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Acid Reflux Natural Remedies

Acid reflux natural remedies work well with diet and lifestyle changes; part of an acid reflux natural treatment involves taking a good look at one's diet. 

What is acid reflux?

Reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a typically painful condition where stomach acid is sent back up into the esophagus (the tube leading from your mouth to your stomach).

It often causes a sensation of  burning and pain in the chest and throat.

Reflux can also cause you to cough, have a hoarse voice, or frequent need to clear your throat.  While these may seem like relatively minor symptoms, what you can't  see is the damage reflux causes to the tissue lining the esophagus.

Reflux that goes untreated can be dangerous. Eventually, the damage caused by the acid on the delicate tissue in the esophagus can lead to a pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagitis. If you have reflux symptoms, you need to treat it now!

You won't always have the tell-tale 'heartburn' signs of reflux. Sometimes the only signs are a dry throat, cough or constant clearing, difficulty speaking and even shortness of breath. 

What causes reflux?

Normally, the valve that closes off the esophagus from the stomach stays closed except when we swallow food. In reflux (also known as "GERD" (gastroesophageal reflux disease), that valve stays open longer than it should, or doesn’t close entirely.

When that happens, stomach acid can escape and travel back up the esophagus causing reflux symptoms.  Rarely, this may be caused by a mechanical problem – such as a hiatal hernia or other deformity that requires surgery.  However, most of the time it's caused by something more simple than that...

What is the real cause of GERD?

Well, I can tell you that reflux is NOT caused by a deficiency of Prilosec or other acid blocking drugs!

In fact, new thinking around GERD and reflux centers around the idea that the problem is not caused by too much acid, but too little acid.

New research shows that when stomach acidity is low, this allows the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to open up. You always have acid in your stomach, and even though it’s low it can still seep up into your esophagus. You really need adequate amounts of acid to actually keep the LES shut and acid from coming up.

What keeps the LES from closing properly?

Reflux is almost always caused by poor dietary choices - throwing whatever we want down the 'ol pie hole and expecting our stomachs to take it all without complaining just isn't going to happen.

After a while, eating the wrong foods and beverages combined with other lifestyle factors (i.e. high stress), the stomach will begin to revolt and then we have symptoms of reflux.

Identifying and removing the foods that are bothersome to your stomach, along with using acid reflux natural remedies can bring relief. 

Standard Treatment

Standard drug treatment blocks the production of acid to the point that there is no acid left and certainly not enough to get up into the esophagus.

While this relieves symptoms, it doesn’t address the cause of GERD and has several negative long-term health consequences.  These include:

  • Dependency on acid-blocking medication (you can never go off of it)

  • Poor mineral absorption (leading to weakened bones - we need lots of stomach acid to properly absorb the minerals in our diets).

  • Increased susceptibility to infections (the acid in our guts kills of microbes that cause disease)

If low acid is really the problem, and you then take a pill to completely cut the rest of your acid production off, then we have a bigger problem. Now your stomach acid is lower than ever, and if you were to try going off the acid blocker, your reflux would come back big time (which is always the case with these drugs).

Acid reflux natural remedies don't do this to you!

The other big problem with antacid drugs is that they decrease your ability to properly digest your food. The acid is there to help break the food down, and to begin the digestion/absorption process.

In fact, there are studies showing that long-term use of antacids leads to bone problems (osteoporosis); these drugs keep you from properly absorbing several vitamins and minerals.

Naturopathic medicine recognizes that health begins in the gut, with digestion. Poor digestion over a long period of time contributes to many other health conditions.  Gut health is one area where we also begin our search for the cause of many seemingly unrelated conditions! (This is why we'll always ask a lot of questions about your digestion, no matter what condition has brought you into the clinic.)

While it may seem easier to just pop a pill and eat whatever you want like the TV commercials say, wouldn't you rather make a change so that you don't have to take a pill for the rest of your life, and not worry about having soggy, weak bones in 5 years??

Fixing reflux involves changing the diet, and most of the time people need to use one or more acid reflux natural remedies to help get their digestion back on track, and to temporarily alleviate reflux symptoms. 

Acid Reflux Natural Remedies

Once we've discussed your diet and what needs to happen with that; we'll then incorporate several natural medicines as part of our  acid reflux natural treatment:

  • Digestive Enzymes:  Enzymes are naturally produced chemicals that assist in breaking down different types of foods - starches, fats, proteins, and other carbohydrates.  Enzymes help raise stomach acidity to break foods down (remember that newer thinking states that stomach acid is too low in GERD).

  • Licorice root extract helps to relieve symptoms of reflux while you work on your digestion and other causes of reflux.

  • Glutamine helps support the lining of digestive tract and speeds healing of damaged esophageal tissue.

  • Probiotics benefit overall digestive health, ensuring normal gut function.

  • Food Sensitivities: This is a big one; identifying and removing foods that don't agree with your body (in this case the stomach) can in many cases resolve reflux.

Using the right acid reflux natural remedies helps to treat the cause of reflux, rather than taking a pill that chips away at your health and only treats the symptoms.

If you're looking for help with an acid reflux natural treatment, please come and see us in Fort Collins! 

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