When stomach contents go up into the esophagus instead of down into the duodenum, it not only hurts but, over time, damages the esophagus lining resulting in scarring. Unfortunately, the most common treatment now is to take a drug that stops acid production, such as Prilosec or Aciphex. Without the acid, the stomach contents going the wrong way do not burn the esophagus; thus one has no pain, and the scarring does not occur. However, taking this drug does not make the reflux stop, nor does it improve digestion.
Now consider GOOD DIGESTION and the consequences of using a drug to stop or hinder gastric acid production.
GOOD DIGESTION is a process: 1) first comes hunger 2) then the thought of food intake starts the flow of acidic fluid in the stomach 3) food enters the stomach and is mixed with the acid 4) the acid and mixing is very important for protein digestion 5) when the mixture is acid enough, the stomach outlet starts releasing it into the duodenum (high acid also closes the inlet to the stomach) 6) at the same time, digestive enzymes are released from the pancreas 7) the enzymes do their work, and the nutrients are absorbed in the small bowel 8) the gut bacteria do their part to decompose some food particles/fibers, aide absorption, and inhibit “bad” bacteria.
WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT ACID: 1) protein digestion is poor 2) the pancreas is not stimulated to release enough digestive enzymes 3) stomach emptying is delayed (sometimes a long time) 4) when food stays in the stomach, the stomach pushes it back up into the esophagus – this causes “heartburn” and GERD 5) delayed emptying allows the food to putrefy and release toxic material for absorption 6) lack of acid allows bacteria and yeast to come up into the stomach outlet area 7) the incomplete digestion and putrefaction leaves much material for the bacteria and yeast to grow on 8) Clostridium species, H-Pylori, yeast, and likely other “bad” organisms will propagate and cause ulcers and even get into the liver and compromise liver function 9) symptoms like bloating, distension, cramping pains, excess gas/flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, heartburn, fluid retention, weight gain, headaches, and insomnia can occur 10) there will be mal-absorption of nutrients especially minerals and B-vitamins 11) the putrid material and abnormal bacteria will start inflammation in the delicate digestive membranes compromising the mucous layer 12) when the mucous layer is compromised, a “leaky gut” problem develops in which food particles will get into the blood stream and cause IgE and IgG food sensitivities 13) this condition can be the basis of problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.
CONCLUSION: I do not recommend the use of drugs to stop or decrease gastric acid production.
THE CURE: Improve acid production. A MAJOR CAUSE OF REFLUX IS NOT ENOUGH DIGESTIVE ACID!
Increased acid will make the stomach work easy and fast. Digestion will be efficient, and the stomach will empty quickly so reflux does not occur.
TO OPTIMIZE DIGESTION, FOLLOW THESE RULES:
1) Keep well hydrated with pure water. The very important protective mucous layer is 90% water. The acid is produced in a fluid medium and the digestive enzymes flow in a fluid medium. Keep well hydrated so these streams flow vigorously when needed.
2) Our systems work better on predictable regularity. Eat meals the same time every day, and do not snack! A little nibble here and a little nibble there can make the stomach produce acid all the time (till it gets too tired), cause delay in emptying, and thus cause reflux.
3) After eating a meal, don’t eat again till the stomach has done its work and had some rest. Allow at least 5 hours between meals. To eat while food is still in the stomach from the last intake will delay stomach emptying for up to 12 hours in some cases. This delayed emptying will lead to acid-reflux.
4) Take only water between meals.
5) Go to sleep on an empty stomach. Digestion does not progress while we sleep so stomach emptying will be delayed, and reflux is even more likely while we are lying down.
6) Avoid sweets, sodas, coffee (any caffeine), smoking, chewing tobacco, hot foods, fatty foods. A whole foods, plant-based diet is best.
SUPPLEMENTS TO HEAL AN IRRITATED STOMACH:
1) Aloe Vera gel 1-2oz. two to three times daily or freshly made cabbage juice 2oz. two to three times daily.
2) D-limonene from Life Extension Foundation – it coats the sore spots. Take as directed on the label.
3) Licorice root extract* or Peppermint tea.
4) Glutamine 1gm 2X daily – PERQUE’s glutamine with PAK is best. Ask your doctor for it.
5) Marshmallow Root capsules or loose powder – coats the stomach lining. Take capsules as directed on label, or sprinkle powder directly on food.
* Caution: Licorice may increase blood pressure. Please consult with your physician before taking licorice supplements. There is a form of deglycyrrhizinated licorice from which the blood-pressure elevating substance has been removed. It’s called DGL for short.
SUPPLEMENTS TO IMPROVE DIGESTION: (Note: One MUST HEAL the stomach before taking the ACID.)
1) Pepsin with HCL (hydrochloric acid or stomach acid) or Betaine with HCL – take as directed on the label. This is an acid supplement for those who are getting old and dehydrated or have a weak stomach. (Solaray brand is good.)
2) Digestive enzymes – taken either from animal sources or plant sources. I recommend the plant source digestive enzymes. Take as directed on the label.
SUPPLEMENTS TO STOP H-PYLORI, CANDIDA ALBICANS OR OTHER “BAD” FLORA
1) Mastic Gum pills 500mg 3X daily between meals and Oregano Oil 3 drops on your food with meals or a 60mg capsule with meals.
2) Other options include: CANDICID FORTE as directed on the label or BIOCIDIN drops as directed on the label.
3) Take a good pro-biotic to restore normal gut flora with any treatment plan as directed on the label. (PERQUE brand is good.) Or, consume fermented food such as raw sauerkraut.
4) Sometimes your doctor will prescribe NYSTATIN to help kill yeast in the digestive tract.
DELAYED FOOD SENSITIVITIES – the reaction happens hours to days after the food to which one is sensitive was eaten. If you have had a bout of digestive problems in the past, IgG antibodies could have developed during that time with a “leaky gut” problem resulting in an ongoing problem such as headaches, rashes, insomnia, obesity, fatigue, depression, or poor concentration. The only way of knowing for certain if there is this problem is to test your blood for evidence of IgG reactions.
1) The greatest part of the immune system is in the bowel. Good immune function requires good bowel function.
2) 90% of serotonin is produced in the bowel. Good brain function is dependent on good bowel function.
3) Good bowel function is needed to excrete toxins. Poor bowel function can release toxins into the body.
4) Bowel transit time should be 12-24 hours.