Acid reflux is often just one of many digestive symptoms that can result from poor digestion, food intolerances, chronic stress, gut infections, Candida and other factors. Up to 15 million people have a condition called acid reflux or GERD. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a kind of trap door into the stomach, doesn’t close properly. Stomach contents leak back into the esophagus, causing the burning sensation called heartburn. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GERD and can eventually lead to more serious health problems.
Despite what the commercials say, GERD is not caused by too much stomach acid. It’s too little stomach acid and acid in the wrong place — our esophagus.
Digestion is a metabolic issue and so is acid reflux:
One study of 155 healthy people who had used antacids for long periods of time found that 47% suffered some erosion of the esophagus. Regular antacid use also impairs the stomach’s ability to digest protein. This is important if you are a meat-eater. Finally, without the right amount of stomach acidity, “friendly” bacteria that contribute to digestion die, leaving you at risk for low-level microbial infections that can lead to chronic indigestion. (1)
What could make normal stomach digestive fluids flow up where they don’t belong? One is overeating. One can be from eating an abundance of pesticides and chemicals in their foods. Usually these are found in foods tainted with Glyphosate. Most people suffering from GERD eat dairy, wheat, and meat products daily. These are extremely hard to digest. We need to also address poor choices of food combining, (Junk Foods & Diet Soda) Another can be eating a big meal before bed. “Late night eating can trigger GERD”. (4)
Nearly every disease originating in the human body is due to or accompanied by the excessive formation of different kinds of acids in the system, the most important of which are uric, carbonic, sulphuric, phosphoric and oxalic acids. (3)
Should we take a pill?
Heartburn remedies are among the biggest selling drugs of all time. However we should think long and hard before we pop that Pepcid.
Stomach acid is required for good digestion. Poor digestion produces heartburn. Our gut health is riding on our body’s ability to absorb nutrients and create friendly gut bacteria. People with heart-burn usually take antacids. Antacids reduce stomach acid. Oh no now I have more heartburn! A paradox isn’t it?
“Paradoxically, 90 percent of people who experience heartburn, don’t have enough acid.” (2)
“If you are taking Proton-pump-inhibitor drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, Tagamet, etc. these can reduce the acidity of the stomach, but in so doing create a more favorable environment for bad bacteria such as H. Pylori.” Our gut needs good bacteria for immune health. They go hand and hand.
There are medications for GERD that may increase the risk of certain cancers and change our delicate pH balance. These are serious health concerns, and it’s pretty clear that in this case, the “cure” of acid-blocking drugs are worse than the “disease” of GERD. “Blocking stomach acid, also increases our risk of developing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.” (SIBO)(4)
Neurological side effects from Antacids:
1 – Taking certain types of medication to deal with heartburn and excess stomach acid may increase the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The drugs in question, called histamine-2 receptor antagonists or H2As, include popular medicines such as Zantac and Pepcid.
2 – Antacids taken to fight indigestion actually diminish the enzymes needed to digest foods and nutrients critical to proper brain function.(9)
Antacids can increase your risk for cancer and poor bone health:
Antacids can also be linked to gastric and esophageal cancer. (5)
Vitamin B-12 deficiency may be caused by the acid-suppressing drugs that people are taking (Previcet and Prilosec)
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that chronic use of acid-blocking drugs leads to an increase in the development of osteoporosis and increase in hip fracture because blocking acid prevents the absorption of calcium and other minerals necessary for bone health. (6)
Antacids interfere with the absorption of copper:(7)
Copper is an essential mineral required by the body for bone and connective tissue production, and for coding specific enzymes that range in function from eliminating free radicals to producing melanin. A deficiency in copper can lead to osteoporosis, poor skin health, joint pain, and lowered immunity.
You can’t assimilate nutrients until they have been adequately broken down by digestion:
Antacids neutralize the acids in our stomach, making it difficult to break down foods into small enough particles to be absorbed. Once partially digested foods leave our stomach, our body treats this partially digested food, as foreign. The resulting immune response can result in food insensitivities and fatigue. Added to this is the upset of the balance of friendly bacteria needed for a healthy immune system. (8)
Antacids merely mask symptoms instead of handling the real problem:
Gurkipal Singh of Stanford University reported that people taking antacids and H2-blockers suffered more than twice as many serious gastrointestinal complications than those given placebos.
So if drugs are not the answer, what is? Making small changes to our stress & eating style, we can have incredible gains and less discomfort. I can help you identify the causes of your reflux and heartburn, help you find the right solutions, nutrients, and lifestyle therapies so you can see & feel results today. As a Health Coach, I support you and your understanding of your symptoms and where imbalances may occur. All the pills in the world can’t make up for a grossly negligent diet, stress, and complete lack of activity. Making time to do things with mindfulness now, will ensure less time with ill health, less medical expenses and a better quality of life for your future.
Get inspired to create lasting changes in your relationship with food. Give yourself permission to spend that extra 20 minutes a day on planing your healthy meals at home!
Your health is riding on your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Make Time For Change!