Just how common is heartburn?
Heartburn is pretty common. In fact, it may be the most common digestive disorder in the United States. (1) The National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Digestive Diseases tells us that:
- 60 million people experience heartburn at least once a month.
- 25 million experience symptoms daily.
Because heartburn creates a burning feeling just under the sternum, many people believe that the cause of heartburn is too much stomach acid. Drugs that neutralize acid or limit stomach acid production are some of the most popular drugs on the market, both over the counter and through a pharmacist. Some of these pharmaceutical preparations are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs lower stomach acid by interfering with secretion.
Heartburn, in certain cases, is also called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux). GERD occurs when the muscular valve separating the esophagus from the stomach fails to function properly, and there is a reflux of stomach acid.
Many who have taken antacids or PPIs for any period of time report that they typically provide only temporary relief. Many people wonder why. The answer is because these treatments do not necessarily cure the problem.
- Some medications like Tagamet and Zantac can make the stomach acid more alkaline.
- Prilosec and other PPIs may reduce stomach acid secretion by 90%.
The latest research tells us that too little stomach acid may actually cause heartburn, rather than too much!
Low stomach acid can literally invite pathogenic bacteria further into the gut. The stomach acid is one of our body’s first lines of defense against bacteria and other microorganisms in our food.
There are two kinds of bacterial infection that have been linked with heartburn.
- An overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
- An infection of Heliobacter pylori in the stomach.
Tips to Get Rid of Heartburn for Good
Heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) are the result of too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth. In many cases, this is a vicious cycle.
Ways to eliminate heartburn and symptoms of GERD:
1. Make sure you have enough stomach acid to properly digest food and limit infection from pathogenic bacteria: At first, this may mean taking a hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplement. Body Ecology Assist Dairy & Protein is formulated with HCL and other enzymes to break down proteins.
2. Reduce carbohydrate and sugar intake. Carbohydrates feed bacteria and contribute to GERD and heartburn. Too many carbohydrates can tip the scale and feed a wildly growing population of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO). This can be painful and eventually lead to permeability.
3. Increase gut motility. Slow gut motility in the small intestine leads to bacterial overgrowth. Gut motility involves little workers called brush border enzymes that clean house when you are sleeping. Brush border enzymes are amylase, cellulase, invertase (sucrase), peptidase, and malt diastase (maltase).
- If you eat late at night, this makes their job harder and contributes to overgrowth.
- Sometimes the small intestine simply does not have enough brush border enzymes to do the job.
- Body Ecology Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes is packed with these powerful housecleaners that support gut motility and prevent bacterial overgrowth.
4. Increase living beneficial bacteria. Fermented veggies or a fermented beverage complement any meal. These good microbes also keep the inner ecology of the gut healthy. Healthy gut bacteria compete for resources and keep pathogenic overgrowth at bay.
5. Get alkaline. Increasing mineral absorption aids in lowering systemic infection in the gut. Body Ecology’s Vitality SuperGreen is a great way to get the nutrients your body needs in a form you can easily absorb.
After 30 years of studying digestive health, Donna Gates created a Core Program of products to rebuild your immunity and recover your health from the inside out.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Heartburn is thought to be the most common digestive disorder in the US, affecting 25 million people per day. Many people believe heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid, when quite the opposite is true. Heartburn is a result of too little stomach acid that invites pathogenic bacteria into the gut to cause bacterial overgrowth or an infection.
Here are five simple tips that you can use to get rid of heartburn for good:
- Make sure that you have enough stomach acid for digestion to fight pathogenic bacteria.
- Reduce your carbohydrate and sugar intake.
- Increase gut motility.
- Increase friendly bacteria in your gut.
- Eat an alkaline diet.
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- LJ Melton 3rd, et al. Prevalence and clinical spectrum of gastroesophageal reflux: a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Gastroenterology. 1997 May;112(5):1448-56.
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