Author Topic: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?  (Read 8350 times)

Offline HapEMom

  • Learning
  • Posts: 40
    • Better is Little
Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« on: March 14, 2009, 01:47:53 AM »
My husband has achalasia and has a relatively hard time keeping his weight up, especially on days that he is too busy to take the time needed (usually 2+ hours for one normal plate) to eat a plate of food. During busy days he likes to drink Ensure so he at least gets something nutritious down.
The ingredients are no good in the store bought Ensure drinks and I wondered if I have the ability to *make* him an Ensure type drink? We have raw milk that I would like to utilize.
It would also be great if it was something I could send to work w/ him because that is where he needs to drink it the most. (He gets three 15 min breaks during the day).
It would need to be something that he thought tasted good otherwise with his strong gag reflex and the achalasia he would "vomit" the contents of his esophagus. We've dealt with this for 3+ yrs and have learned several "tricks" and we're still trying to figure it all out...One bad thing is that it seems that sweets (sugary, choclate foods) almost always go down easily. And unfortunately he eats more than I think is healthy for him, but I don't fuss because I can see how miserable he can get when he's so hungry but can't get "regular" food into his stomach in a reasonable time and often gets too sick feeling to want to continue.
So if there are any other suggestions for dealing with Achalasia that would be so helpful as we have resisted further surgery & drugs.
Thank you for any help you can offer!
Be blessed!


<><   <><   <><   <><   <><   <><

Job 23:10  But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Offline hi_itsgwen

  • Master
  • Posts: 1428
    • Gwen's Nest
Re: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 06:29:33 PM »
I've been doing some research on this, as a dear lady at my church also has this condition.  The doctors don't know what causes it, so they 'practice' all sorts of medicine and techniques without much success.  :-[

According to one site, achalasia is "chronic spasms of the esophagus due to a stricture at the lower end of the esophagus."  It's a condition in which the muscles are overactive.
I would refine this definition a bit to say that it's a hyperactivity of the lower esophageal sphincter.  A person may simultaneously have a hypoactive (underactive) esophagus, which indicates a lack of peristalsis; the involuntary muscle movements of the smooth muscle lining of the esophagus which moves food down to the stomach.  

For a successful swallow, you have to have both the peristalsis and a simultaneous relaxation of the lower sphincter of the esophagus. 
Quote
http://www.medicinenet.com/achalasia/page2.htm "In achalasia there is an inability of the lower sphincter to relax and open to let food pass into the stomach. In at least half of the patients, the lower sphincter resting pressure (the pressure in the lower sphincter when the patient is not swallowing) also is abnormally high. In addition to the abnormalities of the lower sphincter, the muscle of the lower half of the esophagus does not contract normally, that is, peristaltic waves do not occur, and, therefore, food and saliva are not propelled down the esophagus and into the stomach.
  To the medical world, the cause is unknown.

I did some research on the smooth muscles, which line and power the esophagus, digestive system, hollow organs, the arteries...they regulate the blood pressure (fascinating!), and even the irises of the eyes.  Smooth muscles are triggered by calcium entering the cell and a complex enzymatic process takes place that makes the muscles contract.  The muscles relax when the calcium leaves the cell. sources: http://health.howstuffworks.com/muscle4.htm ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smooth_muscle

Since medical science is pretty mum on causes, I turned to homeopathic sources to look for causes or herbal remedies for achalasia.  http://www.marysherbs.com/anatomy/anat-eso.shtml  This site gives some good ideas for supplements to help this condition including herbs, minerals and vitamins.  It's a bit vague IMO, as it's a general 'herbal' site that doesn't specialize in achalasia, but it's a start none the less.

Since the sites that I found that discuss the contraction process of the smooth muscles state that calcium is the 'chemical' that causes them to respond, I would strongly suspect that a mineral defficiency or imbalance is at work here on some level. 

Which leads me to my soap box on sugar.  Processed sugars are stripped of their mineral content.  The minerals were a part of the plant/natural sugar (put there on purpose by God) because they are needed by the body to metabolize the sugars.  A processed sugar still 'needs' those minerals, and will rob the body of it's mineral stores during digestion.  So eating and drinking a bunch of sweets, IMO, will only aggrevate the condition.  Our American diet is so saturated with processed sugars, and years of abuse to our bodies can cause all sorts of neurological short circuits.  Here is a good article on sugar:
http://www.wholebodymed.com/library_education_details.php?pid=70 

The byproduct of refined sugar is the 'waste product' called blackstrap molasses...and that's where all the good minerals end up.  This page shows you what minerals are in the blackstrap molasses...all the good stuff originally found in the sugar cane: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=118
I have started crystalized cane juice, which still has (some of) the natural minerals in tact.  It is pretty much the exact same to use in the kitchen...it's just a cream color with a very faint fruity scent to it.  As far as plant based foods, generally, the closer you can get to the raw, original 'God made' forms of food, the more nutritious it is. (With exceptions being made for some nuts and grains which are high in phytates and benefit from soaking).

As far as bumping up his nutrition, I would suggest a good liquid multi to start.  We like the NOW brand Iron Free Liquid Multivitamin.  It comes in berry or orange flavor.  My kids like it and enjoy taking it.  It's sweetened with Xylitol instead of sugar.

I did find a site that claims to have an 'all natural guaranteed herbal remedy' for achalasia.  They listed the ingredients in latin or french or something, but I translated for you. ;) They obviously don't give proportions, but it consists of:
anise oil
caraway oil
eucalyptus oil
pine oil
camphor
menthol
thymol (a substance found in the Bee Balm/Monarda Didymus family of herbs...an antifungal/antiseptic and relaxant)
and ginger tincture.

An interesting blend of stimulants and relaxants.  They claim a money back guarantee (achlotab)...who knows.   I would definitely look into researching these ingredients more and maybe including them in his diet if possible, or maybe even as an inhalent.

And finally, here is a page full of breakfast drink ideas.  I think any one of these, coupled with the liquid multi that I recommended and your good milk would do the trick to get him off of the ensure.  Homemade would inevitably be better nutritionally as well as cheaper than commercial preparations.  Having a big variety of flavors is also a great thing if he'll be drinking them often and may get bored with only one flavor.

http://www.mrbreakfast.com/subcategory.asp?subcategoryid=14&categoryid=4

« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 07:18:57 PM by hi_itsgwen »
Come see me at www.gwens-nest.com
♥ Check out our family favorite recipes, funny kid stories, natural remedies and other creative and fun stuff.

Offline HapEMom

  • Learning
  • Posts: 40
    • Better is Little
Re: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 12:11:21 AM »
Thank you for the detailed response...We've tried several herbal mixtures in the form of tea and while some seemed to help I am thinking it was more the warmth of the tea that was doing the trick...But we are still interested in pursuing that direction to a degree.

My husband's achalasia was brought on we believe by trauma to the esophagus area or perhaps a nerve was damaged during a surgery he had to "cure" acid reflux. He's had major problems ever since day 1 of his surgery.
He had what they call a Nissen Fundoplication, a procedure they can do lapriscopically that wraps the upper portion of your stomach around your esophagus to prevent acid reflux from coming up & in his case was also to fix a hiatle hernia.
After losing 100 lbs in the aftermath of this surgery, we consulted with another Dr. who advised that we have the fundoplication undone in hopes of curing the achalasia. So in he went for a full cut 'em open surgery in which they unstapled his stomach and for 2 weeks eating was better (compared to pre 2nd surgery, still not like before the 1st surgery). But 2 weeks to the day he closed back up and the achalasia returned worse than ever. He was vomiting the contents of his esophagus at nearly every meal and he lost more weight. We've tried dialations, which seem to help for a short while and the Drs have prescribed a few drugs in hopes that would help, but the side effects are less than desirable.
We sort of just manage it at this point, give him the time he needs to eat. He still occasionally regurgitates if he tries too eat too quickly & some days are just worse than others...his surroundings while he eats is also important...If he is nervous and there is a lot of activity and stress you can almost gurantee he won't get any food down?
There is so much more to the story but this the highlights and may help you in your research?
As to the Ensure drink, a friend recommended we mix 1 raw fresh egg with our raw milk and blackstrap molasses. He likes the taste and so we'll go with that.
Thank you!
And if you find anything else on the subject, I would be interested in seeing it. I've done hours of research and treid many things suggested but have come to the conclusion that there really isn't much you can do.
Amanda
P.S. Your suggestion of eating raw veggies and fruit is great and I stress over the fact that he's not getting near enough of that in his diet. But of all the foods raw is the absolute hardest to get down. Something about the roughage/fiber perhaps?
Be blessed!


<><   <><   <><   <><   <><   <><

Job 23:10  But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Offline seekingtruth

  • Adept
  • Posts: 297
Re: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 04:55:33 AM »
I have been thinking about your husband and family since you posted.  And then after hearing more details.....too many emotions to even begin.   But I do believe there is hope and that his body can heal.  But it takes work and making changes.

 I would recommend studying the teachings of Dr. Richard Schulze.  He spent decades in clinical practice saving peoples lives- people that western medicine had given up on.  He also studied under some of the greatest natural healers of the last century (like Dr. Christopher).

 His methods are really quite simple, inexpensive, and work towards correcting the source of the malfunctions and supporting the body's ability to heal.  Much of medicine has been reduced to treating symptoms without ever looking at the root cause of the problems- even natural healing methods have been reduced to treating the symptoms and not the cause. (For instance, if the original cause of your husband's acid reflux had been dealt with initially, then he would not be in this position in the first place.)

I have spent a few years learning about natural health, healing, herbs, etc.  and I have never come across more powerful and empowering information.  I am actually studying to become a herbalist and natural healer- not that I think I have any ability to heal, but that God created our bodies to heal themselves when we use the tools and wisdom He has given us.  So I just want to be able to share that knowledge with others.  I only say this to let you know where I am coming from.  I am so tired of hearing the horror stories of what "modern medicine" is doing to people.  I still have much to learn, so I am grateful for the brave souls that are willing to fight to help people get well and then share their knowledge with the rest of us so that we may build on their foundation.

Specifically-
*I would look into the incurables program.
*Get a juicer (like a champion) and get some good nutrition into him.
*Make or buy Dr. Schulze's lobelia tincture.  This can help to relax his         esophagus and allow him to eat.
*If it is a nerve problem- Dr. Schulze has a nerve restorative formula here- http://healingtools.tripod.com/nrvtncs.html

More information about steps to take can be found here- http://healingtools.tripod.com/nrvtncs.html

You can buy his products at www.herbdoc.com  ,but they are not cheap (he makes sure his products are of the best quality) or he teaches you how to make them yourself for a lot less.  So he isn't just trying to sell something.  He offers his products because there are those that would rather just buy them, but he also tells you how to do it yourself!  And what you make yourself is better than anything you can buy. 

It is time to go am take care of my family, but I just felt like I needed to post and share with you a source of information to help your husband HEAL !

Tammy

Offline hi_itsgwen

  • Master
  • Posts: 1428
    • Gwen's Nest
Re: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 10:29:26 AM »
Hi Amanda,

Thank you for the background information on your hubby.  It's very helpful to me in my research, as well as to others who may be considering surgical options.  I'm so sorry for the rough road that you guys have with this.

I've been continuing research about achalasia, and I told my husband last night that it looks more related to a nervous/neuralogical cause than dietary.  But since your original post was about nutrition, I went in that direction first.  And I do believe that nutrition is a very valid concern that you have with keeping on weight and getting enough nutrition.  The suggestion for juicing is great, as well as an egg in his milkshakes. ;)  I know athletes will often use special drinks to bulk up, so that may be another direction you want to look at for ideas of nutrition drink recipes.  (as far as homemade versions with raw food ingredients...not the engineered vita-biz drinks).

I recently read some really good articles on the hiatall hernia thread.  http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,15630.0.html
I'm going to re-read those with achalasia in mind.  I did find a great website that shows how intricate the lower part of the esophagus is.  http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,23605.msg224967.html#msg224967

The sphincter is woven in with the stomach and the diaphragm.  The diaphragm and the lower esophageal sphincter have to work in unison for the food to pass into the stomach.  Both are tightly closed normally in a human, until a swallow triggers them to open.  What was interesting to me is that the doctors who study that area can't really tell much from cadaver study, as both sphincters are completely relaxed in a cadaver.  So they don't know much about how these work in real life, except for barium swallow and other imaging type technology.
And also interesting was the author's focus on using information with a focus on finding better surgical and drug treatments.  (hmmm.)

I'd defintely recommend digging around on the hiatal hernia thread above...there are some good links, and it's a pretty short thread.
Come see me at www.gwens-nest.com
♥ Check out our family favorite recipes, funny kid stories, natural remedies and other creative and fun stuff.

Offline Greener

  • Wide Eyed
  • Posts: 1
Re: Achalasia & a homemade Ensure drink?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 08:18:41 AM »
I was diagnosed as a sufferer of achalasia in 1999 and have had two operations along with many other procedures!!!!
The best advice I can give that to be perfectly honest I use myself is to eat little and often and avoid any stress which I've recently found out can exacerbate the condition greatly!!
If you need any other information then please don't hesitate to contact me at nickgreenwessex at yahoo.co.uk and that goes for anyone reading this post just head the e-mail with achalasia and I will respond in due course

Hope this helps


Kind regards to all 'A' sufferers

Nick
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 05:05:30 PM by boysmama »