Acid reflux/ Heart Burn/ Digestion
Heartburn and acid reflux
Acid reflux is very common and can happen to everyone. But you know something is wrong when it happens very regularly (meaning every day or multiple times a week). It can be very painful, and many people have trouble sleeping at night because of it. If that is your case, your body is trying to tell you something!
Let’s start with the basics. Your esophagus is connected to your stomach where your hydrochloric acid resides. The end of your esophagus and entrance of your stomach is connected by a valve that opens when we eat to allow food in the stomach and should close right up afterwards. One of your stomach acid’s role, amongst a lot of other things is to signal that little valve to close. Other roles include proper break down of the food we eat, protection against harmful bacteria, facilitating iron absorption as well as helping to liberate B12 from the food we eat for absorption.
Did you know? More than ¾ of the population in North America that suffer from heart burn and acid reflux is due to low stomach acidity? When your stomach acid is too low, it cannot signal the valve in your esophagus to close properly, leaving it partially open and inviting your stomach acid as well as partially digestive food to splash into your esophagus giving you burning sensations.
Now let’s get a few things straight. You may have heard a lot about alkalinity, and how it is important for your body to be in an alkaline state for your health and longevity and we could not agree more. However, your stomach should be not be part of that scenario. In order for your body to work optimally and for you to break down your food properly and absorb as many nutrients as possible, your stomach’s pH needs to sit at a 2 to a 4. Anything more alkaline than that and it can create a range of problems no one wants to be dealing with.
Before we get into natural ways to help acid reflux symptoms and why it’s important to try to deal with it with a natural approach before you resort to medication, let’s talk about a few pre-existing conditions that may contribute to low stomach acidity.
#1- Auto-immune conditions. The parietal cells are the cells responsible for hydrochloric acid, or HCL production in the stomach. In some cases, if someone is dealing with an auto-immune disease, anti-bodies attack the parietal cells, resulting in lower HCL production.
#2- Hypothyroidism. When someone is dealing with hypothyroidism, everything slows down. Including HCL production.
#3- H.Pylori bacteria overgrowth. H.Pylori is a small bacteria that requires low stomach acidity in order to survive. To do that, it will corkscrew itself into the stomach lining and start producing ammonia which is highly alkaline and lower the acidity of the stomach. Once H.Pylori bacteria is present in your gut it can be quite difficult to get rid of and will require anti-biotics for a lengthy period of time.
#4- Trace mineral and vitamin deficiency. There is a few vitamins and minerals that need to be present in order for your body to produce adequate levels of hydrochloric acid such as chloride, sodium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. This can be common in people who are on a S.A.D diet (the standard American diet) and lack the variety of fruits and vegetables needed in order to meet the daily intake requirement of vitamins and minerals. This can also be common in athletes who lose a lot of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes through sweat.
Other causes such as stress, certain medications or surgery may be contributing factors to low stomach acidity production.
Most people, when dealing with chronic acid reflux, will resort to medication to manage the burning sensations and uncomfortableness. What do these medications do?
Most of the medications out there that help relieve symptoms of heartburn simply coat the esophagus with a substance that will prevent you from feeling the burning sensations that come with acid reflux. The only problem with that is that many become reliant on these medications in order to get an instant pain relief which does not actually fix what the root of the issue is.
If left undealt with, low stomach acid long term has been linked with a range of issues such as poor digestion, malabsorption, vitamins and mineral deficiency, irritable bowel syndrome and more.
So, what now?
Well, luckily there are many things you can do naturally in order to not only alleviate acid reflux symptoms but to hopefully also get to the root cause of these symptoms and avoid these long-term issues.
#1- Start your day with half a lemon juice in a glass of water, half an hour before eating or drinking anything. This includes coffee! This will jumpstart and cleanse your G.I tract and encourage your stomach to start producing its own digestive fluids which will help your digestive system throughout the day.
#2- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar or ACV will not only increase the acidity in your stomach, it also contains probiotics and digestive enzymes that will contribute to your gut and digestive health. We recommend that you take a tablespoon of ACV in a little bit of water after lunch and dinner, or after your biggest meal.
#3- Digestive bitters. Digestive bitter has been used for hundreds of years to help digestion. You can add that to your apple cider vinegar concoction as described above or take it separately in a little bit of water before, or after a meal.
#4- Hydrochloric acid supplement. You can get HCL tablets or digestive enzymes that contain HCL in order to give your gut the break it needs in order to restore itself into a healthy state, all while enjoying a better digestion and less heartburns.
For better and faster relief, try all of these for a couple of weeks! If none of these help, it might be because there is an underlying issue going on. In which case, we recommend that you see your family physician to conduct further tests.
Here at Amaranth, we have everything you need in order to make positive changes that can lead you to a better quality of life today! Come in and ask one of our friendly staff where to find everything that you need. We will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. See you soon!