Heartburn/GERD

Diet

The goal of managing this condition is to decrease symptoms and prevent the progression of this condition to Barret’s Esophagus and ultimately to esophageal cancer.

  1. Eat smaller meals. Large meals cause the stomach to swell which can stretch the opening between the stomach and esophagus which would not allow the doorway to close fully.
  2. Food sensitivities can result in heartburn. Common irritational foods include garlic, peppermint, chocolate, citrus and coffee. Any food can cause reactional reflux and thus each person must determine the foods that cause a problem for them.
  3. Fatty foods are known to trigger reflux in many people.
  4. Do not chew gum or eat hard candy as this increases the amount of oxygen swallowed which can result in belching and reflux.
  5. Lower cholesterol, lower fat diet has been shown to decrease the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
  6. Higher fruit and vegetable intake has been shown to protect against esophageal cancer.
  7. Numerous studies have shown that drinking green tea is protective against esophageal cancer.
  8. Fatty foods are known to trigger reflux in many people.

Lifestyle

  1. Lose weight! Excess weight causes a increase on abdominal pressure which can lead to reflux.
  2. Stop smoking. Smoking increases reflux significantly.
  3. Limit the use of anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc. These compounds decrease the production of protective prostaglandins which heal and defend the lining of the stomach and esophagus.
  4. Do not eat within 3 hours of bedtime.
  5. Elevate the upper body when sleeping to prevent the stomach juices from flowing into the esophagus.

Supplements

  1. Heartburn Free by Phytopharmica – 1 capsule every other day one hour before or after a meal for 20 days.
  2. DGL Ultra 90 Chewable Tabs – Chew 1 tablet before each main meal. DGL, an extremely safe form of licorice extract, helps to coat the stomach and esophagus and stimulate healing and protection.
  3. Betaine HCl – 1-4 Capsules before each main meal. Please read the discussion below on betaine HCl prior to supplementing.

Betaine HCl Protocol:

Contrary to popular belief, most people who suffer with GERD/heartburn or silent reflux have a low stomach acid rather than excess acid. When acid levels are low, the doorway between the stomach and the esophagus (called the esophageal sphincter) doesn’t close properly and the contents of the stomach can reflux into the esophagus. When the stomach has sufficient acid, the esophageal sphincter is triggered to close because the message is being sent that the stomach is digesting food.

Betaine HCl is encapsulated stomach acid. It can be very effective at improving reflux symptoms and gas and bloating that often accompanies a low stomach acid. The recommended approach to starting betaine is 1-2 capsules directly after your meal. Continue this for 3-4 days to assess results. If no improvement and no warmth sensation in the stomach increase to 3 capsules after each main meal. If  still no warmth in the stomach, you may increase to 4 caps after each main meal.

Most people find that 3-4 capsules after each meal results in significant benefit. If at any time you notice a warmth sensation in the stomach, decrease the dose by one capsule and maintain at that dose. If at any time the heartburn gets worse, cease the betaine and contact our office for instruction. 888-794-4325.

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