Top 5 Causes of Bloating- your guide to beating the bloat

Top 5 Causes of Bloating- your guide to ‘Beating the Bloat’


Do you experience bloating on a daily basis? Does your belly look and feel 20 weeks pregnant? Have you even had to discretely undo the top button of your pants after dinner? Or do you settle with wearing loose fitting clothing when you go out “just incase you look bloated”? 1 in 5 healthy individuals experience bloating, and although 60% of us consider it our most bothersome symptom majority don’t seek professional help, and those who do see a doctor are often left without answers or a solution after sinister pathological conditions are ruled out (1). It is likely that bloating is affecting the quality of life for 50% of people reading this article (2). If this sounds like you or someone your know, ‘go with your gut’, and find out what the top 5 causes of your bloating might be.



  1. Poor digestion


Optimal digestion is the first step to preventing gastrointestinal upset. This involves proper ingestion, mechanical breakdown and chemical breakdown of food. The action of mastication, crushing and grinding of food with your teeth increases the surface area of food so that enzymes can more efficiently break it down in the gut. The action of chewing also stimulates the release of saliva and other acidic digestive juices. We recommend patient’s to chew their food up to 28 times before swallowing, and to eat slowly and mindfully by putting their cutlery down between each mouthful and taking note of the texture and taste of their food as they eat. The correct amount of stomach acid is essential for the breakdown & digestion of macronutrients, particularly protein. Hypochlorhydria is a condition of low stomach acid caused by age, stress, and the use of medications such as antacids and the oral contraceptive pill (2). If you suffer from reflux, heart burn, burping and bloating antacid drugs can be harmful long term and rather than resolve, they may worsen symptoms. Hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes are supplements that help restore pH and enzyme deficiencies. Bitters such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, gentian and dandelion stimulate the release of digestive juices and enzymes from salivary glands, the pancreas, liver and gallbladder. Our naturopaths also offer Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) testing which can identify undigested food, levels of pancreatic enzymes, and markers for low stomach acid in patients.


  1. Leaky gut

Intestinal hyperpermeability, also known as leaky gut, is a common cause of bloating (2). In year 2000 an Italian scientist call Alessio Fasano discovered that gluten can increase levels of a protein called zonulin in some individuals (3). Increased levels of zonulin triggers tight junctions between intestinal cells to loosen and open like gates, allowing undigested food, toxins and pathogens to leak into the blood stream (3). This puts a huge strain on the immune system and can result in allergies, intolerances and neurotoxicity. Our practitioners can test zonulin levels in patients to determine degree of leakiness, and we often prescribe glutamine, vitamin A and zinc to repair the intestinal lining. Eliminating gluten is also important to resolve intestinal hyperpermeability.


  1. Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis is a fancy name for bacterial imbalance and can cause bloating in many ways. Undigested food can be fermented by bacteria in our intestines, the by-product of fermentation is the production of methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide gases that fill and distend the intestines directly and immediately causing bloating, abdominal distension and visceral pain (2). Approximately 70% of our bacteria is found in the large intestine, however in some people our healthy bacteria migrates to the small intestine causing symptoms similar to IBS called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). To prevent and treat dysbiosis, gastrointestinal infections and SIBO it is important to choose the correct strain of probiotic for your symptoms. Studies have shown a strain called Lactobacillus plantarum 299v to reduce the severity and frequency of bloating and abdominal pain from three times daily to once daily in just 4 weeks (5). Clinically we find this probiotic to be very effective for treating bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, you can find Lactobacillus plantarum 299v in our store and in practitioner-only products (5). Fibre and fermented foods also support the diversity of healthy bugs.


  1. Infections

Dysbiosis also leaves our bodies vulnerable to infections. Antibiotics are the forth most commonly prescribed drug in Australia however they don’t just eradicate the harmful bacterial infection you have, but also kill all of your beneficial bacteria (4). This leaves us susceptible to “opportunistic” and pathogenic infections that now have space to colonise and invade the body now that we have a lower number of healthy bacteria. don’t come without side effects. Candida, Helicobacter pylori, and Blastocystis hominis are common yeast, bacterial and parasitic infections that cause bloating and gastrointestinal upset. A CDSA test can detect at least 20 different pathogenic bacterial, yeast or parasitic infections, and determine what drug and herbal medicine will be the most effective treatment.


  1. Allergies & Intolerances

Food allergies and food intolerances are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. Allergies and intolerances begin when the immune system mistakes certain foods as a pathogenic invaders that could harm to the body, like a virus or bacteria. So it calls upon white blood cells like soldiers in a war, and mounts an attack resulting in inflammation, cellular damage and a range of symptoms from bloating, rashes, and bowel irregularities to life threatening anaphylaxis. The immune system can even misidentify it’s own intestinal cells as foreign and start attacking itself, this is known as coeliac disease and is triggered by gluten (3). Food allergies and intolerances can be identified through elimination diets such as the low FODMAP diet with our naturopaths, or allergy testing can be another effective method. Studies show when patients indefinitely eliminate foods they are more likely to develop allergies or intolerance to even more food types. Our naturopaths aim to enable our patients to tolerate problematic foods again, by firstly regulating the immune response and healing the gut, then reintroducing the problematic food to a tolerable dose. Chinese mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake mushroom can regulate the immune system, and albizia, quercetin (apples) and bromelain (pineapple) can reduce inflammation and allergy symptoms (6,7).


In conclusion, the culprit for your bloating could be one or a combination of all five of these causes. If you suffer from bloating, don’t just put up with it, and come see our staff or make an appointment with Des Lardner, herbalist or one of the naturopaths, Emily Grieger or Ebony Jordan to discuss the right treatment for you.




  1. Lovino, P et al. 2014, ‘Bloating and functional gastro-intestinal disorders’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20, no. 39, pp. 14407–14419, <>
  2. Foley, A et al. 2014, ‘Managing Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension’, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 10, no. 9, pp. 561-571, <>
  3. Fasano, A 2013, ‘Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions and autoimmune diseases’, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, <>
  4. Australian Statistics on Medicines 2015 <>
  5. Ducrotte, P, Sawant, P & Jayanthi, V 2012, ‘Clinical trial: Lactobacillus planetarium 299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, 18, no. 30, pp. 4012-4018, <>.
  6. Wachtel-Galor 2011, ‘Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom’, Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, <>.
  7. Singh, A, Kumar, S & Vinayak, M 2018, ‘Recent development in antihyperalhesic effect of phytochemicals: anti-inflammatory and neuro-modulators actions’, Inflammation Research, <>.


Are You Suffering from Arthritis?

Arthritis is a biochemically complex and mystifying disease, which has a long history with mankind, but now has a disturbing trend of dramatically increasing occurrence. Now we can say 1 in 10 Australians are affected, and we are fast moving to the USA level where 1 in 5 of the population are affected. (1) The most common arthritis is osteo-arthritis, the subject of this blog.

I can report some good improvements with arthritis, where patients follow some key rules. Firstly follow an alkaline diet, a daily bowl of beef bone broth, a minimum of 5 anti-inflammatory herbs, 600ml of vegetable juice a day, and take a therapeutic dose of fish oil, for a minimum of 3 months. Prof Rudolph Weiss of Germany makes this clear in his textbook “Herbal Medicine”; “anyone treating arthritis for less than 3 months and with less than 5 herbs is wasting their time” he says. Note that anti-inflammatory drugs, as tablets or creams, and called NSAIDs now available in Coles and Woolworths are not mentioned. Health authorities showed recently (2) that these worsen arthritis in the long term, though they are pain relieving, they are certainly dangerous long term, and best avoided.(3)

In early arthritis a practical treatment I have found is the product Glucosaplex ® formulated by Prof Denis Stewart of Newcastle. This contains 7 traditional natural ingredients for inflammation, from quercetin (apples), bromelain (pineapple), turmeric, green lipped muscle, Vitamin C, Glucosamine and Chondroitin (4) (these 2 together known as beef broth). By taking a range of safe, natural anti-inflammatories like these you greatly increase your chance of successful treatment, and long term improvement. For more severe cases you will need 5 extra herbs as Prof Weiss mentions, from 100’s which are available, these include Boswellia (Frankisense), Guiacum and Willow Bark which our naturopaths can supply in liquid or tablets. For more severe cases joint replacement by a surgeon (Charnley’s operation), is an increasingly used option, but early intervention is much better, and will save you years of worsening agony. Fish oil or fish diets are very safe and effective pain relievers. A therapeutic dose will be about 12 supermarket fish oil capsules, daily, or 4ml of concentrate a day which you can get from Des Lardner’s Organic. This gives 2.7 gm of omega 3 ingredients daily. Always take fish oil, before food to avoid side-effects. Traditional heat rubs are great for arthritis and often circulation improvers such as “Flavoblend” ® are needed too. Several home remedies will ease arthritis and with alkaline diets will be found on the internet and from our staff.

Make an appointment with either Des Lardner, herbalist or one of the naturopaths,  Emily Grieger or Ebony Jordan to discuss the right treatment for your arthritis.


  2. A meta-analysis and systematic review of 23 clinical trials including more than 10,000 patients found that “NSAIDs as a whole* were ineffective for long-term pain relief in osteoarthritis of the knee” 1*(including selective COX-2 inhibitors) Bjordal JM, Ljunggren AE, Klovning A et al. BMJ 2004; 329: 1317-1322
  3. NEJM estimated 103,000 patients per year hospitalised in USA, plus 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occurred every year in the United States. Wolfe M, Lichtenstein D, Singh G. NEJM 1999; 340: 1888
  4. GAIT trial showed improvement, with this combination, but noted that the low cost of the trial ($12.5 million!!) prohibited better results. Sawitzke AD, Shi H, Finco MF, et al. The effect of glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate on the progression of knee osteoarthritis: a report from the glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial. Arthritis Rheum 2008;58:3183–91.

Have you heard about a sleep condition called Sleep Apnoea?

The new 21st century disease called Sleep Apnoea…… do you have it?

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and snoring are increasingly common conditions reducing sleep quality. Patients with OSA have partial or complete obstruction of the throat, also known as the “pharynx” during sleep. Sleep is obstructed as a result, and snoring commonly occurs too. These episodes of obstruction may happen many times, sometimes hundreds of times overnight, leading to severe health problems if untreated. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most effective way to treat sleep apnoea. If you suspect you have this condition talk to your doctor about referral to a Sleep Specialist who may give you a test for OSA and offer a range of treatment choices. CPAP may be one of these, and it also treats snoring, but weight loss, cutting down on alcohol and better pillows will also help.

Getting enough sleep is just as important as other vital elements of good health like a healthy diet and exercise. In short, sleep is not a luxury but a basic component of a healthy lifestyle. Dr Maree Barnes of the Institute for Breathing and Sleep Austin Hospital, Melbourne states “on a societal level, inadequate or poor sleep is a significant financial cost to our community. Sleep disorders cost the Australian economy more than $5.1 billion each year in healthcare and indirect costs. Reduction in life quality caused by sleep disorders in Australia has a further cost equivalent of $31.4 billion per year.

For more information about sleep we recommend that you visit this site:



Are Your Legs giving you the Creepy, Crawlies?


Restless legs is another reason for insomnia, this occurs when you just can’t find a comfortable position in bed, it may also include symptoms such as tickling, prickling, burning or aching sensations, especially in the lower legs, which may cause the legs to twitch or jerk.

It is more common in older people, smokers and if the muscles are over-exerted and fatigued, particularly in cold and damp weather. It is also found during pregnancy where the commonest cause is iron deficiency. Restless legs can be the result of diabetes, vitamin B deficiency, excess caffeine, drug withdrawal, drug side-effect or food allergy. Magnesium deficiency is a possible cause and also poor circulation can be a cause as generally herbs and nutrients which increase circulation (such as Vitamin C, E, rutin, quercetin, bioflavonoids, ginkgo and the famous herb combination of horse-chestnut and butcher’s broom in Mediherb’s Horse-chestnut complex) all seem to help treat restless legs successfully.

However it’s best to see a health professional first to discuss the cause of the condition. Don’t forget to have a list of your medicines with you, as for example, a group of drugs for gastric ulcer, has been shown to cause magnesium and B12 deficiency, amongst other side-effects, and this could lead to restless legs syndrome.

Up to 20 years ago high dose Quinine was the drug most often used, by doctors, but it is now thought to be dangerous and is not recommended. Tonic water available from the supermarket, which contains a tiny dose of quinine, taken before bed, is sometimes effective, but talk to your health professional first.  Modern medicine has not yet identified the exact cause of this condition, but it has been shown that a new drug for Parkinson’s disease, trade named Sifrol, is often helpful. In my opinion however drugs should be reserved for severe cases where simple over the counter treatment or treatment from our herbalists is ineffective.

Self-help measures for Cramps: Stretch the muscles and massage them to increase the blood supply. Raise the foot of the bed about 10 cm (4 in). Take extra magnesium, preferably in a non–irritant formula just before bed. Brands such as Health World Mega Magnesium powder or Sandra Cabot’s Magnesium tablets are good as these don’t have laxative side-effects, common with some magnesium supplements. If you’re not taking any medicines you could try Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) or vitamin E or the circulation improving powder Flavoblend.

Self-help measures for Restless legs. Wear warm socks in bed or use a hot water bottle. Make sure your diet contains enough folic acid and vitamin E, and take extra iron and vitamin B complex including B12 Also try magnesium, evening primrose oil and ginkgo. Cut out caffeine (tea, coffee and cola drinks). If you’re taking medicines then a good over the counter treatment which doesn’t interact with any medicines is Martin and Pleasant Restless Leg Syndrome spray. These are homoeopathic drops, sprayed under the tongue before bed, which help certain forms of leg troubles. Modern medicine tends to laugh at homoeopathic medicines, because they were popular almost 200 years ago, however I have exactly the opposite view, as a result of using the products and extensive study which lead me to an advanced diploma in homoeopathy back in 2005. These are harmless, tasteless, don’t interact with your medicines, and are under $20. What could be better?

Des Lardner



All content found on the website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.




Sleep relief, without drugs.

Sleep relief, without drugs.

Sleep remedies, old wives tales or the holy grail to snoozing? Last week we touched base on some of the conditions impacting on a good restful night sleep.  So where do we start? If you believe that you are suffering from the symptoms mentioned in last weeks blog a visit to your doctor or pharmacist to request a sleep hygiene advice sheet is a good start! So let us look at actions you can take right away.

What is your routine like? Keep a strict sleep routine. Always sleep in a quiet and totally dark room without artificial white-blue light, especially radio, phone or computer screens. If you need a night light, use a salt lamp with a red light bulb as this mimics the fire-light colour spectrum which does not affect the natural production of the sleep hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for our internal circadian rhythms and the release of it can be impacted by natural light. For example, according to the Lighting Research Centre the “blue” light emitted by computers, smartphones and tech tablets can be disruptive to melatonin production. So turn off the tech people particularly before going to bed.


Spend at least 30 minutes each day outside in natural sunlight to reset your body clock. Natural sunlight, first thing in the morning stimulates cortisol production which helps you wake up as nature intended, but research also suggests we need some sunlight throughout the day too, to produce Vitamin D and fire up our immune system.


Learn relaxation techniques to manage stress. Ask our staff for a Relaxation Fact Sheet or our naturopaths can teach you progressive muscle relaxation at a consultation, and follow up with a wonderful CD on the technique. Our naturopaths also suggest you make a list of your stressors, worries and troubles during the day and write out a timeline for resolving them. That way you won’t take your worries to bed with you.  Taking worries to bed is a pointless exercise, as any great solutions you dream up will be forgotten by morning!


Limit alcohol and caffeine at night.


Have a calming bedtime routine such as a warm bath or shower, some peaceful music, slow deep breathing or a warm milk drink just prior to bed.


A Sleep diary can be downloaded at and taken to you doctor when you fill it in over a week or two.


An individualized herb mixture from a herbalist is often effective. Herbs can interact with modern medicine so bring your medication list when visiting our herbalists. Herbs we often use include withania, zizyphus, valerian, skullcap, Kava, lemon balm and lavender.  There’s lots of herbs but the ideal ones for you are best worked out at a consultation.


The sleep hormone Melatonin can be prescribed by a doctor. Des suggests the liquid Melatonin drops, taken under the tongue,  is often the most effective dose form for Melatonin, as these are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, whereas slow release tablets must undergo “first pass” metabolism in the stomach and liver before they can work, which means a larger dose is possibly needed for tablets to be effective. We can send information to your doctor.

For an appointment with one of our naturopaths to check your sleep health, please  phone us on 53827766.


Look out for next weeks article on: Are your legs giving you the creepy crawlies!

All content found on the website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.





“To sleep, perchance to dream” wishes Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

We all crave restful sleep, but not everyone achieves this. Recent research suggests sleep

has immense repair value to us all. The Sleep Health Foundation suggests 33-45% of

adults sleep is affected. Conversely, poor sleep has a role in increasing blood pressure,

increasing blood sugar, increasing body weight by changing certain hormones,

increasing cardiac risk factors, and reducing daytime energy, researchers even suggest

many major disasters were linked to lack of sleep including the Exxon Valdez oil spill,

the Chenobyl nuclear disaster and Challenger spaceship explosion of 1986.

A complex phenomena, sleep disorders plague many and can  include insomnia, obstructive sleep apnoea, snoring, restless leg syndrome and sleep behaviour disorders, such as sleepwalking, night terrors and teeth grinding. Studies reveal that less than six hours of good old zzzzzzs can increase the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease!

Remedies are many and varied. The most effective way  to treat sleeping problems is to find and manage the cause.

So if you find yourself with unusually increased daytime sleepiness, drowsiness, poor decision making, decreased concentration and memory issues, it could be an indicator that you need your sleep assessed. Obstructive Sleep apnoea  (OSA) is another cause for sleep disturbance and includes the symptoms mentioned along with periods of breathing cessation and restlessness, snoring is a good indicator this may be going on!

The most perplexing sleep disorder impacting thousands of Australians is insomnia. According to the Sleep Study done by the Sleep Health Foundation in 2016, 45% of adults are affected by a sleep disorder, with diagnosed sleep apnoea affecting 8%, significant insomnia 20% and restless legs 18% of adults.                    


In our practise at Lardner’s Organic, we belief in preventative medicine and a proactive approach, spending many decades researching and validating remedies and natural medicines to help treat sleeping disorders. Every day we are seeing clients have incredibly positive results when they take an active approach in sleep health. So we have put together a series of articles over the next few weeks to inform, assist and inspire our loyal readers! Our team lead by Des is passionate about service to others and helping health restoration, so what better way than to chat about a problem impacting so many.

Next week we look at simple remedies that you can consider to help kick-start a better night’s sleep.




All content found on the website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


The Value of Water

`Whilst I write our Wimmera river and the surrounding paddocks are full of water. Some sports fields and some farmers are disappointed, but we should never be complacent about water and our human need for it. It may make Winter and now our Spring miserable, but none of us should doubt the value of water.

The list of health benefits for water is impressive. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, dissolves minerals, makes them accessible, and prevents constipation.  The correct hydration level protect the body organs and tissues, and moistens membranes of the lungs, eyes, nose and mouth. The body is 2/3 water and the brain slightly more.  A recent study showed that as little as 1% dehydration impairs concentration, memory and alertness. For diabetics, or the overweight, water is the drink of choice as it contains no calories. Next time you feel hungry reach for a glass of water instead of food.

Yarriambiack Council have wisely been encouraging locals to reduce soft drinks consumption. All shires should follow suit. I agree that soft drink is the worst thing you can put in your body. It’s acid (often around pH 2.7), contains phosphates which can leach Magnesium and Calcium from body, contains up  to 17 teaspoonsful of sugar (empty Calories) and even in diet drinks often contains aspartame, linked to depression and insomnia. If you’re drinking much fizzy soda water or soft drinks consider plain water instead, or even better herbal teas as a substitute. My favourite herbal drink is green tea the leaves are up to 15% dry weight of organic bound minerals, one of the most mineral-rich (and thus alkaline) plants known.

Water is nature (that is water is puddles, rivers and wetlands) is always alkaline, because of the ground water minerals that naturally leak into it. We can no longer recommend Horsham’s water; so where can you find a healthy substitute ? Well, certain commercial products come close, or in the case of Zazen purified water, may even be better. Zazen is a commercial filtering system for your tap water. It removes all the chemicals and bacteria, but adds alkaline minerals from mineral rich stones, that come with the kit. Our organic store sells Zazen water filters and accesories. Come in and get a leaflet or call the store for more information. They are healthier and cheaper to run than home delivered or supermarket bulk water.

The Benefit of Using an All Natural, Australian Made Cosmetic

Are you using the right makeup for your skin, lifestyle and philosophy? Recently, there has been a drive from cosmetic companies to ensure the ingredients comprised of and the cosmetics themselves actually benefit the skin.

Mineral Cosmetics has been the industry ‘buzz’ word for the past few years with traditional cosmetic companies adding their own version of the Mineral Foundation to their ranges. However have you checked the ingredients?

True Mineral Foundations are made up entirely of minerals, which when pulped, become a silk-like powder consisting of Mica, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide and Iron Oxides.

These Minerals, by nature, scatter light, so light is deflected from the skin rather than be absorbed by it; this reduces the appearance of fine lines, larger pores and ‘Gods Flaws’, all the while offering excellent sun protection.

As well as, mineral cosmetics are also anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, non-comedogenic and water-resistant! Here are some ingredients to avoid when choosing Mineral Foundation include Clay (sometimes disguised as ‘Kaolin’), which can dry the skin, or Bismuth Oxychloride, which can irritate sensitive or inflamed skin and if it contains talc – we all know this ingredient is to be avoided.

The cosmetic makeup, Visible Effects use Z-Cote uncoated Zinc which is standard by which all Zinc’s are graded, some companies use lower grades of Zinc Oxide to save money but these grades can often allow sun damage and the true excellence of Mineral Foundation is the natural built- in Sun Protection offered by the addition Zinc to the formulation.

Choose Mineral Cosmetics – Your skin will love you for it!