What is heartburn? As previously discussed lowering stomach acid is not usually a good idea. Too much acid is usually not the cause of heartburn. One common cause is a weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter. A sphincter is like a gate, and in this case it is the gate between the stomach and the esophagus. This sphincter is designed to keep the stomach acid out of the esophagus. If the acid does manage to get up into the esophagus it causes irritation and a burning eroding pain. The #1 reason for a weak sphincter is excess abdominal fat (a big belly). A hiatal hernia can also cause problems with this sphincter. Many times lowering the acid in the stomach by introducing betaine HCl will actually make this lower sphincter work better.
Alternative holistic treatment for these conditions including H.pylori and GERD include improving the immune system. Poor diets and increased exposure to toxins are the primary reason for gastric infections and reflux. Poor diets are high in refined sugars and refined flour. Too much yeast and acid foods are also implicated. Fried and oily foods are also to be avoided. Maintaining a normal optimum pH in the stomach which is acidic is vital. When the stomach acid is too high supplementing with hydrochloric acid is indicated. This is called betaine HCl. I sell a vegetarian version derived from beets which is kosher and very effective. Unless the stomach walls are ulcerated HCl works wonders in most cases.
There is an herb from the Mediterranean region that has been used for many years for the treatment of stomach issues such as H. pylori and “heart burn”. It is mastic or mastic gum. Numerous published studies have shown the effectiveness of mastic in killing H. pylori and healing duodenal ulcers. There are rarely any side effects of mastic use, unlike the drugs mainstream medicine prescribes. Other uses of mastic include inhibiting candida-yeast overgrowth. Other possible natural and inexpensive recommendations are optimizing zinc levels, using L-carnosine, drinking cranberry juice regularly (unsweetened), and using a good probiotic (good bacteria).
Other natural healing recommendations include avoiding alcohol drinks, spicy foods, acidic foods such as tomatoes and pineapple, citrus foods, chocolate, caffeine and fried foods. Avoidance of refined foods such as white breads and cakes/cookies as well as sugar is vital. Cigarette smoking is also to be avoided. Obesity (weighing over 30 pounds your normal weight) and overeating are also causes of GERD and stomach symptoms. Dehydration is another common cause of GERD; so drinking adequate amount of water is essential; about 8 cups a day.
Doctors such as chiropractors who are trained in manipulation have a technique of adjusting the gastroesophageal junction and the thoracic vertebrae which helps in both GERD and hiatal hernia.
Finding and eliminating food allergies is also highly recommended. Testing for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is important.
To sum up the 3 articles on the subject of stomach acid, GERD, “heart burn” etc. I would like to stress that long-term use of acid-blockers and antacids will result in poor health. There will be vitamin and mineral deficiencies, weakened digestive system, and even cancers of the digestive system. Our Creator made us with a stomach that produces and needs strong acid. As Dr. Brownstein, M.D., says over and over again “remember, you can’t poison a crucial enzyme or block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result.” Stomach acid is there for a good reason – to digest our foods (especially proteins.) We should work to maintain the proper amount of stomach acid, not inhibit it!