Heartburn drugs may provide little relief.
As common as heartburn is, many people turn to conventional over-the-counter or pharmaceutical antacids, which often do little to solve the problem. In fact, these medications over the long-term can make a bad situation worse.
The standard protocol for heartburn is a cocktail of antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).
- While PPIs are not intended for long-term use beyond 6 weeks, many patients stay on these medications for years.
- Studies have shown that those who take PPIs are at a 50% greater risk of developing an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. (1).
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth, also known as SIBO, is a known cause of heartburn.
- PPIs can generate a vicious cycle.
H. Pylori: The Role It Plays in Heartburn
An infection of the pathogenic microbe called H. pylori is now understood to be largely responsible for heartburn and stomach ulcers. One large study found that H. pylori infection is more common in patients with acid reflux and less common in patients without acid reflux. (1)
At one point in time, no one believed that any living organism could survive the highly acidic environment of the stomach. This all changed in 1982 when Dr. Barry Marshall drank an entire beaker teeming with H. pylori. A week later he developed gastritis, or in other words, inflammation of the stomach. This changed the minds of the medical community.
- H. pylori reduce the acidity of the stomach in order to survive.
- When stomach acid is too low, this invites H. pylori infection.
- As the body ages or after an extended time of eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, the body produces less stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid (HCL).
- Antacid medication (PPIs) can also reduce the secretion of stomach acid.
Reduced stomach acid means that carbohydrates are less likely to break down and more likely to feed bacteria, causing overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO). In addition, the pathogenic bacterium called H. pylori favors a low-acid environment and produces its own chemicals in order to reduce stomach acid.
What NOT to Eat
Knowing what not to eat is half the battle. In addition to following the steps of the Body Ecology diet, when healing heartburn, limit or remove:
Taking an antacid isn’t the solution for heartburn relief. To heal heartburn, avoid sugar, prebiotics, fiber, and carbohydrates to stop bacterial overgrowth.
- Sugars. Even sugars like fructose can lead to an increase in bacterial overgrowth. One of the biggest culprits is agave nectar, which many people believe is a “healthy sugar”. Remember, bacteria eat all forms of sugar.
- Prebiotics. Many times a prebiotic can benefit intestinal health. Sometimes, however, this just provides more food for unwanted bacteria.
- Fiber and Carbohydrates. A certain percentage of fiber and carbohydrates that we consume escape absorption. This means that, like a prebiotic, these become food for unwanted bacteria.
3 Foods That Relieve Heartburn
When healing heartburn, it is important to follow the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20. Following this principle gives little chance for foods to ferment in the gut and contribute to heartburn.
Be sure and include these foods when healing heartburn:
1. Fermented Foods: Several studies have found Lactobacillus, commonly found in fermented foods, to be extremely effective as a preventative measure against heartburn. The most economical way to get Lactobacillus into the diet is to ferment your own vegetables at home using the Body Ecology Veggie Culture Starter. Homemade fermentation offers an extraordinary amount of active, living microbes. Also, drinking a few ounces of a fermented beverage, like Body Ecology InnergyBiotic, inoculates the gut with a wide spectrum of beneficial microbes.
- This beneficial family of microbes can relieve inflammation in the stomach, healing the lining of the stomach and effectively alleviating heartburn. (3)
- Other research indicates that Bifidus bifidum can heal damaged tissue in the stomach caused by H. pylori colonization and also fight H. pylori infection. (4)
2. Bone Broth: Bone broth and soups made with bone broth can help to rebuild the mucosal lining of the stomach.
- This is because bone broth, made from the joints, tendons, and ligaments of animal bones, is rich in gelatin and cartilage. Cartilage is an essential building block of tissue throughout the body. (5)
- Bone broth also increases gastric acid secretion, something that H. pylori and PPIs inhibit! (6)
- In addition, bone broth contains glutamine, which is important metabolic fuel for the small intestine. (7)
3. Vitality SuperGreen: Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen is another excellent source of glutamine!
- Vitality SuperGreen contains GlutaImmune, which delivers up 10 times more glutamine into the bloodstream than the supplement L-glutamine.
- Like bone broth, the glutamine found in Vitality SuperGreen is bioavailable and stable.
Important! Support the Production of Stomach Acid
In addition to consuming traditional foods, like cultured vegetables, fermented beverages, and bone broth, it is essential to support the production of HCL (stomach acid) with an HCL supplement.
- Body Ecology Assist Dairy & Protein contains HCL and other enzymes to help along the digestive process.
- A collection of herbs known Digestive Bitters will also encourage stomach acid production. Bitter herbs have been used traditionally in several cultures to improve digestion.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Heartburn drugs are not the solution to remedy heartburn. Most people use over-the-counter antacids to relieve heartburn, leaving them at a 50% increased risk for bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
H. pylori are pathogenic microbes that are largely responsible for stomach ulcers and heartburn. H. pylori reduce stomach acidity and cause infection. Antacids also contribute to reducing stomach acid to cause heartburn.
To relieve heartburn naturally, it is important to eat fermented foods to populate the gut with healthy bacteria to relieve inflammation in the stomach. Bone broth is also beneficial to rebuild the mucosal lining of the stomach. Last of all, Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen is a top source of glutamine to provide metabolic fuel to the small intestine.
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- A. Chiecchio, et al. Increased incidence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth during proton pump inhibitor therapy. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jun;8(6):504-8. Epub 2010 Jan 6.
- Reza Malekzadeh, et al. Overlapping gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome: Increased dysfunctional symptoms. World J Gastroenterol 2010 March 14; 16(10): 1232-1238
- J. Nutr. March 1, 2007 vol. 137 no. 3 812S-818S.
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology. February 2011, p. 1335-1343, Vol. 77, No. 4
- “Gelatin treats ulcer.” Medical News Today. Aug 22 2006. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/50126.php
- Wald, A and Adibi, SA, Stimulation of gastric acid secretion by glycine and related oligopeptides in humans, American Journal of Physiology, 1982, 5, 242, G86-G88.
- JD, Schulzke. Therapeutic options to modulate barrier defects in inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):450-4. Epub 2009 Nov 4.
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