How to Eliminate Heartburn & GERD
(Gastroesophael reflux disease)
Unfortunately this painful condition affects 1 in 2 Americans. That being said, I am actually happy when one of my clients or friends gets this. That is because it is an indicator that you are having health problems that will escalate further unless you make a change. The pain from this indicator is enough to make people finally make that change, where they otherwise ignore it.
The main symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn”—a painful burning sensation in your chest center that can lead up your throat. Conventionally, acid reflux is thought to be caused by excessive amounts of acid in your stomach, which is why acid-blocking drugs are typically prescribed however, this is a serious medical misconception that adversely affects hundreds of millions of people, as the problem usually results from having too little acid in your stomach.
Addressing the Problem of Low Stomach Acid:
Since heartburn is typically a sign of too little stomach acid to encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), you’ll also want to make sure you’re consuming the right foods on a regular basis. “Real Salt”, Himalayan salt or other high quality sea-salt (not table salt). This will not only provide you with the chloride your body needs to make hydrochloric acid, it also contains over 80 trace minerals your body needs to perform optimally, biochemically.
Sauerkraut or cabbage juice is also a strong—if not the strongest—stimulant for your body to produce stomach acid. Having a few teaspoons of cabbage juice before eating, or better yet, fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut, will do wonders to improve your digestion.
It is important to make important lifestyle changes to cure this issue rather than working on the symptoms, but here are some recommendations to help the immediate problem:
– Sauerkraut or Cabbage Juice is also a strong, if not the strongest—stimulant for your body to produce stomach acid. Having a few teaspoons of cabbage juice before eating, or better yet, fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut, will do wonders to improve your digestion. Juice Cabbage, or See how to make fermented vegetables here or try this one in the photo.
– Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) – One-half to one full teaspoon in an eight-ounce glass of water can ease the burn as it helps neutralize stomach acid. I prefer to recommend ACV but this can help as well. (click photo)
Hydrochloric acid (HCL)
* – You can add Hydrochloric acid (HCL) at each meal. This HCL Supplement is my favorite option to heaing the issue and this company guarantees your success.
The acid therapy is called the Betaine HCL therapy. (see dosage below) This will help your body to better digest your food, and will also help kill the H. pylori bacteria. (click pic)
- Regarding HCL – This particular Hydrochloric Acid supplement is an important tool in treating low stomach acid, and a big part of the solution in healing low stomach acid naturally. This is the best one I know of and they even guarantee results or will send you your money back!
- – Do NOT use HCL supplements while using medication such as corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory meds like Advil, Tylenol or other NSAIDS. These meds can damage the GI lining and increase the chance of a stomach ulcer if HCL is introduced.
- Do NOT use HCL if you have gastritus or stomach ulcers. In that case, heal the stomach lining completely with Gastrazyme, manuka honey the other suggestions here before HCL supplementation. Always check with your doctor for recommendation on this.
- – Only take HCL with a meal containing protein (you will not need HCL if you are eating an apple for a snack, for example). Take one HCL supplement after a few bites of your breakfast. Continue to eat slowly. If you have no warming sensation in your stomach, repeat the process at lunch and take 2 HCL pills. Again, if there is no warming sensation, take 3 pills with dinner. Repeat until you feel a warming sensation and your dose is the number of pills before you got the warming. For example, if you felt the warming at 6 pills, take 5 pills with each protein meal.
- – As you continue to heal your stomach lining, you will be able to gradually reduce and eventually eliminate need for HCL supplements.
- – Often, when stomach acid is chronically low for a long period of time, even the minimal dose of HCL will cause a burning sensation in the stomach. In this case, focus on healing the stomach lining with the steps above first, then try to re-introduce the HCL after 2-4 weeks of intensive healing.
– Ginger has been found to have a gastroprotective effect by blocking acid and suppressing helicobacter pylori.9 According to a 2007 study,10 it’s also far superior to lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ulcers, exhibiting six- to eight-fold greater potency over the drug! – See how to make a great Ginger Tea here.
– Lemon Juice – Drink the juice of half a lemon during your meal (after a few bites) and drink the other half after your meal. – If that makes you feel better you need a digestive enzyme to aid digestion, not an antacid. (see enzymes below)
– If you are overweight and especially obese it is very important to lose weight and lower inflammation – see my blog on inflammation here.
– Be sure to stay well hydrated since dehydration is another major cause of low stomach acid. However, try not to drink anything 15 minutes before eating and 15-30 minutes after, this waters down digestive acids, inhibiting digestion.
– Aloe Juice and leaf – (see how to prepare here) The juice of the aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, which may ease symptoms of acid reflux. If not making yourself, drink about 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice before meals. If you don’t cut the leaf yourself you can get a juice such as in the picture. (click pic)
What to Eliminate:
• Food allergies – wheat/grains, gluten, dairy, potato, nuts
• Caffeine (including all coffee)
• Smoking and any other nicotine products
• Soda, cola, seltzer, and any other carbonation
• No table salt (Real salt, Himalayan or sea salt is however recommended)
• Processed foods and synthetic sugars
• Desserts and all excessive sugar
• Conventional fruits and vegetables (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides overwork the immune system)
• Tomatoes – have both citric and malic acid, which trigger reflux.
• Don’t eat 2 hours before bed
• Fried and greasy foods
• Pastas or any other empty carbs
• Garlic, onions, chocolate, citrus fruits
• Lying down after a large meal
• Tight belts or clothing
• Stress and anxiety – especially when eating. -the body does not produce gastric juices when under stress. That means sitting down for your meals, chewing well, and eating mindfully. – Also recommended is to develop a regular practice of meditation, or Chi gong, click to learn how.
What to Add:
• Eat high quality sea salt – Real salt or Himalayan sea salt
• Probiotics or fermented foods
• Leafy greens and other fiber such as psyllium husk
• Chew food well and slow down in your eating.
• Meditation and exercise
• Click here to learn the Alkaline Diet and what foods to add
– Astaxanthin – Potent antioxidant found to reduce symptoms of acid reflux in patients when compared to a placebo, particularly in those with pronounced helicobacter pylori infection. Best results were obtained at a daily dose of 4 mg.
- – Glutamine – Research14 published in 2009 found that gastrointestinal damage caused by H. pylori can be addressed with the amino acid glutamine, found in foods, including grass fed beef, free range chicken, fish, free-range organic eggs, organic non-pasteurized dairy products, and some organic fruits and vegetables. L-glutamine, the biologically active isomer of glutamine, in supplement form.
– Folate or Folic Acid (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins- As reported by clinical nutritionist Byron Richards,15 research suggests B vitamins can reduce your risk for acid reflux. Higher folic acid intake was found to reduce acid reflux by approximately 40%. Low vitamin B2 and B6 levels were also linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. The best way to raise your folate levels is by eating folate-rich whole foods, such as liver, asparagus, spinach, okra, beans and adding milk Kefir to your diet.
– “Vitamin U” Not a real vitamin, just a label for a powerful healing enzyme found in cabbage that contains powerful anti-ulcer abilities and quickly cures stomach ulcers and heals the stomach lining. Years of low stomach acid causes the stomach lining to be inflamed and unable to tolerate acid supplementation. In this case, vitamin U is useful in soothing an inflamed stomach lining and correcting low stomach acid.
Many studies have been conducted where the participants drank raw cabbage juice and experienced quick ulcer healing. Large amounts of cabbage juice, however, can suppress thyroid activity due to the high amounts of goitrogens. So while a daily dose of raw cabbage juice may be a great option for some, others may find it both more suitable and more convenient to take a vitamin u supplement. I’ve heard of great success with Gastrazyme. 5 tablets before bed and 5 upon rising is a good place to start for a potent, short-term therapy.
Ess ential Oils for Heartburn:
Be sure that you are only using high quality oils that can be ingested if you take the oils internally. I recommend one company, as they are the highest quality I could find and the only one with supplement facts on the label for ingestion. They have asked me not to mention their name in my blogs as per FDA regulation. Email info@theartofunitycom for links.
– Peppermint, chamomile, spearmint, lemon, marjoram and clove.– Particularly in place of caffeine. Can put 2 drops of any of these in water as a supplement dose. These EO’s can also be applied by massage. Tea with peppermint or chamomile can also be effective.
– Lemon Oil – works as an antacid by drinking 8oz glass of water with 1 drop of lemon, or putting a drop in mouth with a bit of water and swishing it around before drinking. (lemon in water can be useful when dining out to avoid pain) By ingesting lemon juice or EO the stomach temporarily reduces the excretion of digestive acids, therefore alleviating heartburn. A very simple acid reflux remedy. Lemon oil has antibacterial properties, which may be effective against H.pylori bacteria in the stomach and further down the digestive tract (diarrhea). Regarding pH, fresh lemons are actually an alkaline food showing up at 9.9 PH on the Ash scale.
– DigestZen blend (a Mix of Anise, Caraway, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Peppermint, and Tarragon) – great for any digestive issues
This and the other oils mentioned can be used in several ways:
- Take 1-2 drops internally by dropping them in your mouth, swallowing them in a capsule, or mixing them with a little bit of water and drinking it.
- Apply 1 or 2 drops of EO on your chest, dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil if needed.
- Apply 1 or 2 drops of EO’s to the bottom on your feet anytime.
– Ess ential Oil Digestive Recipe (Especially if Stress induced) Mix:
15 drops Coriander, 10 drops Pink Grapefruit, 5 drops Cypress, 5 drops Lemon
Combine in small glass jar. Place 4-5 drops of blend onto the arch of the bottoms of the foot. Can even place over abdomen. Then cup hands and breath deeply with mixture to inhale it.
(**Some people have the opposite effect while using mints such as peppermint, because it relaxes the esophageal sphincter or valve. Pay attention to how your body reacts and use the other recommended oils if necessary.)
– Slippery elm – Slippery elm coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, and contains antioxidants that can help address inflammatory bowel conditions. It helps increase mucus secretion, which protects your gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity. Use the inner bark powder (not the whole bark or tablet) and mix with water. Can put in milk or yogurt to make it more pleasant to swallow.
The University of Maryland Medical Center12 makes the following adult dosing recommendations: (click photo for link)
• Tea: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 4 g (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark, then steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Drink 3 times per day.
• Tincture: 5 mL 3 times per day.
• Capsules: 400 – 500 mg 3 – 4 times daily for 4 – 8 weeks. Take with a full glass of water.
– Fennel – A perennial herb that is also categorized as a vegetable, has been shown to improve stomach function by balancing pH. Add fennel to soups and salads as a delicious way to consume this important herb. (click photo for link)
– Licorice Root (glycyrrhiza glabra)- Use DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). DGL is a special licorice extract that provides specific support for sensitive gastrointestinal tissues. Slowly chew two tablets or take a half-teaspoon of the powder before or between meals and at bedtime. Taper your dose down after your symptoms are under control.
– Turmeric (Curcuma aromatica) -The chemicals in turmeric will help decrease swelling or inflammation. (Turmeric can interfere with acid-reducing medications) Make a paste of 1 tsp raw turmeric (or powdered) Add to milk or water. Drink after dinner, before going to bed. Take for 3-4 weeks depending on the severity of the condition.
– Honey has been widely used to heal stomach lining and to help address h. pylori overgrowth. 1 tsp. twice a day. Manuka Honey and Yemen Sidr honey have powerful antibacterial properties. Raw honey is less antibacterial than these two, but it is still very useful in healing the stomach lining. Only purchase raw honey, preferably from a local beekeeper– never purchase regular supermarket honey.
– Practice an Alkaline Diet – See information in my blog about the alkaline diet.
What Causes Heartburn?
For the most part too much acidic foods, overeating, and emotional stress or medication. Why does it happen?
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. Acid reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus. But it’s important to understand that acid reflux is not a disease caused by excessive acid production in your stomach; rather it’s a symptom more commonly related to:
• Hiatal Hernia – (caused by emotional stress or trama) More info here – http://www.quasarhealing.com/hiatalhernia.html
• Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection (H. pylori bacteria is thought to affect more than half of the world’s population, and has been identified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization2)
While these two conditions are unrelated, many who have a hiatal hernia also have H. pylori, which cause a chronic low-level inflammation of your stomach lining that can result in an ulcer3 and associated symptoms. If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work and many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment. (for more on this see Dr. Barry Marshall, Australian physician)
Prescription Drugs Often Cause Heartburn
In addition to the other conditions mentioned, be aware certain prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can also cause heartburn. Common culprits include anxiety medications and antidepressants, antibiotics, blood pressure medications, nitroglycerin, osteoporosis drugs, and pain relievers.
If your heartburn is caused by a medication you’re taking, the answer is, of course, to address what, when, and how you’re taking that drug. Don’t make the mistake of adding yet another drug to counteract this side effect. WebMD4 offers a number of helpful tips for how to address drug-induced heartburn, such as:
• Avoid taking more than the recommended or prescribed dose
• Some medications are best taken on an empty stomach, while others are less likely to cause side effects like heartburn when taken with a meal. Check the label for instructions, or ask your doctor or pharmacist for advise on when and how to take your medication
• Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review ALL the medications and supplements you’re taking to see if one or more of them cause heartburn. Changing the dose or switching to another medication may be advisable to ease your heartburn. Some drugs may be available in cream form rather than a pill, which would be far less likely to cause heartburn
• Avoid laying down right after taking your medication
• Drink some ginger tea
Dangers Regarding PPI’s
One of the most commonly prescribed drugs for heartburn and acid reflux are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are very effective at blocking acid production in your stomach. While that may sound like an appropriate remedy, considering the fact that stomach acid is creeping up your esophagus, in most cases it’s actually the worst approach possible, as a major part of the problem is typically related to your stomach producing too little stomach acid.
There are over 16,000 articles in the medical literature showing that suppressing stomach acid does not address the problem. It only temporarily treats the symptoms.
PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid were originally designed to treat a very limited range of severe problems. According to Mitchell Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health PPIs are only warranted for the treatment of:
• Bleeding ulcers
• Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a rare condition that causes your stomach to produce excess acid)
• Severe acid reflux, where an endoscopy has confirmed that your esophagus is damaged
According to Katz, “about 60 to 70 percent of people taking these drugs have mild heartburn and shouldn’t be on them.” Part of the problem with PPIs is that when you suppress the amount of acid in your stomach, you decrease your body’s ability to kill the helicobacter bacteria. So if your heartburn is caused by an H. pylori infection, it actually makes your condition worse and perpetuates the problem. Besides that, reducing acid in your stomach diminishes your primary defense mechanism for food-borne infections, which will increase your risk of food poisoning. PPI drugs can also cause potentially serious side effects, including pneumonia, bone loss, hip fractures, and infection with Clostridium difficile (a harmful intestinal bacteria).
The reason patients stay on PPIs for a long time is because they create a rebound effect: The stomach will produce more HCL, thinking that production of HCL is still suppressed and patient may have severe symptoms of Acid Reflux. Unfortunately, PPIs are not safe, they may create numerous problems, such as nutritional deficiencies: iron deficiency (anemia), B12 def (peripheral neuropathy), Calcium creating (osteopenia/osteoporosis), magnesium (cardiac arrhythmia) and more. Considering you will develop both tolerance and dependence on PPI drugs, you should not stop taking proton pump inhibitors cold turkey. You need to wean yourself off them gradually by getting a lower dose than you’re on now until you get to the lowest dose and start substituting with an over-the-counter H2 blocker like Tagamet, Cimetidine, Zantac, or Raniditine and wean off the H2 blocker over the next several weeks.
While getting off these drugs, you should begin changing your lifestyle away from what caused this problem in the first place, such as lowering stress, developing a regular practice of meditation or chi gong and implementing the above mentioned foods and diet. That means to eat a lot of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods. Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
Gut Flora – Make sure you’re getting enough good bacteria in your diet in order to help eliminate H. pylori bacteria naturally without resorting to antibiotics, as well as aiding in proper digestion. This includes probiotics, home-made kefir, water kefir, fermented vegetables, kombucha, kim chi, yogurt (all homemade to avoid added sugar and other processed foods.) Sugar can further harm you by feeding the bad bacteria killing a healthy balance of good gut flora.
For even more information, I encourage you to read natural health pioneer Dr. Jonathan Wright’s excellent book:
This is another book I recommend reading for understanding better the issue of heartburn:
Last but not least, you could even try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). In the video below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for acid reflux.
Regarding Hiatal Hernia
In addition to all the other nutritional causes mentioned, there are emotional causes. A hiatal hernia can be caused by repressed anger. A person “swallows their anger” and “can’t stomach it.” When you get angry, you suck your breath upward. If you fail to release this anger, your stomach stays up. I have observed that most of the people with severe hiatal hernias have a great deal of emotional stress and hold a lot of it inside.
Do You Have a Hiatal Hernia?
The easiest way to tell if you or someone you know has a hiatal hernia is to place your fingers on the solar Plexus, just below the breastbone. Then take a deep breath. You should feel the solar plexus expand and move outward. If there is no movement at the solar plexus and you have to lift your chest and shoulders to take a deep breath, then you probably have a hiatal hernia. You should be able to take a deep abdominal breath without lifting your shoulders.
Hiatal Hernia Exercises
Strengthen the stomach muscles with the following exercises:
- Lie on your back and bend your knees, leaving your feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your buttocks and lower back off the floor, leaving your feet and shoulders on the floor supporting your weight.
- Lower yourself gently.
- Repeat 10 times daily.
Here is a self-help adjustment technique. It isn’t as effective as having someone else perform the adjustment, but it may help.
• Drink a pint of warm water first thing in the morning, then stand on your toes and drop suddenly to your heels several times.
• The warm water helps to relax the stomach and diaphragm and puts some weight in the stomach.
• By dropping down suddenly, the weight of the water helps to pull the stomach down. In a mild case, this might be enough to bring the hernia down. In a more severe case it may loosen the stomach and make it easier for someone else to bring it down. It will also help you to keep the stomach down once mechanical corrections have been made.
Since this is primarily a mechanical problem it is better fixed this way (by hand) as opposed to surgery, which has poor results. A trained chiropractor or massage therapist who understands this is often the best person to correct it.
– More Pain relief ideas for Hiatal Hernia:
I did an examination and found it was not a rib strain, it did not appear to be cardiac so I thought it might be some food stretching the lower portion of the esophagus, likely a hiatus hernia. I would have reached through his belly to grab the stomach and pull it down if I could. Since I couldn’t, I did the next best thing. I had him drink at least 3 full glasses of lukewarm water in order to place a ‘weight’ in his stomach. Then, to make the water momentarily heavier, I asked him to make a quick dip by bending his knees thus allowing the body to fall down a few inches and then to catch himself and stop the downward movement. He did it poorly, but fortunately, I had a rebounder (mini-trampoline) so I asked him to get on it and bounce a few times while I supported him by holding his hands. He did that well for about 5 or 10 times. The pain stopped immediately.
Two weeks later he called me from his home at 2AM to tell me he was having another pain attack. I told him to drink the water and try doing the same by bending the knees and holding onto something for support. It worked. He has not had any more attacks since then and no surgery was needed. I’ve since used this approach with several patients and have had equally good results.
Source – http://drrind.com/_blog/Dr_Rinds_Journal/post/A_Simple_Trick_for_Natural_Treatment_of_Hiatal_Hernias/
Learn more about Hiatal Hernia here:
This is an interesting Ayervedic technique from Ayverudec doctor John Douillard
By utilizing the information presented on this site, you agree to and understand that author, Bill Farr is not a doctor or any other type of certified health care professional, and his opinion is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your doctor or your other health care providers concerning your symptoms and medical requirements before following any of the remedies or other suggestions he offers. His opinion is based on his own research and is to be used for educational purposes only. Bill Farr’s wellness plans and advice are meant to be used in conjunction with standard allopathic or osteopathic medical treatment and care.