Last week an article caught my eye about how some heartburn drugs carry a higher risk of heart attack. That caught my attention because I used to be on Acid Reflux meds. If you are unfamiliar with my story or how I got where I am today please click here
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Prior to going Gluten Free, changing my eating habits, and turning to natural solutions I had acid reflux to the point of sometimes ending up in the E.R. I was on Acid Reflux Meds, and my doctor told me that I would probably be on those for the rest of my life. But I just felt that there had to be a better solution. So I started researching and learning about more natural effective methods for treating my acid reflux, and I also learned that those meds can have harmful effects on your body.
PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) and antacids that are used to treat Acid Reflux & GERD are not the answer because you should be treating the cause and not the symptoms. These medications reduce or neutralize the stomach acid. These medications are known to cause loss of calcium in your bones which could lead to increase risk of osteoporosis, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, and over time can cause abnormal behavior in your GI Tract. I don’t know about you, but I know that I don’t want to be putting that kind of stuff in my body!
The good news is there are some very effective natural methods and treatments that can help you manage your Acid Reflux. But first, I think we need to look at what causes Heartburn/Acid Reflux.
What Causes Heartburn/Acid Reflux
Most doctors will tell you that Acid Reflux or GERD is caused by too much stomach acid. But research shows that heartburn is caused by low stomach acid.
There are 2 valves found in your stomach where food enters and exits. The in valve (lower esophageal sphincter) and the out valve (pyloric sphincter). When you swallow your food it passes through the in valve and enters the stomach where the stomach acid is released, as well as other enzymes to help break down proteins. The food is processed in the stomach with the acid and enzymes until it reaches a a low enough pH that it moves to the out valve to continue the digestive process. But if you aren’t producing enough stomach acid, the food will churn for longer and remain in the stomach for hours until it reaches a low enough pH to pass through the out valve. As the food is processing in your stomach, the pH isn’t lowering as much as it should and the in valve loosens allowing some of the contents to splash up into the esophagus causing heartburn.
Having low stomach acid can also lead to other health issues such as hormone problems, bloating, thinning hair, gas, and constipation. About 90% of people who suffer from heartburn have low stomach acid.
What Are Some Effective Methods For Treating Acid Reflux?
When I started implementing these naturally effective treatments, I noticed a big difference and I started feeling more alive. The best thing is I was able to get off those heartburn meds, and I haven’t had a major acid reflux flair up in 6 years!
Most of the methods/remedies that I am sharing are some that have helped me. But I am also listing some that I have heard great things about but have never tried.
Chew Your Food Completely – This won’t change your stomach acid, but it will help your stomach to process your food better.
Remove Gluten/Grain Products, Refined Foods, and other Gut Irritants From Your Diet – Consuming foods that are difficult to digest will cause a breakdown in your digestive process. These kinds of foods will feed the bad bacteria in your gut causing disruption of digestion. Other things that can disrupt your digestions are dairy, alcohol, antibiotics, and NSAID drugs.
Avoid Laying Down After Eating – It is best to sit up and digest your food after eating. Avoid laying down for at least 3 hours after eating. This also is the same for meals as well.
Use Natural Digestive Supplements – I have tried many different natural digestive supplements/aids over the years. Some have worked, some didn’t. There are at least 3 digestive aids that I try to include into my daily regimen. Sometimes I rotate and use a couple of these at a time.
- Probiotics – You can get your daily dose of probiotics from probiotic rich foods or take a probiotic supplement. My favorite probiotic is Florajen. Probiotics are also great for the immune system.
- Digestive Enzymes – Enzymes are essential for making everything in our bodies run smoothly, including digestion. There are 2 types of digestive enzymes. Pancreatic Enzymes and individual enzyme combinations. Please note that when including digestive enzymes as part of your diet, that enzymes are sensitive to heat and also the acidic environment of the stomach, so it is best to take them before or after a meal. My favorite digestive enzyme is Papaya Enzymes.
- Turmeric – I use turmeric on a regular basis in some of my recipes and when I cook. So this is a common staple at my house. Turmeric helps stimulate digestion and helps to prevent acid build up. You can also find turmeric in capsule form if you wish not to use turmeric in your cooking.
Visit Your Chiropractor Regularly – This is one of the first routes I took when I was looking for more effective ways to treat my acid reflux. To some this might seem strange, but chiropractic care and routine adjustments can help by specifically targeting the spine’s nerves that directly support the stomach’s valve. There are also other great benefits for regular chiropractic adjustments. Just make sure your chiropractor of choice is knowledgable in the area of digestion, and also do your research when it comes to finding a chiropractor.
Other Methods/Natural Remedies for Treating Digestive Issues
These are just some other remedies that I am familiar with but haven’t tried that are worth looking into.
Fennel Tea – Teas that are made from fennel, anise, or caraway seed can ease heartburn. Just add 2 teaspoons to 1 cup of boiling water, let it steep for 10 minutes, and then drink up.
Slippery Elm – Slippery Elm soothes the entire digestive tract as it forms a soothing film over your digestive area. Just place a couple drops of Slippery Elm essential oil in an ounce of water and drink. You can also find this in capsule form.
Orange Peel Extract – Research shows that orange peel extract aids in the movement of food through the esophagus to the stomach, reducing the potential of heartburn to develop.
Bone Broth – Bone broth is healing to your gut and digestion because of the gelatin and collagen. It helps heal your digestive lining. It has been used as a medicinal food in China.
Digestive Bitters – Bitters help make your digestion work more efficiently by stimulating the enzymes and fluids that your body needs to digest food properly. I do not know a lot about bitters, but from the Google search that I conducted it looks like you can make your own.