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.