Halt Heartburn and Acid Reflux Naturally
Ironically, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but it causes a burning sensation in the chest which can confuse most people. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with it.
What Causes Acid Reflux/GERD?
Acid reflux or heartburn occurs when stomach acid leaks back up into the esophagus. When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of the esophagus relaxes to allow food and liquid to enter into your stomach. Normally this muscle valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), is closed and keeps the digestive acid and food inside the stomach where it belongs. However if the LES valve opens when it shouldn’t, hydrochloric acid from the stomach can reflux back and touch the lining of the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat known as acid reflux or heartburn.
Is the Standard Treatment Helping or Harming You?
Typically, acid reflux is believed to be caused by excessive stomach acid production and is treated with antacids that neutralize the acid. The “gold-standard” treatment is to prescribe H-2-receptor blockers or Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that work by completely blocking your stomach’s ability to produce acid. But this tactic misses the boat entirely, because acid reflux is NOT caused by too much acid in your stomach, it’s more typically caused by too little. Your body actually needs stomach acid to digest protein, activate digestive enzymes, keep the bacteria from growing in your small intestine, and absorb important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
There’s a plethora of medical research indicating that suppressing stomach acid production tends to just worsen and perpetuate the condition. Acid blocking drugs prevent you from properly digesting food and cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Long term use can also cause deficiency in vitamin B12 which can lead to depression, anemia, fatigue, and nerve damage. They also cause dangerous overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine called Clostridia, leading to life-threatening infections. For many others, low-grade overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine leads to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea leading to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Yet another 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 an increase in hip fractures because blocking acid prevents the absorption of calcium and other minerals necessary for bone health. These are serious health concerns, and it’s pretty clear that in this case, the “cure” of acid-blocking drugs is worse than the “disease” of reflux. But that’s of little comfort when you’re suffering from heartburn.
Natural Options to Eliminate Heartburn
So if drugs aren’t the answer, what is? A combination of the right foods, nutrients, and lifestyle therapies can heal the problem, including:
- Re-inoculating your gut with enough good bacteria by taking a high quality probiotic supplement or by consuming fermented foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha.
- Increasing your body’s natural production of stomach acid — one of the simplest strategies to encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) is to consume enough of the raw material. A high-quality salt, such as Himalayan salt crystals, will not only provide you with the chloride your body needs to make hydrochloric acid, but it also contains over 84 trace minerals your body needs to perform optimally, biochemically. You can also try 2-3 teaspoons of Braggs organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of water or supplement with Betaine HCL available in health food stores without a prescription.
- Taking 1-2 capsules of digestive enzymes with each meal to aid in proper digestion and assimilation of your food.
- Taking 3-5 grams of glutamine powder in water twice a day to help heal the gut lining.
- Chewing 2 to 3 chewable tablets of DGL (a form of licorice) 15 minutes before meals.
- Supplementing with 200-400 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate twice a day; magnesium helps the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach to relax, allowing the food to go down.
As you can see, there’s no need to suffer from heartburn and reflux or to take expensive and dangerous acid-blocking drugs. Try the changes suggested here to soothe your stomach and have your gut engine humming in no time.
380 Trillion Viruses Live In Us; How Do We Live Symbiotically With Them?
Interest in the microbiome has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and for good reason. The role of our internal ecosystem (gut flora) is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our times, offering an insight into how we heal, fight off disease, and stay healthy — even in difficult times. In “Immunity and the Microbiome,” microbiologist Compton Rom presents a compelling argument for why we need to pay attention to the ecosystem of good bacteria in our digestive system.
Once we realize the great implications of how remarkable the microbiome within us can make or break our state of health, then we can boost our immunity over viruses, bacteria, and infections.
While the term “immune system” is relatively common in our daily vernacular, Rom does not limit it to the body alone. Rather, he has a holistic vision and ties the health of all life on this planet with the health of the Earth, including global warming, as well as the nature of disease-causing organisms. This holistic approach allows us to appreciate our unique role as conscious beings existing in various ecosystems that need to be recognized and respected.
Rom discusses historical evidence, showing that humans have evolved to live symbiotically with the life not just around us, but within us. This becomes particularly relevant when discussing the role of our virome, or the trillions of viruses and phages that live within our body and its cells. This he says is a major facet in maintaining proper health, by promoting symbiosis with viruses, so they don’t cause disease and illness.
We can optimize our virome and microbiome by introducing probiotic fermented and anti-inflammatory herbs, as well as a diverse diet of fruits and roots, to lower risks of infectious disease. In fact, the bacterial cells within our microbiome outnumber our human cells by tenfold.
Rom suggests our immunity from illness, as well as our relationship with the planet, begins at home. The best place to start our journey to optimum health and ideal immune function is by improving our diets, meditating, doing breathwork, exercising, and most importantly, proactively diversifying our gut microbiomes.
Compton’s philosophy is to take a non-chemical and non-pharmaceutical approach to healing, using natural herbs, and oils to eliminate pathogenic bacteria.
Our bodies, he notes, respond “best to natural compounds that have evolved alongside us for millennia. Synthetic compounds are singular in nature, while whole earth compounds carry numerous micronutrients and co-factors necessary for growth, many of which scientists have yet to discover.
This is why natural compounds are so much more effective. Modern medicine has yet to use them because they are impossible to patent; synthetics can be sold at a much higher profit than naturally derived and sustainably harvested herbs.”