Acid Reflux and Heartburn Natural Remedies
The Truth About Acid Reflux and Anti-acid Medications
Many of our clients come to Health Rise for help with acid reflux and associated problems.
Along with many other holistic health practitioners, we are trying to inform people that the majority of those who suffer with acid and heartburn, frequently DO NOT produce enough acid in their stomach. Meaning, they don’t have excessive acid, instead not enough acid. Therefore, any anti-acid medications will indeed make their condition worse in the long term.
Did you know that too much stomach acid is actually a very rare condition? Unfortunately, excess acid and too little acid produce many of the same symptoms which is why there is so much confusion.
Medications Causing Additional Health Problems
The medical profession are eventually waking up to the fact the anti-acids are creating enormous health problems. To keep this blog short I will not go into the full medical explanations of the oesophagus, sphincter and stomach, as I want to really empower people to try natural remedies before they down the dreaded anti-acids.
Heartburn medication is only a bandage, a quick fix. We need to go to the root of why the body is creating this condition. A heartburn medication is a synthetic drug to stop the stomach acid, but the stomach needs acid to protect itself.
A well-known heartburn remedy prescribed by doctors is a Proton Pump Inhibitor or PPI. Unfortunately, there are common side effects such as low vitamin B12 levels, low magnesium levels and an increased risk for Clostridia difficile (C. diff) infection. Also, increased susceptibility to some causes of food poisoning. Furthermore with high-dose, long-term use, there has been an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. A recent abstract study suggested that smokers and those with low vitamin D who were on PPI’s, are most at risk for osteoporosis.
What are the symptoms of low stomach acid?
Each of the symptoms below may give you clues that your stomach is not producing enough acid:
- Abdominal bloating after meals
- Feeling tired after meals
- Reflux and heartburn
- Weak nails
- Ridges on the nails
- Weak and thinning scalp hair
- Red cheeks
- Burping and passing gas or hiccups
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Eczema and acne
What causes low stomach acid?
Low stomach acid is an incredibly common problem and there are several factors responsible:
- Stress, anxiety and tension are your digestive system’s worst enemies. If you eat while in an emotional state, you will not be making enough stomach acid or digestive enzymes.
- Food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity. The irony is that low stomach acid makes you more likely to develop a food allergy and having a food allergy can inhibit normal acid production. It is very important to identify and remove problematic foods. Gluten and dairy products are a common culprit but there could be others.
- Mineral deficiencies. Zinc and sodium are required for hydrochloric acid production. Zinc deficiencies are very common, especially among vegetarians. Sodium deficiency is not common; it can occur in athletes or people who have experienced diarrhoea or vomiting.
- High sugar diets.
- Inflammation of the lining of the stomach, known as gastritis can inhibit acid secretion.
- Food allergy, autoimmune disease and infection with the bacteria H-pylori can all result in gastritis.
- Smoking – overweight – alcohol – medications can all contribute to low stomach acid.
Home remedies you can try to ease heartburn and acid reflux yourself
The first thing you should do – Do NOT drink any fluids directly before or after eating. Watering down your stomach is reducing the hydrochloric acid and diluting down your digestive enzymes. Therefore fluids can affect digestion and contribute to existing acid reflux issues.
Sodium bicarbonate – 1 teaspoon mixed with a glass of water will neutralise stomach acid.
Aloe Vera Juice – half a cup of aloe vera juice at least half an hour before meals will help with heartburn because it reduces inflammation, but bear in mind too much will cause a laxative effect!
Apple Cider Vinegar – 1-3 tablespoons of ACV mixed in half a glass of water at least half an hour before meals. If ACV cures your acid problem then its a good sign you definitely are lacking stomach acids. If your acid feels worse, then discontinue the ACV remedy.
Eat a banana or an apple – Both contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. Try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eat one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort. Also Papaya (can be difficult to buy all year round) is very well known for its healing benefits with acid or stomach problems.
Ginger tea – can help ease up a number of stomach issues, from nausea to acid reflux. Sipping a cup of fresh tea about half an hour before a meal can help calm down your tummy and act as an acid buffer. Just add a few chunks of fresh ginger (or flat teaspoon of ginger powder) to a mug of hot water, leave to seep for 5/10 mins – add raw honey for additional flavour.
Almonds – strange remedy but many sufferers swear by this. 3 to 4 almond after each meal, including any snacks or every time you eat something chew on the almonds. They appear to neutralise the juices in your stomach.
Chamomile tea – sip 1 hour before bed as it can help reduce inflammation in your stomach. This tea is well known for reducing stress therefore helping you sleep soundly.
Mustard – Yep that’s right; a teaspoon of alkalising mustard straight into the mouth. It will help neutralise the acid, although this remedy works best at the onset of heartburn.
Remove tight fitting clothes (if possible!) – Amazing that our clothes can contribute to heartburn. If you have tight jeans on, when you sit down, the waistband or belt is going to sink into your abdomen area. This puts extra pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter, which make it more likely stomach contents, will push through and you’ll experience reflux.
Triggers – this is the most important thing you can do and tracking what causes your heartburn will be for many people their long term solution. Bear in mind it may not just be foods; clothing, drinking fluids, playing sports or even bending forward bathing your children can trigger an onset of acid-reflux.
There are several supplements, such as high quality probiotics or digestive enzymes that can help, but we would recommend that you consult with us here at Health Rise or speak to a holistic health practitioner before you purchase or self prescribe any supplementation.
Finally, if you have suffered severe or frequent acid reflux over a long period of time and have tried several remedies without success, this could indicate a serious health condition. It is therefore recommended you see your doctor.
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