Chiropractic & Nutritional Care Can Help Relieve Acid Reflux
Many times, when people feel that they have heartburn, they reach for a ProtonPump Inhibitor (PPI) like Nexium without understanding why. Meant to be a short-term solution, many are on these for years.
Heartburn is generally caused by either the stomach pushing up into the esophagus and letting acid through creating the “heartburn” sensation or having low levels of stomach acid which leads to fermentation in your stomach and gas bubbling into your esophagus. PPIs work by shutting down acid production, and with no acid, your symptoms go away but not the underlying problems and make heartburn appear worse when you stop taking them.
Chiropractic care can help by assessing the upper back and neck for tension on the nerves that control the stomach and can help it to relax and stop pushing acid into your esophagus. Also, taking Digestive Enzymes, Betaine & Pepsin Supplements, & Probiotics can help the stomach heal and function properly.
Our Clinic's Approach To Treating Acid Reflux & GERD
At Brown Family Chiropractic, acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), is a common ailment we see in both adults and in children. Reflux is an issue where part of the stomach pushes up into the esophagus allowing acid to come up and we get that terrible, terrible heartburn. That is typically treated in this country with something called “Proton Pump Inhibitors.” Proton pump inhibitors are chemicals that reduce acid, they actually shut down the production of acid in your stomach. So when you don’t have that acid to be brought up into the esophagus, your symptoms go away.
The issue we have is that proton pump inhibitors, like Nexium, Prilosec or Omeprazole, are meant to be short-term use only. But unfortunately, in this country, it seems people are on them as long as they have symptoms, which is years. Imagine years of your stomach not being able to produce the chemicals it needs to properly break food down and years of food not being able to be broken down into nutrients that your body can properly absorb.
So we see people who have been on these medications for years. We also are seeing many, many more babies being diagnosed with reflux. Even out of the hospital, after labor. And they’re typically put on the same type of medication.
So chiropractic care and nutritional counseling look at ways we can heal your stomach without pharmaceutical medication and without the side effects of medication. We treat reflux quite well in this office.
Muscle tension in the spine and neck can lead to vertebrae being out of alignment and possibly reduce the signal of the nerve leaving that vertebra. If they are not able to send a good signal to the organs they lead to, this can lead to issues arising in those organs.
First, we are going to look for tension or restrictions in the upper part of your neck and upper back which feeds the nerves that lead to the esophagus. We’re also going to look for tension in the mid-back because those are the nerves that go to the stomach and intestines.
Nutritional Care & Counseling
We will also talk about many, many other things that you can do to improve your digestive ability and the health of stomach and intestines. The goal is to heal your entire digestive tract so you can absorb nutrients properly without discomfort and get you off of prescription or over-the-counter medication. We help treat conditions like acid reflux, leaky gut, inflammation and indigestion with supplements and nutritional protocols that put you on the path to health. Supplements like digestive enzymes that are going to help break that food down before it even gets into your stomach. Betaine & Pepsin that helps rebalance your stomach’s pH. Or our Core Restore protocol that helps deflame the body and heal your intestines. Simple, conservative methods that treat your condition with very minimal side effects.
Simple Ways To Improve Digestion
Chew Chew Chew 30 Times
Chewing your food to liquid before swallowing is the first step of digestion. The more you chew your food, the less work your stomach has to do and more nutrients are able to be absorbed from your food as it passes through your digestive tract.
Modify Your Eating Habits
Making small changes to how and when you eat improves how your body can handle and digest food. Eat smaller portions or meals. Eat only when you’re hungry. Do not eat when you’re upset. Limit liquids with meals as they dilute digestive juices.
The Apple Cider Stimulant
Taking one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar before a meal helps stimulate Hydro-Chloric Acid (HCl) production in your stomach. You can mix with a “shot” of apple juice or mix with salad dressing.
Taking a 15 to 20-minute walk after eating helps promote digestion and get the blood flowing. And gives you a reason to spend more time with loved ones or your favorite pooch!
When to supplement your body.
If you’ve tried the steps above (chewing food 30 times, changing how/when you eat, taking apple cider vinegar before meals and walking after meals) and don’t see improvements in your reflux, then we might suggest taking our recommended supplements.
Understanding Acid Reflux, GERD
Most people think of “heartburn” as a “too much stomach acid” problem. This could not be further from the truth. The majority of people with heartburn or acid reflux actually have low stomach acid, hypoacidity. This causes food to sit in their stomach too long because it is slow to digest. They often feel “full” for an extended period of time following meals. Weak or brittle nails are also a side effect of low stomach acid, as well as constipation and food allergies. Natural stomach acid (HCl) is one of the first lines of defense to “kill” incoming bad bacteria. If you don’t have it, you are more likely to get sick.
Many different things can cause hypoacidity, including chronic stress, chronic fatigue, age and the presence of H. Pylori infection. As we age, we produce less stomach acid which always needs to be addressed for optimal mineral absorption for bone health. We are often given Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, or an H2 Antagonist like Pepcid or Zantac for treating the burning sensation at the base of our sternum.
Some of the side effects of these over the counter medications include B12 Deficiencies, Magnesium deficiency, and increased risk of hip, wrist and spine fracture. These drugs were originally designed for short-term use but have developed into long-term usage. JAMA Internal medicine, 2013 suggested that physicians need to use caution and balance benefits and harms in the long-term prescription of high-dose PPIs.
These medications essentially tell our stomach’s intrinsic cells to stop working because the pills take over and “handles the job.” The side-effect of long-term PPI use is when we stop taking these drugs, our body has to work again and ends up “overcompensating” with a large surge of stomach acid which leads to more “heartburn” sensation and we run back to our reflux medication. The vicious circle begins…unless the cause is treated.
What can we do naturally to ease acid reflux or GERD?
1. Relax before and during meals.
2. Chew, Chew, Chew your food 30 times before swallowing.
3. Hydrate – drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. i.e. if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water each day.
4. Cook or steam most veggies (and possibly fruit) and add raw as tolerated. Cooked veggies are easier to digest as we transition to actually digesting our foods again.
5. Daily eat ripe fruit only as it’s in season. Unripened food is harder to digest.
6. Decrease your intake of dairy, red meat, sugar and gluten.
The Betaine & Pepsin Supplement Challenge
About Betaine & Pepsin
Betaine & Pepsin provides hydrochloric acid to help maintain gastric pH and supports overall nutrient absorption.
Symptoms of indigestion are often mistaken for excessive gastric acid. This leads many to take acid blockers in attempt to lower stomach acid, when the true culprit is likely to be insufficient levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Betaine & Pepsin provides two essential components of healthy digestion: HCl and the digestive enzyme, pepsin. HCl is vital for the proper digestion of protein and the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Pepsin is one of the first enzymes to initiate protein digestion and works in synergy with HCl to provide complete protein digestive support.
Betaine (also known as trimethylglycine) is a natural substance found in foods such as beets and spinach. Betaine HCl, the acidic form of betaine, has been used for years to support digestion and absorption due to its ability to lower gastric pH.
One of the first enzymes to initiate protein digestion, pepsin is synthesized in the parietal cells of the gastric mucosa. Pepsin is released by the chief cells and is responsible for breaking down proteins into peptides. This activation sets up a chain reaction that produces more pepsin, allowing for better protein digestion.
You May Need to Heal Or Repair Your Stomach Or GI Tract First
Stress, poor nutrition and lifestyle choices wreak havoc on our gut. If our gut is damaged, it cannot properly digest or heal itself. Adjusting your diet and supplementing with proper nutrients can get your gut back onto the right track.
To repair your gut or heal ulcers, we recommend a protocol of taking Glutashield, IgG and Aloe two weeks prior to the Betaine & Pepsin Challenge. You may continue with one or both formulas during the challenge as needed.
Hypoacidity & H. Pylori
Heliobacter pylori (H. Pylori) is an infection and is the leading cause of peptic ulcers. H. Pylori produces an enzyme that neutralizes stomach acid as a protective mechanism so it can survive in the stomach. Repeated use of antacids increases this risk of infection and an antibiotic treatment like amoxicillin is only successful in 60% of cases.
Zinc-Carnosine is one of the only known natural agents that can kill H. Pylori. It inhibits the enzyme produced by H. Pylori which allows your stomach to continue to produce hydrochloric acid (HCl) and, in effect, exterminate H. Pylori.