation – Drinking some alcohol is okay, but drinking too much can increase stomach acid production and can aggravate stomach concerns.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight – Extra belly fat can put pressure on your stomach and cause problems. Losing weight can help with things like heartburn and other acid-related stomach issues.6 11

Other tips include getting plenty of physical activity, prioritizing sleep, checking to see if your medications are irritating you, and maintaining other healthy habits that keep you feeling your best.

 

How your diet impacts stomach health

 

It is no surprise that the foods we eat can have a major impact on how smoothly our digestive system runs.

 

Some foods can irritate stomach issues, while others can help to soothe them. For example, fried foods, fast foods, chips, processed snacks, chili powder, pepper, fatty meats, cheese, tomato-based products, citrus fruits, chocolate, and carbonated beverages can all make acid reflux (GERD) worse. On the other hand, high-fiber foods and things like melons, nuts, cucumber, lettuce, and other foods can help.12

 

If you have a stomach condition, you may need to do some experimenting to find what foods support you and what foods trigger your symptoms. Consider it a process of trial and error to find a diet that is best suited for you and your unique body.

 

And it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that can affect your stomach as well. Your eating habits can make an important difference. To ensure a happy stomach, consider the following:

 

  • Eating slowly
  • Chewing well
  • Not overeating
  • Eating regularly
  • Not eating large meals close to bedtime
  • Drinking plenty of water11

Work with your healthcare provider or nutritionist to determine a diet and way of eating that works for you and your unique symptoms or diagnosis. If you have gastroparesis, for example, you may need to eat smaller meals, reduce fiber, and try light or liquid meals.13 If you have GERD, you may need to avoid certain triggering foods and take extra time to chew and eat your meals.

 

Supplements and herbs for stomach health

 

There are many different natural remedies that can support stomach and digestive health. For example, ginger, chamomile, and licorice root are all-natural products that have long been used as natural supplements for various stomach ailments:

 

ginger root on wood table

 

  • Ginger is an anti-inflammatory spice that can ease an irritated digestive tract. It can help with acid reflux and other common digestive complaints.
  • Chamomile is thought to have soothing effects on the digestive tract.
  • Several studies have shown licorice root to be an effective remedy. It can help protect the esophagus from acid reflux problems, for example.12 14 15

Many people also report things like turmeric, peppermint, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, artichoke, dandelion, and others to be useful home remedies.

 

Stomach Virtual Item stressor

 

A digital signature representing the stomach is scanned in various ZYTO biosurveys. A scan will determine whether this and other stressors are in range (in balance), or out of range. In the Balance Wellness Report, this item will show up in the Gastrointestinal System category if it was out of range, and you will be able to see how far out of range it is.

 

In the Select and Elite software, the Stomach Virtual Item can be scanned along with many other items related to the stomach. The Stomach EAV Meridian, Stomach Mu, Stomach Mucosal Membrane, and Stomach Tissue, for example, can all be scanned.

 

Stomach Virtual Item balancers

 

A balancer scan typically follows a stressor scan in a ZYTO biosurvey. The balancers may then be rescanned to bring the stressor Virtual Items back into range. Balancer Virtual Items that bring the Stomach and other stressors back into range may include supplements, oils, foods, or lifestyle changes.

 

If the Stomach was out of range, you can see which specific balancer brought it back into range in the Biomarker Progress Chart, which is found in the Advanced Report. Top services that appear on a ZYTO report may also have a positive impact on the Stomach Virtual Item.

 

ZYTO perception reframing technology can also be a powerful tool for addressing the underlying emotions that are impacting the stomach negatively. By going through the reframing process, you can achieve a shift in your subconscious perceptions that can assist your body in dealing with these emotions more effectively.

 

 

 

 

About Chelsea Clark
Chelsea Clark is a writer and certified health and wellness coach who is passionate about supporting others along their own health journeys. She enjoys helping people make positive, lasting changes so that they can live the happiest, healthiest life possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

1. “Definitions & Facts for GER & GERD.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Niddk.nih.gov.

2. “Peptic Ulcer Disease.” Cleveland Clinic. My.clevelandclinic.org.

3. “Anatomy of the Stomach.” University of Rochester Medical Center. Urmc.rochester.edu.

4. O’Connor, A., & C. O’Moráin. “Digestive function of the stomach.” Digestive Diseases (Basel, Switzerland) 32, no. 3 (2014): 186–191.

5. “The Structure and Function of the Digestive System.” Cleveland Clinic. My.clevelandclinic.org.

6. Chaudry, S.R., M.R.P. Liman, & D.C. Peterson. “Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Stomach.” StatPearls (2020).

7. “Stomach Disorders.” MedlinePlus. Medlineplus.gov.

8. “Disorders of the Stomach.” International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Aboutgimotility.org.

9. Hunt, R.H., M. Camilleri, S.E. Crowe, et al. “The stomach in health and disease.” Gut 64, no. 10 (2015): 1650–1668.

10. “Stomach, Spleen Health.” Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation. Tcmworld.org. 

11. “5 lifestyle tips for a healthy tummy.” National Health Services. Nhs.uk.

12. “GERD Diet: Foods that Help with Acid Reflux (Heartburn).” The Johns Hopkins University. Hopkinsmedicine.org.

13. “Diet for Gastroparesis.” Cleveland Clinic. My.clevelandclinic.org.

14. Fifi, A.C., C.H. Axelrod, P. Chakraborty, & M. Saps. “Herbs and Spices in the Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Review of Clinical Trials.” Nutrients 10, no. 11 (2018): 1715.

15. “Herbal Remedies for Heartburn.” The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Health.harvard.edu.