The digestive disorder where partially digested food from your stomach, along with hydrochloric acid and enzymes, backs up into your esophagus and causes a burning sensation is commonly referred to as Acid Reflux. (It also is called heartburn, acid indigestion and GERD.)
What causes it:
With acid reflux, the sphincter muscle that opens to allow food into your stomach malfunctions and stays open. This allows the contents of your stomach (food and digestive secretions) to flow backwards into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation. A hiatal hernia may be the cause of this malfunction.
You may have a number of dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to acid reflux and esophageal irritation. They include:
- tight-fitting clothing that constricts the abdomen
- being overweight
- inadequate chewing
- swallowing too much air while eating too quickly
- mental-emotional stress
- eating when upset
- lying down after eating
- insufficient water intake that causes dehydration
- alcoholic beverages
- coffee, tea, and other caffeine-containing beverages
- carbonated beverages like sodas
- fatty and fried foods
- spicy foods (including yellow onions)
- tomato-based foods
- raw onions, garlic, black pepper
- medications (anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxants)
- drugs that irritate the GI lining (NSAIDs)
Additional factors that can contribute to acid reflux are:
- food allergies (especially to milk and dairy products)
- poor food combining
- gallbladder problems
- enzyme deficiencies
What can I do about it:
It is commonly accepted by the conventional medical community that acid reflux is caused by excess stomach acid, and virtually all drugs used to treat GERD symptoms neutralize, reduce, suppress or inhibit your HCl (stomach acid) production. However, the bottom line and shocking truth is that acid reflux is more often caused by deficiency or lack of HCl than by too much of it. And HCl deficiency has far more reaching negative consequences as far as your overall health is concerned. Here are some diet and lifestyle options for you:
Steps to immediate relief are:
(1) Choose your team of healthcare practitioners wisely. Your health condition and experience of discomfort may be the result of many imbalances in your body, requiring proper testing and an accurate diagnosis. Choosing practitioners with additional training in the areas nutrition, hormone testing/balancing, and detoxification processes will help you take a multi-faceted approach.
Taking ownership of your health equation can be one of the most empowering steps you can take and you can do this by: becoming more informed, listening to your inner wisdom, focusing on your “ideal experience” of health, and partnering with your healthcare and wellness practitioners to effect the best possible outcome. Essential Wellness would be honored to be a part of your wellness team.
(2) Most of the time with acid reflux it is not that the stomach is producing too much stomach acid, it is that the acid is in the wrong place (esophagus). Low stomach acid interferes with the first step of digestion and can be a factor in your health equation because anytime a food is eaten and not completely digested it will only feed inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut.
The HCI Challenge Test can help you determine if you have low stomach acid. If your HCl Challenge Test causes you to experience immediate reflux symptoms, confer with your doctor to rule out a possible H. pylori infection, ulcer, or other stomach issues. Repairing your stomach lining is essential.
(3) Determine whether your symptoms are related to an overgrowth of Candida, Parasites and Leaky Gut Syndrome as they often show up together and their symptoms overlap. With this information, you will be better informed to ask questions of your team of practitioners. We can teach you how to improve your diet, eliminate candida and parasites, and repair leaky gut by incorporating an elimination diet as your next step.
(4) With acid reflux, focusing on repairing your metabolism by removing the foods that trigger inflammation in your body and provide food for unfriendly microorganisms is necessary. Eliminating the most common highly-reactive, inflammatory foods (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and corn) while you complete the required repair work. Upgrading your building materials will help you to unburden your digestive system, remove the foods that feed unfriendly microorganisms, stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, and support your body’s detoxification and elimination processes.
Replace inflammatory foods with satisfying balanced meals (healthy, lean and clean proteins; low-glycemic and high fiber carbohydrates; lots and lots of dark leafy greens; and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, oils). Reintroducing each reactive food group separately will allow you to determine what foods are still a problem for you. At Essential Wellness, we have a specific coaching program designed to help you formulate a diet that will work best for you and teach you how to optimize your digestion.
(5) Make water your beverage of choice. Water is one of nature’s natural cleansers. Drinking optimal levels of purified water benefits your overall health by supporting your ability to digest your food, supporting your liver in its ability to detoxify your body, and providing fluid for optimal elimination of toxins. It builds the mucus membrane of the stomach to protect it from the stomach acid.
Commit to drinking 1/2 your weight in fluid ounces of water each day. Drinking sips of warmed water (not microwaved) can help support you with detoxifying the congestion in your intestinal tract and lymphatic system throughout your entire body. Eliminating all other caffeinated, sugary, mucus-producing, carbonated beverages (such as coffee, tea, dairy, and soda pop) is essential as they support digestive dysfunction, parasitic and yeast overgrowth, and leaky gut.
(6) Avoid or minimize the use of NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.), antibiotics and antacids. NSAIDS negatively affect your stomach lining. The long-term effects of antibiotics can set your body up for digestive problems and lowered immunity. Dietary and lifestyle habit improvements are key in an overgrowth of microorganisms that can cause infections. These same dietary and lifestyle choices can alleviate your need for antacids.
(7) If you are on medication (especially proton pump inhibitors) for GERD, consult your healthcare practitioner to help you gradually decrease your medication as you implement a more natural protocol. In doing so, this will allow you to decrease you risk of chronic high levels of gastrin and possible increased risk of cancer.
(8) Determine and reduce excessive stress levels. Stress plays a big part in your digestive function. Just take a look at the list of what causes acid reflux to see that there are several stress factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. When you are stressed out, your body may not be producing the protective mucosal lining or secreting adequate levels of acid to digest your foods. When this happens your pancreas and liver may not be receiving the correct messages to release digestive enzymes and bile – which can interfere with complete digestion. Finding stress-reduction techniques that work for you and using them regularly will help you diffuse your stress more effectively.
These techniques might include: exercise, relaxation therapy (such as meditation, visualization, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or tai chi), biofeedback, hypnosis, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, EFT, Mental-Emotional Stress Release, counseling or stress management training. We can teach you stress-reduction techniques and walk you through how to incorporate them into your everyday life.
(9) Set yourself up for optimal digestion. Take time to sit down, eat and enjoy a stress-free meal. Chewing thoroughly and in a relaxed manner in order to help facilitate the best digestion possible. Set an intention to enjoy your meal without interruption so that your body turns off the sympathetic ‘fight-flight’ stress response and turns on the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ response. Eat until you are 80% full.
(10) Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep and no acid reflux. Eat your supper meal at least 2-4 hours before you go to bed. Sleep on your left side to avoid heartburn. Elevate the head of your bed by 4-8 inches.
(11) The use of essential oils can be beneficial to you. For immediate pain relief, apply 1-3 drops of essential oil (such as DiGize, Peppermint, and Release) to 1 tsp of carrier oil (V6 or olive oil) and apply through self massage of area(s) where your discomfort lies. You can also massage the neurolymphatic points and foot reflex points that correlate to areas of the body that are troubling you (such as your liver, stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines). Layering multiple oils can create a synergistic effect. For acid reflux, look at oils that will support your digestive system.
Young Living Essential Oils are safe, effective and known for their pureness and therapeutic-grade qualities. For more help with choosing the right oils and application of specific points or meridians on your body, schedule an appointment with us at Essential Wellness.
Steps to long-term, permanent relief:
If you are experiencing a lot of the symptoms listed above, your inner ecosystem has been out of balance for quite some time and needs attention. It’s time to think about implementing these additional steps:
(12) Making your dietary improvements permanent might be exactly what you need to feel better. When you do not provide your body with key nutrients all aspects of digestion, absorption, detoxification and elimination become impaired. Your body can only mirror the quality of the building materials you provide it through your diet.
The place where most people fail is falling back into old habits that slowly recreate their imbalances and symptoms. Eating healthy 95% of the time and indulging only 5% of the time supports your optimal well-being. If you are struggling with how to integrate these changes on your own, an Essential Wellness practitioner skilled in the areas of nutrition, digestion and detoxification can help you.
(13) When you suffer from acid reflux herbal supplements like HCl, aloe vera juice or aloe vera syrup can specifically help the stomach and esophageal tissue. It may benefit you to complete repair work of your gut lining so that you experience complete digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Herbal supplements like a Biocult probiotic, L-glutamine powder, NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Glutathione spray all have their place in supporting the rebuilding of your gut ecosystem, but they will not make up the difference if you eat a “crappy” diet. It may be helpful for you to do a herbal cleanse to address congestion in the digestive system. Work with a practitioner to determine correct supplements and dosages.
You can also introduce organic, home-made probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, etc., to continue feeding and rebuilding your gut ecosystem. The healthier your gut ecosystem is, the more able your immune system is to chelate toxins from your body. There are many ayuredic herbs that benefit the repair of your digestive system. Young Living has many nutritional supplements that can help you balance your digestive terrain. We can help teach you about these supportive supplements and live foods at Essential Wellness.
(14) ALCAT allergy testing can easily determine what allergens are triggering you. Your test results will tell you what foods, chemicals, and other environmental triggers (like pet dander, mold, fungi, grasses) are triggers for you. This testing determines the severity of your intolerance and gives you recommendations of how long to remove it from your environment while you repair your digestive system.
If it’s determined that you have food, chemical or environmental sensitivities, receiving NAET Desensitization Therapy might be part of your allergies answer. This desensitization therapy works in combination with cleaning up your diet, strengthening your ability to digest your food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating toxins. It helps reduce the over-triggering of your immune system.
(15) Detoxifying your body through dietary improvements, an herbal cleanse program, and/or detoxification therapies can be an effective way to improve your overall experience of well-being. Before beginning any detox protocol, check in with your healthcare practitioner, to determine if there is a reason you should not complete a cleanse at this time. (When your body is in an extreme state of stress and toxicity, it’s important to replenish your nutrient reserves before beginning any detoxification protocol.)
It is also very important for your elimination channels to be open before beginning and during any detoxification program, otherwise you may suffer from a Herxheimer Reaction. At Essential Wellness, we know the ins and outs of the cleansing and detoxification process and we can help you minimize your discomfort as you detoxify your body.
How can Essential Wellness help:
At Essential Wellness, we believe repair and recovery is based on many factors. Although we cannot diagnose, prescribe, treat or claim to cure any medical condition you may have, our focus is on helping you reduce the many levels of stress that are playing into your current health experience.
When you are experiencing acid reflux and the therapies you’ve tried are not giving you relief, Essential Wellness can help you. We do this by sharing our knowledge and experience, tools, techniques, and these therapies:
- Nutrition & Wellness Plan is one of our coaching programs that will help you get clear about what your wellness goals are (based on your individual needs), teach you how to decipher and make sense of all the dietary information available to you, and help you formulate your own wellness plan with accountability. The foundation of your wellness plan will be structured around habits that only you have the power to control and change.
- Based on our knowledge and experience, most health disorders including Acid Reflux are connected to some physiological dysfunction that causes accumulated toxicity in the body and vice versa. We offer the detoxification therapies of Colonics, Core Lymphatic, and IonCleanse Foot Detox to help reduce stress on your digestive, detoxification and elimination channels. Colonics in combination with herbal support will compliment your dietary foundation and can be especially helpful to you if you are not eliminating at least once per day.
- For pain relief and stress from structural imbalances in the stomach, esophagus and diaphragm we offer Core Synchronism. Eden Energy Medicine can be helpful in flushing out blocked or congested energy in your energy system, thereby reducing stress. Bottom line, when your body feels out of balance you feel stress. This is usually due to blocked or congested energy that has settled in the physical body. We can add Essential Oils to compliment the therapy you receive.
- Toxic emotions can block the flow of your energy channels and become stuck in your physical body. The emotional component of acid reflux can be connected to fear of the new and the inability to assimilate the new which can create a lot of stress. Mental-Emotional Stress Release techniques may help you understand and integrate these experiences and diffuse the emotions and stress connected to them. Flower Remedies can compliment the therapy you receive.
- With Acid Reflux you are most likely experiencing multiple symptoms. We offer RAE Radionics Hair Analysis as another tool to help you understand any stress that is present in your energy system.