Many people we meet at the clinic have suffered the horrible symptoms of heartburn, reflux, or GERD. This annoying problem can greatly affect our health if not addressed, damaging the throat, decaying the teeth, and can even lead to stomach ulcers and throat cancer. Popular over the counter and prescription medications to treat the symptoms include:
Esomeprazole – Nexium
These drugs reduce the production of stomach acid and are called PPI’s – Proton Pump Inhibitors. Although generally assumed to be safe, recent studies have shown that they can have numerous unwanted side effects.
Did you know that most cases of heartburn are caused by LOW stomach acid? Low stomach acid slows digestion nearly to a standstill, so when you eat a meal, you feel stuffed. All that food is sitting in your stomach waiting for stomach acid to break it all down for digestion, but if stomach acid is low, this won’t happen well. Very quickly, fermentation begins in the stomach, especially if you combined certain foods, such as meat, dairy, and starchy carbs. This fermentation is the sugars breaking apart, creating gas. And guess where that comes out? Yup, up through your throat!
Reducing stomach acid production will effectively relieve heartburn symptoms, but there are long term consequences to adjusting the natural output of one of our most important digestive organs.
Stomach acid is important for the breakdown of food and release of micronutrients, and some studies have shown possibilities for interference with absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
If you follow us at The Lucy Rose Clinic, then you probably want to understand the cause of the problem in the first place and how to help resolve it.
One cause of increased heartburn is dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This dysfunction can be caused by increased intra-abdominal pressure, which often results from bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine – also called SIBO. A diet high in refined carbs and sugars will drive this problem.
Often there is added complication of a ‘leaky esophagus’. The tissues become inflamed, and the tightness of the cells loosen. Over time, elasticity decreases, and even medication may not give relief.
In the case of ‘leaky esophagus’, we use strategies to heal and soothe the mucous membranes, bringing down the inflammation, and assisting the body to heal. Herbal medicine such as Golden Seal, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, and Turmeric are very effective.
Nutrients essential to bring about lasting healing include;
Foods to assist healing alongside correct supplementation include:
- Home-made bone broth
- Sauerkraut (severe cases may not tolerate this at the beginning of treatment)
- Natural yogurt with live bacteria in it
- Aloe vera juice (fresh, not from concentrate)
- Fresh vegetables
- Apples, berries and melons, sea vegetables, avocado.
Foods to avoid in the healing phase of treatment:
- Fried foods
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Spicy foods
- Take away foods
- Coffee and tea
- Dairy products
- And any intolerances you already know about.
I hope this article helps you understand heartburn better and take some positive steps towards managing your symptoms naturally. If you have any concerns, talk with your Lucy Rose practitioner about your treatment plan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya is an avid animal lover and believes in the healing power of nature. She initially saw the healing power of natural medicine working with animals when pharmaceuticals could no longer help a very unwell dog. The transformation from sickness to health inspired her to understand the mechanisms behind the healing response.
She later undertook a four year Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and sought mentors in the field with exceptional experience and knowledge.
Tanya has also faced cancer herself, and cared for a loved one with cancer. She understands the importance of collaborating with specialists and using the best health options at our disposal. She successfully has used conventional medicine in combination with natural medicine to return to health and is cancer free. She now uses natural medicine to treat any ongoing side effects from conventional intervention including, but limited to, nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, scenar therapy and homeopathy.
She believes in finding the root cause behind her patients presentation and empowers her patients to take ownership of their health and tune into their own body wisdom.
Tanya is passionate about her career and enjoys keeping up to date with science based research, professional seminars, and collaborating with other health professionals. She is a fully registered and insured Naturopath who takes each person as a unique being which requires a unique treatment approach suited to their personal, emotional, and physical needs.