Back when my body had around sixty more pounds of fat covering it acid reflux and heartburn plagued me on a nightly basis. I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to chew down a handful of Tums just to get the discomfort to subside enough for me to fall back asleep.
As I began to engage in regular exercise, and slowly rid my body of its excess fat, my acid reflux symptoms gradually alleviated.
Home remedies tend to work the same way. They aren’t usually going to provide immediate relief of the symptoms, though they sometimes can.
Instead of simply masking the symptoms, home remedies are typically used as a means of holistically treating the root of the problem, which can take some time, depending on the type and magnitude of the issue needing addressed.
It’s important for you to understand this.
I’m about to provide several natural, non-prescription remedies for the problem of acid reflux (or heartburn), and I don’t want to give you the impression that any of these things can be used to provide immediate heartburn relief.
These are long-term solutions that, if implemented consistently, will likely allow you to trash the Tums (or other heartburn medications) by treating the underlying cause of the problem.
As many as 50 percent of Americans are believed to suffer from some degree of acid reflux, with symptoms often referred to as “heartburn”. Sometimes the “burn” is strong enough that it can even be mistaken for a heart attack.
What Causes Acid Reflux and Heartburn?
Conventional wisdom is that acid reflux is a condition that stems from there being too much acid in the stomach, causing it to rise back up into the esophagus and create the burning sensation known as heartburn.
More recent findings suggest the amount of stomach acid isn’t the problem at all and that acid reflux is caused by a different issue altogether.
After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to go back through it in the reverse direction and make its way up the esophagus. For those familiar with check valves, this is essentially what the LES acts as.
It’s believed that acid reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow backward into your esophagus (the condition commonly referred to as reflux).1
This is why prescribed medications for heartburn must be taken on a daily (and permanent) basis. They’re designed to reduce stomach acid to temporarily suppress the problem of acid reflux.
But this doesn’t treat the root cause of the problem, which should ALWAYS be the goal.
Instead, those who use conventional heartburn medications must continue to take them on daily basis (often for the rest of their lives).
This is a beneficial scenario for the profits of pharmaceutical companies. It’s not so beneficial for those suffering from heartburn.
This medication dependence isn’t unique to acid reflex. This is just one example of why conventional medicine can often be better described as sick-care, as opposed to healthcare.
Causes of Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Some factors that contribute to stomach acid making its way back up into the esophagus include:
- Overeating filling the stomach and forcing the acid upward
- Having insufficient stomach acid for optimal digestion, leading to the stomach cavity filling faster than it should, forcing the acid upward
- Not having enough good bacteria in the stomach, contributing to the same issue described in the previous bullet point
- Excessive body fat placing excessive external pressure on the stomach and forcing acid back up into the esophagus
If you’re tired of having heartburn and are overweight, getting your body fat under control must be your top priority. I believe this was the primary cause of my nightly heartburn, because my symptoms subsided in direct proportion to my body weight until my acid reflux was completely eradicated.
Getting to a healthy body weight takes effort, but it isn’t that complicated. I’d love to help you get there by sending you my free fat loss ebook. Just enter your email in the signup form at the end of this article and I’ll send it on over.
Before I move on, I need to also mention that certain anxiety medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, blood pressure medications, nitroglycerin, osteoporosis drugs, and pain relievers can cause acid reflux, as well. If you suddenly begin experiencing heartburn after being prescribed any of the these medications, you should tell your doctor in case there’s an alternate medication they can prescribe that won’t give you heartburn.
Natural Options for Treating Acid Reflux and Heartburn
After making sure you’re not carrying around excessive body fat, the main offenders responsible for any lingering acid reflux are likely to be those stemming from digestive problems.
Digestive problems most often are caused by a lack of stomach acid and bacterial imbalances. We must have enough acid and beneficial bacteria in the stomach to ensure that our food is able to be quickly digested. Fixing insufficiencies in acid and good bacteria in the gut can usually be accomplished through a multi-pronged, home remedy approach.
Adding beneficial bacteria to our gut flora can be accomplished a couple of ways. We can eat foods that contain probiotics, such as fermented vegetables, but the easiest way to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria is by taking a probiotic supplement.
Supplementing with probiotics is important for a number of reasons beyond just helping to alleviate acid reflux. Be sure to listen to Episode #3 of the Craig Leonard Fitness Podcast to learn more about why taking a probiotic supplement is absolutely essential for getting and maintaining optimal health in today’s milieu of processed foods and antibiotics.
As with any other supplement you might consider using, it’s extremely important that you’re using a quality probiotic supplement that contains a number of different bacteria strains and still has great enough numbers of living bacteria by the time you take it to have a positive impact.
You can check out the high quality probiotic supplement I use and recommend by clicking here.
Once you have the bacteria in your stomach covered, the other component needing attended to is making sure the volume of acid in your stomach is up to snuff.
There are a few ways to promote a healthy level of stomach acid.
Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
First, you can add a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a large glass of water and drink it. I’m actually sipping on an apple cider vinegar and water cocktail as I’m writing this and I usually drink four or five of them every week.
I also toss the lettuce I use in my salads with apple cider vinegar. This gives the salad some flavor without the sugars and other dangerous refined ingredients in most salad dressings.
Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, so ingesting it adds to the acid content in your stomach (and throughout the digestive tract) to make it much easier for your body to digest food.
The first time you take some before a big meal, you’ll notice the difference almost immediately. You won’t feel like you have a bowling ball sitting in your gut.
Also, just taking digestive enzymes before eating foods that typically lead to heartburn will often prevent it from popping up.
I use the Source Naturals brand pictured to the right. They’re less than $20 for a bottle of 240 capsules and I order them through Vitacost.com.
Note: I’ve arranged it so that if you click the link above and sign up for an account you’ll receive $10 off your first order.
Betaine is another supplement you can use to help with acid reflux. Betaine is a hydrochloric supplement that will aid in supporting the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Betaine is about as cheap as supplements come and can also be purchased at Vitacost.com.
Flavor Your Food With Himalayan Salt
Another way to support adequate stomach acid levels is by using Himalayan salt to flavor your foods. I’m planning on writing a post comparing the various salt options in the near future.
For now, though, what you need to know is that Himalayan salt contains chloride, which the body needs in sufficient quantity to produce hydrochloric acid for the stomach.
Flavoring your food with Himalayan salt is an easy way to make sure your body isn’t lacking the chloride it needs to keep the stomach filled with ample hydrochloric acid to efficiently digest your food and prevent acid reflux from occurring.
Curing Acid Reflux Takes Time
While the solutions I’ve provided for getting rid of acid reflux and heartburn may very well cure you of your acid reflux, it may take some time. Also, those who require medication to control their heartburn likely won’t be able to abandon it right away.
As you get your weight under control, balance your gut bacteria, and bring your stomach acid levels up to normal, your acid reflux will likely improve, and may even be completely cured, as it was for me.
The goal should always be to treat the root cause of whatever is ailing you so you can stop pumping your body with daily medications laced with toxic ingredients that only temporarily mask the symptoms.
Those who suffer from acid reflux (and heartburn), take seriously the recommendations I’ve provided above, and are intentional about applying them, will be on the best path toward naturally treating the root cause of their pain and discomfort.
As I alluded to earlier, excess body fat greatly contributes to inducing acid reflux. My acid reflux appears to have been cured solely by me losing the excess fat that was plaguing my body.
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Disclaimer: The information and advice given within this article regarding the natural treatment of acid reflux and heartburn is based solely on the research and personal experience of the author. This information is not intended to replace any advice or instruction you may have received from your doctor or other personal healthcare provider.
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2 Everydayroots.com, 15 Natural Remedies for Heartburn & Severe Acid Reflux
3 University of Maryland Medical Center, Slippery Elm
4 Science Daily May 22, 2009
Photo Credit Natural Remedies for Heartburn