- Acid reflux affects an estimated 50 percent of Americans. The hallmark symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn”—a burning sensation behind your breastbone that sometimes travels up your throat
- Acid reflux is not a disease caused by excessive acid production in your stomach; rather it’s a symptom more commonly related to hiatal hernia and/or Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
- The problem also typically results from having too little acid in your stomach, which is why proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) typically just perpetuate the problem, and make acid reflux worse
- The answer to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Eat lots of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods
- Make sure you’re getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet by regularly consuming fermented foods. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria naturally
Safe and Effective Strategies to Eliminate Heartburn and Acid Reflux
|1. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar||As mentioned earlier, acid reflux typically results from havingtoo little acid in your stomach.
You can easily improve the acid content of your stomach by taking one tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water.
|2. Betaine||Another option is to take a betaine hydrochloric supplement, which is available in health food stores without prescription. You’ll want to take as many as you need to get the slightest burning sensation and then decrease by one capsule. This will help your body to better digest your food, and will also help kill the H. pylori bacteria.|
|3. Baking soda||One-half to one full teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in an eight-ounce glass of water may ease the burn of acid reflux as it helps neutralize stomach acid. I would not recommend this as a regular solution but it can sure help in an emergency when you are in excruciating pain.|
|4. Aloe juice||The juice of the aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, which may ease symptoms of acid reflux. Drink about 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice before meals. If you want to avoid its laxative effect, look for a brand that has removed the laxative component.|
|5. Ginger root or chamomile tea||Ginger has been found to have a gastroprotective effect by blocking acid and suppressing helicobacter pylori. According to a 2007 study, it’s also far superior to lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ulcers, exhibiting six- to eight-fold greater potency over the drug! This is perhaps not all that surprising, considering the fact that ginger root has been traditionally used against gastric disturbances since ancient times.
Add two or three slices of fresh ginger root to two cups of hot water. Let steep for about half an hour. Drink about 20 minutes or so before your meal.
Before bed, try a cup of chamomile tea, which can help soothe stomach inflammation and help you sleep.
|6. Vitamin D||Vitamin D is important for addressing any infectious component. Once your vitamin D levels are optimized, you’re also going to optimize your production of about 200 antimicrobial peptides that will help your body eradicate anyinfection that shouldn’t be there.
As I’ve discussed in many previous articles, you can increase your vitamin D levels through appropriate amounts of sun exposure, or through the use of a safe tanning bed. If neither of those are available, you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement; just remember to also increase your vitamin K2 intake.
|7. Astaxanthin||This exceptionally potent antioxidant was found to reduce symptoms of acid reflux in patients when compared to a placebo, particularly in those with pronounced helicobacter pylori infection. Best results were obtained at a daily dose of 40 mg.|
|8. Slippery elm||Slippery elm coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, and contains antioxidants that can help address inflammatory bowel conditions. It also stimulates nerve endings in your gastrointestinal tract. This helps increase mucus secretion, which protects your gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity. The University of Maryland Medical Center makes the following adult dosing recommendations:
|9. Chinese herbs for the treatment of “Gu” symptoms caused by chronic inflammatory diseases||So-called “Gu” symptoms include digestive issues associated with inflammation and pathogenic infestation. For more information about classical herbs used in Chinese Medicine for the treatment of such symptoms, please see the article, “Treating Chronic Inflammatory Diseases with Chinese Herbs: ‘Gu Syndrome’ in Modern Clinical Practice,” published by the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine|
|10. Glutamine||Research published in 2009 found that gastrointestinal damage caused by H. pylori can be addressed with the amino acid glutamine, found in many foods, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, and some fruits and vegetables. L-glutamine, the biologically active isomer of glutamine, is also widely available as a supplement.|
|11. Folate or folic acid (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins||As reported by clinical nutritionist Byron Richards, research suggests B vitamins can reduce your risk for acid reflux. Higher folic acid intake was found to reduce acid reflux by approximately 40 percent. Low vitamin B2 and B6 levels were also linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. The best way to raise your folate levels is by eating folate-rich whole foods, such as liver, asparagus, spinach, okra, and beans.|
You Don’t Need a Drug to Banish Acid Reflux
To recap, the answer to gastric problems like ulcers and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Not only is it useful for optimal gut function but it is crucial for your long-term health, as your gut flora can increase your absorption of nutrients, and play a significant role in mental and physical health. It is very clear from reviewing the literature that you can’t be healthy until your gut flora is optimized. That is one of the ways eating sugars harm you—they push your gut flora balance in the wrong direction.
Switching from processed foods to whole foods is therefore step number one. To further optimize your gut health, you’ll want to make sure you’re consuming enough good bacteria from traditionally fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, or in a probiotic supplement. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate Helicobacter bacteria naturally. If you have heartburn, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, or any acid-related condition, the strategies listed above may also offer relief.