What is Acid Reflux, and What Are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a fairly common condition in today’s society. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This tube carries food from the mouth to the stomach. A muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) usually keeps the acid in the stomach. However, when the LES is weakened or relaxes inappropriately, stomach acid can leak into the esophagus, causing symptoms of acid reflux.
Prevalence of Acid Reflux in the United States
The prevalence of acid reflux is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. In the United States, approximately 20% of adults experience acid reflux at least once a week, and about 10% experience it daily. Acid reflux can affect people of all ages, from infants to seniors.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
The symptoms of acid reflux can vary from person to person, but typically include the following:
- Heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest)
- Regurgitation (a sour or bitter taste in the mouth)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Hoarseness or a sore throat
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
- Frequent Burping
- Difficulty swallowing
In severe cases, acid reflux can lead to complications such as esophageal ulcers, bleeding, scarring, and cancer. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention if you experience frequent symptoms of acid reflux.
Causes of Acid Reflux
The most common risk factor of Acid Reflux is low stomach acid production. There are a number of factors that can lead to low HCl – hydrochloric acid. Digestion is a parasympathetic function, so stress naturally reduces digestive enzyme output.
The lack of the essential precursors that the body needs to reduce HCl is another factor. It’s important to get enough B vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc, to make sufficient HCl. Eating a diet high in sugar can negatively impact the production of these and other important enzymes. Sugar reduces overall immune function by up to 50%, generally affecting all aspects of digestion and overall immune response, i.e., healing time and capacity.
Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
Some things you can do to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux naturally:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently, as large meals have an adverse impact because the stomach cannot produce enough digestive enzymes.
- Quit smoking – the inhalants from tobacco or other inhaled agents causes stress to the walls of the esophageal lining.
- Wait 2-3 hours after eating before going to bed, as lying down after a meal will encourage food to reflux up into the esophagus.
- Raise your head 4-6 inches off the pillow. This positional shift supports digestive gravity flow. * Exercise! This action improves and enhances the flow of digestion and overall health
- Ask your doctor about possible side effects of the medications you are taking in the event that they are enhancing symptoms.
- Avoid tight clothing and constricting belts.
- Avoid foods that trigger acid reflux. Foods include spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, etc.
Natural Herbal Remedies for Acid reflux
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat digestive disorders, including acid reflux. The following natural remedies can help reduce symptoms of acid reflux:
- Ginger: Ginger can help reduce inflammation and promote digestion. It is available in capsule form, or fresh ginger can be brewed into tea.
- Licorice: Licorice root has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce irritation in the esophagus. It is available in capsule form or as a tea.
- Slippery Elm: Slippery Elm contains mucilage, which can help soothe the lining of the esophagus and reduce inflammation. It is available in powder form, which can be mixed with water to create a soothing drink.
- Chamomile: Chamomile has a calming effect on the digestive system and can help reduce inflammation. It is available in tea form and can be consumed daily to help prevent acid reflux symptoms.
- Peppermint: Peppermint can help soothe the digestive system and reduce inflammation. It is available in capsule form or as a tea.
It is essential to consult with a naturopathic physician before taking any herbal remedies, as they may interact with other medications or have potential side effects.
Naturopathic Physician for Acid Reflux
Consult your Naturopathic Physician for a natural, non-toxic solution and restorative protocol. For more information call: 808-373-9966, Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff at the Center for Natural Healing,