Being a Police Officer or First Responder and having stomach issues is not a good mix.   

For many it starts with a bit of indigestion and gas.  Unfortunately for many, more time on the job means your digestive issues get worse.   It becomes difficult to focus and embarrassing when your stomach starts to grumble on a call, or while tending to a patient.

It’s impossible to focus

Your focus is taken away from the matters at hand as you start wondering how bad it’s going to get this time.   You avoided eating certain foods because of the payback, but obviously something you ate is affecting you. Then you start praying that your gas (that can clear a room) will stay at bay long enough for you to get  out in to open air. You start thinking of an exit plan in case you need to run to the washroom even though you know you can not leave. How many of you have had to use your sick leave because you can’t leave the bathroom.    

Stress and digestive issues are linked.   

Driving to work and putting on your uniform elicits a certain amount of stress as you mentally prepare for whatever may happen on shift.    Over time, the beginning stages of a digestive issue start creeping in which are often gas, indigestion or heartburn.

As soon as an officer tells me about severe digestive issues we track back to when it started or something that happened a year or so prior.  Not always, but quite often there was a significant stressor at that time. A case that really affected them and one that they still think of today.   

It may sound like a coincidence . . .

I know, this sounds like a coincidence. But for those of you who know me, you know that everything I teach and practice is all based on science.   So I am going to geek out for a second and explain why this happens.

There is a nerve that runs from your brain all the way through your body.  It’s called the Vagus nerve. This nerve is responsible for turning on and off your stress responses in your body.   

Battle Mode

When you are stressed a hormone is released that tells your body to prepare for battle.   This hormone sent to the vagus nerve sends strong signals to your blood to start pumping to your arms and legs so you have power and energy.   Meanwhile, organs that are not needed to fight such as stomach, colon, liver, kidneys are slowed down with less blood flow and nerve activity. Over time this causes a lot of digestive issues and imbalances. Food doesn’t break down as well as it needs to and  things stop flowing the way they should.

The off switch

A big part of my Shift Work Cure program is teaching ways to turn off your fight or flight system. Learning to stimulate that vagus nerve in order to turn on your rest and digest system.

If you want a quick start read how in this blog, Change Your Day From Overwhelm To Calm In 3 Minutes.

Digestive issues and other stress related symptoms –  Tired and wired, exhaustion, anger, anxiety, depression and more can all be reversed.  



The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.


Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle. Also known as The Elite Trainer for Police and First Responders, Andi is an expert in peak performance and how stress physically affects your body.

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Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.

Andi has a background in athletics including a 25+yr career as a personal trainer, nutrition and mindset coach to athletes and stressed out high end executives.

Being healthy and active was what she lived for. Until her body started waking absolutely exhausted, workouts become something to push through instead of enjoy. A short fuse crept in, motivation left and injuries seemed to be a part of life. All of this added up to the point that she had to stop all activity altogether.

Doctors, specialists and prescriptions were never able to fix the problem.

Once Andi realized she had a genetic stress condition that puts her body into an increased stress response state all the time (similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day) was she able to figure out what was happening and how to reverse it.

Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to thrive when your body is always functioning at higher than usual stress levels. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.

Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and a tanked immune system that she knew can result from high levels of stress that are out of your control.

As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.

Andi created 911 Lifestyle once she realized the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and First Responders so they can peak during crisis, recover quickly after, have energy left over for their families and become the Elite First Responders that they were born to be.