A Band-aid Approach

Acid reflux is a HOT topic. Do you find comfort sleeping in your favorite chair?

Acid reflux is often just one of many digestive symptoms that can result from poor digestion, food intolerances, chronic stress, gut infections, and other factors. Up to 15 million people have a condition called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a kind of trap door into the stomach, doesn't close properly. Stomach contents leak back into the esophagus, causing the burning sensation called heartburn. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GERD and can eventually lead to more serious health problems.

Despite what the commercials say, GERD is not caused by too much stomach acid. It's caused by acid in the wrong place -- your esophagus.

One study of 155 healthy people who had used antacids for long periods of time found that 47% suffered some erosion of the esophagus. Regular antacid use also impairs the stomach’s ability to digest protein. Finally, without the right amount of stomach acidity, “friendly” bacteria that contribute to digestion die, leaving you at risk for low-level microbial infections that can lead to chronic indigestion. Because HCL levels often decrease with age, antacids present more of a problem as we grow older. {"Upset Stomach? The Right PH," Family Health, Taste for Life magazine, Nov. 2000}

Take a pill:

If the majority of our foods are alkaline our pH will be more acid to the point some 40 million Americans experience pain such as heart burn. We call this excess acid and the general solution is to take a pill which consumes the acid.

Nearly every disease originating in the human body is due to or accompanied by the excessive formation of different kinds of acids in the system, the most important of which are uric, carbonic, sulphuric, phosphoric and oxalic acids.

Heartburn remedies are among the biggest selling drugs of all time. But you should think long and hard before you pop that Pepcid.

What could make normal stomach digestive fluids flow up where they don't belong? One is overeating. Another can be eating a big meal before bed. “Late night eating can trigger GERD”, (taken from Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski.)

Stomach acid is required for good digestion. Poor digestion produces heartburn. People with heart-burn take antacids. Antacids reduce stomach acid. Oh no-more heartburn!

If you are taking Proton-pump-inhibitor drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, Tagamet, etc. these can reduce the acidity of the stomach, but in so doing create a more favorable environment for bad bacteria such as H. Pylori.

Paradoxically, 90 percent of people who experience heartburn, don't have enough acid.” ( Dr. Jonny Bowden)

Lack of stomach acid can result in issues in other areas:

1-Often, it is a LACK of stomach acid, not an excess that creates symptoms of indigestion.

2 - Vitamin B-12 deficiency may be caused by the acid-suppressing drugs that people are taking (Previcet and Prilosec)

3 - A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that chronic use of acid-blocking drugs leads to an increase in the development of osteoporosis and increase in hip fracture because blocking acid prevents the absorption of calcium and other minerals necessary for bone health. (Yang, Y., Lewis, J.D., Epstein, S., and David Metz. 2006. Long-term proton pump inhibitor therapy and risk of hip fracture. JAMA. 296(24): 2947-2953.)

4 - Many antacids contain lead which has been linked to birth defects and learning disabilities. Recently the Natural Resource Defense Council, (NRDC) an environmental group sued the maker of Rolaids, Tums and other producers of antacids and calcium supplements, alleging they include dangerous amounts of lead in their products.

Why do we need copper in our system?

Copper is an essential mineral required by the body for bone and connective tissue production, and for coding specific enzymes that range in function from eliminating free radicals to producing melanin. A deficiency in copper can lead to osteoporosis, joint pain, and lowered immunity... Antacids interfere with the absorption of copper, as do milk and egg proteins. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-copper-foods.php#13XVQRfPMfm8W1vl.99

You can't assimilate nutrients until they have been adequately broken down by digestion:

Antacids neutralize the acids in your stomach, making it difficult to break down foods into small enough particles to be absorbed. Once partially digested foods leave your stomach, your body treats this partially digested food, as foreign. The resulting immune response can result in food insensitivities and fatigue. You begin missing out on some of the nutrients and fats that your body needs. In addition, partially-digested foods often ferment in the intestines, causing more gas. Added to this is the upset of the balance of friendly bacteria needed for a healthy immune system. Continuing with antacids, can also contribute to colon problems. {taken from "Digestion Problems," Women's Health Letter, Nan Fuchs, PhD, Feb. 2002}

Are there Neurological side effects from taking antacids?

1 - Taking certain types of medication to deal with heartburn and excess stomach acid may increase the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The drugs in question, called histamine-2 receptor antagonists or H2As, include popular medicines such as Zantac and Pepcid.

2 - Antacids taken to fight indigestion actually diminish the enzymes needed to digest foods and nutrients critical to proper brain function. {taken from: Journal of Natural Healing Breakthroughs, “Health Alert,” Dr. Bruce West}

Antacids merely mask symptoms instead of handling the real problem:

Gurkipal Singh of Stanford University reported that people taking antacids and H2- blockers suffered more than twice as many serious gastrointestinal complications than those given placebos.

Imagine there are doctors recommending Zantac for infants:

If you are treating your newborn baby with ranitidine (Zantac) for heartburn, you are not alone. This is sad and at the same time commonplace. If you have any friends in this situation, please pass this on. Babies can have food allergies (soy, dairy and sugar) and food intolerance's (gluten), just like adults.

Why pH Balance Important?

Your daily body temperature usually is... 98.6 (if different, you feel lethargic and inflammation sets in)

Normal pH balance should be more alkaline... 7.2-7.4 (if different, you feel lethargic and inflammation sets in)

And acid pH can increase cholesterol levels. Being acidic, we can experience disharmony to our thyroid gland, liver and adrenal glands. Understand that popping pills can deplete our body’s energy stores on a daily basis and because of that, disturb the body’s healthy balance .. .. which in turn results in quicker aging and increased susceptibility to disease.

Our bodies become acidic, due to lifestyle risks that we have become accustomed to. What causes our body's chemistry to become acidic, are mostly food choices, medications and stress. For one, eating gluten is acidic and could be a culprit in your acid reflux.

All this, is only part of the problem. There have even been some reports that these drugs for GERD, may increase the risk of certain cancers. These are serious health concerns, and it's pretty clear that in this case, the "cure" of acid-blocking drugs are worse than the "disease" of GERD. "Blocking stomach acid, also increases your risk of developing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.” (taken from Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski.)

So if drugs are not the answer, what is? Making small changes to your stress & eating style, you will realize incredible gains. I can help you identify the causes of your reflux and heartburn, help you find the right solutions, nutrients, and lifestyle therapies for you, so you can see & feel results. As a Health Coach, I support you and your understanding of your symptoms and where imbalances may occur. All the pills in the world can't make up for a grossly negligent diet, and complete lack of activity. Making time to do things with mindfulness now, will ensure less time with ill health and a better quality of life for your future.

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Connie Rogers www.bitesizepieces.net

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