Cover image for Natural ways to digestive health : interfaces between conventional and alternative medicine
Natural ways to digestive health : interfaces between conventional and alternative medicine
Holt, Stephen, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : M. Evans, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 322 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC827 .H65 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Written in layman's language, this guide takes the reader on a journey through the digestive system with stopping points along the way. The book contains information about acid reflux and its control, natural remedies and alternative treatments, friendly bacteria, toxins and more.

Author Notes

Stephen Holt, M.D., FACP, FRCP(C), FACN, FACG, MRCP(UK), is a board-certified gastroenterologist, president of the Illinois College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the founder of BioTherapies, Inc.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus is sometimes called a second brain, and though Holt prefers the term gut, that conception emphasizes the close relationship between body and mind. Holt wrote this informative book for the lay public and physicians because he feels that complementary medicine and natural remedies can play major roles in digestive health. He calls his approach "pluralistic medicine" and augments it with a humane attitude toward patients, doctors, and their problems. He deals clearly and sometimes wittily with disorders that aren't due to readily identifiable diseases or abnormalities of structure, and with what to look out for and how to treat and even avoid problems. He pinpoints problems that medicine as a social establishment and government create, such as denying the benefits of alternative medicine and making prescription drugs available over-the-counter, and he stresses that if you treat the gut well, it will generally cooperate. Tables and chapter summaries help make a wealth of information digestible. --William Beatty

Library Journal Review

Board-certified gastroenterologist Holt (The Natural Way to a Healthy Heart) sets the bar high in his foreword, stating that the "value of the book is to enlighten both the layperson and practicing physicians about emerging concepts in alternative medicine as applied to gastrointestinal disease." He presents his own holistic philosophy, "pluralistic medicine," or using what works from conventional and alternative medicine for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Holt focuses on digestive disorders attributed predominantly to an unbalanced lifestyle, with detailed, complicated explanations (without illustrations) of digestive disorders having their origin from the mouth to the anus. The format includes a description of the system, the disorder, and the conventional medical treatment, followed by alternative therapies. Holt often presents the alternative therapy superficially, along with an evaluation of its effectiveness. His book suffers from its attempt to reach both the general reader, for whom it is too technical, and the physician, who will find it too repetitive. Holt also tries too hard to be the broker between alternative and conventional medicine. His book concludes with a short list of recommended readings and resources. Consumer health collections would do better with Optimal Digestion: New Strategies for Achieving Digestive Health (Wholecare, 1999), edited by Trent W. Nichols, M.D., and Nancy Faass. Not an essential purchase. Lisa McCormick, Jewish Hosp. Lib., Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Thomas V. Taylor, M.D.
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Chapter 1 Getting to Know the Emotional Gutp. 1
The Two Prime Pleasures of Life
Emotional Guts; The Concept of "Functional"
A Bad Emotion or a Bad Meal?
"All Guts Are Irritable"
It Works Both Ways
The Tip of the Iceberg
A Shocking Story
Red Flags!
Age as a Risk Factor
Self-Diagnosis Is a Risky Business
Has Modern Medicine Ignored Nature's Role?
The New Self-Reliance for the Natural Option
A Rough Lesson
Miracle Herbs?
The Solution at Hand
Chapter Summary
Chapter 2 What the Gastroenterologist Does All Day: An Overviewp. 19
High Noon in Rome
What the Gastroenterologist Does All Day
A Label by Exclusion
How the Bearer of Functional Gut Disorders Is So Often Mistreated
The Shrine of the Synthetic Drug
All of Our High Technology May Not Transmit Relief
Conventional Medicine Heaven
Why You Might Consider Alternative Options
The Use of Dietary Supplements and the Practice of Purging
Toward a More Positive Diagnosis
Is Managed Care Waking Up?
Medicine at the Crossroads
Chapter Summary
Chapter 3 The Mouth: No-Man's-Landp. 32
Dentists and Doctors Passing the Buck
Bad Breath
What Is Bad Breath, Really?
Where Bad Breath Comes From
Keys to Oral Hygiene
Breath Fresheners
Internal Deodorization
Strange Tastes
Swollen, Bleeding Gums
Watery Mouth
Dry Mouth
Burning Tongue
Mouth Ulcers
Cold Sores
Alternative Dentistry
Dangerous Dental Amalgams
Diseases and Oral Health
Novel Approaches to Dental Health
Natural Enzymatic Digest and Biocleansing
Are Root Canals a Root of Evil?
The Teeth and Acupuncture Meridians
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Problems
Chapter Summary
Chapter 4 Swallowing and Pushing into the Stomachp. 57
The Esophagus or Swallowing Tube
How to Swallow
Difficulty in Swallowing (Dysphagia)
Normal Reflux from the Stomach to the Esophagus
Burning, Belching, Acid Regurgitation
Symptoms of GERD
A Lump in the Throat. The Globus Sensation
GERD Often Masquerades As Globus
Schatzki: The Doctor Known for His Ring
The Swallowing Clinic
Looking at LES
Management of GERD
Causes of GERD
Medical Treatment of GERD
Reappraisal of GERD Therapy
Natural Therapies for GERD
Laryngitis Due to Reflux
Depression: The Ultimate Cause of Sad Guts
Obesity, Hiatus Hernia and GERD
The Heart or the Gut?
Esophageal Spasm or Irritable Esophagus Syndrome
Stress and Spasm in the Gullet
Functional Vomiting
The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome
Integrated Activities in the Gut
Chapter Summary
Chapter 5 The Emotional Stomachp. 83
The Stomach Receives the Food
Observations of an Emotional Stomach
Beaumont: Of Satisfaction and Satiety
What Causes the Different Types of Dyspepsia?
Dyspepsia of the Constitutionally Inadequate
Environmental Stress and Dyspepsia
Loading the Gun
Helicobacter Pylori
Doctors Cannot Agree about Dyspepsia
Confusion about Treatment
"How Do OTC Drugs Affect Diseases?"
Regulations Are Worldwide
The Pharmacist's Role
Why Doctors Prescribe Drugs
The Powerful Inducement to Take Drugs
Gut Disease: A Mixed Bag of Tricks
What Are OTC Drugs Used For?
Not Everyone Can Be Tested in Detail
Doctors and Dyspepsia
Dyspepsia Due to Disordered Movements of the Stomach
Do OTC Drugs Really Save Healthcare Costs?
The Constant Danger for Self-Medicators
Gut Infection Is a Risk with No Acid
The NSAID Scourge
The American College of Gastroenterology Seeks "Alternatives"
Natural Alternatives to NSAIDs
Doing Away with NSAIDs
The Aging Gut
Chapter Summary
Chapter 6 Belching, Farting, and Bloatingp. 113
The "To and Fro" of Gas
Swallowing Gas
Food and Fluid As Sources of Gas
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
Foul Gas
Complaints of Too Much Gas
Recent Spanish Studies
Complaints Due to Gas
Treatment and Prevention of Gas
"Balance" Therapy for Gas
Treatment Plans for Excess Gut Gas
Valuable Natural Therapies for Gas
Activated Charcoal: Does It Work?
Visceroptosis--Red Herring?
Chapter Summary
Chapter 7 Irritable Bowel Syndromep. 129
Irritating the Guts: IBS
Endless Debates, Definitions and Terms
IBS: One of Many Functional Gut Disorders
Defining IBS
Talking to Patients
The Non-IBS Functional Disorders
IBS: A Common and Widespread Problem
The IBS Sufferer
Symptoms of IBS
Toward a Positive Diagnosis of IBS
Psychosocial Disturbances and IBS
Mind, Body and Spirit
Body-Mind and the IBS
The Dynamic Interconnecting Network
Extending the Concept of "Molecules of Emotion"
The Irritable "Anything" Syndrome
Management of IBS
Fiber Supplements
The Fiber Story
Adding Fiber Every Day
Muscle Relaxants
Placebo Response
Essential Oils and Gastrointestinal Actions
Other Oils Are Good
Fish Oil and the Gut
Hypnotherapy and IBS
Whorwell's Studies
Education and IBS
Self-Help Books and Materials
Expansion of the Work of the Rome Group
Chapter Summary
Chapter 8 Constipation, Diarrhea, and Pains in the Buttp. 164
What Goes in Has to Come Out
Anal Behavior and Its Origins
Gut Responses Are Subject to Learning
Atonic Bowels
Bowel Toxins
Health and Digesta
Common Constipation Has No Identifiable Cause
The Role of Potty Training (Primary Prevention)
Mental Illness and the Colon
Hyperactive Bowels (Spastic Constipation)
Ritual Stool Gazing
Spastic Colon, Spastic Brain
The Second Brain(s)
Networks Within the ENS
The Big Strain
Managing Gatekeeper Obstruction
Osmotic Diarrhea
Lactose Intolerance
The Origin of Lactose Intolerance
Drugs and Diarrhea
Pains in and Around the Anus
Use of Precursors of Neurotransmitters (Molecules of Emotion)
Chapter Summary
Chapter 9 Food Intolerance and Sensitivityp. 190
Terms and Misunderstandings
Adverse Responses to Food, Not Readily Explained
Food Intolerance--A Forgotten Cause of Illness
Arrogance Prevails: Dichotomy Exists
Diseases and Food Allergy
The Gut As a Complex Immune Organ
The Bowel Lets Antigens into the Body
Food "Allergy" Is Underdiagnosed
The Significance of Absorbed Antigens
Keeping Unwanted Molecules Out
Other Defenses to Entry of Unwanted Molecules
Gastric Acid--Essential?
Caution on Associations and Causes of Disease
The Search for the Immunological Frills in Food Allergy
Diagnosis of Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Intolerances
The Diagnostic Tests
The Elimination Challenge Routine
Symptoms and Diseases Ascribed to Food Reactions
Food Additives, Dyes, and Chemicals
Oral Tolerance
Chapter Summary
Chapter 10 Gut Friends and Foesp. 211
The Environment Within
Friendly Bacteria
The Flora of the Gut Determines General Health
Toxins and the Guts
Seeding the Guts: Prebiosis and Probiosis
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria
Your Friends Fight Your Foes
Choosing Friendly Bacteria in Dietary Supplements
Choosing a Probiotic Supplement in a Health Food Store
Selecting a Probiotic Dietary Supplement
Do Bacteria in Probiotics Survive?
Why Do Probiotics Make Sense?
It Has to Be Homemade Yogurt
Probiotic Therapy for Diseases
Chapter Summary
Chapter 11 Tipping the Balance: Purgation, Dysbiosis, Leaky Gut, and Toxicityp. 227
The Balance
Emerging Principles in Alternative Gastroenterology
Pooping for Health, Ill Health, or Psychological Gain
Laxative Use and Abuse
Types of Laxatives
Purgation As Therapy: Myths and Magic?
Who Can Benefit from Colon Cleansing?
Lessons from Ayurveda
Understanding Leaky Guts
NSAIDs: The Big Culprit
Testing for Enhanced Intestinal Permeability
Managing Leaky Guts
Healing a Leaky Gut
Detoxification: The Concept
Body Toxins
Detoxification Systems: The Gut As a Main Sewer
What Evidence Exists That the Gut May Be Leaky?
Restoring and Building Mucosal Integrity: Glutamine and SAMe
Getting Natural Therapies Through the Gut Wall
Detoxification and the Liver
Silymarin--A Special Gift of Nature
Direct Cleansing Procedures
The Concept of CDR: Cleansing, Detoxification, Rejuvenation
Scientific Support for CDR
Chapter Summary
Chapter 12 Emerging Issuesp. 265
Fact and Fiction
Pushing the Envelope
Unwanted Guests
Symptoms and Signs of Disease from Parasites
Gut Parasites
Natural Therapies for Parasitic Infection
The Candida Controversy
Mind-Body Medicine
The Food Enzyme Concept
It May Be Your Drugs
Supplements: From Brick-and-Mortar to E-Commerce
New Testing for Gut Disorders
OTC Advice and Under-the-Counter Claims
Chapter Summary
Chapter 13 Gallbladders, Gallstones, and Attachmentsp. 295
Gallstones Are Common--Treatment Is Problematic
Are Alternatives to Conventional Medical Therapy Required?
Getting to the Cause of Stones
Gallstones of Different Types
Criteria to Select Gallstone Therapy
Management of "Silent" Gallstones
Circumstances that Support Natural Approaches
A Closer Look at Symptoms in Cholelithiasis
General Principles of Natural Therapy for Gallstones
Dietary Considerations
Erroneous Recommendations Concerning Legume Intake
The Obesity Dilemma
A Role for Specific Nutrients
Lifestyle Adjustments
Fish Oil
Gallstone Dissolution
Choleretics, Cholagogues, and Lipotropics
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Clues from Predisposing Factors
Diet Is the Key
Gut Ecology and Probiotic Therapy
Chapter Summary
Afterword: Conclusionp. 317
Recommended Reading and Resourcesp. 319
Indexp. 321
About the Authorp. 000