Digestive Health Series: Acid Reflux

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heartburnIn this weekly series, we will look at digestive health and natural approaches to related problems like candida, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and food allergies.

The first issue we will tackle is acid reflux. Acid reflux or heartburn occurs when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus. This results from the lower esophageal sphincter not closing properly. Normally the sphincter closes as soon food passes through it and it should not allow back flow of food or stomach acid. However, when the sphincter either doesn’t close all the way or it opens too often, stomach acid moves into the esophagus causing uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain/burning sensation
  • Dental erosion
  • Asthma
  • Belching
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food

Some of the common causes are:

  • Eating large portion sizes
  • Lying down right after a meal
  • Snacking too close to bedtime
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Bending forward
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Peptic ulcers and insufficient digestive enzymes
  • Asthma
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Trigger foods – commonly alcohol, black pepper, chili and chili powder, citrus fruit, pineapple, coffee, garlic, spicy food, tea, carbonated beverages, chocolate, fatty foods, tomatoes, vinegar, and foods that you might be sensitive to (commonly dairy, wheat, soy, corn, eggs, and nuts)
  • Medications – such as aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications 

So what can you do about it? Supplements can definitely help ease the discomfort or even help repair the gastronintestinal lining. A consultation with a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor can help pinpoint the best supplement for your particular situation. However, in most cases a probiotic may be of great help. Probiotics help to regulate the bacteria in the stomach and ensure proper food breakdown by bacteria.  

Glutamine is another supplement that can be useful for most people who suffer from heartburn. Glutamine is an amino acid and plays an important role in digestive health by nourishing the cells that line the intestine and the stomach. Glutamine is also responsible for keeping muscles functioning normally and for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Acid reflux can cause irritation, inflammation, scarring, and narrowing of the esophagus. It also increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer. Conventional medications are not recommended for long-term use. They can reduce your ability to absorb nutrients and can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, getting to the root of the problem is the most important step.

At Village Green Apothecary, we believe in using a holistic approach that includes natural remedies for acid reflux to alleviate symptoms and address the root cause. We also recommend diet changes, lifestyle tips, and specialized testing.  Contact Village Green Apothecary for more information.

Photo from here, with thanks.

Our Bloggers

  • Paula Gallagher
    Paula Gallagher
    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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  • Margo Gladding
    Margo Gladding
    Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
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  • Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
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  • Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
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  • Debi Silber
    Debi Silber
    Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
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  • Teri Cochrane
    Teri Cochrane
    Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
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  • Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
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  • Susan Levin
    Susan Levin
    Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
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September 2014
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