Acid reflux is a big business. It’s a drug company’s dream come true. Millions of Americans suffer from acid reflux. Many millions more experience the pain of heartburn every day.
The medical community would have you believe that only drugs can treat and heal acid reflux disease. This is simply not true – there are natural ways to heal this condition. PPI drugs (proton pump inhibitors), like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and Protonix should only be taken for eight weeks, at most.
Doctors are aware of this, but most patients continue to take these drugs on a permanent basis. Unfortunately, there are no studies determining what the long term effects of these drugs are on the human body.
PPI drugs actually shut down the pumps that produce the stomach acid necessary to digest food. You have to wonder how the human body digests and assimilates food properly without stomach acid. How does a body remain healthy without the proper digestion of food? Is this natural?
I used to suffer from acute acid reflux. I was addicted to a PPI drug…..that certain “colored pill”. After several years of taking this drug, my condition became worse and I was told to double the dose. I began to feel sluggish and tired. My vision suffered and my blood pressure went off the charts. I realized that these were probably side effects of the PPI drug.
Research hows there are hundreds of possible harmful side effects, including: Headache, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, dry mouth, aggravated constipation, enlarged abdomen, back pain, chest pain, anemia, allergic reaction, hypertension, tachycardia, goiter, tinnitus, facial edema, conjunctivitis, vision abnormal, aggravated depression, dizziness, hypertonia, nervousness, cystitis, insomnia, migraine, anorexia, acne, dermatitis, glycosuria, hyperuricemia, hyponatremia, arthritis aggravated, tongue edema, ulcerative stomatitis, impotence, insomnia, to name a few.
I knew that I had to stop taking this drug! But when I tried, the acid pumps, which had been shut off for so long, went wild and produced more acid than ever before. I have never suffered so much in my life….even drinking water gave me severe indigestion. My doctor suggested that I get back on the pill. He had no other advice to offer.
I became determined to beat this dreadful condition – beat the curse of the big drug companies! I really had no choice, because medical science, apparently, had no solution for my problem. I began extensive research on the subject and found out some very interesting things.
Acid reflux is big business. It’s a drug company’s dream come true. Millions of Americans suffer from acid reflux. Many millions more experience the pain of heartburn, ranging from once a month to every day. This affliction is the result of the splashing up of fluids from the stomach into the esophagus.
These fluids are composed of hydrochloric acid, pepsin and occasionally liver bile. Stomach fluid helps break down the food we eat so that it can be digested. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach fluid helps prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying in the stomach and intestines.
Although hydrochloric acid also helps the body absorb vitamins and nutrients, it is a very strong corrosive. The stomach holds this powerful acid in check with a special protective lining. The esophagus, however, does not have this protection.
When acid splashes up through the lower esophageal sphincter into the esophagus, we have the problems of heartburn, GERD, or acid reflux. This condition, if left unchecked, can eventually lead to Barrett’s Disease, or cancer of the esophagus.
Of course, I found all this to be quite scary and, since drugs were not the answer for me, I had to find alternative ways to treat this condition. I researched the subject even further and found a plethora of natural things that could heal acid reflux. First of all, I learned that acid reflux is not a disease, but a condition that begins when the esophagus becomes irritated. Let’s say that you are watching an exciting ball game on TV.
Someone hands you a bag of corn chips and without thinking, you eat them too fast, without chewing properly. The jagged edges of the chips have caused little lacerations in the esophagus that you’re not even aware of. Later that evening you are invited to a Mexican chili party. The spicy tomato sauce in the chili further irritates those injuries. You wash down the chili with alcohol or soda, making it even worse.
Before you know it, you have a full-blown case of acid reflux. Until you allow your esophagus to heal, you will continue to suffer from this condition.
I was astounded to find that the esophagus can be healed in about three days. Simply eating foods that are easy to digest, three or four times during the day, and omitting the regular big meals, is the key. I ate fruits like bananas, melon, and apples during the day. I snacked on walnuts and almonds.
I found that eating slowly in a relaxed atmosphere and chewing food well helped enormously. There are foods and drinks which should obviously be avoided like those which are fried, spicy, or too crunchy. Alcohol and carbonated drinks are a definite no-no. We are all aware of which foods trigger our indigestion. You just have to avoid them for a few days until you are over the hump.
There are many natural herbs and health store items which can assist in this healing process. Slippery elm, aloe vera juice, and licorice products can be of great value. Removing stress from your life is essential during this period. Yoga and meditation are worth considering to ward off the daily angst.
Home remedies are excellent for temporary relief or short term fixes of health conditions. However, if you really desire to get to the root cause of any long-standing conditions then and individualized an specialized plan is always needed to rectify symptoms such as acid reflux. If these symptoms continue to occur then more serious conditions can arise including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available