Treatment For Acid Reflux
Is there effective heartburn and acid reflux treatment?
To effectively treat GERD acid reflux, we must first understand what causes it. If you missed it, I established what causes GERD acid reflux here.
While I know you’re eager to explore treatment options, first, a quick review:
Earlier, I said that to effectively treat GERD, we need to understand what causes GERD acid reflux.
I told you that was FALSE.
And, that what causes GERD acid reflux, is in fact, when something that was in the stomach (normally acidic) finds it’s way back up into the esophagus.
Where it’s NOT supposed to be.
So, in conclusion, what causes GERD acid reflux is NOT the over-production of stomach acid.
But rather, the backwards movement of material from the stomach into the esophagus. And this backwards movement is caused by a failure of our natural anti-reflux mechanisms.
Consequently, the treatment for GERD acid reflux must address this failure.
Let’s break treatment for acid reflux and heartburn down into three main categories:
- Conventional Treatment
- Natural Cures For GERD & LPR
- Home Remedies For Acid Reflux
Conventional Treatment: PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) & Antacids
They offer temporary relief by coating the esophagus with a buffer to the acid, or by neutralizing stomach acid.
Do they address the cause? No.
A word about PPI drugs – Proton Pump Inhibitors.
Prescription acid blockers, like PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), take this a step further – because they BLOCK production of stomach acid. As a result, PPIs fail to address the cause of GERD, and may be associated with adverse effects:
- acute adverse effects (diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches)
- long-term risks (increased risk of gastroenteritis, stomach or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pneumonia, osteoporosis and/or spinal fracture, vitamin & mineral malabsorption)
Not only do PPIs fail to address what causes GERD acid reflux, but they also can do harm by suppressing stomach acid production – which serves important functions in the body (like vitamin & mineral absorption for bone, heart and kidney health, and prevention of infection).
In fact, harm from PPIs is something I see more and more often in my practice.
You start off with GERD, get prescribed a PPI, and later come in to see me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or some form of Dysbiosis (bacterial overgrowth in the gut).
We now have two digestive conditions to treat.
There certainly are people who benefit from PPIs and other medications, and in severe or unrelenting cases of acid reflux, it makes sense to try to prevent damage to the esophagus. Since these drugs can be avoided in MANY cases, this is desirable wherever possible.
What is the BEST treatment for GERD acid reflux & LPR?
OK. Admittedly I’m a bit biased! But this stems from many years of experience and seeing the amazing results my patients are able to achieve.
A holistic approach to treatment sees the inextricable interconnectedness of the entire digestive system (and all body systems).
A conventional medical approach zeroes in on treating symptoms through suppression (“Got heartburn? Let’s block acid production!”).
In contrast, a holistic or naturopathic approach asks: “What causes GERD acid reflux?”
Then seeks to treat that cause and return the organ system to normal function. As a result, symptoms resolve.
It also upholds the precept: “First, do no harm”. In this case, suppressing acid production is seen as harm. Stomach acid, or HCl, serves MANY important functions in the body – and isn’t what causes GERD acid reflux.
Most of all, dysfunction of the LES and failure of the body’s anti-reflux mechanisms are to blame. So why not target these areas? That is exactly what a naturopathic approach does.
Now, just to be clear, I understand why antacids and acid blockers are prescribed for GERD acid reflux. They are the only tools in the kit as far as conventional medical interventions go; and if the goal is to prevent cancer, there’s a pretty compelling case for them.
Still, esophageal cancer risk is actually extremely low, and, in so many cases, these drugs can be avoided. And that’s where I LOVE to offer strategic support and guidance.
- reduce inflammation
- tone the LES
- support & enhance natural anti-reflux mechanisms
- heal the esophageal mucosa/lining
- prevent progression to esophageal ulcers or cancer
Is there a natural cure for GERD acid reflux?
And what about home remedies for GERD acid reflux? What helps acid reflux?
Effective GERD acid reflux & LPR treatment IS possible, without the use of antacids and PPIs.
Can I guarantee that a natural cure will work for everyone? No.
But most people have very significant improvements in their digestive function and dramatic reduction or elimination of their symptoms. These results come largely as a result of lifestyle and dietary modifications.
Effective GERD acid reflux treatment, additionally employs targeted recommendations of: strain specific probiotics, specially formulated multi-nutrient supplements, support for the nervous system, and herbs that can effectively manage symptoms while you work towards normalizing function.
Heartburn Home Remedies
As for acid reflux home remedies or what is good for heartburn, people often ask about things like apple cider vinegar and baking soda.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has long been touted as a cure for just about everything. It has been recommended for GERD sufferers by those who say that GERD acid reflux is caused by low stomach acid. This is actually FALSE – a long held belief of mythic proportions amongst NDs, holistic practitioners of all stripes and perpetuated by the big bad blogosphere. GERD and acid reflux is NOT associated with low stomach acid (in my course I break down this myth and others in more detail). While ACV may have some health benefits, it is unlikely to cure GERD – and may make LPR worse.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), being alkaline, can neutralize acid. You may find that drinking 1/2 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 4-8oz of water provides quick (but temporary) relief from heartburn. Warning: drink it slowly to avoid side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea. Never use in children. Also, please take note that baking soda should NOT be used regularly or in multiple doses.
Too much baking soda can make the body TOO alkaline, which can have side effects like stomach cramps, dehydration, impaired absorption of medications or nutrients and more. Less common, but more serious side effects are possible: blood in urine or stool, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, seizures, severe headaches, edema (swelling), etc. There are a number of conditions and medications with which baking soda should be avoided. I urge you to avoid its use or check with your MD before considering it. The bottom line: baking soda may pose greater health risks, and is NOT a long term solution.
What are the foods to avoid with GERD acid reflux?
One of the most common questions patients ask me is: “What foods cause acid reflux?”
Again, my focus is to address what causes GERD acid reflux.
But there is a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid, and each one has a specific reason. The reasons are associated with the effects they have in the body as they pertain to normal esophageal and stomach function.
For those with GERD and especially LPR, there are other factors that I consider when it comes to diet – I cover these and much more in great detail in my program:
End Acid Reflux Program
In my comprehensive program I include a detailed acid reflux diet plan, complete with acid reflux menu plan, 3-week acid reflux meal plan, and over 50 customized acid reflux diet recipes!! You will learn what foods cause acid reflux, how to prevent acid reflux, and discover the best diet for acid reflux sufferers. I offer this program in person (or by phone or Skype) to patients in Ontario (Canada), and offer an online version for those outside of Ontario.
Learn more about online my program, or get a FREE Trial here:
FREE TRIAL – ONLINE PROGRAM