Heartburn. Acid Reflux. GERD. Indigestion.
This blog covers the above problems in the following order:
What it is.
Causes: Overeating rich food, alcohol, cool drinks/sodas, smoking, trigger foods, lying down after meals, obesity, grains/carbs, pregnancy and the pill, gallbladder problems, tight clothes around the waist, exercise soon after eating, eating close to bedtime, stress, constipation, heavy metals, hurried meals, eating unripe fruit, food intolerance, H Pylori, hydrochloric acid deficiency while advertising is telling you the opposite, aluminium pots/utensils and medications, NSAIDS/aspirin, hiatus hernia, bad food combining and spices.
Conventional Medicine/Drug approach. Side effects.
What it is:
Most people experience heartburn/acid reflux from time to time. Heartburn is the painful price you pay for having a love affair with food that does’nt love you back or from eating in a hurry when under stress. It is common in our modern world. When heartburn is ongoing and occurs more than twice a week, it is labeled GERD.
Heartburn and GERD refer to the back-up of stomach acid into the oesophagus accompanied by burning and pain. Frequent heartburn can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Chronic GERD accompanied by continued inflammation in the oesophagus can lead to more serious complications, such as bleeding, ulcers, scarring and cellular changes. Ulcers and bleeding in the oesophagus can make it hard to swallow. The worst case scenario is the condition called Barrett’s oesophagus which may lead to oesophageal cancer. Although this was a rare cancer, it is currently one of the most rapidly increasing cancers there is. I think this is linked to the enormous amount of people using GERD medication at present. If it is apparent that you are at risk of Barrett’s oesophagus, your doctor or a specialist can examine the state of your oesophagus through a narrow tube called an endoscope.
GERD is caused when the sphincter (ring of muscle at the lower end of the throat or oesophagus called the LES) becomes abnormally relaxed, allowing the acidic contents of the stomach to flow back or ‘reflux’ into the throat. The sphincter muscle should pinch itself shut, preventing stomach acid from surging upwards. GERD can happen to anyone, at any age. It can scar the oesophagus and can even make its way into the lungs and cause asthma-like symptoms.
- Heartburn 101: A burning sensation and pain in the stomach and / or chest behind the breastbone within an hour or two after eating.(The pain of stomach or duodenal ulcers tends to increase on an empty stomach and is often relieved by eating). It can be a burning or tightening sensation. Bending over or lying down can make it feel worse. Although heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, some of the symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack and often puts people in the emergency room after the Christmas feast for example. Heartburn once or twice a week is common and not dangerous. It is very common in pregnant women.According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. You may be able to manage your heartburn by reducing stress and the speed at which you eat, losing weight, stopping smoking, eating less fried/fatty foods, avoiding spicy or acidic foods, cutting out sodas and carbonated sugary cool drinks and using a natural antacid like bicarbonate of soda or baking soda. If you need antacids daily, then something is not right! Has the pattern of your heartburn changed? Do you wake up at night with heartburn? Has your heartburn led to difficulty swallowing (feeling as if there is a lump in your throat), hoarseness, laryngitis, cough, sinus, earache, bad breath or breathing difficulty? If over the counter meds and natural remedies do not work,then it is time to see a practicioner. because you may have chronic ongoing heartburn or GERD that can eventually lead to more serious problems.
- Regurgitation. The acid reflux may reach the throat and mouth causing a bitter or sour taste and may even cause dental problems.
- Occasionally breathing difficulties like dry cough, sore throat, sinus and asthma occur.
- Hoarseness due to irritation of the larynx.
- Belching/burping, nausea and hiccups
In patients with symptoms that suggest uncomplicated GERD (heartburn and/or regurgitation often occuring after meals and aggravated by lying down or bending over, with relief obtained from antacids), the recommended course of action is treatment for GERD with a trial of acid-suppression chemicals or natural remedies.
Self-assessments can be useful in diagnosing uncomplicated GERD. The GERD questionnaire (GerdQ) is a simple, easily interpreted six question assessment of GERD symptom frequency. It is easily googled. In one study of 300 patients, GerdQ gave results similar to the diagnostic accuracy achieved by gastroenterologists. Further diagnostic testing is only recommended if the patient does not respond to acid-suppression therapy or natural methods of controlling GERD. Tests for GERD may include:
Barium oesophagram. It is not accurate at diagnosing mild reflux.
Upper GI Endoscopy
Oesophageal pH monitoring. This is the most objective method to document reflux conditions and how severe they are and moniter response to treatment.
I would also check for food allergies which can increase the incidence of eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) and its symptoms which resemble GERD. Also check for hiatus hernia, H. pylori infection, hypochlorhydria, peptic stricture, barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer if necessary.
- Usually triggered by over eating large or rich meals with a high fat content. The reflux tendency increases when the stomach is over-full, leading to increased pressure.
- Drinking alcohol. Red wine,white wine and beer are the worst.
- Fizzy(carbonated), sugar laden cool drinks/sodas.
- Smoking irritates the oesophagus and weakens the LES-lower oesophagus sphincter.
- Certain trigger foods include chocolate, citrus fruits, fried foods, peppermint (which in the right dose can help and in excessive amounts can cause the problem ), spicy foods, onions, tomatoes and caffeine eg in coffee.
- Physical position can cause reflux symptoms. Lying down after medium to heavy meals. Bending forward and lifting heavy objects after eating can cause reflux.
- Obesity also increases pressure on the stomach, causing the contents of the stomach to travel up into the throat more easily.
- Eating grains also causes pressure on the diaphragm because of fermentation in the intestines and promotes reflux tendency. Very often low stomach acid + bacterial overgrowth + maldigested carbohydrate contribute to the perfect storm of GERD.
- The same thing happens during pregnancy. Pressure is exerted on the stomach because there is less and less room for the stomach to expand. In addition, estrogens can weaken the oesophageal muscle. Women who are pregnant or those taking birth control pills are more prone to heartburn.
- Gallbladder problems.
- Wearing tight clothes around the waist during the day or in bed.
- Exercise too soon after eating.
- Eating too close to bedtime. Eat 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Stress and tension + lack of sleep can increase acid production. When stressed, adrenaline and cortesol slow the digestion and also make you more likely to swallow air while eating. Deal with stress, meditate, relax, do deep slow breathing or have a massage, body stress release, chiropractic, shiatsu or other relaxing treatment. Thoracic spinal alignment problems alter nerve and blood supply to the digestive organs.
- Heavy metal poisoning.
- Eating in a hurry or not chewing enough.
- Drinking with meals dilutes digestive juices and can promote heartburn and indigestion.
- Eating unripe fruit can cause heartburn.
- Allergies or intolerance to foods like gluten or dairy products.
- H.Pylori and Hydrochloric Acid: More than 50% of the world population is infected with H.pylori. Prevalence of the infection goes up 1% with every year of life. Approximately 80% of 80 year olds are infected with H.pylori.This bacteria suppresses stomach acid secretion. That is the only way it can survive in an otherwise hostile acidic environment. It can survive without causing symptoms. Treatment with antibiotics increases stomach acidity and is a help. I would prefer to treat it with natural remedies of course. Recent studies suggest that the secretion of stomach acid doesn’t decrease with age and that the trend is actually to increase, especially in men. Along comes H.pylori and it reverses the increase in stomach acids because it decreases acid production for its survival. Acid suppressing drugs increase gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) and reduce acidity thereby making the stomach susceptible to H.pylori invasion. This triggers the vicious cycle of low stomach acid>> heartburn>> acid suppressing drugs>> H.pylori infection>> further reduced stomach acidity>> chronic heartburn and GERD. H.pylori infection is associated with the ever increasing risk of stomach cancer. Poorly absorbed grains and pulses produce hydrogen gas in the intestines. This gas is the preferred energy source for H.pylori. These high levels of gas are also associated with other nasty bugs like Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter jejuni which cause diarrhoea. Excessive fructose+ fiber and starch found in grains like wheat and pulses increase hydrogen production, H.pylori and other bad bacteria thereby increasing heartburn, GERD and many other problems. It makes sense to minimize sugar, fructose, grains and pulses.
- Deficiency in hydrochloric acid or enzyme deficiencies as explained by Dr Wright et al: The symptom of both excess and deficient stomach acid can be heartburn.Dr Jonathan Wright states in his book “Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You” that heartburn and GERD are almost always caused by a lack of stomach acid, rather than an overproduction of it. Dr Wright says : When we carefully test people over age forty who’re having heartburn, indigestion and gas, over 90% of the time we find inadequate acid production by the stomach. In Wright’s 25 years of conducting these tests, he found very few people with excess stomach acid. Excess stomach acid is only found in a few rare conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. GERD is hardly ever associated with too much stomach acid. Wright further states: In 24 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I’ve worked with thousands of individuals who’ve found the cause of their heartburn and indigestion to be low stomach acidity. In nearly all these folks, symptoms have been relieved and digestion improved when they’ve taken supplemental hydrochloric acid and pepsin capsules. Having read this years ago, i adopted the same approach to patients with GERD and had complete success using supplements of HCL/pepsin plus a no grain, low sugar/fructose diet. In the book Heartburn Cured, Dr. Robillard points out that though microbes are able to metabolize proteins and even fats, their preferred energy source is carbohydrate. The fermentation of carbohydrates that haven’t been digested properly produces gas. The resulting gas increases intra-abdominal pressure, which is the driving force behind acid reflux and GERD. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are not interested in cures because they are not profitable. It is more lucrative to sell drugs that people have to take for the rest of their lives than it is to promote dietary and supplemental changes that would cure the problem. Therefore drug companies, knowing the truth, continue to sell billions of dollars worth of antacids to an unsuspecting public. Helicobacter pylori (which used to be called campylobacter) can also cause a chronic low-level inflammation of the stomach lining and is a big factor contributing to acid reflux. There are over 16,000 articles showing that suppressing stomach acid does not treat the problem. It only treats the symptoms. When you suppress the amount of acid in your stomach, you decrease your body’s ability to kill the helicobacter bacteria. That makes the condition worse and perpetuates the cycle. Some studies show acid secretion declines with age while others show the opposite. In my opinion there is also the impact of sugars, poisons in our drinking and cooking water, aluminium kitchen utensils, mental/emotional stress, GMO foods, pesticides, fertilizers ( ie non organically grown food) upsetting/stomach acids and destroying bowel flora that is resulting in general malnourishment and indigestion. It is well established in medical literature that the risk of GERD increases with age. If heartburn were caused by too much stomach acid, we would see teenagers taking antacids instead of older people. Ask the man in the street what causes heartburn and the answer given will be “too much stomach acid”. Most adverts on TV and in magazines tell us that our stomach acid needs suppressing. There’s a problem with this theory. The incidence of heartburn and GERD increases with age. In fact if we were healthy, our digestive acids would be going up with age. This would keep heartburn and bad bacteria at bay. A combination of factors mentioned in this blog contribute to eosophageal reflux and that causes the burning sensation whether there is too much gut acidity or not. Advertising vastly oversimplifies a complex problem. In one study researchers found that over 30% of men and women past the age of 60 suffer from atrophic gastritis, a condition marked by little or no stomach acid secretion. Another study found that 40% of women over the age of 80 produce no stomach acid at all. When i explain this to people, they ask “why do my antacid drugs provide relief?” Reducing or eliminating stomach acid with drugs does relieve the symptoms, but it is crucial to understand that any amount of acid in the oesophagus is going to cause problems. The delicate lining is not protected against acid like the stomach lining is. You do not have to have excess acid in your stomach to have heartburn. Symptom relief does not imply that the underlying cause of the problem is being addressed. Western medicine focuses on suppression of symptoms without paying attention to what is causing the symptom in the first place. The misguidedness of this approach is clearly shown by the use of acid inhibiting drugs to treat heartburn and GERD. Both of these problems can caused by multiple factors. Not only do these drugs fail to cure GERD, but they will make the underlying condition of low stomach hydrochloric acid and pepsin worse. This leads to a lifelong use of these medications. This is good for the drug companies and bad for the public. Curing a disease means eliminating its true cause. When cured the symptoms of a disease do not return once the treatment is removed. This is not the case for the majority of drugs. As soon as the patient stops taking them, the symptoms return with a vengence. Often they end up worse than before they began the drug. Cures are not profitable. It’s much more lucrative to sell drugs that people have to take for the rest of their lives than it is to promote dietary and or lifestyle changes that would cure the problem.
- Aluminium pots or cooking utensils/materials. I personally suffered from heartburn all my life until i did away with all aluminium (pots, aluminium foil, non stick pots and the like) in the kitchen. Also avoid juices that have been packaged in cartons with aluminium and plastic linings or wines in similar cartons.
- People with illnesses like cancer often have excessive acid in their systems and too little stomach acid. It should be the other way around.
- Those who eat lots of cooked and processed foods often suffer from dyspepsia.
- NSAIDS like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause heartburn. Blood pressure medication also irritates the gut lining.
- People with hiatus hernia often experience heartburn. The condition involves part of the stomach protruding through the diaphragm and gets trapped in the oesophagus. One study showed that 57% of heartburn sufferers had hiatus hernias, while almost half had damage to the esophageal lining. People with hiatal hernia can have reflux of partially digested food along with stomach acid and other fluids.The pain can be intense.
- Bad food combining can lead to indigestion or heartburn. Eating fruits with protein and carbohydrates with protein can lead to digestive problems.
- Raw spices are a lot easier to digest than cooked spices. A good example is cayenne pepper. Cooked cayenne can cause heartburn and stomach ulcers, while raw cayenne can actually heal ulcers.
Drug companies in America make more than $13 billion a year selling acid suppressing medications. Nexium, the most popular acid stopping medication brought in $5.1 billion in 2006 alone. That makes it the second highest money earning drug after Lipitor.The last thing they want is for doctors and their patients to learn how to treat heartburn and GERD without drugs. Most medical research is sponsored by drug companies. They will not reveal that the problems can be prevented and solved by diet, lifestyle and natural remedies.
Antacids: They neutralize excess stomach acid for a short period of time. Side effects: possible rebound acid,meaning the stomach produces more acid when the treatment is discontinued.Antacids reduce the absorption of B vitamins and minerals.
Histamine-2 Receptor Antagonists. Block the receptor for histamine in the stomach to reduce the secretion of acid. Side effects with long term use: headache, muscle aches, rashes, mental disorientation and bone degeneration.
Proton Pump Inhibitors: If you have heartburn, acid reflux or GERD, peptic ulcers or other acid related problem, you have probably been given a prescription for a proton pump inhibitor , like Prilosec, Prevacid, or Nexium. They are the most prescribed drugs in the world. They are very dangerous. When or if you stop taking them, they cause the very symptoms that they are supposed to stop (rebound acid hypersecretion ). Studies show that up to a third of people taking PPIs continue to refill their prescriptions without an apparent need for them. This is because they have severe withdrawl symptoms when they stop taking the drug and presume that they need more of the drug to get by. This illustrates a vicious cycle of tolerance and dependency on these drugs. Hence the increasing sales of these drugs. Acid-reducing drugs are the opposite of what most people with acid reflux need. You should never stop taking proton pump inhibitors cold turkey. You have to wean yourself off them gradually or else you’ll experience a severe rebound of your symptoms and the problem may end up being worse than before you started taking the medication. Ideally, you lower the dose than you’re on now and gradually decrease your dose. Once you get down to the lowest dose of the proton pump inhibitor, you can start substituting with an over the counter H2 antagonist or natural remedy. Then gradually wean off those over the next several weeks.
Stomach acid does not exist just to punish you for eating Indian food or drinking wine. Acid is in the stomach because it is supposed to be there. It is found in all vertebrates. While it isn’t necessary for life,it is certainly needed for health. There is great misunderstanding about the role of stomach acid. This is because drug companies insist that stomach acid is not essential. Therefore millions of people take acid suppressing drugs without understanding the causes of heartburn and GERD and the risk of serious, life threatening conditions that comes with PPI’s.
There are four primary consequences of acid stopping drugs:
1. Increased bad bacterial overgrowth. eg. Salmonella, Campylobacter, Cholera, Listeria, Giardia, C. Difficile. This can occur in the stomach and other parts of the intestine. Bacterial overgrowth leads to poor digestion of carbohydrates, gas, pressure on the lower oesophageal sphincter, heartburn and GERD. Some researchers now believe that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is caused by bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO). In 2002, a study performed in Los Angeles found that 71% of GERD patients tested positive for IBS- double the percentage seen in non-GERD patients being examined. I feel that acid suppressing drugs are not only causing chronic stomach and oesophageal problems, but IBS and other digestive ailments as well. H.pylori and bacterial overgrowth in the intestines appear to be related. Bacterial overgrowth causes maldigestion of carbohydrates, which in turn produces gas. The gas increases pressure in the stomach, causing the LES to malfunction, allowing acid from the stomach to enter the oesophagus producing heartburn and GERD.
2.Bacterial overgrowth has a number of effects including impaired nutrient absorption. And as acid declines, absorption of nutrients becomes impaired.Acid-suppression therapies can interfere with the absorption of nutrients that require stomach acid for proper digestion, such as iron, zinc(needed for immune defence,tissue growth and lots more), calcium(needed for bones, teeth and many other functions), magnesium and vitamins A, E, B2, B6, B12(needed for nerve activity+brain function) and folic acid(needed to protect cardiovascular system and prevent birth defects). In one study, the incidence of iron deficiency anemia secondary to chronic PPI usage has increased up to five-fold. This iron deficiency leaves the body’s tissues starving for oxygen. Elevated homocysteine ( a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) has been associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Chronic high dose PPI or H2 blocker usage can more than double the risk of potentially deadly hip fracture by impairing calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Impaired calcium absorption can disrupt calcium balance and contribute to cardiac conduction problems.The risk of a bone fracture has been estimated to be over 40% higher in patients who use these drugs long term. Homocysteine levels should be assessed as well, because lowered absorption of vitamin B2, B6, B12 and folic acid can increase homocysteine levels and no one needs that to happen to them. There is a 60% increase in heart attacks in people who use proton pump inhibitors. The above facts are the reason why these drugs are only approved for short term use. The rebound/withdrawl symptoms account for people staying on them.
3. Decreased resistance to most infections. eg. pneumonia, tuberculosis, typhoid, dysentery, candida. One of the roles of stomach acid is to provide defense against ingested pathogens. Therefore, reductions in stomach acid due to PPI usage can lower resistance 4 fold to intestinal infections from Salmonella, Campylobacter and Clostridium difficile. Probiotics may prove a useful adjunct to PPI therapy.
4.Increased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Long term use of acid suppression drugs may also be a risk factor for food allergies. In one study, more than 27% of GERD patients tested positive for food allergies. Avoiding allergenic foods resulted in significant improvement of GERD symptoms. Additionally, if you fail to digest and absorb your food properly, you will not only increase your risk of stomach atrophy but also nearly every other chronic degenerative disease.
- Problems associated with low stomach acid:
- The following conditions are associated with very low stomach acid:
- Stomach cancer.
- Bronchial asthma
- Depression, anxiety, mood disorders
- Pernicious anaemia
- Skin diseases including acne, dermatitis, eczema and urticaria
- Gall bladder disease and gallstones
- Autoimmune diseases, such Rheumatoid arthritis, and Graves disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis
- Chronic hepatitis
- Type 1 diabetes
Another major problem with PPI drugs is that they are often taken for much longer periods than recommended, which could compound their potential for causing side effects. PPI’s are approved for use for 14 days at a time, no more than three times yearly, but many patients take these drugs semi-permanently.
Oestrogens can weaken the oesophageal hiatus muscle which keeps stomach acids in the stomach. Women who are pregnant and women who take birth control pills that contain oestrogen and progesterone are therefore more likely to suffer from heartburn.
People who have chronic diseases like cancer often have very acidic systems plus inadequate gastric acid. This can lead to heartburn.
Many over the counter antacids contain aluminium salts. Avoid these, as they can damage the brain and mess up memory and nerve transmission.
According to the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, excessive use (more than 3 grams a day ) of the stomach acid suppressant medication cimetidine may cause impotence or breast enlargement in men as well as damage to the stomach lining + an increase in the risk of benign or malignant tumors.
One study showed that 57% of heartburn sufferers had hiatal hernias, while almost half had damage to the oesophageal lining and 6% had developed Bartletts oesophagus, which is a cancer risk.
If you are taking any medications, ask your doctor if heartburn may be a side effect of the drugs.
Natural Treatment of heartburn and GERD:
Heartburn and GERD are not caused by too much stomach acid. They are usually caused by too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines.
Before I give you a long list of natural remedies for the conditions, here is the basic strategy that is going to be generally used. Firstly reduce the factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid. Secondly replace stomach acid. Also supply the necessary nutrients and enzymes as supplements that aid digestion and are necessary for health.Third step is to replace and restore the beneficial bowel bacteria or flora. Forth task is to heal the mucosal lining of the gut. I help my patients decide which of these strategies each individual needs based on the tests that I carry out. I will list way more healing strategies here than any one person will need. What works for one person may not work for another. For example a small glass of red wine before a meal may relax one person and improve their digestion, while it may make another person worse or even cause heartburn in their bodies.
Symptoms: A burning sensation in the stomach and/or the chest that occurs when hydrochloric acid from the stomach backs up into the oesophagus.
Causes: Stress, excessive consumption of spicy, rich, fatty or fried foods, alcohol, coffee, citrus, chocolate, hiatus hernia, ulcers, gallbladder problems, allergies and enzyme deficiency.Yeast overgrowth from antibiotic usage, overeating and poor food combinations (Fruit should not be eaten after eating proteins or grains. Proteins should not be eaten with carbs.Protein is best with raw and cooked veg. Smoking can also cause heartburn.
Foods:Avoid onions, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, fried foods, tomato sauce,cool drinks/sodas, grains/flour products, milk, cheese and puddings.
- First put out the fire. Immediate relief can come from neutralizing the trapped stomach acids in the oesophagus. This can be done with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in luke warm water when there is actual heartburn. The best time to use bicarb is up to half an hour before a meal and 2 hours after a meal. Taking it with or soon after a meal is not good for digestive secretions of the stomach and food nutrients will not be well absorbed. If you have raging heartburn right after a meal, then it is called for. Other ways of trying to put out the fire of inflammation are green drinks made from barley or wheat grass.
- Chlorophyl is particularly healing for inflamed areas.
- Aloe vera gel or juice in its pure state will also put out the fire and heal ulceration. This is the soothing healing part of the aloe. Do not confuse this with the laxative aloe bitters. Many commercial aloe drinks are full of sugar and artificial additives.
- Calcium carbonate, chelate or glycinate can neutralize gastric acid and promote muscle tone.
- Magnesium oxide,chelate or glycinate will do the same as calcium plus it functions as an antispasmodic in the gut area.
- Sodium Alginate derived from seaweed forms as viscous gel that floats on top of the gastric contents like a raft and physically inhibits the reflux of gastric contents. It works better than an antacid.
- Lukewarm water plus apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice also counteracts heartburn. It can be taken several times a day.
- Herbs will get rid of acidity and speed up the healing process:
- Meadowsweet tea settles the stomach and reduces excess acidity.
- Chamomile tea is anti spasmodic and anti inflammatory and calming to the digestive tract.
- Digestive demulcents protect irritated or inflamed tissue,eg Comfrey root, flaxseed, chia seed, irish moss, licorice root (if you have high blood pressure,use the DGL form of licorice which does not affect high blood pressure), marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, mullein leaf or flowers are all good for ulcerated tissue in the stomach region.
- Glycyrrhizinic acid in licorice root is anti inflammatory, anti allergic, anti gastric ulcer, antihepatitis and antihepatotoxic. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL is a beneficial product for heartburn and GERD with no known side effects. DGL protects the digestive tract from corrosive stomach acids. It leads to an improved stomach environment. A double blind study on ulcer patients demonstrated a statistically significent reduction in ulcers. DGL accelerates healing of the stomach, oesophagus and mucous membranes. For reflux and support of the lining of the stomach, chew two 380mg tablets 3-4 times daily between or before meals. Since my blood pressure is low, I use normal licorice extract in a liquid concentrate. This is good for both adrenals and thyroid and has a host of other benefits.
- A quarter teaspoon of goldenseal tincture or extract in 3 tablespoons of water can give relief in 15 minutes. It acts as an antibacterial + astringent + tonic for the mucous membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract.
- Betaine Hydrochloride.
- Fermented Vegetables.
- Folate and other B vitamins.
- Vitamin D.
- Kefir / sour cream / Yogurt.
- Fresh juice made from carrots, pineapple, cabbage, papaya and apples heal and soothe after a bout of heartburn. The enzyme rich juices containing papain, bromelain.
- L glutamine and pectin taken on an empty stomach heal stomach, intestines and colon. I think of it as the carpenter of the bowels and is helpful fixing leaky gut and ulcers. Cabbage juice is an old remedy for gastric ulcers and it is rich in L glutamine.
- A 24 hour fast helps to cleanse acid wastes and rests and heals the oesophagus and digestive tract. Bicarbonate of soda may be drank during the solid food fast. Green drinks, herb teas, and clear vegetable broth may be drank during the fast.
- Ginger root juice,chunks, tea or powder absorbs excess stomach acid. Ginger has been found to have a gastro protective effect by blocking acid and suppressing helicobacter pylori. According to a 2007 study, it is far superior to lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ulcers, exhibiting six to eight fold greater potency over the drug. This is not surprising since the root has been traditionally used for gastric disturbances since ancient times.