Guest Author - Arrow Durfee
Few people get through life without an occasional case of acid reflux but if you are having symptoms weekly then you have a health issue that needs to be addressed. The sooner you take care of it the better it will be for your overall health and longevity.
The general consensus from medical doctors is that acid reflux is caused by too much acid in the stomach. I will tell you right now that they are wrong and that their wrong thinking will lead you down a path of deteriorating health for years to come because their treatments will steal from you the source of your nutrition and the very essence of what you need to stay healthy.
Itís the insufficient secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCL) and digestive enzymes that cause chronic reflux disease in the vast majority of cases, not excess. This condition is called hypochlorhydria. The treatments with antacid medications that the medical doctors will give you will only further reduce the acid in your stomach and lead you into nutritional deficiency and possibly pathogenic disease from bacteria and fungi. Bacteria and fungi overgrowth leads to polyps, diverticuli, allergies, skin disorders and mal-absorption. What your body needs is high levels of HCL to digest protein foods properly. Sufficient HCL along with digestive enzymes will prevent bloating and reflux and will help you to maintain a healthy thyroid. It will keep your nervous system functioning normally and bad microbes in check.
Since your stomach is the first line of defense you have against all microbes that come into you orally though the food you eat it makes perfect sense to maintain high levels of hydrochloric acid. Kill those pathogens at the gate so they do not invade further into your body. It you take antacid pills, and most specifically proton pump inhibitors you are inviting a whole host of invaders to enter and set up household. An acid environment in the stomach kills most unwanted microbes continually on a daily basis. One of the most common results of a pathogenic invasion is the common stomach ulcer caused by h-pylori. H-pylori, as well as a number of other pathogenic gut diseases will never be an issue for you if you have sufficient stomach acid.
In order to cure acid reflux you need to understand that this is caused by insufficient secretion of stomach acid and possibly also digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreases. If you have actual stomach pain it may indicate that you already have an ulcer and you need to get it checked out by a doctor. If you do not have actual stomach pain but only reflux with burping and esophageal burning then you can try to take betaine HCL in tablet form just before protein meals. Some people will also need to take an enzyme complex that contains things like lipase, amylase, pepsin, bromelain and papain. Take enough betaine HCL tablets to make your stomach feel warm just a few minutes before you eat. For some people this will only be 1 tablet, for others it might be as many as 4 to 6. There are a number of good products on the market and I will provide some links below. If you are having only a carbohydrate meal a HCL tablet may not be necessary but the enzymes may be needed. Some people can digest a non protein diet without difficulty, others need enzymes. Most often the need for both go hand in hand.
When sufficient enzymes are in the system along with sufficient HCL, digestion is accurate and more complete so you will not have bloating and gas pressure forcing stomach contents up the esophagus. You will start to enjoy your life and your meals again. I have known of people who switched from antacids to HCL supplements and enzymes and not only cured their reflux issues but in time these supplements managed to switch back on their own hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme making processes. You may not need these supplements forever.
Over a period of time this supplementation may alleviate other conditions such as allergies or skin disorders. It will work to keep the internal tissues of the gut healthy and may prevent the development of diverticuli and polyps.
In some rare cases a haitial hernia causes reflux. About 10 to 15 percent of the population has this condition that gives them digestive angst. Many people are born with this condition but they donít have symptoms until older when weight gain occurs or just from general structural changes in anatomy that age can bring. Still enzymes may be of some help but hold back on the betaine HCL. Surgery is the only complete cure. It is in this situation when sitting up during and after a meal is most effective and required. Rather than a proton pump inhibitor like pepscid or prilosec try just using Tums. You want to maintain normal levels of gastric HCL if possible. If the reflux only bother you at night take the antacids at that time. You may be able to get though part of the day without their use. Still you should endeavor to keep HCL levels as normal as possible but you also should not let your esophagus feel burning. A proton pump inhibitor like pevacid or prilosec may be required.