Heartburn & Acid Reflux Solutions
Do you suffer with heartburn or acid reflux? Do you immediately reach for antacids for relief?
Our stomach acid actually reduces in quantity and strength as we age, so by taking antacid medication you are making the problem worse by further reducing the amount of acid available for the process of digestion. You can do an easy test to see if you have low stomach acid: Tomorrow morning when you wake up, dissolve 1tsp. of bicarbonate of soda in 200mls of water and drink on an empty stomach.
Anyone with a heart or cardiovascular complaint e.g. high blood pressure should NOT undertake this test.
- Set a timer for 3 minutes, and you should burp in this time. - If you don’t, set the timer for another 2 minutes. - If you still haven’t burped then you possibly have low stomach acid.
I would recommend repeating the test on three consecutive mornings to see if you really do have low stomach acid. Other signs you may have low stomach acid: · Bloating · Discomfort after eating, particularly after eating meat · Heartburn and reflux (not in fact caused by high stomach acid) · Diarrhoea or constipation (IBS symptoms) · Flatulence Why is low stomach acid a problem? Proper stomach acid production is vital for perfect, problem-free digestion. You need adequate HCl (Hydrochloric acid) in your stomach to digest proteins. Secondary to this, if stomach acid is low, the food going down to your intestine from your stomach may be too alkaline to signal your pancreas or small intestine to secrete enzymes to digest your food adequately. This can result in discomfort, bloating, constipation and sometimes even undigested food particles in the stool. Imbalances in gut flora frequently accompany digestive under-function as an alkaline stomach environment, due to low levels of stomach acid, encourage ‘bad’ pathogenic bacteria and yeasts to grow. It can also cause a condition called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Taking a good probiotic with each meal can help ‘good’ gut bacteria to flourish. Chewing your food thoroughly is also vital to good digestion. Food particles that are too large can create holes in the gut wall and escape into the bloodstream, causing the immune system to identify them, quite rightly, as invaders. This can lead to food intolerances as your system is set on high alert each time you then eat that food. This is known as leaky gut. One way to repair Leaky Gut is to take 1/2-1 teaspoon of Glutamine powder, an amino acid, in a large glass of water on an empty stomach on waking, and before meals. It may take months to repair your gut wall but stick with it - and chew your food mindfully at each meal! You can aid digestion by drinking a tablespoon of raw Apple Cider Vinegar (with The Mother) in a large glass of water before each meal. Traditionally bitters were taken at meals as an aid to digestion, and still are in many countries. You may be familiar with Italy’s Aperol and Fernet-Branca, the German Jägermeister, the Danish Gammel Dansk, or Suze in France. Bitter foods such as rocket, dandelion greens and kale also aid digestion. I also advise taking Digestive Enzymes with each meal - either before or halfway through your meal. Make sure the one you chose has pepsin, Betaine HCl included. Here is one I take (Betaine), but there are others available.