Natural Remedies For Acid Reflux
by John Diaz Los Angeles personal trainer
All of us at some point and time have or will experience heartburn and associated acid reflux. Statistics show a growing number of hospital visits due to heartburn symptoms that are rather similar to heart attack symptoms.
Heartburn symptoms can include:
1) Chest pain (stabbing or burning)
3) Pain in the left arm
4) Jaw pain
5) Difficulty swallowing
6) Chronic cough
As you can see many of these can also be a sign of a heart condition. A heart attack is nothing to fool around with so, it’s generally best to be prudent and seek professional help if you have symptoms. Heartburn pain generally comes on after eating, worsens when bending over or wearing tight clothes, and at bed time. Antacids generally bring relief in short order albeit temporarily.
If you suffer from heartburn and acid reflux more than twice a week it is characterized as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Left untreated this can cause narrowing of the esophagus, esophageal ulcer, or Barrett’s esophagus (precancerous changes leading to increase risk of cancer).
The three most common over the counter options are antacids (immediate but, temporary relief), H-2 blockers such as Tagamet, Pepcid AC, and Zantac, (longer yet slower relief), and Proton pump inhibitors. Prevacid and Prilosec OTC are examples of these. Proton pump inhibitors block all acid production allowing damaged esophageal tissue to heal, but not without side effects.
The use of H-2 and Proton pump blockers can interfere with digestion, affect absorption of certain vitamins, cause nausea, and may interfere with other medications. Other serious potential effects do to lowered stomach acid are an increase in harmful bacteria and reduction of calcium absorption leading to potential increase of fractures.
Aiding or eliminating symptoms starts with a lifestyle change.
1. Lose weight
2. Wear loser clothing
3. Stop Smoking
4. Eat smaller meals
5. Eat at least 2 hours before bed
6. Avoid trigger foods:
DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) has been a favorite of naturopathic doctors and alternative medicine MD’s. DGL works by stimulating and activating protective growth factors that strengthen the mucosa lining in the stomach and esophagus allowing it to heal. DGL can be found in tablet or powder form at most health food stores. Dosage is generally 1 -2 tablets 20 minutes before meals. It is necessary to chew the tablets as saliva aids its function. I personal love the German Chocolate flavored ones.
D-Limonene is an oil extract from orange peel and the major constituent of several essential citrus oils. d-Limonene works by coating the stomach lining, neutralizing acid and stimulating detoxifying enzyme systems. It is taken as orange peel oil in a 1000 mg dose standardized to 97 - 98% d-Limonene. Take one softgel every other day for 20 days.
Whether you go the natural or OTC route if symptoms continue after 2-3 weeks or intensify seek medical help. As always check with your physician prior to undergoing treatment to make sure its right for you.
Recent studies have shown the efficacy of taking the sleep aid Melatonin. Melatonin increases the muscle tone of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter preventing or at least diminishing the change of stomach acids being regurgitated; the main cause of heartburn. The trial dose was 3 mg.