Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal disease (GERD), is a common condition affecting as many as 50 percent of Americans. Many are taking medications for this problem and don’t need it. There are ways to stop heartburn, the symptom of acid reflux, and natural remedies to minimize the problem.
Reasons Why Acid Reflux Occurs
Eating inflammatory foods is one of the top triggers. Sugar, grains (bread, pasta, baked goods), bad oils, fried and processed foods all create an inflammatory response in the stomach that can trigger heartburn.
Acid reflux can also occur from a weak stomach valve. After you eat, a valve at the top of the stomach closes so food does not move back up. If this valve is weak or relaxes inappropriately, acid from the stomach can move up the esophagus causing heartburn.
A dysfunctional diaphragm can also be associated with this condition. The diaphragm is your primary muscle for breathing and it also has an opening for the esophagus. If you are a chest breather, you are not using your diaphragm correctly which may directly create stress on your esophagus.
There are also some prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause heartburn as a side effect. These include anxiety, anti-depressant, blood pressure and osteoporosis drugs, antibiotics, and pain relievers.
What About Medications Designed to Treat Acid Reflux?
The most common drugs prescribed for heartburn and acid reflux are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These include Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid. Although these medications may be effective in controlling heartburn symptoms, they do not treat the cause of the condition and according to some health experts, they may do more harm than good. PPI drugs have been associated with potentially serious side effects, including pneumonia, bone loss (osteoporosis), hip fractures, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a harmful intestinal bacteria that causes serious intestinal distress and is resistant to antibiotics. The latest report just published has found PPIs also increase the risk of heart attack for those who take them.
What You Need To Do To Overcome Acid Reflux
- Reduce the amount of processed and inflammatory foods you eat. Avoid sugar, bad oils, reduce or eliminate grains and processed foods. Replace these with anti-inflammatory foods.
- Take probiotics and eat fermented foods. Probiotics are supplements that contain “good” bacteria. They are also in fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, pickled vegetables, and others. It is very important to take a probiotic supplement or eat fermented foods ON A DAILY BASIS to keep your bowels healthy.
- Get your spine checked for misalignment. The stomach valve and diaphragm receive their strength from nerves that originate in the lower neck and upper back. If you have a misalignment of the vertebrae in this area, it can weaken the nerves to these important muscles that keep acid in the stomach where it belongs. You may need a few adjustments in these areas to make sure the vertebrae are in proper alignment.
- If you are a chest breather, there is a simple exercise to help get your diaphragm working properly again.
- Drink raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Bragg’s is a popular brand that can be found in most health food stores. This is an effective remedy for many with heartburn and acid reflux. Take one tablespoon in a glass of water once or twice daily.