Do you have burning in your sternal area or a persistent cough? Like about 50% of Americans, you may have acid reflux caused by stomach acid washing up into the esophagus.
So often a trip to the doctor will have us on “the little purple pill” (a proton pump inhibitor–PPI) or histamine-2 receptor blocker (H2 blocker). Yes, they make us feel better by reducing the amount of acid production in the stomach but these really just compound the problem. There is a sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach which, when working as it was designed, stays closed preventing the washing up of the acid. After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to move back up. It’s ability to close is related to the amount of stomach acid.
Acid reflux isn’t a disease. It is really a symptom of a problem. It could be a hiatal hernia or an imbalance of bacteria. It could very possibly be a side effect of a medication or slow emptying of the stomach. The PPIs and H2 blockers will relieve the burning by preventing the formation of acid, but they are only making the problem worse by not having enough acid to keep the LES closed. Low stomach acid can promote bacterial imbalance. It can lead impaired absorption of nutrients leading to deficiencies of critical nutrients like B12, calcium and magnesium. These depleted can lead to osteoporosis or anemia for examples. To be fair, there are times when these H2 blockers and PPI are necessary such as Barrett’s esophagus or an ulcer, but for many that isn’t the case.
As a temporary solution for the short term, bicarb of soda will balance out the acid. But what needs to be done is to restore the stomach acid so that the problem can be resolved? There are things that we can do ourselves naturally to restore the needed acid
- Eliminate triggers like alcohol, sugar, caffeine
- Take a probiotic to balance out the gut flora
- Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut
- 1 tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water will stimulate acid production
- Sea salt that has not been processed provides one of the minerals used by the body to make acid.
- Drinking aloe before a meal can sooth any irritation
In our office —
- We do an extensive interview to begin to get a handle on the cause of the problem
We ask what medications they are on
When did the problem start
Was there a home remedy that was effective
- We ask patients to submit a stool analysis which gives us more detailed and specific information as to what the problem actually is.
Do you have a bacterial imbalance?
Is there evidence of inflammation in the stomach lining?
Do you have adequate digestive enzymes?
What is the cause of your acid reflux? Rather than take a PPI or an H2 blocker, why not see if we can help you get to the bottom of the issue so that you won’t need the “little purple pill” and lessen your chances of an added malady.
Call me today, so we can get started in clearing-up this issue for you.
Dr. Carolyn Graham – Phone 203-264-2200