Gas is a healthy part of digestion, but there can also be such a thing as too much gas, especially if it’s interfering with your life. The average person passes gas seven to twenty times a day, with most of this being at night while you’re asleep. Throughout the day, air builds up in your digestive tract and it needs to find its way out of the body. This gas is made up of methane, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen.
There are a few potential reasons you may be passing a lot of gas. Some gas stems from seemingly harmless habits like eating too fast, not chewing properly, drinking carbonated drinks or chewing gum. Gas can also arise from a change in your diet. Increasing your fiber intake, which aids your digestive system, will sometimes lead to more gas since your body needs time to get used to this extra boost. Common high-fiber foods that cause gas include:
If neither of these causes apply to you, your gas could be a sign of an underlying digestive issue. Leaky gut , which is caused by bacteria and toxins leaking through your intestinal wall, and food sensitivities —most often to gluten or dairy—can have symptoms that include bloating and gas. There could also be a deeper issue at play, like small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), IBS, Celiac Disease or GERD.
Ultimately, everybody is different. Determine what’s normal for you and if you notice any changes, think about what you may be doing differently. Have you been eating more fiber? Drinking more sparkling water? Or getting so hungry that you scarf down your meals in minutes? Try to practice mindful eating to overcome these flare ups in your digestive system. If you’re still worried about the amount of gas you have or your gas is accompanied with other symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about possible underlying causes.
Jackie is the Director of Coaching Services at Parsley Health. She has over eight years of health coaching experience, both in person and virtually, in functional medicine settings. Before joining Parsley Health she worked for Dr. Frank Lipman in his NYC practice. She holds a Health Coaching Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as additional training from the School of Applied Functional Medicine.