Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive disorder causing pain in the esophagus and discomfort after eating. Unfortunately the acid-suppressing drugs such as proton pump inhibitors used to treat heartburn, have been linked to dangerous side effects after long-term use such as an increased risk of stroke and bacterial infections. 1.
Despite a burning sensation in your chest, heartburn is often caused by too little stomach acid and not too much. And Hypochlorhydria, or a low concentration of stomach acid, has in fact been linked to a long list of health disorders which affect brain, digestive, and immune function. 2.
Low stomach acid can also lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and subsequent bloating, due to the bacteria fermentation of undigested food in the digestive system. There is also the possibility that SIBO contributes to heartburn by creating increased intra-abdominal pressure, leading to dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. 3.
Common symptoms of low stomach acid include:
- Bloating after meals
- Upset stomach
- Food sensitivities
- Increased infections
A simple home test to check your stomach acid level which should be acidic or a low pH compared to the small intestine and esophagus which are alkaline, is to take 1 tsp of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or 1 tbsp of Fresh Lemon Juice in a 1/3 glass of filtered water 20 mins before a meal containing animal protein, and observe if it helps to improve your digestive symptoms and to reduce bloating after meals. Avoid this test if you suffer from a peptic (gastric) ulcer or sensitive teeth, and trial at least 2 hours apart from antacid medications.
Next time we will reveal natural methods to relieve Heartburn or GERD, and for further information and assistance with your health issues, contact Enhance Wellness Center to speak to one of our health professionals or book your Health Screening and Naturopath Consultation and start living a healthier and happier life.