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Looking for Heartburn Relief?

Start with a Balanced Diet...

Posted in Digestive Issues on Sep 25, 2015

by Keri Dennis

Nausea, constant belching after meals, bloating, gas pain, tossing and turning at night, bad breath and headaches…

If these symptoms are all too familiar to you then you are not alone.

Chronic Indigestion and Heartburn Symptoms are experienced by more than 40 million North Americans every day.

Many who suffer with these Digestive Conditions manage them with prescription medications such as Proton Pump Inhibitors, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, and many more Acid Blockers.

Doctors don’t even question why you have heartburn in the first place. A prescription pad and a script can find you easy relief simply by using modern drugs that will address your symptoms… if you don’t mind the long list of side effects.

What these drugs do is give us the illusion that we can eat whatever we want, when we want and even to excess… all while ignoring our body’s warning signals that something just is Not Right. It’s Crazy, I know… but instant relief is often necessary for us to be able to keep up with our busy lifestyles and obligations.

But What About the Long Term Effects?

These Acid Blocking drugs do in fact lower your stomach acid levels, which help with the symptoms you are experiencing. But contrary to belief, you actually need a good amount of stomach acid to stay healthy.

Stomach acid helps kill off Bacteria, Parasites and Fungus from getting into your gut by killing them off. It helps to digest protein, and supports the absorption of other essential nutrients like Vitamin B-12.

A healthy balance of stomach acids also catalyses the release of other enzymes in the digestive chain, which also keeps bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine in check.

Ingesting Acid Blockers also inhibits your absorption of minerals like Calcium and Magnesium. These deficiencies contribute to conditions like Osteoporosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fatigue and much more.

What Causes Heartburn?

There are several sources of the symptoms you are experiencing that you can look into. Here are some of the more common ones that I see when I help people to address their Nutritional Imbalances.

Poor Food Choices

We have all read about it, but how many people are willing to give up their favourite foods?

Alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, fried foods, greasy foods, wheat, tomatoes, and other caffeine containing beverages are all directly related to heartburn and indigestion. Even soda!

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances also contribute to heartburn. These “Symptoms” are actually “Signals” that your body uses to tell you that it is not ok with this food!

Irregular Eating Schedules

Are you a Late Night Snacker? Eating too much in the evening and too late at night also triggers heartburn.

And Then There is Stress!

We are all exposed to daily stress… but what I am talking about is the kind of stress that keeps lingering on, bothering you on a daily basis. Chronic stress over time actually lowers your stomach acid! Even low levels of stress over a long period of time will weaken your stomach valves so that increased levels of acid travel up into your throat.

Helicobacter Pylori

Furthermore, bacteria like Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori) can also digestive imbalances. This type of bacterial infection knocks your stomach out of balance which in turn contributes to Heartburn, Ulcers and even Cancer.

Bacterial Overgrowth

I often also see bacterial overgrowth conditions in the Gut and Candida Yeast overgrowth. When bacteria or yeast is overgrown, it feeds off of sugar, carbohydrates and starches that you eat which in turn creates gas as a by product. This gas builds up and puts pressure on your stomach, which in turn weakens your stomach’s valves and allows for the acid build up and travel upwards. This is usually coupled with low stomach acid. The treatment is not only antimicrobials, but involves recovering stomach acid levels as well.

Hiatal Hernia

It is also worth looking in Hiatal Hernia. This is a type of hernia condition that pushes the lower part of the stomach upwards. This upward pressure on your stomach pushes the acid up and into your throat. You can be treated for these Hernias with Visceral Massage, Exercises or Surgery.

How is Heartburn Treated?

Finding out what is causing you heartburn is the best place to start. Here are a few things you can do to get you on the right track…

Work on Your Diet

Start with an elimination diet. This involves cutting out alcohol, caffeine, dairy, wheat, sugar, citrus and tomatoes, spicy foods and eating smaller, more frequent meals. You can enjoy lean proteins like chicken and turkey. Eat lots of cooked veggies, and don’t forget to include healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado. You can also munch on fruits.

Find Out if you have H.Pylori

You can ask your Doctor about H.Pylori testing. This usually involves a simple blood test, or a hydrogen breath test. If you do end up having this bacteria then talk to a trained Nutritional Consultant or someone who has experience treating this condition.

Supplementation

Taking 2-3 capsules of digestive enzymes with each meal that include Betaine HCL as one of the ingredients can make a world of difference. This will help increase your stomach acid and improve your food digestion.

Another option is to also take DGL Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice chewable tablets 15 minutes before each meal.

Supplementing magnesium at 200mg per day to relax the stomach can also help with more efficient transport of your meals through your stomach and digestive track.

For immediate relief you can also try ingesting about one ounce of Aloe Vera Juice to cool the burning symptoms and soothe the stomach. I have found this to be a very effective remedy.

Get Tested… and Treat the Source of Your Symptoms

Get tested for Yeast and Bacterial Overgrowth using a Functional Medicine Stool Test. These two culprits are often the underlying problem of Chronic Heartburn conditions.

A treatment protocol that incorporates a Clean Gut Diet, along with Antimicrobials, Antifungals and Probiotics will often get you back on the road to good health.

Finding the source of these conditions can be a bit hit and miss, but once you find the right treatment protocol then recovery can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.

Just remember to not get discouraged…. And be deligent about eliminating the sources of your symptoms so that your digestive disturbances do not return.

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