Acid reflux is a relatively common issue. When the sphincter at the top of your stomach (also knows as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES) does not fully close, or does not stay closed as food is being churned in the stomach, stomach acid will wash back up the esophagus causing pain and discomfort. This acidic backwash can have major damaging effects over time if the condition is not treated.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux?
The most common symptoms of acid reflux are:
- Regurgitation (a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth)
- Wheezing cough and/or a constant sore throat.
How Do You Stop Acid Reflux?
It is common to be prescribed an antacid or something similar to neutralize the acid in the stomach as a remedy for acid reflux symptoms. While this may make logical sense when you first look at it, this solution may not be a solution at all.
Acid reflux may be due to having too little stomach acid, rather than too much. This will cause acid reflux symptoms because when there is not enough acid produced in the stomach during digestion, your brain will not get the signal that digestion is happening which means that the LES will not be closed. If the LES remains open while your digestive process is happening the acid will wash back up your throat causing pain and damage.
Next time you find yourself having an acid reflux attack try taking a tablespoon or so of raw apple cider vinegar. If this soothes your symptoms it may mean that you are not producing adequate stomach acid. You can take apple cider vinegar before your meals to encourage acid production.
You can also take supplemental HCL (stomach acid.) If you want to try an HCL supplement here is how: before your meal take 2 capsules then wait a few minutes. From there, take one capsule at a time until you feel a warming sensation in your stomach. This will let you know that you are have enough stomach acid. Then proceed with eating your meal. Over time you will be able to reduce the number of capsules you take until you eventually do not need to take any, as the HCL capsules will have a feed forward mechanism helping to train your body to produce adequate stomach acid all on its own.
What If It Is Really Too Much Stomach Acid?
If taking the shot of apple cider vinegar makes your heartburn worse, it could be that you are legitimately overproducing stomach acid, or that there is something that is not working optimally in your stomach. In these cases some things that can help are:
1. Finding a healthy weight: Sometimes extra weight over the chest/stomach area can cause too much pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux.
2. Keeping portions of meals smaller: If you tend to eat very large meals this can cause acid reflux because the churning food is just too close to the top of the stomach. Eating smaller portions more often means that there will be more room in the stomach for churning, and less of a chance that food will be pushed back up into the esophagus during digestion.
3. Avoiding eating late at night: When you eat a large meal before you lie down to go to sleep, you may be causing acid reflux due to the gravitational pull of lying flat while food is digesting. When you lie down it is much easier for the contents of your stomach to flow back up into the esophagus causing pain and damage. Try to leave a 2-3 hour window between your last meal and going to sleep.
4. Alkalizing your body: Too much stomach acid may be a sign that there is too much acid being produced in your body overall. Bring your body back into a more alkaline may help to reduce or eliminate symptoms of acid reflux. Including lots of leafy greens, green smoothies, green juices, fruits, raw veggies and some nuts and seeds into each of your meals is a great way to start swinging the acid/alkaline balance of your body in a more favourable direction.
If your symptoms persist after making changes to your lifestyle, we do suggest that you consult a medical professional to make sure that there is not an underlying condition that needs to be looked at.
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