Acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a painful condition when acid from the stomach backflows into the esophagus and throat. It can feel like burning, or sometimes the only symptom is coughing, throat clearing, or hoarseness.
While some people can tolerate the pain, the problem is that reflux can lead to fairly serious damage in your esophagus. Too much damage to the lining of your esophagus can cause scarring and narrowing, and in some cases a pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett's esophagitis.
What Are The Causes of Acid Reflux?
The esophagus (the tube that carries food down to the stomach) is protected from stomach acid by a specialized valve that separates the two - think of it as a very selective door, that’s really designed to open one way - into the stomach.
For a variety of reasons, this valve (called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) can malfunction and allow the stomach contents (food and stomach acids!) back up into the esophagus. This is what’s termed reflux, and when it goes on for a period of time, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux, or more commonly; heartburn. (Reflux has nothing to do with the heart, other than causing chest pain which is often mistaken for heart problems!). Rarely, reflux may be caused by a mechanical problem like a hiatal hernia which might require a surgical fix in some cases.
However, we can say with confidence that reflux is NOT caused by a deficiency of acid-blocking drugs! Conventional medicine is quick to prescribe these medications whenever a person is experiencing reflux; without really examining the causes!
Newer research is also showing that reflux may in fact be due to too little stomach acid. It’s thought that when stomach acid is too low, this may trigger the LES to open, allowing whatever acid is present to travel up the esophagus creating the symptoms reflux. This is the opposite of what we’re so often told; that too much acid causes reflux. (It can be one or the other, just to be clear).
What’s Wrong With This Approach?
Acid blocking drugs (H2 blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors) are used in conventional medicine to prevent the stomach from making acid. And while this approach can work to limit reflux, these medications are only meant for short-term use and come with many side effects after long-term use.
Additionally, these meds can be very difficult to discontinue - prolonged use and then stopping them often leads to ‘rebound’ reflux - the symptoms of reflux come roaring back, worse than before.
Lowering stomach acid makes it more difficult for your body to digest food. Think about it - there’s a reason we have stomach acid - to break down food so it’s ready to be absorbed. By limiting acid production, it’s now even more difficult to digest food. And, it makes it very difficult for the body to absorb minerals (we need acid to absorb them) - this is why bone thinning (osteoporosis) is a common side effect of prolonged use.
Poor digestion over a long period of time doesn’t help with health - it’s a set up for more health problems down the road.
How Do You Fix Acid Reflux?
The first step is addressing diet. It’s safe to say that the overwhelming cause of reflux is eating a diet that the body doesn’t agree with. Obvious foods like those that are highly processed, alcohol and other ‘junk foods’ will almost always aggravate the stomach leading to reflux.
What if you don’t eat any of that? Testing for food sensitivities can identify foods that are irritating to your body. Clearing the diet of inflammatory foods is always the first stop in getting rid of reflux. A food sensitivity test can be done at home and reveals which foods are inflammatory - this is an easy way to refine the diet.
In addition to cleaning up the diet, there are several natural remedies that help soothe an irritated esophagus and improve the digestive process so that reflux doesn’t occur anymore.
Acid Reflux Formula is our premiere combination therapy for alleviating reflux - it contains 11 of the most important natural ingredients for taking care of reflux and repairing the damage from it.
Rhizinate is great for soothing the burning that goes along with reflux.
Digestive Formula is made of several different digestive enzymes - enzymes (when taken with food) will improve the digestive process. More efficient digestion means there’s less of chance of stomach upset from food. Also, digestive enzymes support digestion so the stomach doesn’t have to pump out excess acid to deal with irritating foods.
Betaine HCL & Pepsin contains hydrochloric acid (yes, you can take it in a pill!) and pepsin - these are the two most powerful digestive enzymes for breaking down protein foods in the gut. Ensuring complete digestion is an important part of resolving reflux.
Probiotics are always an important piece of the digestive health puzzle. By providing the GI tract with healthy bacteria, this allows the entire digestive process to work more efficiently and effectively. Probiotics are an important supplement only because modern diets aren’t rich in foods that supply these healthy bacteria.
If you have reflux symptoms, don't ignore them – you need to treat them now. The longer the time with symptoms, the tougher it can be to resolve them. Our natural remedies for reflux provide a more gentle way to resolve the symptoms while you work on the cause - which is typically starts with diet.