One of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor is due to some sort of digestive problem. Whether it be constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating or acid reflux. Most of these problems are usually treated with antacids, anti-inflammatory medications or even proton pump inhibitors. PPI’s are the usual treatment for acid reflux. These drugs are designed to stop the production of acid by your stomach. Although, this is the concentional method to treat acid reflux, many health care professionals say that it may actually be counter productive as excessive acid may not be the likely cause of the acid reflux.
Acid reflux, also know as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or ulcers happen when your stomach has low levels of acid. It’s a condition commonly related to hiatal hernias, when acid comes out of your stomach.
Symptoms of GERD include:
- Tightness in your throat
- Bad breath or dental problems
Normally, after the food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a valve called lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes. The prevents food and acid from flowing back to your esophagus. However, in patients with acid reflux, the LES relaxes inappropriately, casuing acid to come out.
In the early 1980’s an Australian physician discovered that the Helicobacter pylori strain causes low-level inflammation of your stomach lining. This leads to some of the symptoms of acid reflux.
Taking PPI’s can inhibit your body’s ability to kill this strain. Plus, suppressing stomach acid production can worsen your condition and lead to more detrimental problems.
Health risks associated with PPI’s:
- Only treats the symptoms and not the cause.
- Exposing yourself to potentially far more serious health consequences.
Some research published found that GERD patients who take PPI’s have a higher risk of developing a type of cancer call esophageal adenocarcinoma. People with GERD, especially those with advanced symptoms, are at risk for contracting another condition called Barrett’s esophagus, where stomach acid damages the lining of the esophagus.
Other problems associated with the use of PPI’s:
- Bone Loss
- Hip Fractures
- Dangerous bacterial infections
- Higher risk of food poisoning
Never just stop taking your medications. Make sure to seek the help of a qualified professional that can help you develop the proper lifestyle changes to help you with the condition.
The best solution to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Having optimal amount of good bacteria will help with digestion and absorption.
Fermented foods are the best sources of beneficial bacteria. Increase the intake of natto, kimchi, and raw yogurt or supplement with some beneficial probiotics, also make sure to start implementing these tips:
- Eliminate foods like caffeine and alcohol, which may trigger allergies.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels through safe sunlight exposure.
- Exercise regularly.
- Supplements with hydrochloric acid, which can help the body digest food properly.