Heartburn and Acid Reflux
by Nikki Moses
© July 2016
Heartburn (also known as Acid Reflux) is when acid liquid or gases are coming up out of the stomach into the esophagus which causes a burning sensation. This is usually happening because the sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus is not fully closing. Also, if the stomach is not digesting food properly, the food sits in the stomach for too long and acids build up in the stomach, causing irritation. In fact, a common cause of heartburn is insufficient stomach acid at the early stages of digestion. Without enough hydrochloric acid to digest proteins, the proteins sit in the stomach too long and create acids of their own, which then cause heartburn.
Some of the symptoms of heartburn are burning pain in your stomach, chest or abdomen or throat, “acid burps” that burn your throat or taste like vomit, nausea after eating, feeling of stomach fullness or bloating, hoarseness and/or coughing (caused by breathing the acid gases into the lungs), and pain or discomfort in the esophagus when swallowing food.
While it is commonly known that these symptoms are caused by acid gas or liquid in the esophagus, what is less known is that the condition is exacerbated by eating habits that cause tiny scratches and/or sores in the esophagus that the acid is now getting into which then causes the burning.
Tips and Remedies for Heartburn
The first thing to do is to stop scratching the esophagus with crunchy, un-chewed food. You should avoid anything hard like chips, crackers, popcorn, seeds, etc. And chew very thoroughly anything you swallow. Make sure it is soft and squishy before swallowing (with no rough edges at all). Your esophagus works by squeezing the food down towards the stomach, so hard foods will scratch it. You can get amazing relief by avoiding scratching yourself with harsh foods.
Also, these hard, scratchy foods are squeezed through the sphincter that holds your stomach acid in the stomach which then damages and inflames this sphincter. So take small bites and chew thoroughly. Along the same lines, you may have to crush or open up your pills where possible (GB-3 is the only one that should not be chewed). When swallowing whole pills, only take one or two at a time. A good system for this is to thoroughly chew a bite of food and then put a pill in your mouth and swallow it with the food. The food provides a cushion around the pill as it goes down; water does not do the same thing. (In fact, people who get throat/esophagus spasms when swallowing pills should use this food method to take the pills down.)
You have to be strict about not eating hard foods. This can heal the esophagus in a matter of days.
Other tips for Heatburn and Acid Reflux:
- Do not overeat. Large meals are harder to digest so the food sits in the stomach longer which creates more acid. A very large meal can also put pressure on the sphincter. Eat smaller meals.
- Avoid spicy, acidic and caustic foods, including coffee and alcohol. (Make sure you wean off of addictive things like coffee and alcohol.) Wheat and gluten foods can also be triggers. You may not know these foods are causing the problem, because symptoms may not be instant, so it is best to test it by coming off of these offending foods for two weeks or more.
- Do not eat close to bedtime, and do not lay down after eating. When you lay down with food in your stomach, the acids and food sit right up against and apply more pressure to the sphincter. After eating, stay standing or sitting upright for a couple of hours before laying down.
These things here will help a lot and may solve the problem all on their own, but here are additional tips:
- You can buy some liquid aloe (organic if possible) and sip on that in between meals. We have a high-quality aloe here. It will help heal your esophagus. You need only take small sips to coat the area, so a couple of ounces a day is likely all you’ll need.
- After meals, drink a little water to rinse your esophagus. Drink a little water anytime you are feeling pain from reflux.
- Only drink room temperature or warm fluids. Not cold.
- Before bed is a good time to drink some water to cleanse the area.
- You can also try drinking a couple of cups of Kukicha Tea during the day. It is available at health food stores and is very similar to green tea in taste. It can help ease heartburn.
- Be sure to focus on downward energy. Any time you are walking, focus on pushing your energy down through each step.
- Coffee enemas can help, as well, because they support the liver. Liver problems are a common cause of heartburn.
- If you must chew down some Tums during a really bad bout of heartburn, go ahead, but over time, the Tums will actually exacerbate the problem, so use sparingly.
- It may help to take some hydrochloric acid with your meals. You can try Endo-met Betaine HCl & Pepsin which we carry here. Start with only one per protein meal and see how you do. If it increases the heartburn, you will need to start more gently so stop Betaine HCl and instead use a little bit of apple cider vinegar added to an ounce or two of water sipped with your meal. You can start with 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and work up to 1 teaspoon per meal. Once you can tolerate the vinegar well, you can try the hydrochloric acid again.
- Find a chiropractor who knows how to do adjustments for acid reflux. There are various issues that could be causal factors such as the diaphragm being twisted which pushes on the stomach, the stomach sitting too high in the chest cavity, etc. A good chiropractor will know techniques to help you with this. If in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend Dr. Alf Garbutt (818) 248-5570 www.4your-wellness.com (he is in the Tujunga area of Los Angeles and is my personal chiropractor) and Dr. Evan Berk in the Beverly Hills area (310) 888-8896 www.doctorberk.com.
Heartburn and acid reflux tend to improve on a nutritional protocol as you get healthier. So hang in there and do your best with the tips above!