I’ve only experienced heartburn once in my life and may I tell you that I give much sympathy for someone that suffers from chronic heartburn. I’ve experinced it once and that was enough! I know a spiffy nugget that suffers from chronic heartburn daily and I decided to do some research to help a fellow nugget solve their terrible heartburn symptoms. Here is what I found:
o review, heartburn and GERD are not caused by too much stomach acid. They are caused by too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines. Therefore successful treatment is based on restoring adequate stomach acid production and eliminating bacterial overgrowth.
This can be accomplished by following the “three Rs” of treating heartburn and GERD naturally:
- Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid.
- Replace stomach acid, enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion and are necessary for health.
- Restore beneficial bacteria and a healthy mucosal lining in the gut.
- Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid
All grains, legumes and starchy vegetables should be eliminated, but fruits and certain non-starchy root vegetables (winter squash, rutabaga, turnips, celery root) can be eaten.
Fructose and artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase bacterial overgrowth. Artificial sweeteners should be completely eliminated, and fructose (in processed form especially) should be reduced.
Another way to stimulate acid production in the stomach is by taking bitter herbs. “Bitters” have been used in traditional cultures for thousands of years to stimulate and improve digestion. More recently, studies have confirmed the ability of bitters to increase the flow of digestive juices, including HCL, bile, pepsin, gastrin and pancreatic enzymes.
The following is a list of bitter herbs commonly used in Western and Chinese herbology:
- Barberry bark
- Gentian root
- Globe artichoke
- Goldenseal root
- Milk thistle
- Yellow dock
Bitters are normally taken in very small doses – just enough to evoke a strong taste of bitterness. Kerry Bone, a respected Western herbalist, suggests 5 to 10 drops of a 1:5 tincture of the above herbs taken in 20 mL of water.
An even better option is to see a licensed herbalist who can prescribe a formula containing several of the herbs above as appropriate for your particular condition.
Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, raw (unpasteurized) sauerkraut and pickles are other time-tested, traditional remedies that often relieve the symptoms of heartburn and GERD.
ecause bacterial overgrowth is a major factor in heartburn and GERD, restoring a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria is an important aspect of treatment.
Researchers in Australia have shown that probiotics are effective in reducing bacterial overgrowth and altering fermentation patterns in the small bowel in patients with IBS. Probiotics have also been shown to be effective in treating Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other digestive conditions.
I take probiotics daily and I know some family members that have been taking it for almsot a year now and have experienced drastic changes in their appetite control, weight, and heartburn relief. You can buy a probiotic supplment or you take kefir. Kefir is a sour-tasting drink made from cows milk fermented with certain bacteria.
The problem with fermented milk products in the treatment of heartburn and GERD, however, is that milk is relatively high in carbohydrates. This may present a problem for people with severe bacterial overgrowth. However, relatively small amounts of kefir and yogurt are therapeutic and may be well tolerated. It’s best to make kefir and yogurt at home, because the microorganism count will be much higher.
You an also make water kefir if you still want the benefits of kefir but can’t ingest dairy. Originating in Mexico, water kefir grains (also known as sugar kefir grains) allow for the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage. You can buy water kefir grains from Cultures for Health. I’m espicially excited about trying out water kefir because I have asthma and a herbalist once told me to try to elimate almsot all dairy out of your diet. For the past two years my asthma has improved dramatically by eliminating lots of dairy out of my diet.
Here is a video showing you how to make water kefir:
Here is a delicious recipe using kefir that I’m definitely going to try out:
Natural remedies and heartburn:
one of the best sites hands down!