Perhaps you are familiar with that nagging burning in your chest or breastbone area and throat, commonly known as acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn. For some people, heartburn is a daily experience and one that can get in the way of a quality life. It is estimated that over 50% of all adults experience some form of heartburn on a regular basis.
Although there are numerous prescription medications that can be taken, they are not without risks and often don’t work as well as needed because they are simply masking the problem not making it any better. The good news is that there are some very inexpensive and highly effective natural remedies for heartburn that alleviate the symptoms but also tackle the issue at its root.
What Causes Heartburn?
Contrary to what you might think, acid reflux is not caused by too much acid but usually too little acid. Because of this widespread misunderstanding, acid-blocking drugs are often prescribed.
The Problem With Low Stomach Acid
When your stomach acid is low it makes it difficult to break down proteins. When this happens, large proteins enter the small intestine and create stress on the pancreas to produce enough enzymes to metabolize the proteins. This will wear out the pancreatic enzyme stores and cause stress and irritation in the gut leading to leaky gut syndrome and autoimmunity.
Improper protein digestion also leads to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which feeds yeast and other parasites. In addition, it causes your blood to become acidic and pulls minerals out of the body. Mineral depletion leads to the inability to form stomach acid and that starts the cycle all over again.
What Happens When You Eat?
When you eat food it passes through your esophagus into your stomach. At this time a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes. This prevents food or acid from coming back up. Acid reflux happens with the LES relaxes and allows acid from the stomach to flow backward into the esophagus. This condition is not a disease in itself but rather a symptom of something else that you might have going on including:
- Hiatal hernia: This is a condition that occurs often in people over 50 and those that are overweight or obese
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: This condition is thought to impact over half of the world’s population. It has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Group 1 carcinogen.
Although these two conditions are not related in any way, they both can cause the same symptom of heartburn or acid reflux. Interestingly enough, many people who have a hiatal hernia also have H. pylori. This can cause chronic inflammation of the stomach lining and can lead to an ulcer.
Many natural health practitioners are convinced that H.pylori is responsible for the majority of cases of acid reflux. This hypothesis has been backed by Dr. Barry Marshall, an Australian physician who did research on the condition during the early part of the 1980’s.
Over-the-counter Medications & Heartburn
Heartburn can also be caused by over-the-counter medications, especially those that are used to reduce anxiety, antidepressants, blood pressure meds, pain relievers, antibiotics, nitroglycerin and drugs used to mitigate the symptoms of osteoporosis.
If you are taking any of these medications and experiencing heartburn it is important to speak to your physician about your symptoms. There may be alternatives that will not produce the same effects.
Be careful to not take more than the prescribed dose and if it is suggested that you take your medicine with food, be sure to do so. Taking it on an empty stomach can lead to acid reflux. In addition, avoid lying down immediately after taking any medication. To alleviate heartburn caused by medication, drink some ginger tea after taking your medicine.
Why Prescription Drugs Are Not The Answer
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) are very effective at blocking acid production but it is actually one of the worst approaches to dealing with the problem ever. There are over 16,000 articles in medical literature that state that reducing stomach acid does not address the issue. It will only temporarily treat the symptom.
Lowering acid levels in the stomach dampens your primary defense against food-borne infections, which increases your risk of food poisoning. Proton pump inhibitors also cause serious side effects such as pneumonia, bone loss, hip fractures, and infection.
Safe & Natural Home Remedies For Heartburn
Thankfully, there are a number of safe and effective ways to treat acid reflux at home. Many of these remedies focus on restoring the balance of healthy gut bacteria and improving the overall health of the digestive tract. Here are eleven remedies that you can try:
1. Eat more unprocessed foods & probiotics
To help restore your natural gastric balance it is important to eat as many unprocessed foods as possible. If your diet is loaded with highly refined foods and those with a great deal of sugar, you are upsetting the natural balance in your stomach. However, eating a lot of vegetables and other high-quality, organic and unprocessed foods will do much to heal your gut and keep the balance. It is also a good idea to eliminate foods that might trigger a reaction such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
Including fermented foods in your diet will help balance your bowel flora which can, in turn, eliminate H.pylori bacteria naturally without having to use antibiotics. The best way to get your probiotics is by eating fermented foods such as fermented vegetables, cultured dairies such as yogurt and kefir, chutneys and fish such as mackerel and Swedish gravlax. If you can’t include any of these in your diet, you will need to take a high-quality probiotic daily.
2. Drink raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
As mentioned earlier, acid reflux or heartburn often results from having too little stomach acid. You can balance the acid content of your stomach by adding one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a large glass of filtered water and drink prior to meals. You can also use apple cider vinegar to marinate meat, as a salad dressing or to flavor rice.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the top natural remedies available today. Its benefits come from its potent healing compounds including acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, and enzymes. Acetic acid kills dangerous bacteria and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. Apple cider vinegar has much value for overall health and wellness as well as specific benefits for skin, hair, digestion, and immunity.
3. Drink pure aloe juice
Pure aloe juice can decrease inflammation which eases the symptoms of acid reflux. Drink a ½ cup of juice before meals for best results. Pure Aloe juice is also wonderful for hydrating the body, keeping constipation at bay and it is also packed with nutrients including vitamins B C, E, and folic acid. It also contains calcium, copper, chromium, sodium, selenium, -potassium, manganese, and zinc.
4. Vitamin D
Optimizing your vitamin D levels is a great way to address the infectious component of heartburn. In fact, once your vitamin D levels are where they need to be you will produce about 200 antimicrobial peptides which will help your body fight any infection. Be sure to use a high-quality oral vitamin D3 supplement, like this one available on Amazon and increase your vitamin K2 intake.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is also necessary for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption as well as maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It has also been proven to have a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, Type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
This is a highly potent antioxidant which has been found to reduce the symptoms of heartburn in people when compared to a placebo. This was especially true in those with Helicobacter pylori infection. Astaxanthin is also imperative for eye health and skin health, you want to get good quality, well reviewed casuals like this one on Amazon.
6. Baking soda
Drinking one-half to one full teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in eight ounces of water helps to neutralize stomach acid when you are in an emergency situation. If you wish to drink baking soda more regularly, try mixing a half teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a cup of warm water.
7. Drink ginger tea
Research shows that ginger blocks acid and suppresses Helicobacter pylori. In fact, when ginger was compared to the popular drug lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ulcers, it was found that it was six to eight-fold greater potency over the drug! This is perhaps not surprising since ginger root has been used against gastric issues since ancient times. To use, add two or three slices of fresh ginger root to two cups of hot water. Let it steep for about half an hour. Drink this mixture about 20 minutes or so before you eat a meal. Another benefit of consuming ginger is that it protects your heart. This is a good thing because second to cancer, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death. Ginger has been proven to be an effective remedy against clotting which leads to heart disease.
8. Folate or folic acid (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins
Clinical nutritionist Byron Richards notes that taking B vitamins can reduce your risk for acid reflux. Folic acid intake can reduce acid reflux by about 40 percent. Research supports that low levels of B2 and B6 are linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. One of the best ways to elevate folate levels is to eat folate-rich whole foods including asparagus, spinach, okra, beans, and liver.
Other ways to tackle heartburn:
- Sleep on your left side: Sleeping on your left side keeps acid from coming back up by letting it pool further from the esophageal sphincter.
- Stay upright: In the same fashion, sitting in an upright position keeps the acids down in the stomach. Also, keep from bending over, especially after meals.
- Eat smaller meals and more frequent meals: Eating smaller portions of food at intervals helps your stomach digest food more efficiently and regulates the production of digestive enzymes. This also helps prevent forcing the esophageal sphincter to open due to the excessive food deposited in the stomach.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is one of the leading causes of heartburn. Nicotine, causes the sphincter to relax and stomach acid to rise.
3 Reasons You Should Start Buying Your Healthy Groceries & Natural Health & Beauty Products At Thrive Market
Thrive Market is an online marketplace selling the best in healthy, organic groceries and natural health and beauty products. It has developed a passionate and loyal base of customers in recent months. Here’s why…
1. Items at Thrive Market are typically 25-50% lower than if you were to purchase the exact same item at Whole Foods or Amazon.
2. Thrive Market run almost continuous promotions that enable you to bag extra savings or free gifts. For example, clicking this link will snag you a free jar of organic virgin coconut oil with any order over $29.
3. If you use this link, you can take a whopping 25% off your first order and get free shipping – that’s in addition to the 25-50% you’ll already be saving.
Ready to try Thrive Market? Use the special link below and your 25% discount code, one month free trial and free shipping will be applied.