Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Casual young man with stomach pain standing in the kitchen at home

Stomach acid is a good thing. We need it to digest our food. Stomach acid only becomes problematic when it finds its way outside the stomach in places here it shouldn't be. A more apt definition of Acid Reflux is when acid from the stomach flows backwards, up into the esophagus. 

The lower end of the esophagus that meets the stomach has a sphincter that is built like a valve called the esophagal sphincter. This valve opens for food and drink to enter and then closes once the contents have been ingested. It is also the mechanism that controls the reflux response.

Problems occur when this valve opens when you are not eating, burping or vomiting.

Heartburn can also occur due to Gastroparesis - a condition caused by stomach ulcers that prevent the stomach from properly emptying - often referred to as functional heartburn. Anxiety and stress can also cause this problem.

Five Reasons for Acid Reflux

- Eating foods that weaken or irritate the muscular lining of the esophagal sphincter.
- Magnesium deficiency.
- Eating too much food too quickly.
- Hiatal hernias.
- Bacterial overgrowth caused by low stomach acid.

Natural ways to help with Heartburn

- Betaine HCL + pepsin (Under your doctor's supervision)
- Lemon juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar

Digestive bitters

- Barberry bark
- Caraway
- Ginger
- Goldenseal
- Dandelion
- Valeria root

Soothing herbs

- Aloe - reduces inflammation
- Chamomile tea - can soothe inflammation in the esophagus, which can help with symptoms.
- Licorice root tea can be consumed before bedtime.

Caution! Licorice root should not be consumed for more than few weeks and should not be taken by those who are pregnant, have heart disease, high blood pressure, or various chronic illnesses. Consult your doctor before taking licorice root.

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