Acid Reflux and GERD! Tips from the Human Body Master Guide
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Acid Reflux / Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
As the term’s heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably, I wanted to clarify what they each truly are. Acid reflux is a common medical condition of mild or high concern. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more chromic and severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of both acid reflux and GERD.
There are a few ways and reasons the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) opens causing heartburn:
- The (LES)is at the bottom of the esophagus and separates the esophagus from the stomach. With proper levels of stomach acid, the LES closes tightly. If you have a low acidic pH in the stomach due to low stomach acid levels, the LES will loosen and acidic fluid enters the lower part of the esophagus: heartburn.
- On the other end of the stomach is the pyloric sphincterwhich separates the stomach from the small intestine. This opens allowing the contents to flow into the intestine when there is a proper pH of 4.0 -4.5 in the stomach. If this does not occur, food sits in the stomach and putrefies, producing gas and pressure triggering the LES to once again leak open allowing the acid to irritate the esophagus.
- At the bottom of the stomach is the pyloric sphincter. Once the food leaves the stomach and is in the small intestine, the irritation from candida overgrowth in the intestines (they produce a lot of gas), as well as the fermentation from improperly digested foods can cause both the pyloric and the LES sphincters to open pushing the fluids up into the esophagus. Digestion literally is one long tube!
Let’s discuss some digestive anatomy.
You have two sphincters (valves) on either end of the esophagus. The UpperEsophageal Sphincter (UES) and the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). Unlike the UES, which is controlled by our conscious (let’s eat and swallow) the LES is controlled by the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.
Yes, the Vegas Nerve has everything to do with your digestion.
Stomach acid is also known as gastric acid, and is an acid solution containing hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride. This solution is often referred to as hydrochloric acid (HCL) and is produced by Parietal cells. These are by far some of the most important cells in your body. Parietal cells not only produce HCL, but also produce Intrinsic Factor, a glycoprotein that helps your intestines absorb vitamin B12. Intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12 and protects it from the stomach acid (B12 is acid sensitive) and carries it through the digestive system helping it be absorbed into your system. B12 is one of the most vital vitamins! It is responsible for red blood cell formation, your cellular metabolism, heart health, brain health, mood, nerve function and the production of DNA.
Balanced stomach acid levels are of UTMOST importance! We need to keep the parietal cells healthy, and when we use medications to reduce stomach acid when we do not need to, we kill these vital cells.
Ok, I am off my soap box about parietal cells……. for now.
With proper levels of stomach acid, the LES stays tightly closed keeping stomach contents out of the esophagus. With improper stomach acid levels, the LES will loosen and a peristaltic squeeze occurs, pushing acidic fluid into the lower part of the esophagus. This is what you feel when you have heartburn or GERD.
On the lower end of the stomach is the pyloric sphincter which separates the stomach from the small intestine. When there is a proper pH of 4.0 - 4.5 in the stomach, this valve opens allowing the digested contents to naturally flow into the intestine. If this valve fails to open because the stomach pH is off, food sits in the stomach and putrefies, producing gas and pressure triggering the LES to once again leak open allowing the acid to irritate the esophagus.
The symptoms associated with acid reflux are identical in people that have Hyperchlorhydria (too much acid being produced), and people that have Hypochlorhydria, (not producing enough acid).
As both Hypochlorhydria and Hyperchlorhydria cause basically the same symptoms: reflux, abdominal pain, belching, bloating, gas, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea and/or constipation, doctors often misdiagnose, and assume people do not have enough Hydrochloric Acid (HCL).
Improperly diagnosing can create a storm in someone who does not produce enough HCL, as when they take a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) or any acid reducing drug, they may develop Achlorhydria – the complete lack of HCL.
And we need HCL!
HCL is naturally secreted in the stomach to digest food, kill pathogens and allergens, sterilize our food, and trigger further digestive activity.Appropriate levels of HCL is critical in our protein processing, as pepsin (first stage of proteins breaking down) is only released when HCL levels are in balance.
When the pH of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach is at 1.0 to 1.3. pH, pepsin begins to break down proteins into peptones. Peptones are the building blocks for Amino acids which are the building blocks to make all protein on earth. If our stomach acid levels become alkaline or too high (At pH 5.0 Peptic enzymes are completely inactive) then proteins do not break down appropriately and pass into the small intestine. This can create allergies and digestive distress.
If you have no or low stomach acid, it is also difficult to absorb B12, Zinc, and many other nutrients.
Symptoms: burning reflux, nausea, gas and bloating, belching, indigestion, regurgitation, bitter taste in the mouth. If the reflux becomes worse and you enter GERD you can look for heartburn, coughing, hoarseness, wheezing difficulty swallowing, hiccups, sore throat
Whole Food Sources to ENJOY
- NOTE: Eat smaller meals more often, avoid large meals.
- High Potassium Foods: Bananas, honey, lemons, apple cider vinegar, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes
- Mustard greens
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth
- Raw Juices, Salads, Smoothies
Whole Food Sources to AVOID
- High-lactose dairy
- Fast Foods
- High Fat Foods
- Spicy foods
- Citrus foods and juices
- Coffee, caffeine, and carbonated drinks.
- Additives of fructose, sucrose, and sugar alcohols.
Vitamins, Supplements, Tinctures, & Extracts
- Bitters – A formula of bitters taken before you eat will trigger the release of pepsin and other protein-digesting enzymes that stimulate the release of bile from the liver.
- Betaine hydrochloride acid - HCL
- Aloe Vera
- Ginger tea, crystalized ginger
- DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – this is a fantastic supplement that helps with nausea and symptoms of GERD, Look for fructose free.Chew 1-2 tablets before a meal. This strengthens the stomach mucosal lining and enhances the production of mucin, which protects the stomach against gastric acid.
- Melatonin, l-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, methionine and betaine
- Psyllium seedhas been proven to help with constipation in GERD as well as lesson reoccurrence.
- Activated charcoal powder and bentonite clay liquid. I often recommend equal amount of both – 1-2 teaspoons. This acts as fantastic detoxification method! (take this 2 hours after eating or taking supplements on an empty stomach, and don’t eat for at least an hour.)
Marshmallow root, Slippery Elm, licorice root, Gentiana lutea, Hops, Horehound, Angelica, Marigold, Chamomile, Ginger, Meadowsweet
Healing Techniques & Modalities
- Drink your water! Dehydration and GERD go hand in hand.
- Add some fresh lemon to your water in the morning.
- Chiropractic care
- Avoid Stress
- Check for the bacteria H. Pylori
- Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke
- Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
- Stimulate the Vegas Nerve top and bottom: Gag (literally gargle or gag), Coffee enemas, cold water splashed on your face, etc.
- Avoid Eating at night or within three hours of bedtime.
- Prop top of bed up 4-7 inches
- Sleep on the left side of the body
- Avoid tight fitting garments
- Maintain a healthy weight (obesity often leads to heartburn)
- Do this exercise to strengthen the sphincters: On an empty stomach FIRST thing in the morning, drink a large glass of water.Then stand on your toes and drop on your heels five times. Heel-toe, heel-toe repeated the five times. This will help to move the stomach back into place.Next blow up a balloon. It doesn't matter whether or not you actually succeed in blowing up the balloon, rather the the action of blowing up the balloon will strengthen the sphincter muscles.
- Practice deep breathing exercises to reduce stress. Stress creates more blood sugar, which feeds candida, which can lead to heartburn and GERD.
- Get more sleep
- Pregnancy can also cause heartburn so mommies, hold out a few more months!
- Check for hiatal hernia as that may lead to heartburn or GERD. However, please note that it’s been proven that very few reflux sufferers have hiatal hernias.
- Check for Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori). H. pylori is associated with 99% of upper small intestine ulcers, 60% of gastric ulcers, and 80% of stomach cancers. (just note that most people who carry H. pylori never suffer any symptoms. It remains dormant their entire life.)
- Take a couple teaspoons of honey when you have burning. The combination of honey and charcoal is amazing by the way! Note: this can feed candida if you have an overgrowth. See the candida section of the HBMC.
- Exercise!!! But not after eating
- Nux Vomica
- Arsenicum Album
- Carbo vegetabilis
Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
- Wild Orange
- Add 2 to 4 drops of ginger essential oil into a cup of hot water.
2. Allow it to stay for about 30 minutes.
3. Stir the drink.
4. Drink the mixture 20 minutes before your meal or when you feel ill!
Sources: See the Human Body Master Guide for full resource list
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