Last week, we talked about the dangers of antacid medications. Its effects on the body can be serious, including upping your risk for heart attack.
This week, I wanted to share with you some natural alternatives you can use to alleviate heartburn.
Remember, excess stomach acid doesn’t cause heartburn. The majority of the time, people with heartburn have very little stomach acid.
Instead, a faulty valve in the esophagus causes heartburn. This messes with the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.
Image Credit: Jopparn
- Hiatal hernia — when the stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm, causing the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) to open incorrectly. It is very difficult to spot without the help of a specialist.If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work. Many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment.
- Gut disease — two common gut diseases linked with heartburn are Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection — this is a gastrointestinal infection. It causes chronic inflammation in your stomach lining that leads to a weakened LES and acid reflux.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition in which mucosal damage to the esophagus occurs from chronic stomach acid and pepsin. They get trapped between the stomach and the upper esophageal sphincter.
This “trapping” gives the person the feeling of heartburn.
Having GERD can eventually lead to esophagitis, strictures, or even cancer from chronic inflammation if left untreated.
What Does Your ‘Gut’ Tell You?
H. pylori and GERD are just two of the many gut diseases that can create natural gastric imbalance in the gut.
If you’re experiencing heartburn, have a gut biopsy done as soon as possible and see a specialist.
The best diagnostic tests to determine if you have an H. pylori infection are:
- A stool sample
- A lactulose absorption breath test.
Regular blood tests often fail at determining if you have a current H. pylori infection or have had an infection in the past.
Diagnosis of GERD requires an endoscopy. This operation will tell you the damage to your esophagus and the status of your LES and stomach.
However, one of the best ways to diagnose GERD is an esophageal PH monitoring test.
The test uses a flexible catheter with a PH monitor on the end. Then, it is placed through the nose down into the esophagus for at least 24 hours.
It is uncomfortable to have a tube down your nose and throat, but it is very useful to diagnose GERD.
Boost Stomach Acid,
You don’t have to live with heartburn, or its side effects.
Remember, in a majority of cases, heartburn symptoms come along with decreased levels of stomach acid.
Low levels of stomach acid can lead to bacterial overgrowth in the gut, resulting in various diseases such as GERD.
According to well-known naturopathic researcher Joseph Mercola:
“High-quality sea salt (unprocessed salt), such as Himalayan salt, will not only provide you with the chloride your body needs to make stomach, it also contains over 80 trace minerals your body needs to perform optimally, biochemically.
“Sauerkraut or cabbage juice is also a strong—if not the strongest—stimulant for your body to produce stomach acid. Having a few teaspoons of cabbage juice before eating, or better yet, fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut, will do wonders to improve your digestion.”
Dr. Mercola also recommends other remedies such as apple cider vinegar, betaine, baking soda and aloe juice.
Clean Up Your Diet
The best way to combat heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function.
Eating large amounts of processed foods and sugars is a surefire way to experience heartburn. It will upset the bacterial balance in your stomach and intestine.
Instead, eat organic, whole foods such as vegetables, grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, nuts, and other unprocessed foods.
Cutting caffeine and alcohol from your diet can also have profound effects on the gut.
Turn to Fermented Foods
You can naturally balance your gut flora by eating fermented foods high in probiotics.
This can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria naturally without antibiotics and aid in proper digestion of your food.
You can include a variety of fermented foods and beverages in your diet. Each item will help immunize your gut with a variety of different types of bacteria.
Here are some fermented foods you can consider adding to your diet:
- Vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi
- Cultured dairy, such as yogurt, kefir and sour cream
- Fish, such as mackerel and Swedish gravlax
- Kombucha (but watch out for high sugar content in some brands)
These natural ways to ease heartburn are excellent first steps to take. However, for serious cases, I cannot stress enough the tests recommended in this article.
Uncommon Wisdom Daily