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Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
Acid Reflux Symptoms
I first observed acute symptoms of acid reflux 18 years ago.
Since that time, I have:
- Received a hiatal hernia diagnosis
- Been scoped to determine I have significant occurrence of prescription induced Polyps in my stomach lining
- Changed medications countless times: Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Omeprazole, Pantoprazole
- Upped my prescription doses from 10 mg, to 20 mg, to 40 mg
Severe Heartburn Symptoms
I tried countless medications and antacids to find relief.
Just a couple months prior, my symptoms got so bad that I:
- Was waking up EVERY morning with a burning / iron / sour taste in my mouth
- Had developed a film over my tongue and teeth that I could not get rid of
- Developing anxiety about being too close to others for fear that my breath was bad
- I was experimenting with upping my dose to 60mg
- Brushing my entire mouth (not just my teeth) in the mornings
- Using peroxide and salt as mouthwash twice a day
In addition, I had visited my doctor seeking help.
I was actually sad to learn that I did not have a gut bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.
At least that would have been treatable…
Note, I am not a medical doctor. I am merely sharing my personal experiences. Before attempting anything mentioned in this article, I strongly advise you speak with your medical professional.
Natural Remedy for Acid Reflux
Over Christmas break I mentioned to a family friend I was really suffering from Acid Reflux symptoms.
She told me she has been taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for decades.
In fact, she found that numbness in her hands, legs and feet were due to prolonged use of these drugs.
Her doctor confirmed a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and prescribed her injections.
The things she described resonated well with symptoms I was experiencing so I looked into it.
After that, I started researching ways to better mitigate my symptoms.
Instead, I found something I was not expecting: Proven natural remedies for acid reflux!
Acid Reflux Causes
Hiatal Hernia and Acid Reflux
I had always believed my acid reflux was a genetic condition.
This is not only due to my hiatal hernia diagnosis but also my father and grandfather had the disease.
However, what I have learned is many people have hiatal hernias but do NOT have acid reflux.
Sadly, once doctors confirmed my Hiatal Hernia, they did not perform any more root cause analysis.
High Stomach Acid
In addition, as covered by Physiologic, doctors do not check your pH before prescribing Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) such as Prilosec.
If they did, they would find that in roughly 90% of cases acid reflux is actually caused by low stomach acid.
Yes, you read that correctly, let me explain:
The medical term for low stomach acid is Hypocloridia or Achlorhydria.
Stomach acid naturally declines as you age, however there are many other causes covered later in this article.
This Healthline article, details the causes and a very LONG list of symptoms and chronic health conditions:
I have only personally experienced the following:
- upset stomach
- weak, brittle fingernails
- iron deficiency anemia
- vitamin B-12, calcium, & magnesium deficiency
- numbness, tingling, & vision changes
If you have taken acid reflux medications for a long time, I would encourage you to read the article.
Low Stomach Acid Treatment
It is logical to think that low stomach acid is a good thing for acid reflux sufferers.
However, that is due to an incomplete understanding of how the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) functions.
Your LES is the flap that separates your stomach from your Esophagus (throat).
Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid
Given sufficient acidity, pressure builds in your stomach during digestion which forces the LES to close and seal.
However, if your stomach acid is too low, due to acid blocking medications, this cannot occur.
Furthermore, when your stomach acid is low you are unable to efficiently break your food down.
As a result, it sits in your gut longer causing bloating, gas, indigestion, or discomfort.
In response, your stomach contracts and squeezes, forcing acid above your food to aid digestion.
Since your LES is not sealed, this allows the contents of your stomach to escape into your esophagus.
Watch this video by Dr Eric Berg:
How to Increase Stomach Acid
In the video, Dr Eric tells you how HCl will help your stomach to make more acid.
Here is the brand I used and that enabled me to stop taking acid blocker medications: HCl
Note, in the video the doctor advises taking several pills with each meal.
I believe that his dose may be lower, because the directions advise a single pill with each meal.
I took my first pill with dinner along with the other supplements I detail below.
The next morning, I had NO DOUBT that this was going to work for me.
The sour and iron taste and the burning sensations in my mouth were gone.
In fact, I decided not take my acid blocker that morning and I have not taken them since!
I took the HCl in combination with the supplements noted below.
As I’ll explain below, it is the combination of these supplements that allowed me to get off the acid blockers.
The articles I read advised that you take it slow with the HCl at first to see how it feels in your body.
For me, there was a very noticeable warmth after I took the first pill.
I resumed taking a single pill the next day and I did not feel any of those sensations.
By the third day, I was confident to start taking them with meals so that I could re-build my stomach acid.
As the Doctor mentions, in the video, this is not a long term supplement.
The idea for this, and the supplements noted below, is to take them for a short time to re-build your digestive system.
After that there should be no need for Acid Reflux medicines, Antacids, or supplements.
Digestive Enzymes for Acid Reflux
How to Get Rid of Indigestion
In addition to low stomach acid, prolonged exposure to acid reflux medications often leads to Dysbyosis.
This is an imbalance between good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut.
In order to rebuild a healthy digestive system and get off of the acid suppressors you need good enzymes.
These enzymes are key to breaking food down into amino acids, fatty acids, nutrients, fats, oils, etc..
A healthy gut microbiome contains digestive enzymes, digestive bacteria and high acidity.
My research led me to this brand: Essential Enzymes
I take one with each meal, along with apple cider vinegar pills:
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux
Apple cider vinegar promotes the production of good stomach acids.
In addition, it introduces good bacteria and enzymes to promote healthy digestive function.
You could take the liquid form, using a teaspoon with a cup of water, but only for a short period of time.
The issue is the acidity of the liquid form erodes tooth enamel and could damage your throat.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
The pill form however goes straight to your stomach where it can be digested safely.
Here is the brand that I take with each meal: Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Because your body lacks the appropriate digestive enzymes and acidity the body is unable to process B12.
The symptoms of B12 deficiency ultimately led me to research acid reflux causes and remedies.
As this WebMD article covers:
You may also be more likely to develop vitamin B12 deficiency if you have:
Been taking certain medications that interfere with the absorption of B12. This includes some heartburn medicines including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as rabeprazole, omeprazole, esomeprazole,, lansoprazole and pantoprazole
Proton Pump Inhibitor is the medical term for the acid reflux or acid blocking medications.
Some additional examples include Omeprazole, Prilosec, Nexium, and Pantoprazole to name a few.
Note I have only listed the ones I personally experienced:
- Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
- A smooth tongue
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
- Vision loss
- Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes
B12 Deficiency Neurological Symptoms
It was the neurological symptoms that first caught my attention.
After reading the full list, however the vision loss and mental problems that scared me.
A few specifics, not mentioned in the Web MD article, but in others:
- Feeling cold
- Behavioral changes: Apathy, Anxiety, Numbness, Lack of Emotion
I experienced every symptom that is in bold above.
Taking weekly shots of B12 is an option, but I don’t want to do that for obvious reasons.
So for the time being, I use the following supplements: B12
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Another problem caused by PPIs is magnesium deficiency.
Below are some of the side effects that I experienced.
Note, there is some overlap with the B12 deficiency:
- Muscle Twitches and Cramps
- Mental Disorders (for me: Apathy, Anxiety, Numbness, Lack of Emotion)
- Fatigue and Muscle Weakness
Healthline has an article that details the symptoms fully.
Here is the Magnesium supplement I am taking: Magnesium
Calcium Deficiency Symptoms
The third major deficiency caused by prolonged use of acid reducers is Calcium deficiency.
As covered in this Medical News Today article:
A long-term deficiency can lead to dental changes, cataracts, alterations in the brain, and osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become brittle.
That said, as Doctor Eric covered, taking calcium supplements would counteract the acid builders.
Given that, the plan is NO calcium supplements.
Furthermore, we need to get off of the acid reflux medications, and supplements whenever possible.
This way, your body can begin naturally digesting and processing calcium as it originally should have.
Summary / Conclusion
Safest Acid Reflux Medication
Now, after reading this you understand the safest acid reflux medicine is no medicine at all.
Long term, the acid blockers damage your digestive system, making your dependent on the pills.
The damage to your digestive system causes vitamin deficiencies leading to serious neurological and chronic health conditions.
If you are like me, your doctor told you not to take the acid blockers for longer than 8 weeks.
And in the same breath he said, “THERE ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS so you will be taking them for life.”
If you made it this far, you see THERE IS AN OPTION.
My theory is it’s not widely known because it undermines the pharmaceutical industry’s PPI market.
Here is the full summary of the steps I took to get off the acid blockers and antacids for good:
As mentioned, the articles I read advised a slow start with the HCl.
After a couple days, I started taking it with every meal.
I work, so I am also careful to put pills in my briefcase ensuring I get them in with every meal.
If you need to carry your pills on the go, this is a nice compact magnetic pill sorter: Pill Sorter
I stopped taking the acid blockers immediately, though the articles I read did a slow ramp down.
Given the significant long term side effects mentioned above I didn’t want to take another one.
My experience was immediate elimination of my acid reflux symptoms!
Get My Journal
I kept a journal of my daily experiences, taking these supplements.
If you would like a copy, you can request it here: Contact Page
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