Do you remember when you used to have butterflies in your stomach? You could hardly wait to get "that phone call" or see "that person" again. I still get them now – when I'm excited about an event or about seeing my family (on the East coast). The connection between emotions and the GI tract is just amazing. But years of stress – mental, emotional, and physical stress, can lead to …. BURNING! BURNING! BURNING!
Over 60 million Americans suffer from GERD each month , according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) is commonly known as acid reflux, acid indigestion, dyspepsia or heartburn. Common symptoms are:
- Heartburn (rising, burning sensation behind the breastbone).
- Regurgitation of gastric acid or sour contents into the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
- Sore throat / Hoarseness.
- Regurgitated acid into the lungs – coughing / wheezing
- Tooth enamel deterioration
- Gas / Bloating / Belching
What causes GERD? Problems at the sphincter muscle where the stomach and the esophagus meet. This lower esophagus sphincter is designed to let food pass through to the stomach and keep it there. When the muscle weakens, it allows contents of the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. This can cause structural damage (hiatal hernia) due to years of stress and unhealthy eating. This can be healed!
Here's the thing. Some people spend hundreds of dollars per month on acid reflux medication. What if they were to heal the problem and not need to purchase prescription or OTC drugs for acid relief? Reflux, heartburn and GERD can be healed without prescription drugs. In fact, the drugs, OTC's included, are actually detrimental in the long term, as they suppress stomach acid. The problem is that we are fooled when we feel acidity; we think there's too much acid. But in actuality, GERD is a condition of TOO LITTLE ACID. The acid there is, escapes into the esophagus because of the weak sphincter muscle. It's a body scam! What we feel is exactly the opposite of what is happening; We become hypo-acid (too little acid). In all fairness however, I will say that sometimes people are hyper-acid, having too much acid, and both hyper and hypo-acid conditions can benefit from the following food suggestions:
Eliminate Culprit Foods:
- Fast food and fried food (gall bladder stressors)
- Cooked tomato products, pizza
- Citrus fruit, juices
- Shellfish and pork
- Onions and garlic
- Carbonated drinks
- Wine, beer, hard alcohol
- Highly spiced and seasoned food
So a deficiency of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, for the initial stages of digestion, is usually the cause of GERD. Also, most people have digestive enzyme deficiency, because the pancreas is not manufacturing the proper balance digestive enzymes. So gas, bloating, belching, diarrhea, constipation can result. We often see this in people with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), who have over-stressed the pancreas with long-term, high carbohydrate consumption.
Over half of people over the age of sixty suffer from low gastric acidity.
Simple tests that natural health practitioners may offer to check for GERD, ulcers, low or high acidity:
- Urine pH and lemon challenge test
- Salivary pH (Check yourself at home to make sure your treatment program is working.)
- Bio Terrain Urine Testing – checks for acidity, dehydration, vitamin and antioxidant deficiencies, infection and dysbiosis markers
- Blood testing for Helicobacter Pylori bacteria in the gut, which can cause ulcers and gastritis
- Complete digestive and stool analysis – checks for levels of good bacteria, bad bacteria, yeast and parasites, markers for inflammation, and digestibility of fats, protein, and carbs
- Bio Feedback energy assessment of the body organs
Other suggestions for GERD, acid stomach:
- Take hydrochloric acid supplements (Avoid if you have an ulcer.)
- Utilize digestive enzyme supplements, aloe juice or pulp, glutamine (amino acid)
- Elevate the head of your bed by 6 inches to stabilize the contents of your stomach
- Avoid lying down for 2 to 3 hours after eating, giving the stomach a chance to clear things out
These very distressful and painful symptoms can be greatly relieved or prevented by lifestyle and dietary changes. We are digestion experts, so we see these issues balance out each day in our clinic. It is so fulfilling to know that people are empowered to handle their digestive problems on their own, because they've learned the tools and have the products in their "natural medicine cabinet" in their home.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products suggested, are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please check with your health care practitioner for your best health options.